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Dog Massage A Hit With The Hounds?

I came across this article by Kurt Begalka of the Northwest Herald. It seems that dog massage is becoming more popular. Read the article and leave a comment with your thoughts. Is this the next big thing? Is it a scam or does it make sense?

So this is a dog’s life.

Simon, the 5-year-old Keeshond mix, melts as Carole Lago expertly kneads his muscles. He flops on his side and gives what appears to be the slightest of smiles.

“He’ll go running around in the snow and he’ll come in limping. Ice also builds up in his pads,” said Shawn Ehrke, co-owner of the Barrington Dog Bakery & Boutique in Barrington. “I absolutely love it and he loves it. When I told him Carole was coming today, he got so excited he ran right out and got into the car this morning before going potty.”

Lago, a graphic designer for more than 20 years and owner of Complete Printing in Cary for six years, opened Paws & Effect about a year ago. The breast cancer survivor and animal lover said she turned to animal massage on the advice of Dr. Lori Wyatt, owner of The Animal Doctor in Cary.

“I definitely want to give back. I’ve always loved animals, and it kind of put me back on track to work with them,” Lago said. “I realized I could actually function without having stress on me all the time.”

Lago participated in an intensive, three-day program at the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Accupressure and Massage in Carbondale, Colo., where she learned about animal anatomy and pressure points. Also incorporated were Reiki massage training and classes covering essential oils and aromatherapy.

“The oils that we sell are diluted so that they can do no harm – unless you hit the dog on the head with the bottle,” Lago said. “It is the same therapeutic grade, but they’re not as intensive. … It would be like sensory overload for dogs. They wouldn’t be able to handle that.”

Blended oils are used for everything from motion sickness to indigestion. They complement massage, which moves synovial fluid in the joints and speeds recovery from sprains, strains and muscle atrophy.

“You can see it in their faces after one or two sessions. They look like pup again,” Lago said. “The bigger the dog, the quicker they age. You want to give them every advantage that you can.”

Lago recommended once-a-week massage sessions for animals having difficulty moving around. It can take 25 to 40 minutes for a small dog, 45 to 60 minutes for larger animals, and cost $35 to $60. There also is an initial, hourlong assessment with a short massage that ranges from $60 to $80.

“There are practitioners out there that say ‘I can cure this.’ I don’t profess to be that,” Lago said. “That is why I insist on meeting the vets. I want them to know who I am, what I do and gain their respect.”

Friend Lisa Soens of Crystal Lake,  a vet technician and dog sitter for 20 years, said Lago’s devotion was undeniable.

“She is a mother of three sons and she loves her boys. And she is Italian,” Soens said. “We are all in the passionate stages of our lives. Working with animals is something we love.”

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