Lisa Breger

I grew up in a multi-dog household. My family bred and raised dogs, and as a young child I had an active role in their care and comfort.  The first time I assisted with a new litter, I got to keep my own puppy.  I grew up with that dog, Julie, my constant companion and best friend.  She was a high-strung apricot poodle with black ears. She was as brilliant as she was beautiful. I taught her to read, or more precisely, helped her develop a small sight word vocabulary: sit, stay, paw, other paw, bang-bang (roll over). As is often found in Poodles, Julie suffered from epilepsy. I kept her up to date on her medicine and cared for her during her seizures. Despite her illness, she lived a good, long life. Just as I was with her when she took her first breath, I came home from college to be with her when she took her last.

I studied education in college, having realized a certain talent for the teaching of reading.  I played sports: softball, tennis and basketball, and like members of my family, took these activities very seriously. Later, I went on to graduate school, received an MFA in Writing and began a career teaching writing at Pine Manor College and coaching the tennis team.

Sports can be rough on the body, and early on I sought out “alternative” treatment to relieve muscle restrictions, enhance my performance, and aid in recovery from overuse and injury. These treatments, which are now considered mainstream, consisted of therapeutic massage and chiropractic care. These modalities have allowed me to stay in the game, often competing against younger athletes. I played a lot of productive minutes this year in the faculty vs. student basketball game, while many of my colleagues sat on the sidelines or took anti-inflammatory medication and complained of soreness for days.

Unfortunately, as a busy professional living in an apartment in an urban setting, I did not have a dog until I moved to my own home near Lake Cochituate. However, during those years, I was extremely fortunate the day I was called to help take care of an 11-month-old English Setter, Clara, while her people were on vacation.  Clara and I bonded instantly. We have shared the kind of exhilarating adventures bird dogs love best: misty morning walks in the woods, wild times running the beaches during off season or coursing through the fields and streams.  It takes a long time for a bird dog to slow down, and it was in Clara’s aging process that my interest in canine massage began. I knew the human benefits of massage could be applied to our best friends, and I was compelled to do everything I could to give her the greatest quality of life, which is what best friends do for each other.

When I enrolled in the Bancroft School of Massage to become certified in small animal massage, I knew I had come home to a place as deep as the special bond between us and our beloved dogs. Now, as a certified small animal massage therapist, I feel deeply privileged to have the skills to help our companions enhance their optimal health and healing and boost their vitality. Clara turned 15 this month, and part of her birthday celebration was spent at my lake house receiving massage, hydrotherapy and coursing through the woods, like a dog half her age.  It’s amazing to be able to help dogs keep their joint health and musculoskeletal function with the skill and caring of my own hands.

My Training

I earned my Certification in Small Animal Massage from the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy, successfully completing a 200-hour intensive program in canine anatomy, behavior management, first-aid and CPR, gait analysis, massage techniques, and 40 hours of supervised internship.

I also hold a B.Ed. from Lesley University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College

 

Member, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals