Local woman offers services to four-legged friends
February 1, 2019
Jennifer Bird first learned about equine massage therapy while attending Montana State University. "The things that therapists could do for a horse always intrigued me," she said.
A 2007 Carter County High School graduate, Bird went to Bozeman to study animal science. She received her bachelor's degree in 2011.
After college, Bird thought about taking classes for equine massage, but instead moved to Broadus where she spent three years working for the department of revenue.
Then, back in Ekalaka, Bird renewed her interest while researching online. She also began to learn about canine massage and found it appealing. Between February and June of last year, she took three separate courses-two for canine massage and one for equine massage-at the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage in Franktown, Colorado. After each week-long course, Bird completed six weeks of case studies to earn certificates in both equine and canine massage therapy.
Upon receiving those certificates, she started Jennifer Bird Canine and Equine Massage last summer.
Massages can help all animals, Bird says, though many of her clients are injured or older animals. The sessions can improve blood and lymph circulation, increase range of motion and help keep muscles and joints loose and flexible.
"It can help emotionally too," she said, noting aggression and even anxiety that animals can have caused by storms or crowds. "Everything that a massage can do for a human, it can do for an animal."
Bird does have some regular clients in the area that she sees weekly or bi-weekly. She says that those scheduled visits are best for lasting improvement, but that she has also done several massages for animals just once or twice. Besides her growing client base, Bird also uses the skills she has learned to improve the health of her own animals.
Ordinarily, Bird travels to locations instead of having people bring animals to her.
"I usually travel to locations because most animals are more comfortable in a familiar setting," she said. "It makes the whole process easier." A typical massage session for a dog tends to last 40 to 45 minutes while horse massages can last a little over an hour.
In the future, Bird hopes to take more classes and travel more to provide her services to surrounding areas. She recently took a course about stretching and the benefits it can bring animals.
In addition to her new business, Bird works at Fischer Veterinary Service in Ekalaka and at her family ranch. She and her husband, Logan, have a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Allie.
Bird can be contacted for appointments at 406-853-3728. She also books several appointments through her business Facebook page, Jennifer Bird Canine and Equine Massage.