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Doggy Massage, Acupuncture, Reiki Provide Holistic Healing for Hounds

By Janet Upadhye | April 9, 2013 8:26am

FORT GREENE — Pet owners with animals suffering from bum knees, bad hips or unbalanced chi need look no farther than local dog walking company, Brooklyn Bark, to learn about alternative methods to helping their four-legged friends heal.

The fledgling Brooklyn-based company hopes to spread the good word on alternative veterinary medicine in a seminar covering pet acupuncture, massage, and alternative medicines for mosquito, tick and flea season, food allergies, pain management and behavior modification.

"I am particularly excited about learning more on this topic," said Brooklyn Bark employee Helen Bowers. "Humans are increasingly into eastern medicine — and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for dogs."

Bowers became a believer after her dog, Angel, was diagnosed with bone cancer.

"Acupuncture kept her comfortable in her final weeks," she said. "It helped ease the pain at the end of her life."

Bowers is excited to talk with other pet owners who may not know that there are alternatives to over the counter prescriptions.

But to some, pet acupuncture is old news. In fact it has become a growing trend in the last several years according to certified veterinary acupuncturist, Dr. Lucy O'Byrne, who has several furry patients who come in regularly for treatments.

Pet massage and Reiki, on the other hand, is less common.

Lon Black was part of the first graduating class of animal massage at Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in 2004. Since then he has grown a small business providing massage, Reiki and acupressure to pets.

"Legitimate training for pet massage is very recent," he said. "My goal is to educate people more about it and let people know it is a viable means for healing."

The self-proclaimed kitty masseur takes pride in helping numerous patients recover from painful injuries, even helping pets to walk again. Black will be teaching seminar participants some of the pet massage techniques he uses.

Lastly, Dr. Kristine Young will cover natural, chemical-free ways to address the upcoming tick, mosquito & flea season.

The Advances in Alternate Veterinary Medicine Seminar will take place at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture in Prospect Park on April 11 at 7 p.m.