settles down to let Raylene Hoover give him a
massage at owner Kerry S. Kennedy's home in
Pittsburgh's Fineview neighborhood.
— Lucy at 11 years old is still lovely and frisky, but
the miniature pinscher-beagle mix is showing signs of
arthritis in her back legs.
is only 3 years old, but before he was rescued, the Jack
Russell terrier-beagle mix had a serious injury that
almost cost him the use of a hind leg. His owner worries
about Desi’s long-term mobility and comfort.
when Lucy and Desi’s "dad" Kerry S. Kennedy
had a recent birthday, his gift from friend Sue Kerr was
massages for the little dogs.
never seen dogs get massages, so this was a treat for
me. Luci and Desi were happy and excited when masseuse
Raylene Hoover entered Kennedy’s Fineview neighborhood
Hoover got down to business, Lucy was initially
skeptical, but Desi was quickly converted to the joys of
was no massage table or oils, no pummeling, pulling or
work slowly with dogs and never force them," Hoover
said as Lucy jumped up to her usual perch on the back of
a sofa. "I start out by petting because that’s
what they’re used to. Massage is different than
next step was using the back of her hand to brush
against Lucy’s side and back, then up toward the head
to gently brush up against muscles that "go to the
ears and eyes."
Integrative Touch Therapy that Hoover learned at a
school in Ohio. She’s been massaging dogs since 2008
and a professional pet sitter since 2004.
touched and rubbed the "front end," although
the probable arthritis in is Lucy’s hind end. The dog
draped a paw over Hoover’s arm, an apparent show of
appreciation and acceptance. Then she jumped off the
couch and ran to Kennedy.
wants a break and that’s OK," Hoover said.
was happy to take Lucy’s place on the couch.
was tense, but Desi is not," Hoover said as she
rubbed his neck and spine. When she got to his
shoulders, Desi gave her kisses. "He is sensitive
when I get to the hip area."
a break, Desi returned to the couch and rolled over to
present his "bad" hip to the masseur. "Desi
figured it out!" a delighted Hoover said.
returned from her break and allowed Hoover to work on
her knees and toes.
of her clients are older dogs, and many have arthritis
or other health issues, but Hoover emphasizes that she
does "wellness massages, although many owners swear
they see improvements."
day after their massages, Lucy and Desi were friskier
than usual, Kennedy said. The dogs go to work every day
at K.S. Kennedy Distinctive Floral, Gifts and Gourmet on
Pittsburgh’s North Side.
has developed a unique specialty, providing pet friendly
floral arrangements for the owners of dogs and cats. He
has a 10-page list of plants and flowers that won’t
gets health histories on her clients and works with the
approval of their veterinarians. Many dogs are repeat
customers, with regularly scheduled appointments.
seldom get calls for cats," she said, although
Lucky Tigger, one of her three cats, loves massages.