The National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH) is a not for profit professional association which maintains the List of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (RCHs) in the UK. NARCH ensures that all RCHs adhere to the highest professional standards and ethics and these requirements are laid out on this website and within the Guide to Professional Conduct for Registered Canine Hydrotherapists.
NARCH was established by a band of keen and enthusiastic individuals who volunteered their time to establish this national body. We have a democratic election system established. RCHs elect Management Committee members through an online voting system.
We would like to introduce ourselves to you - please click on a name below to find out more about the committee members:
We would like to introduce ourselves to you:
LISA DOBSON, RCH (Interim Joint Chair)
Nicola is a senior Board level professional with 38 years experience based in the City, specialising in professional liability insurance. With a lifelong love and in-depth experience of caring for her own animals, she has worked and contributed at several levels to the development of NARCH over the past 10 years, following retirement from her insurance career.
Her love of animals, particularly dogs, horses and donkeys has been constant, caring for a menagerie of animals from a very young age. Horse riding was her passion and in her early 20’s she purchased a yearling part bred Arabian, Chester, intending to break him in and sell on as a three year old. But she never sold him and together they tried every equestrian discipline, including long distance riding and even racing, until his death, aged 26.
1992 heralded the start of what was to become another passion, when she acquired her first Bernese Mountain (BM) Dog puppy, Ferdy. She went on to breed several successful litters over the next 25 years, owning at one time three generations of BM Dogs. The connection with canine hydrotherapy began in 1996 when cruciate ligament surgery became necessary for Ferdy and Nicola’s vet recommended hydrotherapy. So successful was Ferdy’s rehabilitation, each one of her BM Dogs went on to enjoy hydrotherapy over the years.
Having retired from her insurance career in 2010, Nicola decided to enrol in a Canine Hydrotherapy Training Course at Greyfriars to broaden her own knowledge. Whilst subsequently writing a business plan for her own centre, she was approached by NARCH, then in its infancy, to become their Administrator. She accepted and over the years contributed to the development of NARCH through running education seminars, reviewing CPD/courses, undertaking centre audit visits, running the AGM, budget planning, corporate planning and much more. She retired from NARCH in 2022. Or so she thought! In 2023 the NARCH Board approached her to take on the position of NARCH interim joint chair with Lisa Dobson, which she accepted.
JUSTINE ACKROYD RCH (Vice Chair)
Justine bought a boarding kennels and cattery in 2008 and opened her canine hydrotherapy centre in 2010 after completing her training in hydrotherapy at Greyfriars in 2009. Just after completion of the course, NARCH was born and Justine was one of its first members.
Justine’s centre has both pool and treadmill and works closely with other professionals in the canine rehabilitation industry, enabling the service of a multi-modal approach for each patient. Justine currently employs 3 RCHs with one in training. In 2019 Justine became a NARCH Approved Practical Training Provider which feeds her passion for education and training, not only passing on skills to other hydrotherapists and clients but also her own thirst for knowledge. Justine loves going on training courses. This has been a driving force behind her working life, having previously been a trainer and educator within the hairdressing industry.
One of Justine’s goals when she first opened her hydrotherapy centre was to join the NARCH Committee due to its goal of raising standards within the industry. That goal now met, her next is to achieve the Level 6 Veterinary Hydrotherapy qualification. Currently she holds the Level 4 Award in Small Animal Hydrotherapy.
SARAH SIMPSON RCH (Interim Vice Chair)
Sarah qualified as a canine hydrotherapist in 2009 and immediately set up her own rehabilitation centre. She then went onto study a diploma in animal physiotherapy in 2012 and currently works within a team of five therapists. Sarah is passionate about CPD opportunities and further education for both herself and the team. She is currently exploring canine osteopathy after attending an osteopathy workshop on elephants! Although interested in the wider treatments available for rehabilitation, her passion is fully within the hydrotherapy sector and is therefore looking forward to supporting the NARCH committee in promoting the welfare, treatment and care of animals in this sector.
LEANNE FLETCHER, RCH