Guess which lucky dog got a spa day for her early present?

Therapeutic massage is  not just for humans. Jacksonville is home to Ruff Rubs, whose proprietor Betty Bennet, Ph.D., CCMT, offers certified canine massage therapy.

Dear Reader, there is a governing body issuing certification in canine massage. This is a professional massage  – and yes, it is way better than you can do at home.  However, it is still performed in your home. Betty makes house calls!

That cannot get more convenient for the human, and ensures your dog is in their familiar and most reassuring environs. Betty even brings a portable massage table for a true spa setting. We already had our kitchen island all dolled up with Muñequita’s blanket, and Betty did the massage there because while Muñequita doesn’t like being on strange surfaces, she is used to this one since she sits up there to take her pills. Betty makes every effort to find and accommodate your pet’s comfort zone.

Your masseuse is not a vet, but she does a wellness exam which can discover musculoskeletal early warning signs to bring to your vet’s attention.

There are scads of therapeutic benefits to a professional massage. It’s great for dogs with joint, muscle or pain issues. It can assist in improving circulation, help to flush toxins, and boost the immune system, among a host of other benefits. Betty is trained to evaluate muscle tone and look for areas of pain or stiffness, hot spots that might signify developing problems.  She even does a video gait analysis, which she can slow down and peruse to check for abnormalities. Betty went above and beyond by taking the time to film Muñequita not just running around, but also going up and down stairs.

Betty was able to confirm that Muñequita’s muscle tone has bounced back as her prednisone dosage decreased, and fortunately the little girl checks out for the rest of her musculoskeletal system – no sign of pain or discomfort.

Muñequita is recovering from meningitis, which is not something that massage can actually target as it’s a cyst in her brain.  She does have a slightly stilted gait, but that’s because the inflammation affected the vestibular region of her brain stem and she has – lucky for her – only marginal damage which affects her balance.  That’s the way she is now: can’t fix it, just be grateful she has her mobility and quality of life, and try to provide her with positive experiences.

Betty blows kisses and whispers sweet nothings to her doggy clients.

That, Dear Reader, is why we wanted Muñequita to have a massage: joie de vivre.  Boy, did Betty deliver!  You can see how deeply involved both are in the experience. Our shy, timid little girl is reclining like Cleopatra in perfect trust and relaxation, basking not just in the luxury of it all but  in unwavering attention and adoration.

There is magic in those hands.

Somehow, through some witchery of fingers and focus, Betty is talking to Muñequita with her hands. There’s a message there, a silvery and intangible bridge between souls that whispers little dog, you are perfect, I love you, show me all your ails and ills, let me through, let me heal.   Humans are so complicated we often can’t understand tidings so profound, but dogs are made for this frequency.  Muñequita just… melted.

Like jello in her arms.

By the end of it, we didn’t have a chihuahua anymore: we had jello. Muñequita loves attention but she is a shy, timid girl and thus a bit nervous and tense around people, even while she’s getting pets. But look at her with Betty: this puppy is a wet noodle.  She only gets this relaxed for the lady of the house. Betty worked a miracle with her.

It’s plainly apparent how good Muñequita felt in her skin, and that’s what we wanted for her. We wanted experiences that taught her a body is a wonderful thing, not just a burden that gets sick and has vertigo.  We truly feel that Betty showed her that, and did a great deal to balance the scales away from the physical drudgery of a long-term illness.

For the rest of the day, Muñequita has been – how to put this? Calm and relaxed, not nearly as reactive when startled or when the boys start up a chorus of bark-at-that-person-walking-by-we-didn’t-stamp-their-passport.  Yet, at the same time, she’s been perky. Not hyper, just sort of bouncy and focused.  ‘Balanced’ is, we think, the best way to describe her energy, which is oddly appropos for someone with a damaged vestibular region. It’s a noticeable difference and goes to show the impact of her Ruff Rubs massage experience.

Muñequita will definitely be booking more massages because,  you know what, Dear Reader? Ruff Rubs is really affordable.  There’s an initial consultation fee of only $25, which evaluates your dog.  Massage sessions are just $30 for a half hour session, and you don’t even have to leave your house.

Click here to book your dog their first massage!

And you know what, Dear Reader? You’re in luck, because right now at the time of writing Ruff Rubs is holding a special which rolls both the evaluation and a half hour massage into one $35 package!

Muñequita got the package and she sure was surprised, because she not only received the massage but Betty brought her the breathtaking gift bag you’ve been seeing in all her photos!

Drop Betty a line and sign up for this before you miss out!

Do you want to see what’s in the tantalizing little box?

Muñequita sure does! What could it be?

Ooooh! It’s a diva’s best friend: jewelry! A gorgeous charm sized to hang on a collar! Even a chihuahua can wear it. So could you!

Guys, not only that, but look at the back: Ruff Rubs gives personalized bling bling!

Ruff Rubs is so posh.

Check out the gift bag that came with the package: there’s that precious little personalized charm, a really nice squeaky toy and a mug for you with their (adorable) logo.  If you bought it for a loved one with a pet, it would come with the certificate telling them you had gifted a massage for their furry friend, with Ruff Rubs’ contact info so they can find more information and schedule a session.

You can also keep up with Ruff Rubs’ traveling massage adventures and learn about the art of canine massage on their FaceBook.

But the best part was the massage. Look at the sparkle in Muñequita’s eye. Honestly, she doesn’t love Ruff Rubs for the plushies and jewels. There’s only one thing that can win a puppy’s heart, and that’s love. With Ruff Rubs, it’s obvious the puppy love goes both ways.