Coupeville veterinarian Stephanie Garlichs performs laser therapy on Doppler the dog. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times

Coupeville veterinarian Stephanie Garlichs performs laser therapy on Doppler the dog. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times

Pet rehab: Dogs in ‘doggles,’ cats get post-surgery care

For dog and cat owners, seeing their loyal companions endure aches and pains can be difficult to bear.

Veterinarian Stephanie Garlichs has experience helping animals get back on their feet.

She opened Whidbey Canine Conditioning & Rehabilitation at 302 N. Main St. in Coupeville last July.

It’s the only animal center around that can help animals of all activity-levels recover after surgeries, provide laser therapy, get dogs running on tiny treadmills and give stiff cats a soothing massage.

“People (here) really care about their animals and want to do the best for them,” Garlichs said.

“People on the island are really pet-oriented.”

She’s been practicing for over 25 years and worked at Penn Cove Clinic before opening her own practice.

Garlichs said she saw an unfilled need for rehab medicine to provide “physical therapy for pets.”

Whidbey veterinarians now often refer dogs and cats to Garlichs after an animal undergoes surgery.

Garlichs also has online booking available at whidbeycanine.com

Garlichs has a master’s degree in animal behavior, is trained in animal massage and canine conditioning and is Fear Free Certified, a program that educates practitioners on how to best decrease an animal’s stress.

Being “fear free” is pretty important for animals to relax and recover, she said. Setting animals at ease is an art, from the ambiance of the room to subtle body language.

Photo provided

Photo provided

“We don’t do anything scary,” she said. Coaxing with treats doesn’t hurt, either.

One common injury she sees is dogs in recovery after knee surgery. Hurt knees are a really common injury, Garlichs said, for dogs athletic and those not so athletic.

She also sees many elderly animals with arthritis.

It may look like playtime, but each piece of equipment in her center serves a purpose.

The obstacle course and balance pads help animals work all their muscles and to walk on uneven surfaces.

“Core training is really important for dogs too,” she said.

Using lasers on animals sends light waves into the tissue to help healing, such as with Doppler, who is almost 15 years old.

The Australian Shepard-mix wore snazzy “doggles” to protect his eyes as Garlichs gently massaged and used the laser equipment on him last week at the

Doppler has been benefiting from his sessions of laser treatment, his owner Mona Galope of Oak Harbor said. She said she’s seen an improvement in mobility, though wishes they’d started years ago.

“It’s been great for Doppler,” Galope said.

Garlichs works with cats too, including a 20-year-old cat who loved her massages. The main objective, of course, is to not cause any pain, she said.

“I want them to be happy.”

After a days work of canine massages and furry coaching, all that’s left is for her to break out the lint roller.

More in Business

Restaurant owners see wharf location as a plus

If Damien and Tiffany Cortez could only say one thing about their… Continue reading

New children’s clothing boutique opens in Coupeville

Rain Puddles Kids Boutique has a variety of items for ages up to 5

New Oak Harbor chamber director not content to ride others’ coattails

The former “poster child” for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is… Continue reading

Pet rehab: Dogs in ‘doggles,’ cats get post-surgery care

For dog and cat owners, seeing their loyal companions endure aches and… Continue reading

Marvelous marbling: New Coupeville business bringing added dimension to Front Street

A drop of blue spreads rapidly across the still water, growing and… Continue reading

New take on thrift

‘Storage wars of Whidbey Island’ leads to unique store

Kingsview opens Coupeville office

Kingsview Asset Management recently opened the doors to its new office and… Continue reading

Local brewer taps into neighboring market

Big plans are a-brewing at one Coupeville-based business. Penn Cove Brewing Co.… Continue reading

After 30 years, Whidbey Coffee is strong as ever

Whidbey Coffee’s story began with chicken fajitas at a small community festival.… Continue reading

Oak Harbor’s new gyro hero: Former employee buys, transforms longtime Greek restaurant

Things are a bit different now for Jessie Abrahamson at the little… Continue reading

New Whidbey air service takes flight

The trip to Seattle from Oak Harbor takes just 19 minutes if… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Chef adds farming to his resume

He’s about to turn 35, so it’s only natural that a creative… Continue reading