Dog masseur Michelle Lim’s profession may be rare in Singapore, but the former recruitment consultant and personal assistant has found her true vocation in “healing” dogs.
Playing a vital role in their road to recovery constantly reinforces her decision to follow her heart, she says.
Ms Lim, 32, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, left the corporate world as she felt that the environment did not suit her. Encouraged by her mother, she decided to explore jobs in the pet industry.
In early 2010, the dog lover, who owns a Maltese-Jack Russell cross, joined Pawsitive Sensations, which provides professional holistic canine massage therapy and water therapy services, as an apprentice.
Now, she is one of the company’s three canine massage practitioners, as well as its team manager. Her job includes meeting new clients to assess their dogs and propose therapy plans.
Her family and friends supported her transition from an office job to working with dogs.
“They are intrigued when they know what I do for a living. Some are also fascinated about dog massage as this field was uncommon in Singapore a few years back, unlike in the United States,” she says.
Treating furry clients
She is mostly on the go during her eight-hour work day, travelling in her van conducting house calls islandwide.
She works with her canine clients at their homes, or at a dog pool for those that need water therapy.
Most of the dogs have mobility problems, such as hip dysplasia, which could be hereditary or have developed from an injury.
Ms Lim explains: “These types of mobility issues can severely restrict motion and the ease of performing day-to-day activities like climbing a step or even walking.
“We identify and address existing or potential problem areas of the dog’s physiology.
“Through disciplined massage strokes and water therapy techniques, we aim to re-balance the energy of the dog as a whole and aid it in self-healing.”
Older dogs that have a weaker immune system and physical body and thus suffer from stiff joints, sore muscles and poorer blood circulation have also benefited from her massages and water therapy.
Her moves can even help stressed dogs to unwind.
Pet owners also engage her to perform relaxation massages on their beloved furry friends to accelerate recovery from certain illnesses, instil calmness and even to help them heal emotionally.
Dogs that have to adjust to changes in the family or were previously abused or abandoned typically need to heal emotionally, she explained.
Friend of dogs and owners
Her job more than just indulges her love of dogs — it reaffirms her personal mission statement, which she describes as “finding happiness within and giving happiness to others”.
“Others” in this case, also includes humans.
She says: “We meet many friendly and kind clients whom we gradually become friends with. I have always liked to be a listener and to help others.
“As massage practitioners, we often act as an adviser or a counsellor to clients when they worry about their dog’s health.
“I feel a great sense of fulfilment whenever I can lend a helping hand to both the dog and its owner. When the dog heals, its owner heals emotionally in the process too.”
Of course, at the end of the day, what she loves most is meeting the different breeds, sizes and personalities of dogs.
Seeing them recover and being welcomed by their wet kisses and excited tail wags re-fuel her passion every day.
She says: “I don’t see myself doing anything else at this point in time. I can certainly say I have found a long-term career where I can combine my strengths, interests and need for making a living. I am indeed very fortunate and I am grateful for it.”
For details, visit www.pawsitivesensations.com