While providing massage therapy services for Veterans and their caregivers at VA Portland Medical Center’s Long Term Care Fair on September 11th, 2018, I also had the welcome opportunity to work with several service dogs of Veterans.
Service dogs may help with specific tasks related to their guardian’s visual, hearing, or physical mobility impairments. They may also be appropriate for restoring or increasing a Veteran’s mobility when it has been compromised by PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or other chronic mental health issues.
Service dogs can be valuable tools in the toolkit for many Veterans’ physical and mental healthcare. A lot of resources go into the proper training and placement of these animals, and being a service dog is a 24/7 job — there is no R&R for these loyal companions.
It makes good sense to take care of and maintain these tools as you would any other type of specialized equipment. Massage therapy can be a great way to help ensure that service dogs remain happy, healthy, and able to support their Veteran partners for as long as possible.
Massage therapy can offer the following benefits for service dogs:
Decreasing blood pressure
Reducing stress and anxiety
Relieving muscle tension and stiffness
Improving range of motion and joint comfort/flexibility
Strengthening the immune system
Supporting robust quality of life
It can also foster a deeper, richer bond and offer even greater mental and physical health benefits to Veterans when they are taught to provide owner-appropriate massage therapy techniques for their own service animals.
I provide all massage therapy and owner-appropriate massage instruction for service dogs of Veterans on a sliding scale payment basis.