My weekend

Ms Anna Tong, general manager of Klapsons The Boutique Hotel in Hoe Chiang Road. Ms Tong sees about 26 dogs for canine hydrotherapy over the weekend.

Ms Anna Tong, 56, general manager of Klapsons The Boutique Hotel in Hoe Chiang Road, is single and lives in a landed property in the east with her three dogs, ages 11 to 14½, and three foster dogs.

"My weekends revolve around dogs. My hobby is canine hydrotherapy, which is aquatic exercise and physical therapy.

So in 2007, I went for hydrotherapy training in the United States. I did not start my own practice until about three years later, when I found my house, which is in a good location where I could put in a pool.

Now I see about 26 dogs for hydrotherapy every weekend, coming to me with various problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, spinal injuries and for post-surgery rehabilitation.

On Friday nights, I make sure everything is ready for the next day. I check that the pool is working and cleaned and I go over the day's scheduled appointments.

Then I watch TV shows such as Law And Order, Criminal Minds, CSI and other mystery or crime shows before I go to bed at about 12.30 to 1am.

On Saturdays I wake up at 6.30am, which is early but is still an hour later than my waking time during the week.

I get out of bed and take my dogs for a 40-minute walk at Pasir Ris Park, which is right next to my home, and take the older dogs for a shorter 10- to 15-minute walk before they have their breakfast of yogurt and bananas.

I will have my own breakfast of yogurt, fruit, a slice of toast and an egg and a cup of tea before I have a shower and put on my wet suit. I make sure the pool and seating area are clean, the towels are ready, the bins are lined and magazines are out before the first dog comes at 9.45am.

The owners will often drop off their dogs and go for brunch, or they may hang around and read or watch their dog's session. The cost of the sessions depends on the size of the dog and their needs.

It is a non-stop pace and lunch is usually a quick bite, perhaps a couple slices of pizza squeezed into a 10-minute break in between dogs.

When the last dog leaves at about 7pm, I have a simple dinner of rice and vegetables, something quick, or I might have started a stew in the morning which I will finish cooking in the evening.

After dinner, I do my grocery shopping for the week at Giant at Tampines, which does not close till midnight.

I am usually back home by about 10pm, depending on how crowded it is, and for the rest of the evening, I do the day's paperwork.

On Sunday, my schedule is basically the same as Saturday, but I will finish hydrotherapy by about 5pm.

Then I have to drain, clean and refill the pool, clean the filter and wash the towels before I can get started on the day's paperwork.

For dinner, I have rice, pizza, spaghetti or whatever I can whip up quickly. If I have time or energy, I might do some reading or watch dog-related videos on YouTube before falling asleep at around midnight at the latest.

It is an intense schedule but I love what I do. It's rewarding and fun and when the dogs improve, that's my ultimate reward as a hydrotherapist.

It helps that I'm quite a disciplined person. By Sunday night I have switched into work mode and I think about all the things I need to do the next day and during the week."


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