Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EveryBody Deserves a Massage at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley!

What an amazing week! Massage therapists around the country have been participating in  "EveryBody Deserves a Massage" Week. I spent Monday and Tuesday (July 15th, 16th) at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, giving neck & shoulder massage to volunteers who care for shelter animals.
The experience filled me with so much love and gratitude! It was definitely one of my career highlights and one of the reasons I chose to become a massage therapist. I love sharing the gift of touch with folks like these. Humans who love shelter pets are wonderful!

EveryBody Deserves a Neck Massage at Boulder's Humane Society
EveryBody Deserves a Shoulder Massage at Boulder's Humane Society
I had a line of takers from the moment I set up shop, in the shelter's upstairs library. Every person who got a massage had a story to share with me about animals they love. And many of their aches and pains were directly associated with animal care. Here are a few ways that can happen:
* Walking dogs can be strenuous. And when you are a volunteer, you are working extra-hard to let those dogs have fun. And dogs that need extra exercise are put in the "Tales on Trails" program, taken for long walks on local trails. All the while, volunteer dog-walkers are often holding tight to those leashes with a right arm (i.e., dominant side). Phew! All that leash-tugging can make arms and rotator cuffs tired, and it can even create micro-tears in myofascial tissue. Massage can alleviate soreness and restore tissues.
Mother-Daughter massages for volunteer dog walkers
This caring young lady, Catalina, got her 1st massage.
She and mother, Claudia, walk dogs for the shelter.
* Shelter pets can come from troubled backgrounds. Many have been abandoned and abused. At the shelter, they aim to heal them from their past and prepare them for new families. The shelter trainers and behavior coaches have to be firm with them and in control. This often requires a very tight grip on leashes and the ability to hold the animal firmly if they suddenly want to bolt. This can make a trainer's back, shoulders, and rotator cuff get tired and sore.
* Older pets can require "nursing care" just like older humans. For example, older dogs acquire hip pain that interferes with movement. Caregivers of older pets lift and move them, which can make arms and backs get sore.
* Some shelter pets have injuries upon arrival. They may need care that puts the caregiver in awkward positions, especially when treating smaller animals. This can put little "tweaks" in a caregiver's body that massage can relieve.
* Animals can be scared and stressed in the shelter environment. One volunteer had a fresh scratch when the little dog in her care got scared. Luckily, this massage therapist carries Neosporin cream, which was promptly applied to her skin. (No coincidence that one of the reasons I carry Neosporin is for my own scratches. Pets' nails can't always be perfectly trimmed: scratches happen.)

Lindsay Scott Nina Dropcho thank HSBV volunteers with massage
Lindsay Scott and Nina Dropcho appreciate shelter volunteers!

MANY THANKS  to LINDSAY SCOTT, Humane Society of Boulder Valley's Volunteer Coordinator, for hosting this special event!

My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude for the amazing humans who give shelter pets the LOVE they deserve!
EveryBody the Humane Society of Boulder Valley...Deserves a Massage!