How I Began Doing Canine & Equine Massage
By Christy L Ferguson
My life became surrounded by all kinds of animals when I lived on a small farm in Jewell, Iowa. We had two dogs named Cookie and Carrie, a Doberman Pinscher and a Norwegian Elk Hound. These dogs were my first canine companions. Then, when I was three I started riding horses. My first pony was named Sprite. I was very young when my love for animals began!
Fresh out of massage school in Minneapolis, MN in 2004, my dog Jazz started to show signs of discomfort in her body. She was a 5 year old German Rottweiler/ German Sheppard who weighed 110 pounds. She was a very active dog that walked many miles, loved swimming in lakes and rivers, and playing fetch. At first I noticed that she started to have -difficulty lying down & getting up. She would be in pain after exercising with occasional lameness in her hind end. That was when I brought her in to a veterinarian who diagnosed her with arthritis in her hips. Trying to avoid beginning expensive medications, which had deadly side effects when used long term, I sought out alternative treatments options to help reduce her pain & inflammation. She started weekly acupuncture sessions with a Holistic Veterinarian. I watched as the needles that were put into her muscles would twitch in spasms and actually bend the needles. It was obvious to me that her muscles were hypertonic (very tight, unable to relax). I began to wonder if I could help Jazz relieve her tension using my newly acquired massage skills.
I bought a book called Canine Massage: A complete Reference Manual by; Jean-Pierre Hourdebaight, L.M.T. I found this book to be very informative and realized that I could use this knowledge, combined with my therapeutic massage skills, to begin regular massage sessions for my best friend Jazz. The positive results from these sessions were immediately obvious to me. She was able to stand & lay down with ease as well as less pain. She also began to rest more easily after exercise and did not seem so uncomfortable Jazz was my first canine client who was able to reap the many benefits of regular therapeutic massage. I continued to do massage with her during her last 4 years of life!
Please feel free to contact Christy for more information on Canine Massage at (719) 209-0527
Sign Up for her Canine Massage & Essential Oils workshop on Sunday, May 18th from 1-3p in the Flintridge Courtyard!