May is National Pet Month so I pulled up the Purina web site to see how they suggested honoring this month. I found about 10 or 12 possibilities listed and selected giving your pet a massage as a good option to discuss.
Retrieving my copy of the “Tellington TTouch Workbook,” I had to refresh my memory since I haven’t read it in a number of years. In the introduction, Tellington tells how the instructors taught the students to practice on each other with the person receiving the massage standing and pretending he/she was a horse. The object was for the “patient” to tell the massager how certain rhythms and pressures felt. Tellington says, “We soon discovered that long standing pain, tension, stiffness and soreness was often released in a short time. Perhaps one of the most useful aspects is the fact that one can work successfully on oneself or on ones own family with a minimum of practice.”
I had forgotten all about the benefits for humans and will need to read further so I can benefit from this type of massage. In the meantime, I would like to discuss how massage benefits shelter animals as well as those in their forever homes and then describe a few of my favorite touches that my pets seem to enjoy most.
Tellington mentions how gentle massaging can calm frightened and marginally socialized animals by reducing stress. It helps relieve the distress that arthritis causes in the aged animal. It rehabilitates pets surrendered because of behavior problems.
In the workbook, Tellington gives drawings of the various positions of the hands and fingers used to create the different touches. Almost all the different motions are called by animal names. Thus you have the “bear touch,” the “snow leopard,” the “tiger touch,” and others. My very favorite massage touch is the “Tarantula” which is modified from Tellington’s “Tarantula’s Pulling the Plow” which involves rolling the skin.
The way I use this massage is to cup my hands like I am holding a tennis ball and “walk” my fingers rapidly from the neck down either side of the backbone to the tail. My golden retriever couldn’t get enough of this particular massage and I usually had to stop because my fingers got tired.
My little 6-pound toy breed likes the “Clouded Leopard” massage which is administered with the tips of the fingers moving the skin in small circles before repositioning the fingers in a different spot and repeating the small circles.
The workbook has a whole chapter on massaging your cat, which is different from working on your dog. Actually, I have never had my current cat become relaxed enough to lie down while I massage, but he still loves the “Clouded Leopard” movements and really hates the “Tarantula” massaging motions. Maybe it tickles.
Try brushing your pet in honor of National Pet Month and progress to massaging. It is one way to strengthen the bond between your pet and yourself.