When I adopted my English Pointer, Daisy, in 2003 she reacted badly to many commercial foods and treats. And in learning to manage these intolerances, I not only made my own recipes for her treats, but I started researching natural health for animals - my science training and research skills came in handy to do this.
By 2007, I decided to go into business and we started selling made-to-order dog treats that were 'Daisy tested and approved.'
However, I wanted to do more than bake treats and, drawing on my background as an environmental scientist, I decided to pursue qualifications in natural health.
In 2009, I added canine therapeutic massage to the company practice after training in the United States with the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage; I returned to the USA again in 2010 and 2014 to obtain additional massage certifications.
I chose to be mobile so I could take the pressure off of busy dog owners with the added benefits that dogs are usually most comfortable in their own home, and I could personally see where we can make changes to the living environment to manage physical disabilities.
I am particularly passionate about incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches to health care and so my massage technique is TCM-based - using acupressure points. TCM food therapy is a natural addition to the work I do.
My laser system was imported for my practice in 2010 - not every dog needs laser therapy but it is wonderful to expedite healing of wounds and to deeply stimulate tissues and acupressure points.
Because there aren't a lot of professional development opportunities for me in New Zealand, I regularly maintain my networks in the USA. Beyond my massage therapy qualifications, my professional development has included:
- Holistic Health for Animals, Christchurch (at the now-defunct Canterbury College of Natural Medicine) (2006)
- Pet Nutrition, Colorado State University, USA (2009)
- Giving Hearts Workshop, USA (2012)
- Volunteer internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, Boston (2012)
- Pet Tech CPR/First Aid certification (2012)
- Overview to Traditional Chinese Medicine for Small Animals, USA (2013)
- Small Animal Meridian Theory, USA (2013)
- Foundation Skills for Working with Dogs, USA (2013)
- Canine Theriogenology for Dog Enthusiasts, USA (2013)
- Canine Health and Pathology, USA (2013)
- Animal Welfare and Behaviour, Edinburgh (2014)
- Small Animal Food Therapy, USA (2014)
- Using Foundation Skills to Develop Dog Handling Skills, USA (2015)
- Therapeutic Exercises workshop, USA (2015)
- Acupoint Classification, USA (2016)
- Advanced Massage for the Canine Athlete, USA (2016)
- Canine Trigger Point Therapy Protocols, USA (2016)
- Dog Emotion and Cognition, USA (2017)
- Fine-Tuning Your Dog Handling Skills, USA (2017)
- Canine Energetics & Landmark Anatomy, USA (2017)
My affiliations include:
- Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce
- International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork
I adhere to the IAAMB code of ethics.
My current dog is Izzy, an ex-racing greyhound. She often travels with me to appointments and loves to meet clients.