On September 30, after nearly 30 years of operation, the Northern Virginia Animal Swim Center, on Millville Road, just off St. Louis Road west of Middleburg is closing.

Built in 1976, the pool was part of a thoroughbred training facility and was used primarily to condition thoroughbred horses for the racing circuit.

After its purchase in 1989 by its present owners, Roger Collins and Laura Hayward, the facility was refurbished and opened as a rehabilitation and conditioning center for horses and dogs to use.

According to Jesse Pickard of GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training) and Karen Pratzner-Pickard of German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue the property has been sold and the end of September will mark the end of nearly three decades of swim therapy and fun for dogs (and dog owners) from all the surrounding counties.

The owners are dog lovers, and their Luc, Rosie, and Matilda were frequent swimmers.

Molly, pictured above is a foster dog for GRREAT with some obvious medical issues. According to Jesse Pickard, “She’s the reason that Roger helped us form the GRREAT Swim Club; he fell in love with her during her therapy sessions and wanted to do something for her and for her Rescue.”

Collins, she noted, “generously donated a series of swim sessions for her hydrotherapy. A few other GRREAT folks and their dogs joined in and became regular visitors.”

But even ass the group grew, she said, “Roger still refused to let us pay. “Instead, for the past four years, he has donated an hour every week to the Rescue in honor of the work GRREAT does for all the Goldens, but most especially for the medically challenged.

GRREAT started a swim club in his honor with donations from the participants going to help Special Needs Dogs.

For more on GRREAT see www.grreat.org

For more on German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue see  https://www.mdgsprescue.org

For more on the Swim Center’s work see http://www.animalswimcenter.com

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