Melissa Ann Toney

I grew up loving animals and always wanted to be a veterinarian, like most kids. Becoming a LSAMP was never on my radar. To be honest it’s only been recently that I learned it was a “thing”. PAWSitive Animal Massage is in honor of our late Boxer, Cleo. Cleo was a rescue pup who was nutritionally deficient. We knew very little about her and she was a bit timid. We welcomed her into our family and raised her with full, happy hearts. Upon our first vet visit, it was apparent her gait was off a bit. It wasn’t until much later she was diagnosed with severe arthritis in her hips. One day our sweet “Cleatus” went and hid under Papa’s truck and would not get back up. We were DEVASTATED as we knew what it likely meant. Heartbroken, we stayed by her side and did anything we could to think of to comfort her. After she passed, we were all distraught and broken. It got me thinking, was there something more we could have done to give her more comfort? The answer is simple: yes. After researching arthritis in animals I found the Northwest School of Animal Massage on Vashon Island offering a massage practitioner program for small and large animals. I had never heard of such a thing and I was beyond intrigued. There was not a single SAMP in our area, several way up north and several south of us, but no one near.

The kindness and warmness of the staff is something I’ll never forget. Lola, the owner, changed my life forever and I will always be grateful that our paths crossed. During class it hit me all of a sudden, I wanted to specialize in senior and end of life massage as well as Hydrotherapy.

It is the most rewarding and soul fulfilling work I’ve ever experienced. When I get an animal who is afraid when I begin to touch areas that hurt, and they begin to understand what I am doing is helping them it’s beyond beautiful. Some animals it takes a few sessions before they trust what I am doing, and when it happens the look they give me is one of gratitude. It’s a connection that is too beautiful for words, and can only be described once you feel it for the first time.

Because of Cleo, I found my passion. I am following my heart and dedicating my life to be a voice for animals who suffer in silence. Animals are incredibly stoic beings and when I can recognize and identify where the pain is coming from, I get to be their voice. I get to help them.

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“Until One Has Loved an Animal, a Part of One’s Soul Remains Unawakened.” - Anatole France

Hello, fellow pet lover! I'm excited to connect with you and your furry companion. Please fill out the form below with your details, and I'll get back to you soon. Together, we'll embark on a journey toward the comfort and well-being of your beloved pet.