I have taken myself on study leave to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah and today, they lined up 10 dogs for me to work with. It was a jam-packed day.
First on the list was return customer, Google. A Blue Heeler x Australian Cattle dog cross, I massaged Google two years ago during my last visit (see Re-visiting Old Friends). Google has long-standing neck issues thanks to being kept on a chain early in his life. He receives chiropractic adjustments every two months. Google has been at Dogtown for 7 years; he’s now 10. Google prefers to be adopted into a home where he will be the only-dog (and possibly the reason why it is taking him so long to find a home).
Massage definitely has a role to play in animal sheltering. Keeping a dog comfortable in the kennel environment, particularly when they have physical challenges, is essential so the dog puts his/her best paw forward when prospective adopters come visiting.
Massage therapists look for the ‘soft eyes’ of a relaxed client. Here’s a selfie to show you what I mean.
Good boy, Google!
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
Today, I worked at Old Friends. This is the ‘old people’s home’ of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Besides helping to take dogs for walks in the cooler morning hours, I also got to use my massage skills on some special needs dogs.
Google was rescued from Kanab, Utah. He spent most of his life chained; and as a result he has neck problems. Because of his neck problems, his back, mid-thoracic, is also tight. Google thoroughly enjoyed his massage.
Google has been at Best Friends for some time; he’s over the age of 12 and still looking for a home. He’s also been a blood donor for other dogs. Some nice person is sponsoring him so he can receive a free flight anywhere in the USA if adopted.
Wrangler, who is suffering from heartworm
Wrangler had just had his second injection as part of heartworm treatment. Dogs undergoing this treatment have a series of injections and are restricted in exercise to ensure that the worms don’t dislodge from the heart causing respiratory arrest.
Wrangler needed very light massage (so not to stress his system) and few acupressure points for relaxation.
By the end of his massage, Wrangler rewarded me with a smile
I am convinced that there is a role for massage therapy in the shelter environment, particularly for long-term residents and those with special health needs.
I am grateful to the caregivers at Old Friends who allowed me to work with these animals.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand