Category Archives: Dog Massage

Passing In Peace

Passing In Peace – Massage Therapy for Your Hardest Goodbye

Massage, for both humans and animals has established itself in the medical world as a restorative healing modality with many widespread and diverse benefits.  It has been reported, among other things, to reduce pain, increase circulation, relax muscle tension, and increase mobility and range of motion.  But one area that may not be as widely recognized is the benefits it can have for the hospice or end of life patient.

When a beloved canine or feline family member is diagnosed with a life threatening disease, or the animal’s companion is faced with making the decision to euthanize, it is devastating for all involved. It can feel like a time of extreme helplessness and loneliness for the animal’s companion.  We don’t want to see our animals suffer in pain for weeks or months and yet we don’t want to let them go.

As a professional, certified animal massage therapist I have had the honor to be present with many of my client dogs and their companions during their final days or weeks as well as during the euthanasia process. The power of touch is something that has been shown to soothe the mind and body.  By using slow, gentle massage strokes on the shoulders, neck and back I have been able to help an animal relax and rest. By using gentle energy balancing techniques they can settle into a quiet place of stillness and letting go.

In addition to providing loving touch for an animal I can also offer additional advice to help to make the animal more comfortable during the hospice care period. Such advice can help with mobility issues, and unnoticed areas of pain, tenderness and stress.

I have helped animal caregivers create a space for a peaceful passing  using techniques from  either energy work such as Reiki, and/or massage. I have been able to offer support before, during and after the transition from life to death.  Helping your beloved animal die with peace and respect is probably one of the most difficult and painful situations anyone will ever have to face.  Know that you are not alone in this process and that support can be just a simple touch away.


When our sweet, beloved German Shepherd Mia was ready to go we first called Shelley and then our vet. Shelley came over and created the most beautiful, sacred space in our house for Mia’s passing.  Both Shelley and our vet worked together to make sure Mia felt safe and supported and that all went smoothly as she made her transition.  A year later we still miss our girl very much but we were able to work through the grief of our loss more easily knowing that her final moments were so honored and peaceful.”





AAHA Trends Magazine: In My Experience – Helping Hands

This article was featured in the American Animal Hospital Association Trends Magazine, January 2013.

Click here to download the entire article as a PDF.

IME_Jan13imgHelping Hands

In the past few years, I’ve migrated my work from human massage therapy into that of an animal massage therapist.

After receiving my bachelor’s degree in education, I practiced human massage therapy for 20 years. During that time, I also taught massage therapy for the Community College of Denver and wrote a massage therapy program for Arapahoe Community College and Denver Career College.

My massage experience has taken me from working with a spinal cord and traumatic brain injury patients at Craig Hospital in Denver to owning a day spa in Littleton, Colo.

I grew up around horses and dogs, and…

Click here to download the entire article as a PDF.


AAHA Trends Magazine: The Shifting Landscape of Veterinary Care

This article was featured in the American Animal Hospital Association Trends Magazine, February 2013.

Click here to download the entire article as a PDF.

CompMed_Feb13ImgThe Shifting Landscape of Veterinary Care

We are living in changing times. As the public interest and demands for he availability of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) increase, veterinarians are beginning to collaborate with a variety of therapists to round out their practice.

As a massage therapist for more than 20 years, I have learned firsthand how there can be a successful union of therapies in any type of medical practice. In this article we will look at some of the key elements necessary to make this happen.

As the trend to coordinate services continues, we may begin to see a shift from…

Click here to download the entire article as a PDF.

Taming the Savage Beast – The Benefits of Canine Massage

Whoever thought that massage was just for humans hasn’t had a good conversation lately with their dog.  Thanks to research done at the C.S.U. School of Veterinary Medicine and other Universities and Clinics throughout the world we are finally beginning to understand the profound effect that touch can have on our animal companions. Similar to humans, massage can have a positive impact on a number of conditions ranging from strains, tension, tightness, stress, and anxiety to pain from arthritis or other medical conditions.  There have also been studies showing that it supports the immune system and aides in athletic performance. But as with human massage, performing true medical massage requires a firm background in anatomy and pathology and utilizes specific treatments appropriate to working with disease, pain, and injury recovery. It is also never done instead of seeing a Veterinarian, but is done in conjunction with regular medical veterinary care.

However, any pet companion can bring comfort and stress reduction to an animal by gently applying basic massage strokes with the intent of soothing and comforting their companion.  An example would be if  an animal is experiencing trauma or an increase of stress levels from traveling, being in a shelter or any other unfamiliar condition.  Canine massage is also helpful if an animal is experiencing the loss of a pet buddy or other companion.

Remember to go slow and stay focused.  You can do more good with five minutes of conscious massage than twenty minutes with your mind and heart elsewhere.