Welcome to Heal dog massage therapy. Focused on preventative care, dog massage is part of a holistic approach to your pet’s health care. Massage is a gentle and non-invasive therapy that can relieve pain and stress. Whether you have a companion pet, agility dog, show animal, or service dog, massage is a great way to maintain your dog’s health and well-being, as well as regular veterinary visits.
After a day of romping at the day care or dog park, massage can help reduce stiffness and fatigue when they return home by increasing the circulation and flushing waste products from the muscle tissues. Massage can help your dog deal with the stress of boarding that they may experience while you’re away. Or, for your older dog, massage may be just what the doctor ordered. They can feel the effects of a good massage in their joints and immune system.
Massage considers the entire animal, not just the specific area that may be painful. Along with regular veterinary visits, massage is a proactive therapy that addresses future health issues and also helps with certain problems your pet may already have. Fortunately dogs give us clear feedback when they are being massaged so we can tailor the session to fit their needs. Massage can be a helpful tool in maintaining the overall health and vigor of your pet.
Listed below are some benefits of massage therapy for your pet:
- Reduces anxiety
- Shortens healing time of strained muscles and sprained ligaments
- Aids in digestion
- Fosters a feeling of well-being
- Reduces pain and swelling (including intervertabral, joint and muscle)
- Decreases blood pressure
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces formation of excessive scar tissue (less scar tissue build up means better mobility)
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
- Provides greater joint flexibility and increases range of motion
- Improves proprioception (the outside information feedback mechanism in the animal's body that helps with movement and balance)
- Stimulates liver and kidney functions
- Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymphatic fluids
- Promotes deeper and easier breathing
- Enhances the health and nourishment of the skin and coat
Rubi, Beth and Quimby are certified, insured and mobile Animal Massage Therapists. All of Heal’s massage therapists have gone through the certification program/s at Northwest School of Animal Massage and have been around dogs their entire lives. They work closely with veterinarians in their area to help create a community focus for each animal they work with. Read their bios below to find out more about them:
Rubi Sullivan is the founder and owner of Heal Animal Massage. She started her practice in 2006 and has been a busy bee ever since. Creating open communication between veterinarian, dog walker, trainer and herself she weaves her sessions to fit the needs of each particular patient. Rubi is trained in many facets of Animal Massage Therapy, including; swedish massage techniques, manual lymphatic drainage, scar tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger point work, hospice care and manual ligament therapy. She is an instructor with the Northwest School of Animal Massage, and also teaches short introduction classes for dog owners in the Portland Metro area. Please contact Heal to learn more about these interactive classes.
Rubi is the proud animal caregiver for 3 amazing dogs and 2 wonderful cats. She lives with Thor - an Up-Cycled Great Pyrenees, Kai- a Husky Mix Extraordinaire and Sacha - a Pure-Breed Latin American Street Dog from the Galapagos. The kitties that run the house include Captain Trout - a handsome black furry guy and Lily-a high maintenance beauty.
As a child, I was always surrounded by animals. I used to bring home every stray or abandoned animal, hoping to start my own rescue. I knew that I wanted to work around animals in some way and have looked for opportunities throughout my life to help animals. In 1994 I began by teaching Humane Education to Special Needs kids in the public school setting.
I heard about dog massage in 1999, but was unable to find a certification program to which I could apply. In 2004, I found a program and immediately began my formal training at the Northwest School of Animals Massage, and was certified for Maintenance Massage in 2005. I continued with further certifications of Performance Massage in 2007 and Rehabilitation Massage in 2008. Many veterinarians are learning the benefit of massage for animals and some are adding it to their practices as part of a rehabilitation protocol.
One of my goals is to get the word out about how beneficial massage is to all animals. In Portland, holistic medicine is a normal standard of care.
Between 2004 and the present, I volunteered and trained for my certifications at the Oregon Humane Society. In 2005, I helped treat some of the Hurricane Katrina Dogs and at Back on Track Veterinary Rehabilitation Center where I helped do physical exercises with the patients there. Finally, I have worked as a dog walker and pet sitter for Portland Urban Pet Services.
I currently live with my husband and two wonderful canine friends, Tulla and Emma. We never tire of finding a new dog park or dog friendly pub in which to share time together! I enjoy being in the outdoors. Specifically, I like to ski, hike, run, and go to the Oregon coast (all with my dogs, of course)!
For as long as I can remember animals have captured my heart and been an important part of my life, especially senior and special needs dogs. Nothing is more rewarding to me than the feeling of a dog relaxing into a massage and the transformation that such comfort and relief can bring. My clients are dear to me and the animal/human connection established during massage is my favorite part of the job.
I was inspired to become a Small Animal Massage Practitioner after taking an introductory massage class taught by Rubi at our veterinarian’s clinic years ago. After employing the simple techniques I learned in class on my own dogs I saw the powerful effects of massage and wanted to learn more. I began volunteering at local shelters and was inspired to pursue a path in animal wellness. In 2012 I enrolled in the Northwest School of Animal Massage and subsequently earned my certifications in Maintenance and Rehab Massage with Rubi as my instructor.
I continue to be an active shelter volunteer and passionate animal welfare advocate. In addition to having dogs of my own for the last 20 years, my work with shelter animals has gained me experience with a world of different breeds, ages, temperaments and medical conditions. I co-coordinate the Physical Therapy Program at the Oregon Humane Society, teach introductory massage classes to OHS volunteers and I donate massages to shelter dogs, a mission close to my heart.
On the home front, my husband and I are the adoring guardians of a bandit-faced senior Rottweiler mix named Josie (also known as Jo Girl, Floppy Jo, Jelly Jonut, Josie VonBunweiler and Spazmerelda), and we’ve been foster parents and are regular sitters to a handful of other dogs that we love like our own.
I travel right to your door to provide your pet with a massage session in the comfort of their own home. I can also come to your office if you take your dog with you to work. I tailor each session to fit your dog's needs.
I provide service in a handful of Veterinary Hospitals and a boarding facility in the Portland Metro area.
I provide massage for clients of these businesses:
- Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego boarders and clients (http://www.acglo.com)
- Rose City Veterinary Hospital (http://www.rosecityvet.com/)
- Pearl Animal Hospital (http://www.pearlanimalhospital.com/)
- Sniff Dog Hotel (http://www.sniffdoghotel.com/)
- Veterinary Cancer and Surgery Specialists http://www.vcsspdx.com
Another service that we provide is a 'basic dog massage class for owners'. This class is an introduction to animal massage and covers a handful of useful techniques that you can use on your dog. We provide everything for the class, you just need to remember to bring your four-legged friend with you! Please contact me for more information on location and dates.
- Koin 6 News Clip
- Explore the Pearl Magazine (coming soon)
- AM Northwest
- When your pet's hurting, relief is available - Oregonian Living Section (July 24, 2007)
Portland Veterinary Services
- Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego
- Cascade Summit Veterinary Hospital (holistic)
- Pearl Animal Hospital
- Rose City Veterinary Hospital
- North Portland Veterinary Hospital
- Two Rivers Veterinary Clinic (holistic)
- Dove Lewis Emergency Vet Care
- Dr. Mesher (mobile)
- Dr. Chang (mobile)
- Veterinary Cancer and Surgery Specialists
- Synergy Behavior Solutions
Pet Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
- Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego
- Dr. Chattigré at Cascade Summit Vet
- Dr. Hoyt a mobile practice
- Natural Healing Veterinary Acupuncture
Dog Trainers and Behaviorists
- Sellwood Grooming
- Parkway Vet
- The Pampered Pooch
- Pawsitively Clean
- Chris at Cascade Summit Vet
- Lexi Dog
- Angela at Full Circle Vet
Pet Adoption Agencies
- Oregon Humane Society
- Family Dogs New Life Shelter
- Pixie Project
- Multnomah County Animal Control
- Oregon Greyhound Adoption
- Indigo Rescue
- Pacific Pug Rescue
- Project POOCH
- Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals
- Oregon Weimaraner Rescue
- Animal Aid
- Oregon Dog Rescue
Other helpful links…
- The Northwest School of Animal Massage
- International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork
- Andie Petkus Pet Photography
- Dog Parks in Portland
- Spot Magazine
- Poison Control
- Small Animal Massage Practitioner in Seattle
- Paws Aquatics Canine Swim Center
- Small/Large Animal Massage Practitioner in Hood River
- Dignified Pet Services
"Thanks again Rubi. Sometimes I get the 'look' when I tell people my dog gets more massages than I do. But man... Going from talking about quality of life issues 2 years ago with the vet, to having a dog that still runs and jumps and catches frisbee and acts the way he does.. So awesome ... Thank you, thank you."
Chris Thurman, and Charlie
"Great class!(I emailed the publisher at Spot Magazine and told her it was great too)!"
-Emily Garten and Oliver
"Just a note to say thank you for being there yesterday! The class was fabulous, and I know Jakey loved every minute (especially when you were touching him)!"
-Margie Vincent-Roberts and Jake(Pet Utopia)
"I did the light touch of the fingers on the top of the head of another dog (Pie) who was there...because she was sooooo uptight and starting to fight with Oscar (black lab)..it really calmed her down... Thanks for the class!"
-Mary Dernedde and Amber and Porter
"Thanks for coming last night. I think your service is great and Sam definitely was very comfortable with you."
-Sarah Cantor and Sam
"I just want to tell you that Jonah and I think you are a wonderful person. In a world where most people can't even seem to remember how to say please and thank you let alone a thank you or an e-mail after any type of service is done is very rare. Please always know that we feel so grateful to have found you and will always recommend you to any person with a pet in need (or just wanting a really good massage). We always appreciate you keep us in the loop, even if we aren't always so fast at responding. Just when I seem to be getting a little down on humanity, I think about your kindness to us and our dogs and that you are such a good person. Thank you Rubi."
-Allison Greene and Cleatus and Winston
"We've been using the techniques you taught, and both my husband and I have noticed greater flexibility and fluidity in his movement--for example, it's easier for him to jump into the back of the van. Thanks for making his life a little easier!"
-Betsy Stoessl and Micah
"I thought the class was great. Tucker wasn't the best pupil but that was okay. I thought it was nice that the class was small and I could hear you because your voice eventually calmed the dogs down a bit. I'll recommend you to my friends"
-Hilary Serr and Tucker
"Oakley says thanks for the pet!! He really loved your massage and has been so much more active. I am going to call the vet and tell her the news. Oakley will be waiting for your next visit!!"
-Terri and Lexi Martinez, and Oakley
"Rubi, I want to thank you very much for all that you have done for my 10 year Labradors Porter and Amber. When you first started the massage sessions on my dogs, Porter was not feeling very well. He had experienced months of illness, starting with a bone infection in his toes, to 3 weeks of intestinal distress, caused by eating 10 pieces of sourdough bread intended for Thanksgiving stuffing, and ending with another infection. He had been to the vet about 6 times in over 3 months and on different medication each time. His personality was not the same when he was in pain and experiencing illness. I completely saw a difference in him after you started your weekly massage therapy on him. His old "puppy" playfulness started to return because he was feeling better. I honestly believe the combination of care from Dr. Christine Feleciano, Parkway Vet, and your weekly massage helped Porter overcome months of illness and return him to normal. He was excited each week for your visit as you can tell as he ran to the "massage blanket" on the floor to be the first one to get his massage! My yellow, 10 year lab, Amber has become very spoiled with your massages. Every time I reach down to give her some love she lays on her side and stretches her legs and starts to talk to me. I think she wants a full body massage each time. She has experienced relief from some muscle stiffness due to playing at the dogs park and her age. As my dogs begin to age the healing effects of animal massage will help them overcome stiffness in their muscles and joints and give them the extra energy to play. Again, Thank you for everything! Porter and Amber love you!"
-Mary & Mark Dernedde
"My mom says I am the best English Springer Spaniel in the whole world. She tells people I am not spoiled, just well loved. My brother dog Yukon has been getting therapeutic massage for his bad shoulder, and my mom and dad decided I should get a massage just 'cause I'm a senior dog. My mom says I am eleven years old going on four in spirit, though. Rubi gave me a short massage the first time I met her. I really liked her. She gave me yummy chicken treats with lavender. Then she started doing the massage. I rolled on my back and began giggling like a little girl dog. But then I settled down and really enjoyed my massage. My senior joints felt much better, and now I can spring and bound again like the 4 year old spirit in me says I can do."
"I am a gorgeous shepherd-husky-chow mix - my mom says so. I hurt my right shoulder several months ago when I had a case of the zoomies and went running the length of the deck and sailed out over the stairs, visions of deck dog records being broken. Ooof. Landing on the ground is much harder than landing in the water. I reinjured it a few months ago while snowshoeing. Well, my mom was snowshoeing. I was just leaping and bounding through the snow, then snowplowing, then making dog angels...My human parents tried all kinds of therapies. First, they tried resting me for a month. Hah! That was no fun for any of us. They also put me on a regimen of Derramaxx, which helped the shoulder pain but hurt my stomach. Sadly, even with the loss of appetite, I didn't lose weight. So they decided I needed to lose weight. They switched me to joint diet with a glucosamine supplement, and they were really stingy with the treats. I am at a normal weight now in my opinion, though my mom thinks I could stand to lose another pound or two. The weight loss didn't work, and my shoulder pain continued. My vet x-rayed my shoulder and elbow and neck, but there was nothing obvious causing the pain and my limp. I'm just a young pup of 4, so I'm way too young to be dealing with these issues. Then came the lucky day my mom met Rubi, an animal massage therapist. I love women, plus she had chicken with lavendar treats. I can be bought. The lavendar was to make me feel calmer. I was so calm I think I fell asleep during my first massage. I felt even better after my second massage when Rubi added some range of motion exercises. I can walk straighter now, and my limp is nearly gone. I can hardly wait till my next massage!"