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San Clemente Journal

A Paws-itive Touch In Town

Feb 09, 2009 03:23PM ● By Don Kindred

by Karen Garza

For many people, the idea of dog massage conjures up images of pampered pooches and extravagant doggie spas. Think again, say the owners of AllWays Dogz, a new business based in San Clemente that offers serious treatment options to help dogs live longer, healthier lives.

Owners Karen Yamamoto and Karen Garza offer customized therapies for your canine companions; their services benefit a wide range of conditions and treatment is designed specifically for each animal after a detailed health-history and assessment.

“Massage and low-level laser phototherapy are widely used to support healing in humans. In animals, these therapies have also been used to treat horses. We wanted to bring the same options to pets here in Southern California. Therapeutic massage enhances and supports the general wellness and comfort of an animal. Sports massage is more focused on specific problem areas,” according to Garza.

Massage boosts the immune system, increases circulation, improves overall health and promotes optimum muscle function. It is also beneficial in soothing muscles after intense physical activity to prevent soreness and facilitate recovery from muscle strain. But, both Garza and Yamamoto emphasize that the treatments they provide are always a complement - never a substitute - for veterinary care. They add that any suspected injury should always be evaluated by a licensed veterinarian before proceeding with massage therapy.

Low-level laser phototherapy can be combined with massage to increase the effectiveness of both therapies. Using a small portable device, a series of infrared pulses are delivered to the site of injury or inflammation. “This technology essentially enables a very gentle heat to penetrate deep into tissue and accelerate healing at a cellular level. It is a very safe and completely pain-free option. Human therapists have seen dramatic improvement in soft tissue injuries, arthritis, muscle strains and tendonitis,” Yamamoto explained. 

These two ex-corporate types decided to embark on their “encore” careers after working together for more than five years at a local medical device company. Following a series of company changes and management reorganizations, they chose to take a new path together.

“We realized that we have always worked hard and enjoyed working hard. At this time in our lives, we wanted to turn that work ethic toward something we were passionate about: dogs,” Yamamoto said. “This is an opportunity to give back to the world of dogs that has given so much to us. People love their dogs and we want to help their pets live the healthiest and longest lives possible.’’ Garza added. The two Karens know how much dogs can enhance our lives - they currently have six dogs between them!

AllWays Dogz debuted December 5 at Three Dog Bakery’s Doggie Spa Night & Holidog Mutt-ness Paw-ty with all proceeds donated to the Ark of San Juan Companion Animal Rescue. “We were delighted to offer this service to our customers and their dogs. People brought in animals ranging from puppies to seniors and Great Danes to Chihuahuas. It was easy to see that the dogs were really enjoying their experience and a number of pet parents plan to continue treatments,” said Claire Mardesich, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery with her husband Matt. The women work in locations around town, like the bakery, or they will come to your home.

The treatments are more than just pampering - the positive impact on dogs is real. Christina Sandy is the owner of Winston, a 4-year-old bulldog. “From the point they told us last Christmas that Winston would never have use of his legs again, we’ve used therapies such as T-Touch and acupuncture to develop new pathways to get messages to his legs. Massage has been important by enabling Winny to relax and process the work we’re doing with him. He’s a different guy after his massage. Winston has completely recovered full use of his front legs and we are very hopeful about his future,” Sandy said.

Sharyn Deeringer, President of the California Greyhound Adoption Promotion, has seen firsthand the results of massage for dogs with structural problems resulting from running in only one direction or track accidents. “Massage is not pampering - it is a necessary treatment to keep dogs healthy and feeling their best. Even the CalGAP chiropractor agrees that massage complements chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture. Massage brings the Greyhound body and mind into balance. A healthy dog is a happier dog and a better family member.” 

Both women completed their training at the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage, a nationally recognized program. They are also certified instructors for the Pet Tech workshops. Pet Tech, Inc. is the first international training center dedicated to pet CPR, first aid, care and safety. b 
For more information, call Karen Yamamoto at 949-233-1369 or Karen Garza at 939-283-6873.