Besides the obvious daily ration of hugs and kisses, lavish compliments and premium kibble, there are some new ways to show your pet how you feel while improving their health at the same time. Pet owners dedicated to doing their best by their pet are flocking to information classes and workshops to learn everything from Aromatherapy to Animal Massage. In many cases your furry friend can attend as well, so Fido can make sure you don’t miss a thing. One source for fun, interactive learning is the Northwest School of Animal Massage. Pick from among many workshops, camps and classes offered and join other pet-lover’s from all over the country at one of the NWSAM campuses (Redmond, Portland and Vancouver to name a few).
As Director of Education and a pretty avid pet guardian myself, let me share with you my top ten favorite ways to make sure Gorilla (pictured) and Shanny never forget that they are the apple of my eye (good thing I have two eyes!).

1. Learn Aromatherapy: Nothing quite smells like a dog…from new puppy smells to “Guess what I found in the yard today...” smells, dogs never miss an opportunity to share. Now it can be your turn to introduce them to scents that can calm their nerves, improve their digestion and even give their coat a healthy glow from the inside out. Learn how aromatherapy can be used to make your pet smell and feel better while you make a few essential oil blends to take home during a two-day Aromatherapy for Animals introductory class.
2. Get A Massage: Who doesn’t love a massage? Your pet can get the same great benefits from a massage that you do. Particularly valuable for older pets, active pets and not-so-active couch potato pets, a professional massage practitioner can help bring out your pet’s vitality and flexibility. To find a qualified practitioner, ask your vet or call the Northwest School of Animal Massage for a referral to one of our graduates.
3. Learn Massage Yourself: Massage comes in many forms from maintenance to rehabilitative. You can learn the basic skills that will help you nurture your pet and monitor his/her health. NWSAM offers a “FUNdamentals of Animal Massage” workshop for pet owners.
4. Go for a Swim: Hydrotherapy and recreational swimming for pets is all the rage. Pets with specific injuries can benefit by working with a professional therapist in the water. Ask your vet if swimming is right for your dog. Healthy dogs will love the great exercise swimming provides and most pools even offer recreational swims where you can get in and splash around with your pet.
5. Tap Into the Power of Reiki (ray-key): Reiki is a Japanese tradition that employs the power of focused intention and the recognition of the healing energy you already possess to create positive changes for your pet and you. A two-day workshop provides training in two levels of Reiki. The first level Reiki exercises help you access your own healing energy for personal benefit. The second level explores ways to use your energy to create change or shift the energy of another being, in this case, your beloved pet. So simple and yet so profound, Reiki is a tremendous tool in improving your relationships with animals.
6. Focus on Your Pet’s Nutrition: Learn about the many options available for creating the most beneficial diet for your pet. So much of our pet’s health and longevity is determined by their diet. You want to ensure that you are feeding only the best. A canine nutrition workshop explores many of the different diets available, the pros and cons of each and how to formulate a diet based on your pet’s individual needs. Several nutritional experts will be available to answer questions and attendees will even leave with a specially prepared meal for their friend. This class is only scheduled to be offered once in March at this time, so don’t miss the chance to register now.
7. Let’s Talk: Your pet has a lot to tell you, but it isn’t always easy to interpret everything your pet is saying. Local animal communicator Polly Klein can help you sharpen your listening skills and open up the lines of communication between you and your pet in an Animal Communication class.
8. Get to the Point: Animal Acupressure is a powerful tool in combating changes in your dog’s energy levels, physical comfort and behavior. Even a basic acupressure class can provide owner’s with tremendous opportunities to recognize, assess and improve their pet’s health.
9. The Power of TTouch: TTouch is another method of providing comforting and healing touch for your pet. Workshops are offered regularly by Olympia-based NWSAM graduate and certified TTouch Practitioner, Marnie Black.
10. Be Present: You already have the skills to do the best possible thing for your pet’s health and your own and that is to just be present together. Spending time with our pets with focus and intention while letting go of life’s worries and distractions can be the most powerful way to share the love you both feel for one another.

Author's Bio: 

Lola Michelin, owner of the Northwest School of Animal Massage, has been a force in the field of animal massage for over 20 years. For more information about classes at the Northwest School of Animal Massage, visit or call toll-free 877.836.3703.

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