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Holistic Health is “Going to the Dogs”

By Barbara Ahern, Holistic Animal Practitioner and Creator of Canine AcuTouch

Does your pup quiver at the sight of the car door opening? Does he pant, pace, cry, or cower during the entire outing in the car? Are the majority of his automobile rides for the purpose of grooming, boarding, or Dr. visits? Anxiety related to Fido’s limo ride could be the culprit behind his hesitation to travel.

A Photographic Memory

As we all know, dogs are creatures of habit. They thrive on routine. They eat at the same time every day. They pick up their toys for playtime at 8pm, sharp.  They start their circle dance as you are tying your shoelaces in anticipation of their walk. They even “know” when to wake up, just so they can be waiting at the front door the exact time you arrive.

So, we get that they remember everything! This includes the memories that are not necessarily positive in their minds…like the antiseptic smell of the Dr.’s office. Or, the sound of the loud dryers at the groomer’s.  How about the incessant barking of the dogs at the kennel before your little guy even gets out of the car?

And since the only way to get to these destinations is by limousine – all of a sudden that comfy car ride is not so comfy after all.  Because your furry friend may relate the ride to  the destination, the limo may NOT be his best friend…not even a close acquaintance.

We, as humans, know the signs of stress when we see a police officer’s red lights flashing in our rear view mirror…consider this fear response in your best friend as those flashing red lights.

Answering the Call for Help

After leaping to catch a ball, Princess (a 5-year old Lab mix) yelped upon landing,  unable to walk. Tests were conducted immediately with the spinal specialist who said that Princess had sustained a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE), which is a blockage in a blood vessel in the spinal cord – often referred to as a spinal cord stroke. In this case surgery would not be warranted, however, Mom would have to be Princess’s back legs for 6 weeks, and recommended that the big girl also begin immediate and aggressive physical therapy.

Princess’s mom called me in tears saying she could not stand to see her baby like this, not to mention how it was taking a toll on Mom in trying to lift a 90-lb dog.  I immediately  went to see Princess. Witnessing her lying helpless on the floor hurt my heart.  I could see she was struggling – not understanding what was happening. I sat down on the floor with Princess and performed a Canine AcuTouch treatment on her, then left.

The next morning I got a call from her mom, again in tears, but this time they were tears of joy.  She said that shortly before midnight, Princess stood up on her own and walked to the door to be let out!  I continued the sessions with Princess until her follow-up with the specialist.  As Princess walked into his office, the doctor was speechless! In awe of her condition, he told Princess’s mom that, in all his years of practice, he had never seen a complete recovery from this condition in under 6 weeks. That day the doctor released Princess from his care. Not in 6 weeks, but in 2.

And this is why I am a Canine Concierge Practitioner (holistic health outcalls for dogs).

There’s a new C.A.T. in town

It’s a good thing to know that Canine AcuTouch (C.A.T.) has no side effects. It makes perfect sense to try this therapy as a first course of action. It is a “unified therapy” that combines three modalities in one: Animal Bowen, Acupressure, and Trigger Points.

C.A.T. works holistically to balance the nervous system and strengthen the immune system, so it  addresses conditions related to pain response, stress, emotional issues, inflammation, recovery time, and a host of others. Canine AcuTouch addresses the source of the issue, not just the symptoms. I call it “Acupuncture without Needles”.

C.A.T. is extremely gentle in nature, safe, and calming for your canine companion.

The way I see it, every dog needs his C.A.T.

A Dog’s Home is his Castle

I have always found that, when I am a guest in a Canine Client’s home, Fido is much more relaxed in his own environment.  His mom and/or dad are there.  His familiar scents, surroundings, and comfort zone is there.  There is no place like home… especially for these precious pets that are such creatures of habit.

So, it only stands to reason that, when I come to their home they show me their biggest smile, do their happy dance, and can sense that I am as glad to see them as they are to see me. And our bond is strengthened each time we meet.

Your dog’s simplistic, matter-of-fact way of thinking goes something like this, “The last time this lady was here I felt better. So today, I will feel better because she’s back!”

Now, this may be a bit oversimplified, but I have had a dog owner tell me,

“Gee…He doesn’t greet ME like that.”

Another reason for “going to the dogs” besides their travel anxiety is when your best friend cannot comfortably come in for a session due to arthritic hips, or a severe limp.  Given, if your dog has a severe injury, there is no substitute for acute veterinary care.  Complementary therapies should only be used alongside conventional veterinary care-never in place of it.  We are all in this for the same reason.  And that is to give your family member the best quality of life possible.

Pet Parents of Northern California are ahead of the curve when it comes to seeking out the best possible care for their best friends, knowing that it takes a team effort to support the needs of their “family”.  So, as complementary therapies are becoming ever more popular and highly requested in the field of animal care, it is important that we acknowledge the voice of balance.  Veterinary providers are, more and more, recognizing that holistic practices are a valuable adjunct to traditional care – knowing that the best case scenario is to have a synergistic connection with your Veterinarian, your Holistic Practitioner, and your Best Friend.

…Because what could be better than a pack like that? 


Barbara Ahern is a Holistic Animal Practitioner in Mill Valley, CA. She has been in practice for 21 years. Barbara is creator, instructor, and practitioner of Canine AcuTouch  as well as a volunteer at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA, where she has introduced this therapy to those courageous canines who dedicate their lives to service.  CanineAcuTouch.com      E-mail: barbahern36@gmail.com  Mobile # (916) 804-0077