An Interview with a Pet Masseuse


There is a common expression in the canine world that says, “Dogs are people too.” Amber Lockspeiser has taken this one step further and believes that dogs deserve pampering too.

In fact, she believes in the concept so much she makes her living off of pampering pooches. Amber is a certified Animal Massage Therapist, which she started doing last year.

Amber’s (right) passion for starting a business sparked when her two dachshunds both developed spinal disc issues, a common ailment for that breed, but there were no massage therapies available for them. She then heard about a paralyzed dog named Jetta Rose found in the middle of an intersection. Jetta Rose was put into therapy five days a week which included exercise and massage therapy. A few months later the dog was walking.

“It’s an incredible miracle,” Amber said. “It overwhelmed me so much that I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life.”

So it began.

Amber got certified through an intensive 250 hour program at the Ojai School of Massage in California where she learned anatomy and physiology, different massage techniques, CPR and First Aid. Massage therapy includes, Myofascial release, Swedish Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Acupressure, TTouch and Animal Reiki.

These techniques are designed to relieve muscle spasms, build the immune systems, reduce pain and swelling, resolve injuries by removing toxins, and help in confidence building which is excellent for rescues and training, and to make a Pet feel secure.

“The massage can take place all over the animal’s body,” Amber said. “I can literally work on the mouth all the way to the tail.”

A massage session is typically 30 minutes but can be as long as an hour and costs about the same as a human massage – $30 for 30 minutes. Massage technique depends on what the dog needs. For example, Amber can help an adoptee or rescue dog who is nervous and scared feel more confident and secure in their forever home. She may use acupressure on a dog with a specific problem and an agility dog could get a full massage plus muscle stretching.

“I have had many animals fall asleep during massage,” Amber said. “They become very relaxed and some will even groan and stretch out.”

Clients have reported back that their hyper dogs were relaxed and mellowed for a few hours after a massage. Amber said one client had a rescue dog who walked backwards when entering a room (something Amber attributes to prior abuse) and after two massage sessions, the dog stopped.

Amber does massage on cats and dogs and has also provided massage therapy sessions for a cow, a turkey, a chinchilla and some goats. She said some clients only need two or three sessions and others need it twice a week for a few months.

Amber is a member of the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork. She started her business Happy Tails 2 You in California last year and travels to people’s homes for therapy sessions.