During our trip to the Canadian Agility National Championships, as you probably know, Miles was seriously injured (read more) within hours of our arrival to Alberta, Canada. As you may have also read in that post, I was not able to get us home right away, so we ended up going to Nationals. A funny thing happened there, as we were wandering the vendor aisles. I met a wonderful woman named Val, who is a certified canine masseuse.
I really love a good massage. I was also desperate to do anything to help Miles physically and emotionally, since he was in pain, anxiety-ridden, and far away from home. So the thought went through my mind, “what if Miles enjoyed a massage, and it helped him to relax?” I asked Val if I could pay for a short test-massage, because I had no idea how Miles would react. He is a terrier, after all, and terriers are notoriously touchy about, well, being touched. Miles is a tolerant guy, but will growl to voice his discomfort if even the people he trusts pet him for more than a second or two. (He does cuddle with some people, but that is different than petting, where pressure is applied to specific areas).
Miles ended up enjoying the massage so much that I told Val to keep going for the full 20 minutes. After the massage, Miles relaxed for the first time since the attack. He went from cowering and shaking violently in the corners of my friend’s home (as he had done that the morning) to walking around her home exploring later that evening. I could not believe it on so many levels. I was in complete awe of Val’s ability to navigate Miles’ body in a way that even I am not allowed. She clearly knows what she is doing, and she proved to me that massage works for animals other than just humans. We went back to see Val the next day to get Miles a second massage. I would have never guessed how helpful massage would be for Miles. It ended up being truly invaluable to his recovery in every way. Because Miles walked away from the massages feeling so relaxed, his body was able focus on healing, rather than focusing on mental anxiety and physical tension. Also, that Val was able to accomplish that right next to the busy competition rings at Nationals? Amazing.
Valerie Black is a Certified Canine Massage Practitioner based on Calgary, Alberta. You can read more about canine massage and about Val on Pawsitive Touch Canine Massage.
Emma Kesler, CDBC, CPDT-KA is an award winning certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Dog Trainer who has worked exclusively virtually with clients from across the world for the past decade. Emma shares her life with her Welsh Terrier copilot Miles.
This is for all of the wild dogs out there, for the people who love them, and for those who want get to know them. You've come to the right place. 🐶
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