AchyPaw - Remedial massage for dogs
- Professional & appropriate therapy
- Tailored massage & exercises routine
- Advice on home adaptations
- Advice on additional therapies
- Personalised workbook that includes;
- massage routine, exercises & advice
AchyPaw – Canine Physical Therapy in East & West Sussex
With over 6 years experience working with canine mobility issues, the AchyPaw team are qualified, registered and affordable. We offer a multi-modal and complementary therapy service for injury recovery, rehabilitation and all mobility issues for all dogs from puppies to silver faced seniors.
Each dog is different. Each has their own individual response to their presenting issue – whether it is post-surgery, lameness, arthritis, bonding, and all the other hundreds of conditions we have met. We don’t subscribe to the “we can fix your dog in three sessions” principle. We’ve had dogs who have been helped after just one session, others we see with a series of sessions, some we see monthly, fortnightly, biannually or even weekly. Each case or issue is treated as an exclusive case. There is no set schedule for healing.
Classes and workshops
We aim to empower owners to be able to perform beneficial massage routines at home. If you would like to learn some massage techniques, we can arrange workshops which teach you how to massage your own.
About the AchyPaw Team
The AchyPaw team has two experienced professionals who are available to support you through issues you may have with your dog's mobility. Dr Les Ellam (BSc, PhD, Dip CM) and Chris Penny (Dip HE Nursing, CNHC Reg, Dip CM) have experience in both canine and human massage. We do not restrict themselves to one set of skills or a single discipline, and instead use all our skills and experience. This can be very effective when holistically treating the behaviour and nature of a dog. Having a toolkit of skills and techniques available to call upon allows us to adapt to the circumstances we find and develop a strategy for dealing with any issues we encounter.
“I told Les I would sing his praises to anyone who would listen and that’s exactly what I’ll do. I contacted Les because I am a first time dog mum and I have to say it has been a very emotional experience so far. I’ve had cats all my life and know them inside out; I can read them, I can understand their body language, I can use my hands to give them pleasure, reassurance and relaxation. With every new animal you home (especially a baby), you have to build a special language with them to enable you to communicate your emotions and intentions and have the most happy, fulfilled life you can together. Never having had more than the odd tickle of a dog’s ears, I have found it very hard learning how to speak to Sherlock and how to help him speak to me. But we’ve both worked hard and I’ve had help from a great dog trainer, but I still had some gaps that I desperately needed to fill. I needed reassurance that my dog is a happy dog (he perfected the sad puppy look on day one) and I needed to know that I was doing everything I could to build the best bond I can achieve. I also know Sherlock is growing an inch a minute and has had various tummy, ear and eye issues and so I was interested in what massage could offer him to raise his general wellbeing and help him grow in the most healthy and comfortable way. Enter Les!!! I chose Les because of his approach to massage and his clear desire to do everything he can to support an animal’s wellbeing. He provides specialist care for injured animals, including by referral from vets and he teaches owners how to deliver massage so they can give this gift to their babies everyday. Les chose me (even though it was a pretty big gamble taking on an 18 week old!) because he could see that Sherlock and I were in need and that I was doing everything I could to give Sherlock the best life possible. He gave me a phone consult where we discussed what I was looking for and what he could offer me and most importantly, what was best for Sherlock. We decided on a one to one session so that Sherlock had as few distractions as possible and wasn’t being asked to participate for longer than he could cope with. I knew just from this call that it was going to be well worth the journey to Brighton from South London to learn from Les. He even very kindly offered to collect us (me, my Mum (who Les was delighted could come as well) and Sherlock) from the station and took us to the park for Sherlock to have a wee break on the way. First Les talked me through the muscles we would be focusing on and what they do for Sherlock. Then he demonstrated 13 massage techniques with the help of his two superstar canine teaching assistants, Sarah and Sam. I have a suspicion that between chewing Les’s carpet during these demonstrations (sorry about that!), Sherlock will have seen two dogs experience this process and enjoy it, making him more comfortable taking part and having an idea of what to do. Sherlock had been struggling to settle down before it was his turn – he’d had a very long journey and was in a new and exciting situation. Les asked me to get Sherlock into position and talked me through all the moves again as I applied them to Sherlock. He did well by staying in position, but was still wriggling from time to time and needed some distraction to let me do my work. However, he soon decided this was actually quite enjoyable and was a lot more cooperative. Time for a wee break and back again to do the routine once over. This time, he flopped straight down and just soaked up the massage – he loved it and I loved him loving it. He was facing away from me so Les gave me a running commentary on how Sherlock was relaxing, falling asleep and smiling. Sherlock was sighing in relaxation, I was sighing in relief. Les could show me that I do have a happy dog, who is bonded to me and who I can deepen that bond with and help to be as healthy as possible using massage. I’ve learnt how to read his muscles to know where he is tense and where he needs support in his growing and I’ve shown Sherlock that I can help him in this way – it must be nice to know that you now have a personal masseuse!! Les is a fantastic teacher; he makes everything clear, simple and easy to understand and is very supportive, patient and enthusiastic and most importantly he cares deeply about the welfare of you and your animal. He clearly loves his job and watching what massage can do for animals. All his kind words mean a lot to me. This was an emotional experience for me (yes, I cried) and I’m so glad that we came to learn from Les, we even got a lift afterwards and I have received a personalised guide to all the massage techniques I have learnt – what more could you ask for?”
- Zoe and Sherlock
“Hi, I'll try and keep this brief, it may go on a bit...but don't worry, it ends well, nobody dies and you'll learn something. My best friend Luther the Weimaraner reached 10 last year. He's a HUGE dog, over 50k at one point but always fed and exercised and loved very much. 2015 wasn't great for Luther, prostate removal, stomach problems and then the diagnosis that he was very arthritic. I was devastated, not least because I hadn't noticed the change in him because we're together all the time. I went back to my vet who I've had for over 20 years to discuss Luther's options, even if that meant euthanasia. He said, "I know you'll think this ridiculous but I know a guy who's a qualified dog masseur...and don't roll your eyes!" So I'm there, I've dabbled with massage, acupuncture, reflexology & feng shui, what did I have to lose? My best friend. So I called Dr Les Ellam kind of reluctantly. I mean I'm a realist, and with all that's happening in the world, the thought of paying to have my dog massaged, while I'm having a £10 haircut from the Turkish barber kind of grated. But the universe gives you what you need - I'd known Dr Les for about twenty years, four times a week at the gym. He was a Dr at Brighton or Sussex Uni, and had helped me with some research for my job as a journalist but the gym closed and we had lost touch. So I decided to give him a go, Luther was in a bad way. Took a few minutes, but from the first 6 weekly sessions, Luther wanted to eat again, go out, and didn't need the tramadol !!!! Les showed us how to learn his techniques and use them between visits. As Luther got better, Les suggested once a month but I see Luther gets wobbly after about a fortnight. I cannot praise highly enough the service Luther has received, he has been given back to us. Maybe not for years, but at least being a giant 11year old dog with arthritis isn't an unhappy life thanks to Achypaw. Also impressive, is the way Dr Les shows you how to do the work, it's not a situation where you can't help your pet unless you hire him. My insurance paid for 15 sessions and they've been worth every penny. Achypaw prolonged and increased the quality of Luther's twilight years. If I hadn't seen it myself I would never have believed it. "Get your dog massaged? Oh please!" Ok, I said it may go on, but if you have an aging dog that seems a little stiff, you may know how it feels yourself, at least look into this service. If you can't afford ongoing treatment as some of us are fortunate to do, then maybe a workshop is better. But if you love your dog, it may be the best thing you can do for them. Thank you for reading this far. See Luther on Instagram under #lutherweimaraner So, the plan...drugs? Therapy? I trust my vet and we tried Metacam that made him ill, moved onto TRAMADOL !! That wiped him out, he couldn't make the stairs (we have a four floor townhouse), he wouldn't eat and last November I had to keep going into other rooms to cry about losing him so he didn't pick up on the vibe - u know that sounds bollocks to some people, but when you bond with another life, you bond.”