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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Sheep dip for arthritic Lamb Chop
Lamb Chop the sheep. Photo: Elizabeth Newing
As well as hydrotherapy, Lamb Chop also has acupuncture sessions
A sheep is keeping arthritis at bay by swimming regularly in a hydrotherapy pool for dogs in the Conwy Valley.

But Lamb Chop, who is 14 and can no longer walk, enjoys the weekend dip without any canine company.

Owner Rachael Jacobson, who runs the Maenan Animal Retreat rescue centre, says Lamb Chop is fine mentally but is like "a disabled old lady".

She is refusing to give up on the animal, which has been a family pet since being abandoned as a lamb.

Ms Jacobson has been taking Lamb Chop to the North Wales Canine Hydrotherapy Centre at Pensarn, Abergele for her Saturday swim for the last six months.

"She has to go in the pool last after all the dogs - because sheep are very dirty," she said.

"But she's absolutely loves it and she can swim fine and it really seems to ease her pain.

"She's an old lady with arthritis but if she was human she would be in a wheelchair," said Ms Jacobson.

Lamb Chop in the hydrotherapy centre (picture Tony Mottram /Rhyl & Prestatyn Visitor)
Most sheep would be dead by now but she doesn't want to give up - she is not in any pain at all and she eats like a horse
Owner Rachael Jacobson

There are 20 animals at the animal rescue centre at Plas Maenan including goats and Welsh ponies but Lamb Chop lives separately in an ark with a pig.

She was found abandoned and dying by her owner but after an antibiotic injection she recovered and became a family pet.

She went on to achieve minor celebrity status as an animal who opened fetes and could even "read".

"At the time I used to run a small tea room and Lamb Chop seemed to be able to flick through the telephone directories I had in one corner," explained Ms Jacobson.

Tony Roberts from the canine hydrotherapy centre said he was bemused when Lamb Chop first arrived as a customer.

"I thought someone was having us on," he said. "But she really does seem to get a lot out of it and we enjoy her visits."

Ms Jacobson does not stop at hydrotherapy for her pet - Lamb Chop also has weekly acupuncture sessions in Denbigh and also takes a herbal mix.

"Most sheep would be dead by now. But she doesn't want to give up. She is not in any pain at all and she eats like a horse."


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