Name: Maureen Bissonette
Location: Golden Valley, Arizona USA
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Canine Myo-manipulative Functional Therapy, Canine Kinesiology Tape, Canine Craniosacral Therapy, Equine Myo-manipulative Functional Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Tape, Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I have always had a passion for animals but it just never really happened till the last year. But years ago I was at these fairgrounds where I lived. They had a demonstration of a lady doing I’m not sure if it was chiropractic or bodywork on this horse, it was the coolest thing. When she was done the horse fell over in a pile of shavings and started snoring. It just blew my mind. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be doing this kind of thing. It just blows my mind.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Oh my Gosh, I have had so many animals growing up. It’s hard to say. Maybe my horse Shiloh. My Mom surprised me one year for Christmas with him. He had been abused by men and I wanted to fix him. He was an honory one, but we came to an understanding. He was such a character. I think he was the one doing the teaching.
What animals do you currently own? The animals that I currently own are MJ, short for Maryjane. She is a 10 year old chihuahua who has not had a good life. Her previous family was not very nice to her. They drug her into WAHS (Western Arizona Humane Society) with her feet bleeding, saying they no longer wanted her. She is quite the character. She likes to growl a lot showing everyone how ferocious she is.
Then I have Jasper. He is a 7 year old little chiweenie. He is the love of my life. I rescued him from WAHS after I had lost another dog to cancer. He lived with a homeless guy in a car with two other dogs. His owner went in the hospital and never came back.
And finally Roo, she is a two year old chihuahua that someone was giving away on facebook and I was afraid she would become a bait dog so I took her too. Roo is part kangaroo, she leaps over everything. She is in the process of obedience lessons and then she is gonna be a star in agility and maybe flyball, depending on what she likes best. She is a tiny thing so it will be fun seeing her compete with the big dogs, but she is just so dang fast.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I think what makes my practice stand out is my love for the animals. In my heart I am supposed to be a healer and I want to heal them all. I don’t want to see any in pain. I have a cousin that lives in Arkansas and I’m in Arizona. She puts up a video of her pony limping and I’m sending her a video of how to tape him since I can’t get there to help him.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? That I am here to help them, I don’t want to see any animals in pain.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career in animal bodywork? Wow, the feeling of actually being able to help them is absolutely incredible. I worked on a dog at a dog show that was limping, the owners thought they were going to have to pull him. I massaged him and taped it up. We left it taped up over night and they showed him the next day and he took Best Opposite Sex. They were ecstatic and I’m like did I do that? Another thing is going into a shelter and working on a dog that is scared and stressed out, terrified and being able to calm it down.
Name: Alice Cuff
Location: Bristol, England
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Craniosacral Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Taping
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I've always had a love for horses, having started riding at the age of 3. Growing up I had thought about a career in horses, wanting to help them. I wasn't too sure so decided to go down the 'traditional' job route but quickly realised that office life wasn't for me!
What animal influenced you the most growing up? I was very lucky to have my own horse from the age of 9, I was definitely over horsed, Erik was a very chunky, slightly crazy 15.2hh cob x, but he was my best friend. He had a lot of quirks and when I lost him I was heartbroken. It was going through the grief and devastation of him no longer being in my life that made me realise I needed to do something that helped these incredible animals. I still believe Erik is with me and guides me.
What animals do you currently own? I currently have two horses, Captain and Duchess. Captain is a 16.2hh ISH who has quite a lot of anxiety and remains quite guarded. He loves having energy work done but it has to be on his terms, you certainly can't force him into having any form of treatment! We have spent a lot of time working on our partnership and building a strong bond.
Duchess was a rescue pony who I rehomed from Horseworld Trust (https://www.horseworld.org.uk), she was rescued at 3 yrs old, completely emaciated and with a foal at foot. She is now 7 and has come on leaps and bounds, Duchess has an incredible personality and it's an honour to be able to work with her.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I pride myself on taking a true holistic approach, no treatment is the same. By incorporating the various techniques I am trained in I can give a rounded treatment that takes into consideration the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of the horse.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I would encourage anyone looking to work with a therapist for their animal to do their research but most importantly find a therapist who suits your horse. Just because someone is highly qualified it doesn't mean that they will connect with your horse, having someone you and your horse are comfortable with is key in ensuring you all get the most from a treatment.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career in animal bodywork? For anyone considering a career I would tell them to go for it! There are many ways of training now, it's important to find a path that works for you and your learning style. Do ensure you find courses that have an in-depth and well rounded content, as well as ongoing support, even after you have qualified. It's important to have this to give you confidence to go out and work on your own.
Name: Geraldine Paradis
Location: Les Arcs, France
Certifications through Angel's Animals LLC: Equine Myo-Manipulative Functional Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Taping, Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I have always wanted to work with a animals since I was a child. At eighteen, I worked as a vet nurse, but I realized I couldn't cope emotionally with the sadness of the pet owners loosing their pet. So, I enrolled in a school to become a horse riding instructor. Horses and horse riding is my passion since I was 7!! I passed my exam (1999) and worked a few years in France until I moved to be close to my dad in England. At this time I started my own livery yard and riding center. There I discovered the massage therapy and other alternative therapy and become passionate about it straight away. I trained and passed my exams and began practicing, combining the riding/teaching and the massage therapy. I also worked in different therapy centers for humans horses.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Horses definitely. They were in my mind all the time. I think they helped me grow up and made me who I am today!!
What animals do you currently own? At the moment, I live in France with my family and we have 1 horse, 1 pony, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 8 hens and 5 rabbits.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? This is a really difficult question as I find it very hard to talk about myself.....but I would say that I have 20 years experience with horses as a rider and instructor which helps me a lot everyday in handling horses and understanding the way horses work (or should work). It is amazing to see how myofascial tensions can affect the horse and his behavior and performance; and obviously in the contrary it is great to see how the release of these tensions affect positively the horse physically and mentally. I practiced massage therapy for 15 years and now I feel I have learned a wide range of techniques (Swedish, Lomi lomi, Deep Tissue, Gua Sha, Reiki, Trigger Points, Myofascial, Craniosacral, and other bodywork methods, which allow me to adapt to what the horses like and need the most.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I would say that I would be delighted to be participating in their horse's wellness team. I really believe that together with the vet, the chiropractor or osteopath, the farrier, the saddle and bit fitter, massage therapy makes the team even stronger. Massage therapy brings something really interesting in the physical and emotional balance of the horses, wether they are leisure or competitive horses. It really helps the horses stay flexible, have freedom of movements and the results show happy horses that are more willing to give their full potential. For me it is such a joy to see performances improving and to see them happy and comfortable within their body! Every horse is special to me and I try my best to find the best techniques suitable for them, and my goal is to find where the hidden tensions are in order to help them feel even better.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career in animal bodywork? I would just say, "GO FOR IT"!!! It took me 15 years to jump and try to see if it possible to make it a full time job....and yes, it is possible!!! This is really the best job I can think of! For me it has been like a dream come true. Wellness is really developing and quite fast in the equine world and more and more people recognize the benefits of massage therapy for horses. You can see it as most high level rider use massage therapy for their horses to keep them at an optimal level and it is spreading to lower levels and even leisure horses! It is so nice to see that so many people care that much for their horses. I believe that all horses are athletes, whatever discipline they do and whatever the level, and they all benefit from bodywork; youngsters, older horses, sport horses, school horses, stressed horses, etc. Massage therapy is a really great way to improve movement, relationships and the good spirit of the horse! This is for me the most rewarding and pleasant job in the world! Spending quality time with horses, watching them relaxing and enjoying their time with you. Also they are just so wonderful when they express the releases by licking and chewing, yanking and totally chilling out. Everyday they make my day really special!!!
Name: Michele Whitmore
Location: Brunswick, Maine, USA
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Myo-manipulative Functional Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals since I was a young kid. I started riding when I was 7 and never stopped. My guidance counselors use to get so annoyed with me that I wouldn’t explore other career options. haha!
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Weirdly enough the wolf actually did because of how strong they are. But horses kept my sanity as I grew up, not to mention kept me out of trouble. They Taught me patience, communication, and to keep a sense of humor.
What animals do you currently own? Well I own 4 horses, 8 chickens and a cat. I have 11 horses on my property though. Leased lesson horses and boarders.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I like to look at the whole animal when I take on a new client. I look at the feet, saddle, the way they hold themselves, also emotional state. They can tell you a lot if you take a moment to look at more then what they are doing wrong. I try to help the whole horse not just the muscle soreness. The muscle soreness is a result of something else in the bigger picture.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? A message I’d like to send out to people is bodywork is so unbelievablely important and so greatly overlooked! It may not be a physical product your receiving and it’s hard to see what your paid for, especially if the animal needs a few sessions. But it work, not to mention they love it! Their bodies are made up of 60% muscle give or take. How can you expect them to preform at their best if they are sore/tight or if they are locked in an incorrect position. Chiropractor and massage go hand in hand! You actually get a better/easier chiropractor adjustment if they get a full body massage! Keep it in mind the next time your horse misses or refuses a canter lead. Ask what’s going on in the back and hips.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? For those thinking about getting into it! Go for it! It’s super rewarding to be able to help the horses on a different level.
Name: Margot Anderson
Location: Okotoks, Alberta Canada
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Kinesiology Taping
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I was born on an Alberta farm, and even though I grew up and went to school in 7 different countries, my parents always made sure I had dog and a horse or a horse was available to me. Horses and dogs have always been a big part of my life and influenced who I am today. Horses and dogs taught me that they are cross-culturally aware, so no matter what country I was in, it didn’t matter to them where I came from, it just mattered that I was kind.
In 2017 after 30 years in the Queens Service, I retired, rescued a Thoroughbred named Ebony and knew that healing her issues caused by prior abuse were beyond my kin. So I registered with Guelph University Equine Sciences online studies so I would better know farm management and equine health in order to be able to give her and my other equines the best possible care. It was in one of these classes that I learned about Holistic Animal Studies from another student. My first course was the Equine Kinesiology Taping Practitioner’s course, and I was hooked on this new learning! I was and am impressed with the results that kinesiology taping can do for animals and humans. I will always be on a mission to ensure the best health options for my herd. This is not something I just do sometimes. I live it. Everyday.
What animal influenced you the most growing up?
It really has to be two, because I have never been without a dog, and my dad gave me my first horse, Clea, when I was 4. I had her until I was 10. Instilled in my daily memory is the hours and hours I spent riding through the Crowsnest mountains, just me, my dog and my horse, eating balony sandwiches by the river. They taught me to be still, to listen, to be brave and to always trust with caution, because even your best friends can get spooked, run away and leave you on a mountain to walk down yourself.
What animals do you currently own?
I own a Thoroughbred, 2 Clydesdales and a 4 year old Palomino, which I have given to a 15 year old girl next door to use as a project horse. A Warmblood and Quarter horse also live with us. I am also the very proud owner of a gorgeous and loving purebred Siberian husky and 9 barn cats (we just had kittens!)
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out?
First of all, I am Certified by Holistic Animal Studies, so my working knowledge and learning is internationally recognized as high calibre. Because of Holistic Animal Studies, I am recognized by the NBCAAM and IFREMT. I also don’t have regular ‘hours’, I take calls in the summer whenever I am needed. Some equestrians are competing all day, so I’ll be there at 9:00pm if that’s when they need me. The most important thing is that I do more than just equine massage therapy. I also do kinesiology taping, craniosacral therapy and CMS. Soon, I will be able to add Reiki to my services. I am a continuing equine education learner, and I will always be on top of what therapy will best benefit the health of the horse!
What message would you like to share with potential clients?
Healing takes time. Healing takes patience. Healing takes attention. Time, patience and attention is what you need to commit to invest in your horse.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork?
There is no reason to wait. Try one of the free previews! Holistic Animal studies wants every student with an interest in animal body work to succeed. Dr. Barbara is always available to answer your questions. Best of all…once you have the course, you have access to it forever. Or you can go back to the Facebook page and ask questions, all your fellow students are eager to assist you! So if you need to go back and refresh information, it’s right there for you. They offer affordable payment plans and awesome discounts. In my mind, Holistic Animal Studies takes away the excuses not to pursue your dream and replaces it with achieving the reality of your dream. Dr. Barbara explains through her videos and text downloads in a way that someone with no real prior equine medical experience can learn, understand and apply. Side Affects: taking these courses lead to learning addictions, improved self confidence, can lead to a financially successful career, cause permanent happiness and will result in animal hair to constantly be on your jacket.
Name: Adelle Stewart
Location: Saskatoon, SK Canada
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Kinesiology Taping, Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I feel like I always knew I wanted to work with animals and specifically horses, since I was a little girl. What took me the longest was figuring out how I was going to make actual income doing so! I am a very technical person and love anatomy and alternative/complimentary therapy so instead of riding clinics I started taking clinics for things like equine osteopathy. I've always been a big animal advocate so working with the health of animals was an absolute natural fit for me.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Definitely the horse. Although I didn't have my own horse until I was 20, I have always had an unexplained natural attachment to them since I was a toddler. I would read any book I could about horses, ride whenever the opportunity presented itself, and always knew my life would revolve around them somehow, and now it absolutely does!
What animals do you currently own? I have two cats (Batman and Sniper), three dogs (Boo, Paisley and Grizzly), four horses (Tuesday, Shotgun, littlebit and Ticket), two miniature donkeys (Patron and Paloma), and also seven step-horses (I run a small boarding facility as well!).
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I personally feel it is my minute attention to detail. I tend to have an eye for tiny signs the horses give us, whether it is a facial expression, a small twitch or tremor, knowing what is normal for each horse, as well as really understanding each individual horse's personality. This attention allows me to quickly observe from a distance when a horse or donkey starts presenting as abnormal. I also feel that my background as an equine first aid instructor really adds value to the prevention and recovery of a horse's ailments.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? The most important wish I have for any horse owner would be that they have a deep and detailed understanding of their individual horse's "normal." Whether that is their vitals, eating habits, travelling patterns, sleeping routines, to their warm up habits, how they take a bit, react to being unsaddled, etc - really observing and knowing how each horse ticks can provide an extremely preventative picture of illness or injury that may just be beginning to present as a symptom. When owners know these key things about their horses, and call us bodyworkers, kinesiology taping practitioners, craniosacral therapists, etc in as soon as they notice a change, we can act as more of a "prehab" instead of rehab. The earlier we can see their horses, the more helpful and preventative our therapies can be.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? Take the plunge! For any animal lover, whether you make a career out of it or not, if you have pets- this knowledge will pay for itself with the care you can provide to your animals yourself. If you do want a career in animal bodywork, I highly recommend Angel's Animals courses to get you there! As a side hustle or a full time gig, the courses and specialties in Angel's Animals classes are an incredible addition to any bodyworker's resume.
Name: Abby Groves
Location: Webster, Florida, USA
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Myo-manipuative Functional Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Taping, Equine Craniosacral Therapy, Animal Neuro-myofascial Release Technique
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I grew up with horses and have always wanted to do something involving animals. I worked as a vet tech at a rehab clinic for a while, and realized that I loved doing rehab with the horses; that’s when I decided to get into rehab and bodywork.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Horses! They’ve always been my passion and I don’t know where I would be without them. They’re the most amazing animals, and have shaped my life.
What animals do you currently own? I currently have three horses, two dogs, a ferret, and some betta fish!
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I would say my practice stands out because of all the different modalities I offer. I’m certified in the bodywork, and also offer Laser therapy, and Theraplate. This helps me offer more treatment options, especially when it comes to rehab.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I always strive to be thorough and in depth with my clients horses. I have a passion for helping the horses be the best they can be, and work hard to give them the best treatments I can, whether it’s bodywork, or rehab!
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? I love my job. It’s so rewarding; it’s a great feeling when you are able to work on a horse and resolve an issue. This is a great thing to do as long as you are willing to put in the work to help the horses. I feel it’s something that you have to really want to do and be passionate about in order to do well at it.
Name: Anne-Charlotte de Chavanes
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Animal Neuro-myofascial Release Technique, Equine Kinesiology Taping
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I grew up with horses, and tried many different jobs in the industry (coaching, training, selling equipment, etc.). I realized a few years ago that what I really liked was helping horse-owners make their animals happy and comfortable. So that's what I did!
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Definitely horses. They have taught me so much - and continue to. I also love donkeys and dogs.
What animals do you currently own? I just adopted a Standardbred that used to race and will now be our zootherapy partner.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I use a multidisciplinary approach (massage, ANMR, kinesiotape, hoof care, nutrition, remedial training...) that enables me to have great and fast results. I am also constantly working on improving my skills and learning new techniques to help the horses better.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I love answering questions so feel free to ask anything! Instead of telling you what to do, I give you my opinion along with all the information you need to make an educated decision. What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork?
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? Good for you! Here is my advice: before you decide what to do, ride along with animal bodyworkers, and other animal health professionals. You'll learn a ton, and figure out what exactly you want to do. Also make the most of any education opportunity you encounter.
Name: JJ Terblanche
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? When I was younger I realized there were issues between horse and rider, I thought equine psychology would help but after completing a course in equine psychology I came to the conclusion that is not what I had intended and then started exploring other avenues of body work.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? I never had my own horse growing up, we only had dogs. Never did I imagine that I would be working with animals.
What animals do you currently own? I currently have have two horses and two dogs.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? I am one of very few body workers that is willing to travel. This is my passion therefore I would like to think I put my very soul into every horse I work with.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? This is really hard work and dedication. It is not always possible to please everyone there will be complaints like there will be praises. Learn from criticism if there is value to it.
Always listen to the rider, they can point you in the right direction if there is an issue.
Name: Earlene Winn
Location: Redondo Beach, California
Certifications Through Angel's Animals: Canine Kinesiology Taping
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? Birth. Honestly by the time I could walk/talk I was bringing home baby birds and other small animals to nurse back to health. By age seven I had my own dog rescue and training- I always wanted to work with animals and improve their lives.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Dogs. I am always amazed by their ability to love unconditionally and forgive horrendous cruelty and still love again.
What animals do you currently own? 2 dogs, 8 birds, 6 tortoises, a snake, 3 lizards, 1 rat, 1 mouse, 6 fish tanks
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? My wide base of knowledge. I try to take as many courses as possible relating to bodywork but also branch out some. For instance Kinesiology Taping and craniosacral courses I’ve taken from you, but I’ve taken homeopathic courses, & nutrition to supplement my massage and water therapy certifications. No one modality works for every animal I have a huge arsenal to choose from.
What message would you like to share with perspective clients? I never give up trying to improve the quality of your animal’s life. Their happiness and health are as important to me as it is to you.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursing a career in animal bodywork? It is hard work but outrageously rewarding. Every big sloppy kiss makes the hours of training, pinching pennies and aching backs worthwhile. It can be a roller coaster of helping one client and losing another. Be sure you understand the whole picture before jumping in. It’s not just playing with animals all day.
Every month Dr. Barbara acknowledges and showcases one of her certified practitioners! You could be next!