Whether your horse is in intense training or is simply your "best friend", Equine Massage can be very good for maintaining a healthy, happy and energetic life!
The good that can come from providing massage for your furry companion can vary widely. From providing improvement in mobility to alleviating stress, Canine massage can make a world of difference. These benefits can be obvious or subtle. For example, range of motion and motor improvements can be seen and easily appreciated but there are also a host of unseen, internal and stress relieving benefits too. Let's explore some of the benefits of Canine Massage below.
Surgery or Illness
Agility dogs, Working dogs and High Energy dogs can suffer from repetitive stress injuries and joint traumas that may or may not result in surgical procedures to correct. Massage can be a great preventative and recovery tool.
Canine massage can alleviate muscle restrictions due to knotted muscles and sticky fascia (connective tissue). Alleviating these restrictions allows for fluids to pump for easily through these areas and help to reduce muscle and joint pain. Supplements, proper nutrition coupled with a regimen of massage can really do a lot to maintain balance and tone to muscles and promote optimum health.
My 9 year old golden retriever Shelby began limping. After a visit to her veterinarian, many rounds of medication and being told repeatedly "it is arthritis", an X-Ray resulted in a diagnosis of bone cancer. I became speechless and very sad. It was upsetting to believe this masterful, loving and totally sweet animal was suffering. After consulting several knowledgeable vets, a decision was made and unfortunately, Shelby's leg had to be amputated.
I wondered what I could have done to help her avoid the amputation. Although I found no clear answers. I had ultimately embarked on a journey that would create a new path and calling in my life.
Immediately following her surgery, we brought her to one of her favorite places thinking she may never be able to negotiate the terrain of the mountains and beach as she had before the amputation. But, to our surprise within days, my beautiful dog got up on three legs and began to walk as if nothing had ever changed.
Shelby continued to thrive and travel with me everywhere. In the last year of her life, she became certified as a therapy dog and joined me every day while I was treating. The children delighted in her and could not stop rubbing her right front shoulder area where her leg was. I could tell Shelby loved the feeling of so many caring and inquisitive hands touching her.
She was relentless, determined, amazing and beautiful in every way. She went hiking with me all the time. Gradually though I could begin to see it was becoming a strain on her muscles and joints. Remembering the pleasure she seemed to feel when caressed by the children she had inspired it occurred to me that perhaps massage could be beneficial. It was! She was ever so grateful for the hands that would soothe her discomfort and give her peace. The massage made all the difference in the world for Shelby and I too began to give Shelby massages using techniques I had gained as an infant massage therapist. I know that it allowed her to live out her last days happy, content as she continued to serve and love others.
As a wonderful and appropriate addendum to her story; During this same time she also became the queen of the Dogwalk for the American Cancer Society and raised money and lifted spirits for the cause.
This past Christmas Eve, my beautiful dog Marley, got into a container of flour that I had mistakenly left unattended on a counter in my home. Besides the "snowstorm" of flour that resulted it was also clear that my dog had ingested a good amount of it.
The next day, after a long walk, my beautiful dog Marley did not seem quite right. He had developed diarrhea and seemed to have a slight limp. As the next few hours went by it was clear something was very wrong and soon Marley had become unable to stand on his back legs at all and soon became almost completely immobilized. Worried sick, I contacted my neighbor who happens to be a vet tech. She came over to take a look at Marley.
My neighbor suggested it could be from ingesting the flour and/or a pinched nerve could be causing Marley's troubles and mentioned that massage could be a good thing to try first as a way of easing pressure on the pinched nerve and intestinal discomfort allowing the dog to relax. We carried a visibly anxious Marley to the car and I brought him to a massage therapist who works with canines. Again this was to confirm the creation of a new path in life for me and my career.
Once we arrived at the therapists office, it was amazing to see Marley ease into the strong, kind, caring hands of the therapist. She was able to calm and relax Marley as she worked on his muscles and areas of discomfort. Clearly this therapists skilled and gentle techniques were making a difference for Marley.
Within hours after the massage Marley began to be able to stand again and in just a few days was back to his old self; chasing after sticks I threw for him as we played in the yard at home.
There is no doubt in my mind that it was the therapists hands placed on this dog that got him up and weight bearing again as well as helped with his intestinal discomfort. These life altering experiences have brought me to where I am today. After extensive training in Virginia with the founder of Equissage, Mary Schreiber, I became fully certified and I am now able to bring my hands to heal and bring relaxation to dogs and horses as well.
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