Aboard Noah's Blog

News, information, and chatter about collectible items with animal themes, as well as some facts, figures and fun related to pets and wildlife.

Location: Mentor, Ohio, United States
Noah's Blog Sponsors

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pet massage benefits rabbits, other animals

Milford, MA, United States

Massages can be both therapeutic and decadent, an experience that relaxes and relieves tension -- even in rabbits.

That was apparent in little Jewel, a white bunny with a smudge of black on her long ears.

"It looks like she likes it," Grace Sisk, 7, said to her mom, Felicia. Indeed, Jewel seemed relaxed and comfortable as it got its first massage.

About seven rabbits were treated to the service yesterday afternoon at Especially for Pets.

Lynne Flanaghan, a massage therapist for small animals and a pet massage instructor, volunteered her time to give 10-minute bunny massages. For a $10 donation, residents came to the store, which specializes in holistic pet supplies. The donation benefited the House Rabbit Network, a rescue organization in which volunteers save rabbits and help place them in homes.

"It's for a good cause," said Flanaghan. The Southborough resident began offering pet messages four years ago. Providing the service for small animals benefits their health and welfare, she said. "I found a niche that needed fulfilling."

"Massage helps animals in the same way it helps people. We're all physiologically very similar," she said.

About six months ago, Flanaghan was giving pet massage demonstrations to mostly dogs and some cats in the pet store on Rte. 109. Coincidentally, volunteers from the House Rabbit Network were at the store providing information on rabbit adoption. It wasn't long before Flanaghan found herself giving massages to bunnies.

"I've been working with rabbits ever since," she said.

"(Rabbits) are very sweet and enjoy the gentle touch to their bodies," she said.

Starting at the tip of Jewel's nose to her little cottontail, Flanaghan worked her magic with small strokes. Almost immediately the small furry animal relaxed.

Jewel is the pet of Cherryl Reinhardt of Dudley, the vice president of the House Rabbit Network. She actually rescued the Himalayan rabbit after someone told her that its owner had planned to shoot the animal in their Medway back yard. Jewel, who was born with a birth defect, cannot use her front or hind legs to hop. Still she is mobile enough to get around.

"Why not give her a shot at life. I didn't want to see her get shot in the back yard," said Reinhardt, who fell in love with the rabbit, which she describes as "a turtle out of water."

"Hopefully, the massage will make Jewel a little better," she said.

"Actually, you can hear her purring, a sound like a grinding of their teeth," said Flanagan.

"Most rabbits spend a good deal of their time in cages and are not properly exercised and as a result their whole body doesn't get proper circulation. So, this (massage) addresses their need. For rabbits that have been abused, the massage additionally helps them feel more secure," she said.

Lori Martinez of Winchester recently adopted a bunny from the network.

"Otis is a black, 3.3-pound little guy who just loved his first massage," said Martinez. "I just knew it would be good for him," she said.

Other bunnies enjoyed the massage -- even Sigment, a 17-pounder, received one.

Diane Mayer's 7-year-old bunny Lewis was abandoned shortly after its birth.

"I didn't realize how many rabbits were dumped until I became a volunteer with the network," said the Boxborough resident.

Allison Daley, 25, of Bellingham said she doesn't own a bunny but said Flanaghan has given her dog Lilly several massages.

"It's very comforting to her," she said.

"Rabbits are the most affectionate and wonderful animals I've ever encountered," said Lisa Blanchard, also of Southborough. "I have a pair myself," she said, adding that she's the owner of Red and Haylee. Though she didn't bring her pets to the store, she said she could imagine how much they would like and benefit from a massage.

Lauren Sneider of Quicy brought 2 1/2-year-old Seamus, a brown-and-white Dutch Dwarf, to get his first massage.

"He liked it a lot, " laughed Sneider, who came to the pet supply store with her boyfriend Jimmy Clark and his 5-year-old daughter Madison. "We all got to watch and how to safely give a massage," she said.


Post a Comment

<< Home