AMC: Your business is SKILLFUL PAWS, so you are around animals all the time. How many pets do you have personally? And tell us a little about how you came into this line of work.

Christine/Skillful Paws:I have two dogs. A 7 year old Boxer named Tigger and a 2 year old Lab/Dachshund mix named Louie. Tigger came from Austin Boxer Rescue and Louie was a severe abuse case that I worked with (Bodywork does wonders for PTSD in animals) who ended up staying forever.

We moved here from Denmark 13 years ago and I was a human massage therapist back there. Moving here I would have to redo all my training and as it happened our Labrador at the time got injured. I started working with her and she got so much better, so I looked into schools for animal massage and went to Colorado to get certified in massage and acupressure for small and large animals. I work with horses, dogs, and cats – I have even worked on goats and Guinea Pigs.

 

 

AMC: A lot of people give pets as gifts to their children and/or spouses. What would Skillful Paws offer or suggest to help animals AND people during this transition?

Christine/Skillful Paws:When getting an animal from the shelter, a lot of times they come from a stressful environment and settling in can take time. Be patient and know they are trying their best to figure it all out. Don’t have expectations as to how this is all going to play out and instead embrace the journey of getting to know your new family member on their terms. I am also a certified aromatherapist and make a calming blend called My Peaceful Paws which is made with calming essential oils diluted in Organic Safflower oil. It is a topical application and can help everyone settle in better and can be used for separation anxiety, daily stress, fear of storms/thunder, and fireworks. It is a great tool for the upcoming holidays and is sold locally in stores in Austin or online on Amazon. www.mypeacefulpaws.com

 

AMC: Would you say your services are most beneficial during any specific stage in a pets life? 

Christine/Skillful Paws:Bodywork can help with anxiety, injuries, arthritis and mobility, and end of life. The majority of animals I see are in their later stages of life when they are struggling a bit more mobility. Massage and acupressure work wonders on achy muscles that are overcompensating for arthritic joints. When the animal isn’t able to get around, circulation slows down and muscles get stiff. It always amazes me how much massage improves their quality of life.

 

AMC: Most people don’t think to offer their furry family wellness tools like acupressure and massage. What would you say is the #1 piece of advice you give to your first time clients and/or to first time pet owners? 

Christine/Skillful Paws:Dogs carry 60% of their bodyweight on their front, 40% on the hind legs. It doesn’t take a lot to shift that and create an imbalance in movement. Animals are stoic and by the time you see them limp (unless it is an injury) there has usually been a problem for a while. They hide it as long as they can. If you have a dog that is super active then getting bodywork done on a maintenance schedule every month can help prevent injuries. Getting bodywork for an aging animal increases their circulation, boosts their immune system and helps keep them healthy into their senior years. It is also a great aid for separation anxiety, as it gently helps the dog be comfortable in their own body and feel safe.

 

AMC: Are you taking new clients and how do people book an appointment?

Christine/Skillful Paws:Yes, I am taking new patients. Texas state law requires animal bodyworkers to be under general supervision by a veterinarian. That means there is a supervision form that needs to be signed prior to your animal’s first session. The form can be found on my website www.skillfulpaws.net under “Required Forms” . I don’t have online scheduling as I am mobile and see patients in the comfort of their own home so it depends on what part of town I am in on a given day. Anyone interested in learning more or wanting to schedule an appointment can either reach out via email on massage@skillfulpaws.net or call 512.922.1664 . I am also on social media on the following platforms – Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skillfulpaws/  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skillful.paws  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mypeacefulpaws