Happy Pet.
 by Laurie Buckley!

Passion 4 Pooches, Articles by Laurie Buckley

Animal lover finds her calling: “AniMassage”

Laurie Buckley was going through some files recently when she came across a letter she wrote as an 11- year-old living in New Jersey.
It was an appeal to her neighbors to donate money to the local animal shelter, which she then went door-to-door to collect.
“I’m a serious animal lover,” she said. So it was only natural that she parlay that love into a new business- AniMassage.


“In the doge community it’s a really new idea,” said Buckley, while in the horse community it has become standard practice. “It’s not just for pampering Fluffy, it’s for overall health and wellbeing,” she said.


Buckley, certified through the Rocky Mountain School of animal acupressure Massage in Denver offers her in home ser ice for dogs and horses. She also is a graduate of the Animal Academy of Arts in Largo in grooming- she works at the Pet Care Center of Nassau- a member of the international Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork and holds a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University.


“It was a good match for grooming,” and Buckley of animal Massage. At school in Colorado she had to master the anatomy and physiology of dogs and horses, as well as different types of massage. Pressure and touch sequences, to earn her certification. Her training also delved into holistic practices, such as aromatherapy for dogs – for example, lavender can be very soothing for an uptight canine – as well as nutrition, vitamins and oils.


“It was really interesting but very intense, she said – and something she believed in passionately enough to quit her job as a hospital human resources manager in Maryland to pursue her dream of moving to Amelia Island a year and a half ago.


She had driven through the area four years ago, then later spent a night and said, “I’ve got to live here- I’ve got to rework my life.”
Buckley has seen the benefits of massage first hand in her own dogs, Mae, who is 11 and Jake, who is 16 but has the energy and agility of a much younger dog and still takes two 20 mintue walks every day, she said. “I started to think; maybe this is something I could offer to other people.”


Buckley also brings 10 years of experience working in animal shelters to her practice, and especially gets satisfaction helping dogs that were rescued but have residual issues such as fear or anxiety.


“The fact that I could help animals that had fear-based issues-I really love that side of it,” she said. “It can be very calming – help them physically calm down.”
Massage can also help with joint or muscle problems, or geriatric or convalescing pets, said Buckley but ads, “then I want to talk with their veterinarian and make sure they are OK with the animal getting a massage.” Even dogs with terminal cancer can benefit, said Buckley, as massage releases endorphins that can help ease chronic pain. It also can promote healthy growth among large breed puppies, which can experience bone and joint problems as the blossom into adults.


The main thing, Buckley said, is that “you don’t want to force anything. I let owners know this massage may last 10 minutes the first time. Sometimes you have to start really slowly. Animals to are amazing – it doesn’t take long for them to pick up on the fact that you have positive intent toward them that you are sending them love and healing.”


To learn more about Animassage, prices and packages for both horses and dogs call Buckley at 415-0632 or e-mail her at passion4pooches@yahoo.com . She also hopes to offer a basic massage class for pet owners in the future.