by Kelly Legarreta, Canine Massage Instructor
The conclusion to a (4-part series) 3-hour adventure that evolves into a benevolent relationship with Shy Wolf Sanctuary; Kelly Legarreta, RMSAAM’s Canine Massage course instructor (Ft. Myers florida location), takes her massage class to Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.
Mark asked me if I would work on Pawnee, their oldest wolf resident; at 16 years old he is a little grumpy, but once he knows you, he tends to warm up. He is very vocal and lots of low grumblings emitted from his expressive face. We brought him out to our shady spot and as I worked on him he continued to grumble through-out. Deana, Kris, and Nancy (students) kept a good distance while I worked on him. Because I am a Canine trainer and behavior consultant, I feel it is a great asset as a massage instructor, because I feel I can give my students a little extra in regards to canine body language and safety. I explained to my students (who kept quietly stepping back in response to each growl) that he wasn’t giving me any indication that he didn’t like my touch – he was just vocalizing. In return he had my utmost respect – I never reached over him, or made him feel trapped; I kept my body at a non-threatening angle, I turned my head away from his, in true canine respect, and I listened with my heart to every move he made. The growls continued to roll through-out the massage and it wasn’t until I was done that Mark told me it was feeding time! Poor Pawnee! No wonder he complained the entire time – poor old man thought he was missing out on dinner! We happily returned him to his enclosure!
We spent about three hours total at the Sanctuary. I, (nor my students) had any idea of what would transpire that day. I didn’t know if the wolves would let us get close enough to touch them, or if my students would feel comfortable enough to work on them. Not only was it more than I could have ever expected, but the look on Kris’s, Deana’s andNancy’s face, was so heart-warming. They were proud, and awed and very moved by the whole experience, and it was just as profound as I thought it might be for both them, and the wolves. It was hot, it was dirty, and we were tired. But it was worth it.
As we were leaving, Mark and I looked at each other and smiled. “This is amazing.” I said.
“I agree”, he responded. “When are you coming back?”
There is a bright future for the growing relationship between RMSAAM and Shy Wolf Sanctuary. The development of incorporating all three levels of RMSAAM classes at the sanctuary is already underway. I am so grateful to be a part of this process, and I look forward to the amazement of the faces of my future students as they embark on this adventure with me, and the beautiful wolves of Shy Wolf Sanctuary.
We look forward to updating you on upcoming adventures, on the newly forged relationship with Shy Wolf Sanctuary, and RMSAAM in future postings!