We just had an exciting 9 days. It began with PetMassage for Dogs Day. This, the honorary day proclaimed by the City of Toledo, Ohio, recognizes the contributions PetMassage has brought to our community. Besides the obvious financial benefits to hotels, restaurants, et al, PetMassage has enhanced the image of Toledo as a “dog friendly” and more livable city that helps attract business and investment.

July 11th is the anniversary of the date in 1997 when I became aware of the potential of canine massage. The event was so significant in my life, I’ve related the story in my books. Then, with kaleidoscope visions of a world of balanced dogs, I created my first two canine massage how-to videos, and wrote my first dog massage manual. Before the year was out we were marketing online, traveling to dog shows, setting up at local agility competitions, and passionately teaching our first rudimentary workshops. We’ve taught over 300 since we began twenty years ago. Now the educational experience (testimonials) we provide is mature, complete, and excellent.

So, the weekend after our PetMassage for Dogs Day, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the PetMassage School. Former students came back to their canine massage roots in Toledo to enjoy the networking, the camaraderie, and presentations by our current instructors. I spoke. Anastasia gave a presentation on Meditations, Affirmations, and Gratitude, Monica Bernhoffer shared her insights on Dog Handling in PetMassage, and Beth Yerrick showed videos of her PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage.

The next day we packed up and drove to The Dog Dive in Kalamazoo Michigan to teach the PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage. We were hosted by the principals of The Dog Dive. Beth Yerrick, her husband Darryl, and partner Mary Lester all went to great lengths to make sure Anastasia and I felt welcomed and supported. Arranging to have a wide variety of dogs is a Herculean accomplishment. And they did an amazing job.

Over the four days of the workshop, 28 dogs were brought to the pool. Each dog was unique and provided a separate lesson experience. The students were able to have the best variety of experiences .

I have to take a moment to describe the variety of dogs they scheduled. We had confident dogs who were used to being in water and dogs who were apprehensive, there for the first time. There were long nosed dogs who could dip their faces and brachycephalic dogs whose noses had to be held high and dry. There were puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, and one delightful Airedale teetering on the edge of this plain and the next. We had hunting dogs, guard dogs, sport dogs, show dogs, assistance dogs, companion dogs, and even a beagle whose job it is to sniff for bedbugs. We had giant dogs, medium size dogs, a JRT, and pugs. Really adorable pugs. The students were able to work on one of the top agility pugs in the country, who was a rescue from Texas. Agility pugs! Who knew?

Several times each day, either Beth or Mary would reference something they had learned in previous workshops. They intoned “what Jonathan does,” or “What would Jonathan do?” so often that we joked that we ought to wear WWJD bracelets in the pool.

The best part was the genuineness and inspired enthusiasm of the students. In just 4 days, they “got” it. The class was so much fun and so powerful, I am eagerly anticipating the next PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage, offered this coming October, at Splash Your Pup in Moraine, Ohio near Dayton Ohio.

Everyone in the community who brought their dogs in for massage on PetMassage Day, everyone who joined with us for the 20th Anniversary Celebration, and the hosts and participants of  the PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage Program, all made us feel so honored, so supported, and, for being risk-taking entrepreneurial pioneers in the canine massage industry, so validated.

I invite you to visit and be a friend at the PetMassage Facebook page to see photos of these events.

And to you who have taken our workshops, learned canine massage from our books and videos, and who read these weekly Helpful Hints and Anastasia’s Affirmations, thank you. We are grateful for your trust and your continuing interest and support.

I recently heard a definition for “Happiness.” It’s flourishing fulfillment. That is exactly PetMassage, practicing it, teaching it and assisting in the betterment of the lives of thousands of dogs and their families, has provided me.

I appraise my life condition and appreciate what I have been able to create. I have gratitude for Anastasia, my family and friends, my life style, my dogs, my ability to live creatively, courageously, ethically, and lovingly. My happiness stems completely from my choice and ability to practice and teach PetMassage for Dogs. I have the best, most fulfilling, life I can imagine. Period.

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