The Human-Animal Bond: FREE Webinar on 1/17/16

human-animal bond


human-animal bond

The special bond that humans share with both equines and canines originated thousands of years ago. Deepening our understanding of that bond can help us to become better animal guardians as well as better animal bodyworkers.

Both dogs and horses have undergone a process of domestication, although some will argue that horses have not been domesticated, but rather, simply tamed. Regardless of this distinction, the relationship that humans share with both horses and dogs is a relationship that is deeply complex, with roots extending thousands of years. In our upcoming Human-Animal Bond webinar, we will discuss this rich history, as well as the depth of the bond we share with them today.

Register here!

This webinar will be presented by RMSAAM webinar instructor and digital media & marketing specialist, Emily Tronetti. Emily also owns Heal to Howl, a canine massage, Reiki and photography business that focuses on the human-canine bond. Emily is currently a graduate student in the Anthrozoology program at Canisius College. Anthrozoology is the study of the interactions between humans and nonhuman animals. Emily is excited to combine her anthrozoology education with the knowledge she gained in RMSAAM’s canine massage program in this brand new webinar!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

By Stephanie Finne (Guest Contributor)



Just like food is the way to a man’s heart, treats are the way to a dog’s heart! A good way to introduce yourself to a new client is to bring a treat or two. Homemade dog treats are great because you know exactly what goes into them.

These treats contain pumpkin, which is good for weight loss and for correcting constipation or diarrhea due to its high fiber and water content. They also contain peanut butter, which is a good source of protein, not to mention a favorite treat for many dogs!


Servings: Varies depending on shape

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 35 mins


2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 eggs

¾ cup pure pumpkin puree

¼ cup natural peanut butter

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup water


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl either with a spoon or by hand. The dough will be very thick and dry. 


3. Roll out the dough to ½” thickness between two layers of parchment paper. The parchment paper will keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.


4. Using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out your dough and place on a cookie sheet on a layer of parchment paper. I put paw prints in these by using the handle of a wooden spoon.


5. Bake on parchment paper for 35 minutes, or until hard. There is no leavening agent, so the baked treats will hold whatever shape you cut out.


6. Find a pup to enjoy your homemade dog treats!


This recipe was adapted from this Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats recipe. Learning how to safely introduce yourself to a new dog is just one of the fun things you will learn in RMSAAM’s Canine Massage, Level 1 course!

138th Westminster Dog Show

By Stephanie Finne (Guest Contributor)

Image                                    Image © Adrian Jones | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Today is the first day of the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! Dogs are judged on breed standards, which include general appearance, movement, temperament, and specific physical traits such as height and weight, coat, colors, eye color and shape, ear shape and placement, feet, tail, and more. 

According to the Westminster Kennel Club, this is how the judging works: At Westminster, the first level of competition is in the Breed or Variety. There, one judge officiates over an entry that consists of dogs of only one breed. The entry may be only a few dogs or it could be many dogs (more than 40). The judge begins by judging the class dogs and selecting a Winner’s Dog (WD) and then a Winner’s Bitch (WB). Those dogs advance into the Best of Breed competition against the entered champions. From these dogs, the judge ultimately selects one as Best of Breed (BOB) or Best of Variety (BOV). The judge will also select a Best of Opposite Sex (BOS) winner, the Best of Winners (BOW) award, a Select Dog and a Select Bitch (see Grand Championship points above). Depending on the number of dogs in the entry, the judge may also, at their discretion, select winners of Awards of Merit for additional dogs of outstanding quality.

The BOB or BOV winner advances into the next level of competition, the Group. Currently, 190 breeds and varieties are recognized by the American Kennel Club and those are divided into seven different groups (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding).

There, the Group judge examines all the dogs and chooses four placements, 1st through 4th. As before, only the Group winner advances. This takes place in each of the seven groups so that there are seven Group winners that advance into the final round of competition, Best in Show.

In the Best In Show competition, the judge will examine all seven finalists, first naming the Reserve Best In Show winner and then revealing their selection for the ultimate prize, Best In Show.

It takes a lot of time and training to show a dog at Westminster or any dog show.  Along with training (like in the photo above) and weekly grooming, many of the dogs get regular sessions with a massage therapist and a chiropractor.  To learn more about canine sports massage, join Level 2, Sports Massage at RMSAAM!

Westminster Kennel Club Groups and Best In Show will be presented live on television. You can find it Monday on CNBC 6-9 pm MT / 5-8 pm PT and Tuesday on USA Network 6-9 pm MT / 5-8 pm PT.

Massage – A Workout for You and the Dog!

By Stephanie Finne (Guest Contributor)

Giving a massage can be a workout. It can be not only physically challenging, but mentally and emotionally demanding as well. It is important for you to take care of yourself. Yoga is a great way to get in tune with your breathing and to keep your body limber–I know massage therapists who swear by it. Finding your center and practicing good posture are also important.

But, keep in mind that you aren’t the only one getting a workout. Massage can be a workout for the dog as well. Did you know that just 10 minutes of massage can be equal to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for a dog? Massage raises the dog’s heart rate and releases endorphins. This can be tough on a senior dog or a dog in distress.

To learn more about preparing yourself for massage and keeping the dog’s needs in mind, register for “Canine Massage Level 1”!

New Year’s Resolution – Walk and Massage Your Pet

By Stephanie Finne (Guest contributor)

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2014?  Statistics say that 45% of Americans usually make a resolution*.  The top ten include losing weight, falling in love, enjoying life to the fullest, and learning something exciting. These are all great goals and we have two suggestions on how to meet them – walk your dog or massage your dog!

January was National Walk Your Dog month, but walking your dog doesn’t have to end in January.  Walking your dog will benefit you and your pet, and help you keep your resolutions.  Dog walking can help you lose weight by increasing your activity. At the same time it will burn energy for your dog, making you fall in love with your calm, happy companion all over again!  Plus, being out in nature with your fur friend can help you enjoy life to the fullest. If you are feeling a bit more ambitious, you can learn something exciting like a Pet Lovers Dog Massage Course! Dog massage helps to increase the bond between you and your dog while enhancing over-all wellness. It is therapeutic for both dog and owner.

January is nearly over, which means only 64% of people are still keeping their resolution*.  Visit RMSAAM’s “Canine Information” to learn more about dogs or register for our “Canine Massage for the Enthusiast Correspondence Class”!

* Statistics from University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, January 1, 2014


Check Out the Free Webinars at RMSAAM!

Soon, I am feeling soothed – as if the moment did call for a universal comforting session during that webinar.
Soon, I am feeling soothed – as if the moment did call for a universal comforting session during that webinar.


by Sandi Martinez

The video clip brings up Jenny.  She has a sling-type contraption around her chest, and she rocks gently side-to-side; she jokes and says she’s not purposely making anyone sea-sick, but comforting her 1-month old baby, who appears to be very content! Soon, I am feeling soothed – as if the moment did call for a universal comforting session during that webinar. After all, maintaining optimum well-being, and care for the older horse is serious business.

The webinar covered: Senior Equine Massage – Helping Support Quality Of Life For The Older Horse. Jenny navigated the waters smoothly as she covered several issues ranging from what makes a senior horse a ‘senior’? Certain signs and conditions of old age that include stiffness and sensitivity related to arthritis, and how massage can help address muscle atrophy, arthritis, poor coat, and emotional issues. Cushing’s disease was also covered in great detail, and Jenny never skipped a beat!

So who is Jenny Rukavina-Marchese? 2007 was a year of big changes for Jenny, when she found herself transplanted to Colorado from Montana on a new and different career path.  Formerly a high school biology teacher, she now finds herself immersed in the horse business after founding Acadia Equine Rehabilitation just south of Denver.  AER was an idea based on Jenny’s personal experience bringing her mare, Acadia, back to work as a dressage horse after sustaining a severe stifle injury that required surgery and months of layup and rehabilitation. Becoming a certified equine and canine massage practitioner fit into the mission of her business, and until recently she said one of the only things missing in her life was teaching… so she now balances her time between her equine rehab clients, teaching equine and canine massage classes for the RMSAAM, as well as a limited number of equine and canine massage clients. Jenny shares her life with Australian Shepherd Cori, a faithful co-worker and companion; warmblood mare Acadia (aka “Cadie”), inspiration for many things and dressage partner; and African Grey Parrot, Roscoe who tries to keep her in line. In her spare time she can be found hiking and birding with Cori, watering her over population of orchids, and continuing her education.

You can tell Jenny has extensive experience teaching, and understands the art of knowledge unfolding. She was straightforward, answered questions asked by other participants with patience, kindness, and compassion, and managed to sail through the webinar without making anyone sea-sick! She was engaging, and very knowledgeable. Oh, and we can’t forget her great sense of humor!

Folks, don’t miss out on these free webinars! They’re informative, engaging, interesting, and oh, did I mention FREE? Click here to visit the webinar calendar, and you can also register for them on the same page. See you there!

A Great Teacher…

"Whoever said you can't have everything in life... must have never had a massage!" (RMSAAM Canine Massage Level 1, with Instructor Jenny Rukavina)
“Whoever said you can’t have everything in life… must have never had a massage!” (July RMSAAM Canine Massage Level 1, with Instructor Shelley Sheets.)


by Sandi Martinez

When I was a freshman in high school, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up. I loved the idea of learning what made people tick. And then, I got older. And I realized that maybe humans are way too complicated, and maybe learning how my own mind worked first before I started figuring out others’, would be the best idea!

My English teacher used to give us writing assignments. I remember everyone grumbling. I thought it would be different to write a poem, which was one of the assignments. So I began diligently by positioning my paper and pen, and then something funny happened; I didn’t have to think very hard for the words to flow. Before you know it, I was on a roll – word after word spilled onto the page like water rolling gently over rocks in a river.

I was stunned at how easy it was. But looking back it wasn’t the act of writing that was easy, it was how my teacher, Mr. Curry (I’ll never forget his name!) treated the pen like a magic wand. He created a world of magic with the very thought of words creating a story, or a particular poetry assignment.

Now I must admit I was a fidgety student! But when I think back, how did he do that? Give me the motivation to actually sit still, pen poised in the air as words flowed? Because he had the following qualities:

• He set high expectations for all students.

• He had clear, written-out objectives.

• He was prepared and organized.

• He engaged students and got them to look at issues in a variety of ways.

• He formed strong relationships with the students’ and showed us he cared about us as people.

• He was a master of his subject matter.

• He helped us to find, and utilize our learning styles.

• He encouraged creativity to enter the picture; allowing us to better grasp a particular concept.

• He was eternally patient!

When enrolled in a learning institution, one thing is certain: It is not the quantity of a teacher’s material, but the quality in which the information is taught.

Interested in learning more about RMSAAM Instructors? Visit our ‘About Us’ page!