2015 was one of the most devastating years of my life. 2016 proved to be no better either.

In 2015, I found out that Angelo had pneumonia, an enlarged heart, chronic lung and chronic liver disease, chronic pancreatitis and liver cancer. Easter Sunday, 2015, Angelo was having a hard time walking and, at times, would drag his back legs as he walked. After seeing a neurologist, it was noted that Angelo had significant proprioceptive deficit in both back legs. They suspected a lesion at the level of the spine, between T3-L4. Not wanting to put him through back surgery, I tried cage rest for a month to see if he would improve. In that time I researched ways I could exercise him when the time was right. Knowing how much he enjoyed water, I tried to find places I could take him swimming. Well, Chicago School of Canine Massage kept popping up instead. After checking out their website, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Could massage really help my boys? After a month of cage rest we went back to Purdue to see if surgery was still needed. The neurologist said his proprioception had improved but not as much as they'd hoped. We did strict cage rest for one more month, and that was what it took for Angelo to improve enough that surgery wasn't needed. Late July, he had his gallbladder removed. During the surgery, things were being moved around which caused his pancreatitis to come back with a vengeance. After 9 days in ICU, he took a turn for the worse and passed away from complications of pancreatitis. Angelo could've greatly benefited from massage, and I will always regret I didn't know massage until it was too late.

June, 2015, I noticed Banjo was having some of the same problems as Angelo and was diagnosed with liver disease (as well as an enlarged heart and signs of a collapsing trachea). He was medically managed. January, 2016, I enrolled in Chicago School of Canine Massage's Mentorship program for the month of May. Banjo attended several classes with me, and I witnessed first hand how much massage benefited him. He loved it!! Banjo was having blood work done every 1-2 months to track his liver levels. His levels were decreasing, but sadly it wasn't due to him getting better but rather him losing liver function. Early November, we went back to Purdue for a liver ultrasound, and it revealed he was entering the end stage of liver failure. He was given 3 months to live, but passed away 3 weeks later. I completed the Mentorship program in November and passed the NBCAAM (National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage) exam in March, 2017.

My advice to you: Please have an x-ray done on your pet every year, regardless how healthy he or she is. Should problems arise, it will be beneficial for your vet to look back and see when problems began.


I am not a veterinarian. I do not diagnose, treat or prescribe.
Massage is not a replacement for proper veterinary care, nor will it cure diseases.
Massage will help to provide overall wellness and balance for your pet.