A Study in Case Studies

"At the beginning, I didn’t realize how good it would feel to help these older dogs improve." -Stacey Iverson (and her dog Scruff), RMSAAM graduate.
“At the beginning, I didn’t realize how good it would feel to help these older dogs improve.” -Stacey Iverson (and her dog Scruff), RMSAAM graduate.


Canine Massage Level 1 student, Stacey Iverson (visit Stacey’s website by clicking here), describes her experience during her case studies below; 3 case studies are required during the Canine Massage Level 1 program, and are to be completed over a six-week period. Jenny Rukavina is a RMSAAM instructor.


December 12, 2012


Dear Jenny,

Enclosed are my Case Studies for Canine Massage 1.  While working with the dogs, I learned more than I expected, and am not quite sure how to put it all into words, but I know you understand that.  Although I learned a lot in my studies and class, dogs are the best teachers.  My case study dogs were all seniors, so they showed me how to massage with patience and an open mind, and to listen carefully to their signs and signals.  I couldn’t have asked for better teachers.  All were generous and patient with me, as were their people.

I found myself carefully finding my way through conversations with their people, discovering that I actually did know what I was talking about (confidence boost) and also learning when to just listen and also say “I don’t know” or “you might want to talk with your vet”.   It was also interesting to see how quickly all three dogs figured out who I was and why I was there, greeting me so happily after just 2 or 3 visits, not as a regular visitor but as that nice lady who massages me!  They knew why I was there. At the beginning, I didn’t realize how good it would feel to help these older dogs improve.  It was so rewarding to see them happy, move more easily, and also see their people so happy.  One thing I noticed with their people was a more intense awareness of their senior dog’s situation.  I think both people were somewhat in denial or unaware of how their dogs had aged.  By talking about it and showing improvement with massage, they became more involved in finding ways to help their dogs to be more comfortable, even simple things like putting rugs around the house and beds by the fire.

A few things that I will change for next time:

1.  A new note-taking system during massage.  I will make up my own dog diagram and massage note sheet, now that I have done this once and know what works for me.

2.  A key to mark different things like tension, knot in muscle, a reaction to touch.

3.  I’m considering buying a table.

4.  Have muscle diagrams in plastic sheets with me for easy referral if needed.

Overall, this was a great experience.  I have learned a lot in a short time, but I know this is just the beginning and there is so much more to learn, both in class and through real-life experience.  I feel much more confident in my abilities, and am so inspired by the people and animals that I meet.  I learn something from animals every day, and this experience was one more example.  Helping animals is what drives me, and I have learned through this experience that I am not a healer, but can assist dogs to become healthier and more balanced, so that they can live better lives.

I am committed to learning as much as I can.  It’s important to me to maintain very high standards for all the dogs that I work with and for the profession in general. When I am ready to start my business, hopefully early 2013, I want to feel fully competent and worthy of calling myself a professional.  Thanks for your help and feedback so far.

All the best,

Stacey Iverson


2 thoughts on “A Study in Case Studies

  1. Thanks for sharing this Jenny…   Stacey had some good tips for beginners like me and I absolutely LOVED her website!   Cheryl Berlin 



    1. Thank you Cheryl! More advice and helpful tips, or comments from other RMSAAM students, are always welcome and we’d love to hear something from you in the future!


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