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*NEW* Pet Massage offered at St. Ann Center

By September 18, 2015No Comments3 min read


Milwaukee WI September 18, 2015

Contact: Sharon Selz

(414) 977-5064;

St. Ann Center Rubs Pets the Right Way

Does your pet “knead” some attention? St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care now offers a brand-new service to unknot your pup’s sore muscles and get the kinks out of your cat. Therapeutic pet massage is available at the center’s Stein Campus at 2801 E. Morgan Avenue.

“The benefits of massage are very similar for people and pets,” says Joe Ralston, a Certified Massage Therapist at St. Ann Center who is also trained in advanced pet massage and energy work. Ralston, the owner of two adopted greyhounds, has seen the positive effects of therapeutic touch on his own pets. “Massage promotes relaxation and increases circulation, pain relief and joint flexibility,” he says. “Also, dogs that are hyperactive, suffer from storm phobia or anxiety will usually find massage calming.” Rescue animals with a history of mistreatment can be helped by massage, as well.

Attending to the well-being of animals has long been a part of St. Ann Center, a non-profit organization sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. For over 30 years, the center has provided community-based education and health services to children, adults with severe disabilities and the frail elderly. Canine “volunteers” regularly visit Shepherd House, the center’s Alzheimer’s and dementia unit, offering comfort and companionship to the adults in the day program.

“Pet massage seemed like a natural extension of St. Ann Center’s mission to show compassion to all creation,” says Sandy Anderson, director of the center’s Massage and Wellness Department which developed the pet-centric service.

“Pet massage can be used in combination with veterinary care to speed recovery,” says Anderson. When used for rehabilitation, it can help treat age-related problems, relieve muscle tension, soreness, spasms and weakness and address chronic pain, arthritis and hip dysplasia. Active animals are great candidates for a massage, too. ”Dogs that compete, run with their owners, or just play hard can use a good massage,” Anderson says, adding it may even prevent injury.

A holistic therapy, pet massage offers alternatives for owners who are reluctant to rely on tranquilizers or pain medications to treat their pet’s health or behavioral/emotional issues.

“The animal’s owner will be in the massage room with me, so they can watch as I work on their pet,” Ralston says. “That way, they can observe and continue massage therapy at home when their pet needs it.” A 30-minute massage costs $30 and an hour costs $60. Appointments are available Monday through Thursday, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

A preview of the pet massage program will be featured at Darby’s Dash, St. Ann Center’s pet-friendly and family-fun 5k run/walk, set for Saturday, October 3, at the center’s Stein Campus. Ralston will be on hand to demonstrate pet massage and answer questions. There will also be a drawing for a complimentary pet massage therapy session. Free post-race chair massages for human runners and walkers will be available, too.

To schedule an appointment for a pet massage or to purchase a gift certificate, contact Joe Ralston at (414) 977-5091. For information on the program, check out

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