Anastasia’s Arf-irmation

By Anastasia Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

I am willing to stay in the now (present time).

Anastasia’s Arf-irmation

By Anastasia Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

I am empowered, happy and successful.

Potential Effects of Massage (healing crisis)

By Jonathan Rudinger | November 29, 2013 |

Congratulations. You have chosen to help your dog to a better quality of life with PetMassage™. As with all affective therapies, massage initiates the “process” of self-restoration and healing. The symptoms that dogs present to us may not be the behaviors that need the most attention. For example, a limp and foreleg turn-in may be the result of a torqued shoulder which is compensating for a subluxated vertebra held out of alignment by tight muscles caused by a sore hip flexor which is the result of a swollen rear hock on the opposite rear leg. The swelling could be an allergic reaction to something in the dog’s environment or the root of this reaction could be an emotional upset. We only “see” the problem in the foreleg.

With PetMassage™ you are influencing the systems that, when working optimally together, develop optimal health and quality longevity. Ninety percent of the time, your dog’s response to massage will be a feeling of relaxation, calmness, balance and overall well being. He/she will be better in body, mind and spirit.

After the massage, allergy-like symptoms may surface for healing even though the dog received a massage to help a limp! PetMassage™ helps your dog unpeel to his deepest layers to resolve the real issues wherever they might be.

PetMassage™ is much more than “rubbing” your dog. It assists your dog to a greater level of homeostasis (inner body awareness). Each session is an opportunity to resolve more and deeper causes for chronic, current, and potential physical issues.

The symptoms that you see in your dog as behaviors are often secondary to the visible effects of other underlying causes. Another way to say this is the therapeutic effects of massage affect the underlying, often deeply rooted causes that express, or show themselves as behavior called symptoms.

These unexpected responses are sometimes called a healing crisis. They surface to be acknowledged and released so that your dog can continue his life journey lightened from his dysfunctional baggage.

Each dog is an individual and will have different responses to massage depending on his/her biography. PetMassage™, by its nature, affects the entire body in unexpected and unpredictable ways. Its function is to assist your dog on his/her path however and wherever it leads. PetMassage™ affects your dog on many levels.

The effects after a massage may include:

  • Next day stiffness and soreness, lactic acid released into the musculature has yet to be reabsorbed, filtered and excreted by the body.
  • Thirst.  Your dog’s digestive track and metabolism have been stimulated. Lactic acid hormone released into the blood stream.  Keep fresh water available for his/her hydration.
  • Limping.  It is highly unlikely that your dog will have been injured during a gentle PetMassage™. Muscle memory has been stimulated.  Your dog may temporarily re-experience old unreleased behaviors and memories held in the fascia around “healed” injuries and traumas.
  • Drowsiness and lethargy due to release of melatonin and other hormones into the bloodstream.
  • Hyperactivity. Your dog may feel so good that he overexerts to possibly injuring himself. Restrict activity as necessary to prevent self injury from over activity due to release of endorphins and Cortisol into blood.
  • Inattentiveness. Your dog’s body has been in a process called re-education, or reprogramming.  He may be confused with the new programming.  It may take 24 to 48 hours for the new information to fully integrate.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation. Your dog’s digestive track, including the intestines, has been stimulated and may need time to rebalance.
  • Urination. Your dog may require additional bladder emptying sessions.
  • Seizures. Your dog’s neural tube and dura matter have been stimulated. Unresolved patterns of earlier or suppressed health issues may surface due to rebalancing levels of dopamine in the body.
  • Allergy, Colds. The sinuses and lungs have been stimulated opening bronchial passages in the body that were not performing optionally and releasing mucous toxins retained in the      lymphatic tissues. Your dog may exhibit these symptoms for 24 to 48 hours after the massage.
  • Fever. Your dog’s autoimmune system is stimulated.

If your dog’s condition worsens. does not appear better or back to normal in 48 hours, or if you have questions or concerns, contact your PetMassage™ practitioner to reschedule for a restabilization massage session.

“Occasionally, in cases of extreme toxicity, the body initiates its own dramatic confrontation with disease. Then even alternative remedies may be superfluous.  The confrontation, when it does occur, may even seem life-threatening, but tends to produce a recovery so radical as to seem a miracle of nature.  To those holistic veterinarians who recognize it as a valid process—and not all do—the phenomenon I refer to is known as the healing crisis.

“Of all the dramas of natural healing I’ve witnessed, the healing crises are most spectacular, and the most awe-inspiring.  I’ve seen animals develop horrible rashes overnight, become paralyzed, or grow feverish enough perhaps to die, only to stage their own recoveries at the same breathtaking speed with which the crises began.

“To any one unaccustomed to it, a healing crisis appears to be the final stage of a terminal disease.  It’s not.  Generally, a pet in ill health—but not in a healing crisis—will exhibit a steady decline of energy, a continuing lack of appetite, emaciation, and persistent or gradually worsening symptoms.  A healing crisis, ironically, usually follows a period of seemingly renewed health.  A pet’s symptoms have eased, his energy has rebounded, and his owner has concluded that all will be well.  Suddenly the disease seems to reappear.  Various signs of increased elimination may occur: mucousy diarrhea and darker, more concentrated urine, mucus from the nose, excessive salivation, and all manner of inflammations and flakiness of the skin.  The pet’s fever spikes up, perhaps as high as 106 degrees.  Yet the pet, though likely in pain, seems oddly engaged by the process, as if he knows something his caretakers do not.

“At that point, the animal can lose his appetite and curl up in a corner, off by himself.  This is no more than an extreme case of what animals in the wild do when they isolate themselves to gather strength and get well.”

Ref: Healing Crisis, The Nature of Animal Healing, Goldstein, Martin, DVM, pp. 163-164, Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999

Choosing the right music

By Jonathan Rudinger | November 29, 2013 |

Choosing the right music to play during a PetMassage session can be confusing. What would your dog want to hear? What music would be most relaxing and “therapeutic” for the PetMassage experience? Would the dog benefit more from the Pachelbel “Canon” or “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis? How about smooth jazz, or classical music, or country, or R and B, or rap? Maybe working in silence is the way to go.

What we have determined, is that dogs entrain with our moods, emotions and quality of presence. So, when choosing music, select sounds that calm you. (In ambience and music selection, it’s all about you.) And, the dog will follow.

Do not select music that you know very well. Your mind will be following it and anticipating the upcoming passages. When you are connected to the music, you disconnect from the dog. Stay connected, my friend.

We have found that animals tastes in music are not very discriminating. In fact, in an experiment with horses, comparing and contrasting their responses to various radio stations, we concluded that the most calming sound for them was a slightly staticky male voice from Christian radio broadcast.

We know that dogs are easily distracted by nature sounds i.e., thunder, waves, birds, crickets, and frogs. Oh, and of course there are the lions, tigers and bears, _ __! So we do not play anything that have these sounds on them. Percussive sounds of drums, rattles, and bells are also distracting.

We invite you to visit us at While there, download the FREE PetMassage music that was commissioned to celebrate PetMassage for Dogs Day. The link is on the left side of the screen under the poster of the dog on the massage table ($15).

We are continually updating our course listings and products such as the new “Unleash your inner puppy” T-shirt($15). Would you like a fresh hard copy of our Petalogue? Just email us and we’ll send one to you.

Holding your Breath…..not a good idea.

By Jonathan Rudinger | November 29, 2013 |

We all have a tendency to hold our breath whenever we are confused, shocked, traumatized, or are under water. Holding your breath effectively stops air movement. Trapped air can’t get out. Fresh air can’t get in. As CO2 levels rise, pressure increases. Body stress is triggered. The nervous system signals the body that something is amiss; and, that there must be an urgent need to move into flight or flee. The body spontaneously goes into self-preservation mode.

A gasp … rapid inhalation and holding it in, traps and locks the memory of the event into the fabric of your body. It remains there as a warning to you that surfaces whenever a similar event is happening or imminent . Think of the first time you scalded your hand over a steam kettle. Ouch! You gasped and held your breath. That one experience should have been enough to remind you to be cautious reaching over boiling water .

If you are experiencing trauma, such as tripping on an uneven sidewalk, or tumbling, flailing headlong into a bottomless abyss, or confronted by an anxious dog, keep breathing. I promise, you’ll be alright.

Learn PetMassage™ to Change Careers

By Jonathan Rudinger | November 3, 2013 |

We welcome the opportunity to share the PetMassage™ approach to canine massage with you and to teach the gentle skills you will need to propel you toward your dynamic future.

The most exciting people in the world are drawn to PetMassage™ workshops. This is training for people who would like to work either in veterinary offices as therapists and/or create productive, loving and prosperous businesses helping dogs and their guardians. The PetMassage™ program is accredited to provide RVTs CE, Continuing Education through RAIVE (Registry for Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Education).

PetMassage™ teaches students to support the self-revelatory, self healing, intuitive abilities of dogs through the use of knowledgeable, compassionate touch, fascia releases, and utilizing open body-language communication. The Foundation workshop includes Home Study modules in anatomy and physiology, Creating and Marketing Your Animal Massage Business, Confident Dog Handling and a case study. Our intention in this one comprehensive workshop is for you to learn the basic working knowledge of canine massage, understand the canine body systems from a Western medical model, and help you develop your professional career. The PetMassage™ Canine Aquatic Massage workshop prepares you to offer a most unique service to competition dogs, older dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs that are undergoing veterinary rehabilitation.

Our workshops attract students who are inclined to share our philosophies of touch, connection, service, and commitment. We are not entrenched in the physical therapy – medical massage mind-set. Our approach is holistic and spiritual. Still, our practice supports and integrates easily with the work of veterinarians and other animal health and wellness practitioners. We incorporate many concepts and practices of TCM and Tai Chi in our massage theory and practice. In our on-site workshops, students learn specific PetMassage™ theory and techniques hands-on, every day, with live dogs in the classroom and during a field trip to our local ASPCA.

The animal massage and bodywork business you create will be the reflection of your personal vision; your experiences, intuitive development, your charisma, your drive and persistence. It will be your journey. It will be totally and exclusively a reflection of you, your dream, and your commitment to market yourself and your service.

Our students transitioned themselves from occupations that include practically every vocation imaginable. Our students have put in their time and learned their life lessons. They are ready to revive and finally act on their lifelong passions to care for dogs. Over 90 percent of our students are women, most of whom are now ready to create new rewarding careers working with canines. Their life lessons have provided them with the experience and perspective to finally know what makes them happy. Expanding their natural talents and skills with PetMassage™ training enhances their lives, their dogs lives and the life conditions of everyone who seeks out their services.

This testimonial arrived after this student completed her first workshop with us:

“I wanted to thank you all for inspiring me to do what I feel I was put here on Earth to do! My life is now clear and I am focused on a goal I know in my heart I will achieve. Thank you for helping me find myself! You’ve truly touched my life!” –Heather H.

This is an exciting time for you as you think about the next part of your life’s journey. We encourage you to assess all of the schools that offer instruction in dry canine massage and Canine Aquatic Massage. When you do, we are confident that you will discover that PetMassage™ – which focuses exclusively on canine massage training – offers an exceptional educational experience; one that will prepare you for your new rewarding career.

We applaud the students who attend our workshops. You are the dreamers and the risk takers. You see the demand. You see the opportunity. You see the need to help dogs and their owners. You see the awesome potential of PetMassage™.

You know you can make a difference. Through massage and touch, with one dog and one dog owner at a time, you can, and will, change the world.

Femoral Nerve of the Dog

By PetMassage | October 18, 2013 |

Full Title: Femoral Nerve of the Dog

Author: Katie Bell

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017


Research Paper Text:

Lacie, a 3-year-old Yorkie mix, presents to a canine rehabilitation center post Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO) surgery. While physical rehab is typically useful for all orthopedic surgery patients, it was going to prove especially pertinent for Lacie. Lacie, excited to be trotting through the peaceful center, is holding up her right pelvic limb. This particular foot is scuffed and irritated. What is causing this?

Let’s take a step back and see what an FHO is for, and why Lacie had one. Lacie had avascular necrosis of the femoral head. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons an FHO “…involves removing the femoral portion of the hip joint (i.e., the ball) in order to reduce the pain produced by abnormal hip joint contact and the stretching of the soft tissues around the joint due to laxity…”. The goal of an FHO is to relieve pain associated with hip dysplasia or in Lacie’s case, avascular necrosis. Following an FHO, surgeons will strongly recommend rehab to assist with range of motion in the hip and initiate use of the affected limb.

Unfortunately for Lacie, with any surgery comes possible complication. One complication that can be caused from this surgery is nerve damage. The nerve affected in Lacie’s case was the femoral nerve. It is hard to say what causes the damage, whether it is the incision or the general nature of the operation. (Sometimes, when much time has past, nerve damage can still occur from scar tissue surrounding the nerve). In any case, it has rendered Lacie with chronic pain and secondarily progressive muscle loss.

A nerve is well defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “ any of the filamentous bands of nervous tissue that connect parts of the nervous system with the other organs, conduct nerve impulses, and are made up of axons and dendrites together with protective and supportive structures.” The damaged nerve, the femoral nerve, is located in the femoral quadriceps and arises from the lumbar nerves 4-6 (see Dog Anatomy-A Coloring Atlas).

Palpation of any nerve would be difficult as they are so small. The only time you would be able to palpate this nerve is if the quadriceps was severely contracted. You can palpate the femoral artery, which is commonly used in veterinary medicine to collect a pulse. Collecting a pulse from the femoral artery is very useful when you have a panting dog, making it difficult to hear a heart rate.

Damage or injury to the femoral nerve can cause misfiring’s. In Lacie’s case these misfiring’s are caused from a surgical procedure focused in the area. The nerve damage has caused intermittent lameness and chronic pain, which is secondarily causing muscle loss and decreased range of motion of the affected limb. Lacie’s foot is so sensitive that even a toenail trim is nearly intolerable. Lacie’s surgeons and primary veterinarians have recommended amputation.

As most can imagine, this is a very difficult decision for an owner to make. For now Lacie’s owner elects to start rehab in hopes to keep the unaffected limb strong. At Lacie’s rehab center, she receives acupuncture and hydrotherapy. Lacie’s mom also has at-home exercises and therapies.

For acupuncture, Lacie’s doctor focuses on certain meridians that run by or near the femoral nerve. These meridians include the gallbladder, bladder, and stomach. Acupuncture in these meridians can be used to treat stifle problems, such as ligament tears, hip arthritis, or medial patella luxation and many more. The nerve damage, for Lacie, is untreatable but acupuncture is helpful in relieving pain and helping with any arthritis that she will be susceptible to. Lacie also comes for hydrotherapy every other week, and walks for 15 minutes each session. In order to build up this endurance, Lacie would come once weekly for 10 weeks.

At home Lacie’s mom massages, using a battery operated massager, the spine and hips. She also uses a hot back on the affected limb for 5-10 minutes twice daily.

Take note that the massaging Lacie’s mom does at home is not at the affected site. Massing is systemic, massaging different areas of the body have major impact on other areas and systems. Massaging with the nervous and neuromuscular systems in mind can be very beneficial for misfiring’s. Massaging can stimulate sensory nerve endings that release chemicals, which determine the flow of energy! Massage can reach both the somatic nervous system, which controls voluntary movement and the autonomic nervous system, which controls the involuntary movement.

In conclusion, there is still much to be known about nerves but it is certain that they are very powerful. When damaged they can have very severe affects on the body, but using therapies that help direct natural energy flow can prove very useful for chronic pain or other side effects.

*The case study involving “Lacie” is based on true events, but the patient’s name has been changed and no owner information was given.

Below are some pictures of the femoral nerve, its location, and the meridians that run near.

Arf-irmation with Anastasia

By Anastasia Rudinger | October 11, 2013 |

For those of you who have taken PetMassage workshops, you already know Anastasia Rudinger and have experienced firsthand, her passion for helping you identify and manifest your dreams. She is here to help you create success and fulfillment in your life and career.

Beginning this week, you will also get an Arf-irmation created by Anastasia along with the weekly PetMassage Helpful Hints.  You will be amazed at how timely and appropriate her suggestions will be for you. These affirmations will all ultimately be on a dedicated page on the PetMassage website.

When you would like a specific affirmation designed for your own circumstance, please email Anastasia at  She would be delighted to send you a private email correspondence with an affirmation to suit your needs.

P.S.  The book Anastasia recommends for continuing support is “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay.

Anastasia Rudinger is a Certified Rebirther. She received her professional training at the ChicagoRebirthingCenter in 1989. She is a graduate of Loving Relationships Training.  Her private practice has given her the privilege of assisting numerous clients through their breathing process.

Conscious – Connected Breathing, Anastasia’s personalized form of Rebirthing, has truly assisted her to become more positive about herself and her work. This technique is an integral part of her ongoing self-care. She is delighted to share this process with you.

Anastasia worked in the corporate world for over 25 years when, at the age of 45, her intuition guided her to become educated in human massage.  Anastasia graduated from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy in 1988. She loved practicing the art of massage therapy so much she pursued the certification of infant massage training and expanded that with conscious connected breathing (using positive affirmations).

When she and Jonathan developed PetMassage she automatically assumed the role of support system for prospective and active PetMassage students: coaching breathing, posture and positive affirmations for them to develop prospering, enjoyable(!) canine massage careers.

Anastasia’s life purpose is to help people become more passionate about what they truly want to do in life. She has decided to devote time to creating affirmations for those pursuing canine massage professions.

Enjoy your weekly Arf-irmation. Let us know if you find them helpful.

Arf-irmation:  Allow the statement to become a mantra during the week. For greater effectiveness use a mirror to talk to yourself and breathe deeply.

Here’s the first one:

I am willing to allow positive arf-irmation to enhance my life.

Muscles of the Dogs Ear

By PetMassage | October 9, 2013 |

Full Title: Muscles of the Dogs Ear

Author: Ildiko Tiger

Date of Publication: October 9, 2013


Research Paper Text:

The external ear of the dog is composed of the auricle or pinna and the external auditory meatus or ear canal. A dozen separate muscles, collectively called auricular muscles, control the movement of the pinna. These muscles cause perking, turning, raising and lowering of the ears – allowing for a complex array of movement combinations. The dogs’ ability to move their pinna is important for the purposes of sound gathering as well as for communicating to others how they are feeling physically and emotionally.

The auricle or pinna is composed of a combination of both elastic cartilage and hyaline annular cartilage. The shapes of the auricular cartilages differ widely from breed to breed which allows for the many variations in the size and shape of the pinna seen among dogs. The three basic pinna shapes are erect and V-shaped, semi-erect and lobate or non-erect and lop eared in appearance. No matter what size and shape, the pinnae of a dog are highly innervated and have a rich blood supply. Nerve supply includes branches from the second cervical n., facial n., trigeminal n. and vagus n. Blood supply includes branches of external carotid artery and caudal auricular artery – lateral, medial and internal branches.

The auricular muscles are divided into four main groups of muscles – a caudal group, a dorsal group, a rostral group and a ventral group. These groups of muscles attach to a flat, L-shaped sesamoid cartilage located rostrodorsal to the external ear canal – the scutiform cartilage. The tensor action of these different groups of auricular muscles on the scutiform cartilage cause the following movements:

  • the caudal group rotates the ear laterally, moves the auricular opening backward/caudal
  • the dorsal group elevates the ear, moves the scutiform cartilage medially
  • the ventral group depresses the ear, draws it down
  • the rostral group rotates the ear medially, moves the auricular opening forward/rostral

The caudal group of auricular muscles consist of these individual muscles:

  • cervicoauricularis superficialis m.
  • cervicoauricularis medius m.
  • cervicoauricularis profundus m.
  • cervicoscutularis m.

The dorsal group is comprised of:

  • occipitalis m.
  • interscutularis m.
  • interparietoscutularis m.
  • interparietoauricularis m.

The ventral group is comprised of:

  • parotidauricularis m.
  • mandibuloauricularis m.
  • zygomaticauricularis m.

The rostral group consists of:

  • frontoscutularis m.
  • scutuloauricularis superficialis m.
  • scutuloauricularis medialis m.
  • scutuloauricularis dorsalis m.

The names of the muscles themselves describes their origin and insertion points.

The following dissection diagrams give reference to where these muscles are situated anatomically:



  1. Budras, McCarthy, Fricke, Richter: Anatomy of the Dog. 5th edition, Hannover, 2007, Schlutersche.
  2. Evans HE: Miller’s anatomy of the dog. 3rd edition, Philadelphia, 1993, Saunders.
  3. Heine PA: Anatomy of the ear – Veterinary clinics of North America small animal practices. 2004, p.379-395, PubMed.
  4. Figures 5-20 A thru D sourced from: (all rights reserved – for copy permission beyond this assignment contact under Customer Support then Obtaining Permissions)
  5. Evans, deLahunta: Guide to dissection of the dog. 7th edition, St. Louis, 2010, Saunders.

Lateral Sesamoidean Ligament of the Forelimb

By PetMassage | October 2, 2013 |

Full Title: Lateral Sesamoidean Ligament of the Forelimb

Author: Karen Baskin

Date of Publication: October 2, 2013


Research Paper Text: