What a wonderful book by Dr. Michael W. Fox, former vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, nationally syndicated columnist, and veterinarian. He has also written a related book for cats (same title with Cats, same year, same price) and dozens of other animal titles. For such a small book – 139 pages of reading – The Healing Touch for Dogs is extremely useful, and not only to learn how to massage your pup.
Let’s start with his main focus. Fox lays out how to perform a canine massage step by step,
including many diagrams of a dog’s anatomy to help you begin the practice. He notes that most dogs love this touch but not all, so he advises proceeding slowly and calmly.
A few success stories are described, including a wonderful wolf tale. This
wolf with distemper virus encephalitis was one of the first animals Dr. Fox
treated with massage. Also partially paralyzed in her back legs, the animal was extremely sick “and not responding to the usual methods of treatment.”
The veterinarian tried massage, gently at first, then more regularly and strongly. Despite her serious conditions, “The wolf recovered with no treatment other than injections for glucose saline and phenobarbital to control seizures “ and lived for another eight years.
Fox recommends touching your dog often, with or without massage, to discover any new lumps or bumps – something I know only too well from my pet cancer research and subsequent book.
However, there are so many other wonderful, humane aspects to this book. Dr. Fox is a holistic vet and clearly defines what that means. He quotes from Albert Schweitzer on numerous occasions. Schweitzer
- doctor, theologian, organist and animal lover (his theory “reverence for all creatures” is seminal within the animal advocacy community)
- said that a good doctor awakens “the physician within” the patient. Fox believes that touch and massage do exactly this.
Fox discusses a nutritious canine diet, advocating for organic or “home-prepared recipes”; he lists sites for holistic and alternative vets; he offers a useful reading list. The veterinarian recommends the related practices of acupuncture and acupressure, too.
This book is filled with kindness. Dr. Fox’s years of experience and compassion show through on each page. The book is useful, and it will make both you and your canine companion happier. As Dr. Fox says, in a summary of his ideas: “The Healing Touch can liberate all creatures great and small, because it enables us to connect our hearts and minds with their spirits for the good of all.” It just makes so much sense.