You’re massaging a dog and your attention is drawn to something unusual. It could be in the coat, like a burr, a matte, or a clump of organic matter. It could be on the skin: a rough patch, a bump, or a critter. It could be under the skin: a lump, a hot spot-heat, or something you sense that’s much deeper. How you frame in your mind what you’ve discovered has everything to do with what the dog will be able to do with it.

Imagine you have a wooden tray that’s 12” x 12” with sides, an inch high. It’s filled halfway up with fine white sand. A couple of dark polished rocks break up the homogeneity of the tiny garden.

It’s a miniature meditation garden. You may tend it, and seek a tiny glimpse of enlightenment as you process your miniature meditations. Your garden even has a little wooden rake that you can use to comb the sand. The tines in your little rake leave clean little alternating parallel grooves and ridges. You experiment, pushing and pulling your little rake. Straight lines, swiggles, curves, and mounds.

Your wrist relaxes. The little dowel rake handle rolls between your fingers as you move. You lean into the curves. Within moments, you are immersed, playing in your garden.

You notice how the dense black stones contrast against the sand. Yes, there’s the difference in color. The shapes and textures are different too. When you look down at the designs you’ve raked, you see them by the shadows they cast. Mid-tones of unifying transitions define and bridge dark to light.

Your patterns resemble flowing waves. Seawater flows up the rocks, splashing against them. Imaginary mist. It drains back. Eddies in ripples and resorbs back into the ocean. There’s an entire vignette here. It’s nonverbal and it’s your story.

What might the rocks represent? Do you see them as obstacles? Are they situations in which you feel stuck, vulnerable, apprehensive, reluctantly interdependent. Are these rocks challenges?

You may just as well see them as opportunities. They are routes to independence, enhanced strength, empowerment, control, contentment.

How readily you are to approach, overcome and reclaim ownership of your rocks?

The labels you use to define them make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. It’s your verbal story.

Take up your little rake again. Think about your beautiful little polished stones. Knowing what you do about them now, rake around them again.

What patterns are you making? Are your grooves deep, or shallow? What are you feeling? What’s happening off to the sides of the garden? Has some of the sand splashed out of the box? Open yourself to all the possibilities of wave forms; of resolutions.

PetMassage. When your fingers are raking through a dog’s coat, you will encounter something that contrasts with the area around it.

You are the sand. You are the sea. Flow gently, lovingly, around it, on top of it, and eddy your fingers away. Wash up against it from other angles, with varying pressures, with your fingertips, with your knuckles, with your palms.

In her PetMassage, your dog is sharing the awareness of an obstacle that has appeared in her garden.

You may be probing an isolated rough patch, a recent scuff on the body of sand. You may be on a previously undiscovered feature element in your dog’s garden. It is not yet labeled. It’s simply her story.

The energy that you project in your approach, is powerfully influential. What you think, feel, and surmise, affects the quality of movement patterns in that spot and in all the tissues around it.

Supportive editing always transmutes stories. In PetMassage, like attracts like. Trauma to trauma. Fear to fear. Stress to stress. Hope to hope. Optimism and confidence to wellness and happiness.

How are you, the canine massage provider, labeling what you’ve discovered? Is it a problem, a challenge, or do you frame it as an opportunity? You are infusing it with some value of energy. How will the dog’s story progress? It’s up to you.

Hint: Infuse each touch, each breath, each moment, with love and appreciation.

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