Name: Raileen Murray
Practice Location: Texas USA (from Houston to Austin and up to College Station)
Certifications through Angel's Animals: Equine Myo-manipulative Functional Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Tape, Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I grew up rehabilitating rescued auction horses that usually had backgrounds of trauma, to help them have a brighter future. It took a long time of very consistent training to earn their trust and really make headway. As a barn manager, I saw the impact massage therapy had on our performance horses both physically and mentally, and I knew it was a great fit for me and my mission. Once the horse realizes what is happening and starts to experience releases, it's like a window opens to their soul. For some animals, you can tell this is the first time they have ever felt a human doing something selfless just for them, and their mind is blown by it. It speeds their emotional healing exponentially and allows their training to progress on a foundation of mutual trust. In 2017 I started exploring how to get certified so that others would feel comfortable allowing me to help their animals, too, and I completed my certifications in the spring of 2019.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? As an infant I would go on trail rides in a backpack with my parents, but we moved overseas when I was four and had to sell our horses. I loved them as far back as I can remember. We have always had at least one cat and dog at any time, but I was so crazy about horses that I read every horse-related book in our high school, public, and college libraries. I worked and saved all my money as a kid and bought my own horse when I was 14. I was also fortunate to volunteer at a local private zoo for two years where I handled and cared for animals most people have never even seen live. Having financial responsibility for my horse, though, helped me stay on track as a teen when my homelife was flying off the rails. My horse was my best friend and my source of peace; we spent thousands of hours together. I feel especially tuned in and able to read equine body language as a result.
What animals do you currently own? My family has scaled down to a tiny house for now so we can travel as my son is homeschooled. We currently have a 1-year-old orange tabby named River and a 12-year-old blue heeler/aussie mix named Daisy. Massage allows us to keep horses in our lives on a regular basis (my son is also an avid horseman and loves to come along)! We plan to acquire land in the next couple of years and resume our love of rescuing and raising horses, chickens, rabbits, and bees.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? To be very transparent, I believe having Asperger's allows me to be super-attunded to animals' signals, physical energy, and emotions. At the same time, my practice reflects the down-to-earth, practical nature of a lifetime of working with horses across many roles and disciplines and the maturity earned by higher education and a long professional career. I approach every session with the goal of doing as much good as I can for that animal in that session.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? Whether your animal is healing from physical injury or emotional trauma, is aged, or is a performance animal, massage is not a luxury--it is a crucial part of maintaining or restoring optimal wellness.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career in animal bodywork? There are times when I walk in not quite 'feeling it' that day, but I have never once ended a session less than ecstatic about the relief that animal experienced. If you are blessed with that gift, it is centering and rewarding like nothing else!
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