Recently I gave a first-time massage to two adorable beagles named Lucy (age 11) and Desi (age 3). Their proud papa is Kerry Kennedy, owner of K.S. Kennedy Distinctive Floral, Gift and Gourmet. Friends of Kerry's, Sue Kerr and Laura Dunhoff, purchased the massages for Lucy and Desi as a gift for Kerry's birthday.
As soon as I stepped out of my car, I was greeted by a breathtaking view of the City of Pittsburgh at night. This explains the name of Fineview for this section of the City.
When I knocked on the door, the babies gave me quite a boisterous greeting, since I was the first of the group to arrive. Once I entered their home, Lucy remained cautious, though, not sure if I was friend or foe. Desi sort of followed her lead, but was more willing to sniff me and decide for himself. This is pretty typical for a first time massage. Kerry made us some delicious green tea, and we discussed the dogs' health histories while they became accustomed to my presence.
When Rebecca Droke arrived to take photographs of the massage, Lucy and Desi gave her a riotous, albeit shorter, greeting, and we all got settled again. Then Linda arrived. The pups know Aunt Linda Fuoco very well and were tired out by their two previous rowdy greetings, so I don't think they gave her the adoration she was due.
We moved into the charming, decorated for Christmas, living room. Everyone was attentive, and we waited for the doggies to settle down before beginning their massages.
Following the ladies before gentlemen standard, I started with Lucy. She wasn't sure about any of it, so she only lasted a couple of minutes. Desi was "Hey there! What about me?", so I gave him some attention while Lucy thought about what she had felt. Once I started doing massage strokes, Desi became clearly confused about what I was doing. It wasn't what he was expecting at all. He decided he needed to move away to figure things out and try to come back with a different approach. He seemed to be thinking "What's up with this lady? Doesn't she know how to pet a dog?" He came back quickly for another try. Again he wasn't sure about this different touch I was doing, so he only lasted another five minutes or so. By this time, Lucy was more relaxed, so she let me touch her again.
I chose to pet her for several strokes to let her relax and get more used to me. Then I moved onto basic massage strokes. I found that both of her hips were sore and uncomfortable for her. This is not a surprise, since Kerry indicated that she has arthritis in both hips. I did not get to do much to help her because she was not able to relax since it was her first time meeting me and there were so many people there. I think in time, with a couple more sessions, she will benefit greatly from regular massage.
Desi, on the other hand, had an "Ah Ha" moment on my third try. He realized that what I was doing felt good and that he liked it. He is a great candidate for massage. He had a serious injury to his left leg when he was younger, and massage will help him maintain his leg strength for ease of movement for the rest of his life.
I will be massaging these two again in January, and I look forward to being able to do more to help reduce any discomfort they may be experiencing.