Creature Comforts

By Darren Buford
[Editor's Note]

I discovered animal massage several years ago during a photo shoot for our sister publication Massage & Bodywork. The shoot took place at a local massage school, where people brought their pets and took hands-on lessons in basic massage strokes.
I went through childhood sans pets because my mother believed indoor animals made the house dirty. Once I got out on my own, though, I adopted a different philosophy. I got a cat named Emma (later, more appropriately changed to Mr. Emma), a large tabby with a hankering for milk. Soon followed fellow felines Beans and Asia.
Today, my wife, son, and I are the proud parents of a lilac border collie named Koda. There’s little we won’t do to care for Koda, including proper nutrition, exercise, wellness, and … massage.
Most animals enjoy being touched. But being touched by the caring hands of a trained professional adds knowledge and intention, translating into relaxation, pain relief, and healing.
The next time you get a massage, consider asking your practitioner if she can make time for your pets, too. Many massage therapists serve two-legged and four-legged clients, or can refer you to a colleague who specializes in animal massage.
Thinking back on the animal massage photo shoot, the thing I remember most was the love those people and their pets shared for one another. It was palpable. We may be limited in our abilities to communicate to our pets using words, but the language of touch speaks to all living creatures.