BOUNTIFUL -- Diana Young, co-owner of Renaissance School of Therapeutic Massage in Bountiful, has found an interesting way to communicate with pets -- through massage.
Using pet massage for her own animals and her clients', and through teaching classes to local residents, Young is helping with animals' mobility, healing them from injuries and helping them become happy and healthy.
Merry Taintor, of North Salt Lake, first brought her dog into Young when her dachshund jumped off a bed, rupturing a disc in its back, and paralyzing its back hind quarters. Taintor's vet gave her two options: a $3,000 surgery or put her dog down.
"I was so upset, I took her in to Diana at the school," said Taintor. "She went through and energetically pulled the swollen part away from the bone."
After several massage sessions with Young, the dachshund was walking again. Taintor attributes her dog's recovery to the massage therapy and the anti-inflammatory medicine the vet prescribed.
Young uses Cranial Sacral massage therapy, a form of healing therapy using gentle manipulation of the Cranial Sacral system and the soft tissue and bones of the head, spine, and pelvis. Cranial Sacral massage focuses on helping the body to heal itself, according to George Young, who started up the massage school with his wife in 2000.
The main focus of the school has been to help heal people and animals through natural means such as massage therapy.
"Animals deserve to be healthy, happy, and feel safe and loved, and where they're not, it's fun to see these animals respond to massage therapy and become more happy and be better animals," said Diana Young.
Young has worked on a wide variety of animals over the last 15 years, including a horse who had been kicked in the head by another horse.
Young put her hand on the horse's head and helped unwind the damaged tissue, allowing the horse to stand straight without wobbling.
"Animals process so quickly because they want to be in wellness," said Young.
Michele Clegg, who teaches animal anatomy at the pet massage classes, knows from personal experience how animals can benefit from pet massage.
When her 5-month-old puppy fell off a bed and broke a femur bone, Clegg could tell her dog was miserable while recovering from the surgery, but she didn't know how to help.
Once her puppy recovered, Clegg noticed her dog would still limp and favor its other three legs. Clegg began massaging the leg to try and get more range of motion. She noticed her dog began using the leg again, which is what started her interest in pet massage therapy.
"A lot of the communication we have with animals is physical, like petting a dog, which creates a connection and allows you to communicate non-verbally and help them feel better if they are in pain," said Clegg.
The class has proven useful to those working in the pet industry as well.
"When you are working with strange animals, you have a way to instantly connect and let them know your intentions are good and that you are there to help them, especially if they are in pain," said Clegg.
For those interested in learning more about pet massage, a class is scheduled for Feb. 5, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Renaissance School of Therapeutic Massage, located at 566 W. 1350 S. in Bountiful. For more information, or to sign up call 801-292-8515. There is a $30 registration fee for the class.