The Trumpeter in the Woods
Chapter Six -A Dog With Arthritis (part one)

Caper was now 12 years old which was pushing the limits of a Golden Retriever’s life expectancy of 10-12 years. She was still spry, playful and continued to bounce along on our walks through the trails in the woods, but I was noticing a bit of stiffness when she stood up. I took her to the veterinarian who diagnosed arthritis and recommended nothing to help her, not even an aspirin. That was disappointing, to say the least, and I was determined to find something to help Caper. From my mom’s years of arthritis, I knew that there were things to be done to help ease Caper’s symptoms. The supplement glucosamine was one option. On my way home from her vet’s office, I saw a sign for a new vet’s office that advertised itself as holistic. So I gave them a call. I was exposed to a new world of alternative medicine for pets: Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and chiropractic. Caper received weekly acupuncture treatments and daily herbs for the next six months. And maybe not so coincidentally, the psychologist who offered the Soul Purpose Workshop told me of a massage therapist who was just learning about how to massage dogs. I took Caper to see him three times a week for a month. The combination of all of these treatments resulted in significant improvement in her mobility. I was convinced.

I’ve heard it said that there are no accidents. The second insight in The Celestine Prophecy describes the unfolding and recognition of coincidences in our lives. The massage therapist who was working with Caper had received his training from a man in Canada who wrote the instruction manual on dog massage. His name is Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt. Jean-Pierre, at this very time, wanted to visit the area to offer dog massage instructional clinics. I was so convinced of the benefits of massage for dogs that I volunteered to find a location for Jean-Pierre to hold his clinics.

I became immersed in learning dog massage from the moment I met Jean-Pierre. He and Caper’s massage therapist convinced me that it was a growing trend and could be a viable business for me. So for the next six months, I studied canine anatomy, physiology, kinetics (the movement of muscles) and massage techniques. Jean-Pierre came back to town and held a certification class. I was officially certified as a dog massage therapist in October 2000. I created a name for my new massage business – Hands on Hounds!

Content and title copyright Christine Palm Shaughness. No reproduction allowed.