Nancy Schulte was in the middle of giving one of her clients a massage when she realized he had fallen asleep. She tried rolling him over, but he just wouldn’t budge. “He was so relaxed after I did one side that he was a deadweight,” says Schulte. “It was like trying to push a couch by yourself. I needed a massage afterwards.”
The snoozing client, though, could easily be seen as a testament to her relaxation skills, since it’s not easy to pacify a 100-pound English mastiff.
A lifelong animal lover, Schulte’s client list is all dogs. After working for years rescuing dogs from shelters and finding them homes, Schulte found herself fascinated with the idea of dog massage after she saw coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks that showed rescue dogs at Ground Zero getting massages to help them recover from their jobs. She began training, and now the 1993 graduate splits her days working as a part-time English instructor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and a part-time canine masseuse. Her clients are mostly show dogs.
“Dogs travel in carriers to get to a show so a massage helps them prior to the event,” says Schulte. “Then, after the event, a massage helps their muscles to relax and calms them down. It also removes buildup of lactic acid, which can cause muscle tightness.”
While she enjoys working with all kinds of dogs, Schulte hopes to take her skills back to the animal shelters.
“My goal is to find an organization to sponsor my work so I can go to shelters and massage dogs that really need it,” she says. “These dogs are frightened and abandoned. Rescue groups can’t really afford massages, but these dogs are the ones who need it most.”