OTTAWA – The strangest animal Sandy Benoit has given a massage to has got to be a colourful macaw parrot that just wouldn’t sit still.
Add to that her work on a bearded dragon, horses, rabbits, cats and dogs (of course) and you’ve got a good idea what it’s like working as an animal massage therapist.
Laden with fur or feathers, our pets are having an even harder time with the heat than we are and Benoit says a soothing massage can help them relax and cool off.
“Just by putting your hand under his paw you can feel the heat,” said Benoit holding the paw of her seeing eye dog Mr. O, a black Labrador retriever. “I like to apply a cold bandana and just by stroking the animal they begin cooling down. Then I’ll work on their cranium.”
Moving from the animal’s head down through the spine, Benoit said she works through the central nervous system, massaging the entire body to promote healing.
“It’s amazing what it can do,” Benoit said of animal massage therapy. “It increases circulation, combats arthritis, hip dysplasia, rids older dogs of lactic acid buildup and can help heal sports dogs that are always on the go.”
During 16 years working as an animal massage therapist at her business Canine Touch & Tell in Ottawa’s west end, Benoit said she has seen it work wonders for many animals, not just those trying to quash the heat.
“One Greyhound I saw had gone to the vet limping and went through all these tests to find out what was wrong,” she said.
“They couldn’t find out, but as I was massaging the dog I felt a major vein in the leg was swollen and was able to connect the dots to realize the vein had burst after the dog had given blood.”