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 behavioural training at Best Friends Animal Society have combined with my Fear Free certification training to enable me to deal with the behavioural challenges of dogs such as anxiety, trauma and the personality changes brought about because of pain.
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)
- Fear Freesm Certified Professional, USA (2018)
- Volunteer, Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, USA (2018)
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.