For many of us, the pandemic may have seemed like a nightmare – it became a dream come true for our pets.
Suddenly, canine companions didn’t have a day alone or were afraid of seeing their owners reach for their car keys before going to work.
These four-legged friends are still adjusting as their parents revert to their old routine.
“We created separation anxiety without even realizing it,” said Cheryn Pollard. “You can’t just disappear for eight hours when you’ve been home around the clock for two years.”
As a certified canine massage therapist and veterinary cannabis guide, the Spring Branch resident knows how to keep anxiety at bay. Pollard helps dogs find relief through massage and CBD.
“Massage can help with that – just like it does with people,” she says.
Pandemic puppies, those COVID-adapted canines, are especially vulnerable to tough times these days.
“These dogs went through their formative years without any socialization with humans or animals,” said Pollard.
Now they are entering a whole new world.
But even without the pandemic, life in Houston can be fearful among pets. Pollard pointed out the thunderstorms and sudden downpours that can quickly form in the city. In addition, dogs can easily absorb the stress of their owners.
“Emotion is running down the leash,” said Pollard. “Pets don’t know why. We can’t talk to them or explain it. “
But we can schedule a massage – or schedule a CBD consultation – to make the transition easier.
Pollard’s PAWSE Canine Wellness store is located at Paw-radise Pet Spa, 615 Long Point, where it operates on weekends and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
On weekdays it offers a mobile service in the apartments of the owners.
Pollard, who previously worked in the hospitality industry, became interested in alternative therapies for dogs when her foster dog became seriously ill in 2018.
She had taken previous puppies for acupuncture and visits to the canine chiropractor.
When her foster home was sick, she intuitively began to massage the dog. It worked. When the rescue team checked the puppy, they said, “I can’t believe how well this dog is doing. Are you trained in it? “
“A light bulb went out,” said Pollard. “I asked myself, ‘Should I be?'”
She wanted to become an entrepreneur and do something with dogs. Suddenly she knew which course to take.
Pollard went to Denver to gain her certification in canine massage therapy.
“It was really interesting learning dog anatomy,” she recalls.
Pollard went from discovering the dog’s muscle groups and practicing to working on real dogs, and then passed her written and practical exams.
The next step was to do case studies in Houston. It took her about a year to get her certification, and she founded PAWSE Canine Wellness in 2019.
Then COVID arrived.
“People didn’t want you to come to their home for mobile massage – and they didn’t want to go to your location, either,” said Pollard.
But their services became more and more needed over time.
Massage helps improve blood and lymph circulation; it also triggers endorphin release, Pollard said. She has seen benefits such as better mood, improved flexibility, and better performance, as well as reduced recovery time after illness, injury, or surgery.
“If people have seen the benefits of massage for their dogs, there is no need to explain,” said Pollard.
Pollard’s former employee Chrissy Baskin is one of Pollard’s loyal customers.
“We bonded through our love for dogs,” said Baskin. So it was no surprise to them when Pollard founded PAWSE.
“I was more impressed,” said Baskin. “It’s always brave when you switch from working in a company to the world on your own.”
Her dog Thumper, whom she calls the “love of her life”, enjoys his regular massages.
“I think about how I feel when I play too hard – and Thumper is a great player,” said Baskin. “Now my dog is happy.”
Pollard also helped another of Baskins’ dogs after knee surgery.
“I asked Cheryn to come into the house and she did Reiki on his leg,” Baskin recalls.
The heat from his injured knee disappeared.
“The swelling was better within 24 hours,” said Baskin.
Based on her own experience, she often recommends Pollard to other dog parents.
“I know how much she loves animals, how passionate she is about dogs and their welfare,” said Baskin. “It does this to improve your pet’s quality of life – and I’ve seen the results in person.”
Pollard also offers end-of-life care treatments and aids in the recovery of athlete dogs.
She was certified in Reiki for animals in 2019 and veterinary cannabis this year, allowing her to advise dog owners on applicable state laws, product safety, and treatment recommendations.
She works under the guidance of a veterinarian in all of her treatments.
“It’s not against your vet,” said Pollard. “It’s with your vet.”
She simply wants to help dogs deal with injuries, aging, surgery, and anxiety.
“I’m very passionate about it,” she said. “I just want to learn more and more about what we can do.”
Lindsay Peyton is a Houston-based freelance writer.