South Africa

Centurion pet physio making her mark on TV

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Centurion’s very own veterinary physiotherapist Heather Whitfield is lighting up the People’s Weather channel with a brand-new show following her as she improves the lives of pets.

It’s Pawsible follows Whitfield as she runs an expansive facility covering the rehabilitation needs of pets.

“Last year on Nelson Mandela Day I put together a project and it caught the attention of the channel who was producing a show for Mandela Day,” Whitfield told Rekord.

“The producer came to that story, but when I showed him around, he immediately said he wanted a show about pet physio.”

Things moved quickly from there.

In February, they recorded a short trailer so Whitfield could go out and find sponsors, attracting investors working in the pet industry.

Whitfield has been working with pets for 15 years, a career path she decided on after her own experience with trauma.

“In 2005, I had a major car accident and then I had to go for a serious spinal surgery,” she explained.

Whitfield had to undergo months of rehabilitation, part of which was hydro-therapy.

“I always loved animals, and I just thought if water could do so much for me, what could it do for dogs? They love swimming so much too.

“I thought I could do something different, so I started studying again, and now here I am.”

In 2008, Whitfield brought everything together and began Paws-Itive Paws-Abilities, and has continued to build it from strength to strength.

The facility includes a hospital area, a hydrotherapy area, and a gym area that are all used for various aspects of the rehab process.

“The vets refer patients to us. This is for things like rehabilitation after surgeries on things like torn muscles and amputations as well as chronic conditions.”

Whitfield and her team then developed treatment plans and worked with the owners to improve the pets’ quality of life.

“Some people, once their pets have recovered, ask how they can continue, and for that, I have a programme called Pet Active Gym.”

She said the goal was to incorporate the gym into the habits of the pets, especially for the athletes, such as hunting dogs.

The show airs on DStv channel 180 or OpenView channel 115.

Whitfield was also honoured at the 2023 South African Small Business Awards, where Paws-Itive Paws-Abilities received the National Innovation Award.

The awards, held on November 16, honoured businesses that were identified as driving entrepreneurial forces.

“At the heart of this great nation is its people and I am proud to be associated with all these worthy winners,” said Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the National Small Business Council.

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