CLASS | Soothing Strokes: An Introduction to Pet Massage
"My dog Hamilton once received a massage at a sporting event by a friend whose trust he already had, and he melted into the grass like it was the greatest experience of his life. That experience planted the seed of my desire to dabble in pet massage.
Hamilton struggles in clinical settings and with new people, period, and so I knew that getting someone to see him regularly was not realistic. I learned about Soothing Strokes, and wanted to see if I could gain some basic tools to share massage with him on a more regular basis.
While doing the very first lesson, "Assessment Strokes," I noticed a strong reaction when I touched Hamilton's back half. It became clear that his rear and hips were extremely sensitive. He would whip around as if to flinch, or simply lay his head across my wrist, looking at me with eyes that seemed to be asking me to stop.
Lisa reviewed the video with me, and agreed. She encouraged me to have him checked out. We got x-rays just after his 5th birthday, and soon learned that he is beginning to develop arthritis in one of his hips.
While I was saddened, I was grateful for the class immediately. Not only did it teach me valuable skills, it also taught me to be more in tune with my dog's body and his reactions, which led to a diagnosis that may otherwise have been missed for some time. Instead, in noticing, I could start him on more supportive supplements alongside fitness much earlier.
With massage, he seemed to be more spry and more comfortable. He melts into it, and I feel like a wizard or something with the reactions and happy sighs I get. I've tried my skills out on a couple of other dogs including my Collie and my sister's Boston Terrier. My sister's Boston, Finn, never cuddles anyone but his mom. Within minutes of me placing him on my chest and beginning a massage, he was laid out flat as a pancake on my chest, breathing deeply.
While trying to film the final lesson, Hamilton kept offering me his back end instead of his head which I was working on at the time. I finally succumbed, and quickly found the area he was alerting me to was quite tight. I began to massage where he requested, and he melted into the floor, first into a sit, then a down, then on his back.
Lisa's videos were practical, informative, and went beyond just teaching the basic movements—but also how to listen to and remain connected to your dog.
I especially appreciated Lisa's timely and thorough responses along with her enthusiasm and shared joy at what my dogs were getting out of massage.
~ Laura Cole, Hamilton (Catahoula mix), and Meimei (Smooth Collie)