Category: General

Meet Yaz our resident Canine Massage Therapist.

Where did it all begin?

Hi there! I’m Yaz, very nice to meet you. I am a proud mother of the Gang of Thugs, Lily, Rodney and Peggy. Not forgetting Nancy and Patty the guinea pigs, Evil Charlie the bird and Flo Rida the snail. I am Stefs Pet Pantry’s resident Canine Massage Therapist. My job can be met with elation or sometimes a puzzled face, fear not! Allow me to explain about what I do. The same reasons we as humans may go for a massage, to destress or to soothe a sore muscle is the exact reason why dogs come to see me. 

I like to split my work into three categories:

Pain Management
I specialise in pain management, with a keen interest in degenerative joint disease and neurological rehabilitation. The way our dogs respond to pain is fascinating, from changes in behaviour to abnormalities in gait. With “80% of dogs over the age of 8” (Anderson, K et al 2018) suffering with Osteoarthritis, there is so much more we as pet owners need to be doing to ensure our dogs are as happy and pain free as possible. Having regular soft tissue work can be a useful tool as part of a multimodal approach to pain management, more information on that to come later.

Whether your dog is a working gun dog, agility superstar or upcoming crufts champion, all can benefit from a conditioning program. The better conditioned our athletes are, we can look to actively reduce injury rates and have your dog performing at their best! What preparations do you make for the working or show season? Did you know dogs should have a warm up and cool down routine, in line with their work schedule? Has your dog sustained an injury and you’re unsure how to get them back to optimum performance? This is what I can help with!

Emotional Wellbeing
Romanian rescue dogs are very close to my heart, my own Rommie Peggy has taught me so much. Helping me to fine tune my understanding of canine body language and no matter how small the dog, never doubt how high they can jump to steal food! Rescue dogs or sometimes just a bad experience in a loving home can leave a lasting impression on a dogs interactions with humans. Massage can be used to reintroduce touch as a positive interaction. Working with dogs who are nervous and or reactive is a much slower pace than usual sessions, but incredibly rewarding when we reach our goals. Dogs get stressed just the same as us and need to have different outlets to wind down.  

So that's your whistle stop tour of what I do, but to answer the original question where did it all begin? Well it all started with my dog Snoopy.

I had two amazing dogs Snoopy and Penny, I was working in finance and hated my job so took the plunge and left to be a self employed dog walker. After running that business successfully for three years I decided to change direction and train as a canine massage therapist as Snoopy had started looking ‘a bit stiff’. Snoopy, the most handsome beagle in the land. Typical noisy and nosey boy with a stomach like a bottomless pit. It was never plain sailing for my little lad, he had steroid induced diabetes, chronic yeasty skin and a list of ailments longer than my arm. Now we followed the vet's advice to the letter, fed the prescription kibble, washed him 3 times a week in the prescription shampoo, the only human food allowed was carrots and he just didn’t get better. For 6 long years we battled to try keep this boy well, until he became too ill to continue in his life. As I write this tears roll down my cheeks, Snoopy I’m so sorry if only I knew what I know now. Holding Snoopy in my arms as he passed from this life to the next I wanted to know why, why was it his time we still had so much more to do. Grief can make you do funny things, I couldn’t accept he was gone, there had to be something we were missing but what? I scoured the internet for answers and something that kept popping up was raw. This had been mentioned to me before and to be honest I thought these people are crazy! Plus Snoopy was ‘allergic’ to so much it couldn’t have possibly worked for him, how wrong was I! Through further research I could see how things could have been so different, I say this a lot but,

You do the best you can, with the information you have at the time.

Snoopy never stood a chance of getting better because of the absolute filth I was feeding him. Fast forward to now and once you ask me a question about raw, you won’t shut me up! With every conversation I have with a pet guardian, perhaps wanting to fine tune the raw diet to support joint health or on the fence about if raw is right for their dog, it's all for Snoopy. If I can help one person avoid the pain of losing their loved one too soon, well it's all worth it. I never got the chance to feed him raw, it was too late. What’s stopping you?

Now here’s to 2022,
Let’s get more dogs on a fresh diet!
Let’s get more education out there on recognising canine pain!
Let's get more people thinking about the emotional health of their dogs!

Continue to nourish your dogs with species appropriate nutrition, massage and compassion.

Catch up soon,
Yaz x

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