Monday, 16 August 2021

Helping you to help your own dog workshop

 If you’re going to come back after a long break with a brand new workshop and want to respect people’s space, then why not go for a huge gazebo with airy open sides in the middle of the countryside?  And not just any gazebo….go for one that has not one, not two but three chandeliers.  AchyPaw goes classy! 

Val Chandler organised the session at the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary.  This was the first time for our “Helping you to help your own dog” workshop.  The focus was not just on massage but everything appropriate to help the mobility and comfort of your own dog. 

Physical therapy is not a one size fits all.  Every dog is different.  Each condition is different.  Each therapy plan should be tailored to fit that individual. 

The session covered the where, the why and the how.  13 lovely lucky dogs brought along their Mums and Dads to make sure they learn how to help them now and throughout their life.  There were big dogs, senior dogs, muscular dogs, rescue dogs, puppies and small dogs.  Each wanted their carers to help them in different ways. 

Bella and Max represented the senior larger dogs and were both Golden Retrievers.   Naturally, they soaked up every touch on offer. 

Representing the smaller dogs were 7 year old French Bulldog Milly (who adored all the back work) and Peanut, another 7 year old Jack Russell who had no issues but whose Mum wanted to keep her that way. 

Representing the anxious were 2 year old Bali who has high anxiety and 12 year old JRT Pogo who is having some emotional problems at the moment with a house move as well as a cruciate issue.  Pogo was an ex PAT dog and this time brought along her sister Aidey for support. 

Then there were the young fit and muscular.  Young Saluki Wilbur “runs like the clappers” according to his Dad, while Belgian Shepherd Savannah has 3 siblings to play with.  Also in the Super Duper Fit category were Doodle the Poodle who brought along his black Lurcher chum.  They had a corner of the vast gazebo to themselves….lots of black fur in that corner. 

In the “we’re a little stiff Dr Les but otherwise Ok” category were 11 year old JRT Toby, 12 year old Patch the Staffie (who worked as my demo dog) and 11 year old Tibetan Terrier cross Pups.  

What a variety!  A dream band for an educational session to teach about individuality. 

With a little help from me, the dogs taught their Mums and Dads over a dozen massage moves with each having a favourite technique on a favourite targeted muscle area.  Some dogs liked one move, others another.  Fortunately, there was plenty of alternatives.  And that’s the idea behind a ‘helping you to help your own dog’ session.  Giving variety for choice. 

As well as massage, the dogs were shown how to get their carers to warm them up properly before any exercise using our special Locomotion technique and then to cool them down afterwards. 

Finally, the exercises. AchyPaw exercises are simple yet effective.  No poles, no balance balls no tools needed other than your own legs and some yummy treats and maybe a cushion from your sofa.   

The day ended with all the dogs happy and content that their Mums and Dads are equipped with the knowledge to help them now and throughout their life.



Saturday, 19 June 2021



We always knew this was the case but now there has been a clinical research trial.


Significant reductions in reported pain severity scores were recorded for all pain indicators over successive treatments (p < 0.001), with each treatment causing further significant reduction in pain severity. Number of pain indicators recorded over successive treatment sessions remained constant, in keeping with a cohort presenting with degenerative disease and chronic pain. All dogs and diagnostic variables responded similarly. Post-treatment a dog was significantly more likely to have a ‘positive’ quality of life.


This cross-sectional study indicates canine massage therapy may effectively reduce myofascial and musculoskeletal pain severity reported by owners and practitioners associated with gait, posture, behavioural and performance issues and reduction in daily activities. Although this is not a double-blind trial, and there is no control group, this study suggests massage therapy may be a valid treatment for myofascial and musculoskeletal pain typically derived from muscular injuries, arthritis/other orthopaedic conditions."

If you get lost in the stats...just ask Pixie. She'll tell you it means canine massage is great.


Wednesday, 2 June 2021


Giant Hudson has an equally giant heart. He needs regular maintenance therapy of both Reiki and massage to keep his large body supple without getting stiff.

This means he has Double Therapist sessions from Chris and me.  As we can’t leave our Sam alone anymore, he comes with us.

He thoroughly enjoys his afternoon out, waking and sitting up in the back of the car every time as we turn the corner to Hudson’s House.

And Hudson bounds down his front path to greet Sam as if he is his bestie.

Recently Sam has made it clear he wants to become fully involved in the therapy session sitting alongside his new chum. This is something Sam never does. Even with his sister they were never cuddle buddies. But Hudson is clearly extra special.

They lie there, side by side absorbing all the healing Reiki and getting massage in unison. They even mirror each other’s paw position, yawns and nose drippings. Look at the photo….eyes equally closing, jaws equally loose, expressions equally serene.

It’s quite heart-warming to be part of this bromance. 



Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Being Prepared


Milly is a 7 year old Maltipoo (with a bit of Bichon Frise) who is due to have a cruciate operation on her right knee in the summer.   She currently has Grade II medial patella luxation in her right hind and Grade I to II medial patella luxation in her left hind legs. 

Her Mum wanted to book a session to learn how Milly could be helped now – to get her in top condition prior to surgery – and then to carry on the therapy for her post-operation rehabilitation.  What a considerate Mum!

Milly was initially a little uncomfortable with any touch near her rear end, understandably as she had been holding that area tight and scrunched.

But touching her anywhere else generated a smile, soft eyes and resting ears – she loved all of that and we knew we were onto a winner with on-going therapy for Milly.

We went through an appropriate set of massage techniques and leg strengthening exercises that would suit Milly now to make sure all her muscles are healthy and toned, but could be adapted later for rehabilitation.

By the end of the session, Milly was lying down on the mat allowing us both to work with her anywhere on her body – she’d started to understand the difference between therapeutic touch and petting.