Sam, a border collie, came to us when he was six years old. He was a failed farm dog. He was profoundly deaf and had neurological problems which affected his gait. He had spent the first six years of his life living in – and rarely leaving – a farm trailer. When he first came to us he struggled to walk at all, and could not handle steps or any change in terrain. Massage did so much for Sam. We had had him for 18 months before I discovered canine massage, and he was already walking much more successfully, and had started to run. Within a month of starting massage, we could see huge further improvements. His back, which had often been arched, began to flatten and he moved much more easily. Even more importantly, he absolutely loved massage. I think that, as a deaf dog, he really valued being touched. He was often very anxious about new experiences. However, within ten minutes of Cathy starting her first massage, he was asleep. He relaxed completely and, after a few sessions, barely reacted when Cathy rolled him over from one side to the other, or manipulated his legs. After an hour, when the massage was finished, Cathy would wake him and he would take a few steps, then curl up and stay fast asleep for the next two hours while our other dogs were treated. I think that Sam was at his happiest when having a massage.
Sam had undiagnosed and asymptomatic heart disease. If anything, massage may have helped his circulation and kept him alive for longer. He had his last massage a week before he was taken ill, totally unexpectedly, on a walk. He was in heart failure and, although the vets tried hard, he could not be saved. He was put to sleep a few hours later.
RIP Sam 2007 – 30 January 2016