“Don’t wear black” Roxy’s Mum said when we confirmed our second visit.
Last time I worked with Roxy, she shed fur. A lot of fur. And she is a Yellow Labrador. As a result, I looked like Chewbacca by the end of that session and her Mum’s vacuum cleaner probably seized up.
When we work with dogs, shedding fur is one of the ways we can tell that we’re having an effect and doing some good. Imagine if you’re going round with skin that is sticking to you due to anxiety or discomfort. That’s got to be uncomfortable. Manual therapy not only works on the joints and muscles but also on the fur – that’s what our fingers are passing through all the time. Myofascial release techniques assist with this fur lifting. And when you create space between the fur and underlying structures, blood and other nutrients can start to move freely through the body again. Result = looser, softer and more healthy fur.
I once worked with a very VERY anxious Chihuahua who simply ‘couldn’t be touched’. Well…. guess what, not only did she adore her session ‘being touched’ (in a therapeutic way) with me, but, by the end, we had a pile of Chihuahua fur that could easily have made another dog. Over the months of treating that dog, the fur shedding became less and less as her body became more fluid, softer and supple. The blood and nutrients could move through at last. Also, her anxiety decreased and approachability increased accordingly.
The same happened this time with Roxy. OK, there was a pile of fur on the floor but it was just a small pile. And my black jeans (I know…..should have worn a different colour!) didn’t look quite so much like I was auditioning for a Pantomime Bear.
Roxy’s Mum has been doing some homework with her, particularly warming-up her hips and thighs before exercise. Roxy’s insecurities about being massaged have vastly diminished. 30 minutes with no getting up and down. Mind you, despite it being the hottest day of the year so far, Roxy decided she wanted her massage in the sun. And, you’ll remember I was wearing black…when will I listen? As we were both cooking, she did move into the shade for a while but decided that being microwaved was preferable and shifted back into the sun.
She felt better all over – neck softer, fascial movement possible and muscle tone improved. AND less fur shed. That’s a great result for her, her Mum and for the vacuum cleaner.