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Summer 2010 Newsletter

The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM), a not-for-profit organization, was created for the purpose of establishing and upholding professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners.


Each of the following people understand the significance of maintaining the Standards of Practice and Ethical Code set forth by NBCAAM to assure the health and well-being of animals and support the professionalism of their respective disciplines. Congratulations to them all for their dedication!

Faye Bader

Nationally Certified Equine Massage Practitioner
Central New Jersey
Graduated from: Hocking College
Faye said she took the NBCAAM exam because, "I firmly believe in what NBCAAM stands for.  I want to prove to my clients how serious I take my work and that I have a higher standard and education than other so-called practitioners.  Animals are just as sensitive as humans and deserve to be treated with the same kind of respect and level of expertise that a human massage therapist is expected to maintain.

Dee Dee Sorsby

Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
of Equine Mobile Massage of Jackson Hole, Inc. 
Wilson, WY
Graduated from: Western Montana School of Equine Massage and Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute.
Dee Dee said she took the NBCAAM exam because, "I felt that this certification would help validate my equine acupressure profession.  It also was a hard but fantastic way to review all my material."

Wilma Sorsby
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Wilson, WY

Nationally Certified Animal Massage Practitioners:

Marianne McClain, Nationally Certified Equine & Canine Massage Practitioner, attended the Northwest School of Animal Massage and resides in Durango, CO.

Jennifer Wheeler, Nationally Certified Equine Massage Practitioner, attended Hocking College Equine Complementary Therapies Program and resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Kimberly Hellems, Nationally Certified Canine Massage Practitioner, of Blue Ridge Animal Massage attended Northwest School of Animal Massage and resides in Crozet, VA.

Denise Theobald, Nationally Certified Canine Massage Practitioner, of Deeply Kneaded Therapeutic Massage attended Chicago School of Massage Therapy and resides in Chicago, IL.

Nationally Certified Animal Acupressure Practitioners:

Anita Read, Nationally Certified Equine & Canine Acupressure Practitioner, attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and resides in Fort Worth, TX.

Karen ShawNationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner, of West on the Wheel Acupressure, attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and resides in Marshall, CA.

Leann "Lu" Garnas, Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner, of Garnas Equine Therapeutic Services attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and resides in Belgrade, MT.

Kathi Soukup, Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner, of KS Equine Massage and Bodywork  attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and resides in Freeport, IL. 

Casie Bazay, Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner, attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and resides in Porter, OK.

Click here for more information on NBCAAM Members

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Types of NBCAAM Memberships
  • Certified Practitioner Level
  • Individual Supporting Member
  • Business Supporting Member
  • Student Member
  • Massage/Acupressure School
Click here for requirements, benefits, costs and applications

News You Should Know

Food Recalls

This summer has seen its share of pet food and supplement recalls: 
  • In early June, Procter and Gamble voluntarily recalled of Iams ProActive Health canned Cat and Kitten Food – all varieties of 3 oz & 5.5 oz cans as a precautionary measure. Diagnostic testing indicated that the product may contain insufficient levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1), which is essential for cats.  Date on Bottom of Can:  09/2011 to 06/2012. 
  • In mid-June, Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc., of Pacoima, CA, announced a voluntary recall of Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food with the "Best By" date of June 17, 2011, in 5-lb. and 28-lb. bags because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  Consumers are urged to return bags to the place of purchase for a full refund. A separate letter and instructions will be forwarded to all relevant Natural Balance customers.
  • Later in June, United Pet Group voluntarily recalled all unexpired lots of its Pro-Pet Adult Daily Vitamin Supplement tablets for Dogs due to possible Salmonella contamination.  Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to contact United Pet Group or the place of purchase for further direction.
  • On July 1st, Feline’s Pride announced a voluntary recall of Feline’s Pride Raw food with ground bone for cats and kittens, Natural Chicken Formula, Net Wt. 2.5 lbs. (1.13 kg., 40 oz.) produced on 6/10/10, because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.  In late July, the company announced that they were adding their Cornish Hen formula manufactured in the June to the recall.
  • On July 3rd, Merrick recalled one lot of 10-ounce bags of Beef Filet Squares for Dogs because the dog treats could be contaminated with salmonella.
  • On July 25th, Procter & Gamble voluntarily recalled two specific lots of its prescription renal dry cat food as a precautionary measure, as it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.  The products in the recall are Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal 5.5 lbs with the lot code 01384174B4 with UPC code 0 19014 21405 1 and lot code 01384174B2 with UPC code 0 19014 21405 1. 
  • On July 30th, Procter & Gamble voluntarily expanded its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.  The products in this expanded recall are all dry sizes and varieties of Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas, Eukanuba Naturally Wild, Eukanuba Pure, and Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin with “Best by” dates of 01Jul10 – 01Dec11.

Short-snouted dogs most likely to die on airline flights

"Bulldog and pug owners beware: Short-snouted breeds accounted for roughly half the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, Transportation Department data released Friday shows." That's from a story just out this afternoon by The Associated Press, which says at least 122 dog deaths have been reported since the DOT required airlines to start making that information public beginning in May 2005.

AP adds English bulldogs "account for the single highest number of deaths among the 108 purebreds on the list," representing 22 of the deaths on the list compiled by the DOT. Pugs (11 deaths), golden retrievers (7), labradors (7), French Bulldogs (6) and American Staffordshire terriers (4) followed English bulldogs on the list.
Full article

Puppy Mill Puppies Die En Route to Pet Stores

Tragically, on August 3rd, half of the 14 puppies that were being transported via American Airlines from a puppy mill in Oklahoma to Chicago to catch connecting flights to pet stores in other states lost their lives.  The Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Humane Society of the United States are urging the USDA to perform a complete investigation into the deaths.
More info
The NBCAAM Board


Amy Snow
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
Larkspur, CO

Susan King
Companion Chi
Cary, NC


Tina Romine
Hocking College
Nelsonville, OH 

Larry Coon
Dean of
Hocking College
Nelsonville, OH


Susan King (Acting)
Companion Chi
Cary, NC


Sharon Romines
Sacred Breath Massage
Duvall, WA

Members at Large

Nancy Zidonis
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
Larkspur, CO

Lola Michelin
Northwest School of Animal Massage
Fall City, WA

Jonathan Rudinger
PetMassage and IAAMB
Toledo, OH

Bill Harnetty, DVM 
Hocking College
Nelsonville, OH

Honorary Member

Linda Tellington-Jones, PhD (hon)
Tellington TTouch Training
Santa Fe, NM

Member Schools


Business Supporting Members

Click here to see NBCAAM's Board Members, Active Committees and Committee Members.
If you are an animal bodyworker that would like to help NBCAAM continue its success, please email to learn about volunteer opportunities, or to volunteer for an NBCAAM committee.
Thank you for your interest in NBCAAM!

Susan King of Companion Chi in Cary, NC has been named the new Co-Chair of NBCAAM!  Susan has been extraordinary in her work for NBCAAM as acting Secretary, Webmaster and former Volunteer Coordinator. 

Founding Board Member of NBCAAM, Amy Snow (pictured with fellow NBCAAM Founding Board Member Nancy Zidonis), will be heading Down Under in October to teach a full round of hands-on Tallgrass acupressure courses.  Look out Australia, here comes Tallgrass!

photo by Jean Bennett

School Alert!

Review Course Coming Soon....

Since the key to success is preparation, NBCAAM is in the process of creating a certified curriculum to be offered to member schools and their students preparing to take the NBCAAM exams. These NBCAAM-Approved Review Classes will allow new program graduates or those needing a refresher to gain confidence of their knowledge through discussion, lab activities, exercises and mock tests. Stay tuned because more information on NBCAAM Review Classes will soon be available! 

photo by Megan Lamb


Assembly Bill 1980
has caused unease for animal bodyworkers in California because of some of the wording in the bill that insuinates that one is practicing veterinary medicine when providing "relief" for an animal or when one performs physical rehabilitation or musculoskeletal manipulation. 

Those behind the bill say they have heard our concerns and as Debranne Pattillo, President and Founder of Equinology INC® and Caninology, reports:  "I just spoke with Christina DiCaro one of the lobbyist for CVMA (California Veterinary Medical Association) who called on behalf of CVMA Executive Officer, Sue Geranen and the bill author Assemblymember Mary Hayashi. They stressed that this bill will in no way impact your right to offer services in the wellbeing care of animals as a massage therapist, energy practitioner and any similar modalities that do not involve manipulation, diagnosing and prescribing. Animal owners will be able to choose who they wish to provide wellness session for their pets. The intent of the wording in the bill relating to physical rehabilitation (PR) is aimed at those offering physical therapy."

Although this is good news, 
PLEASE sign this petition NOW (no matter where you live)and contact your Senator if you live in CA BY MONDAY, AUGUST 9TH to let them know you oppose Section 3 of the bill that states:

"Existing law prohibits the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and specifies that a person practices veterinary medicine when he or she, among other things, represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine or administers a treatment of  whatever nature for the cure or relief of a bodily injury or disease of an animal.This bill would provide that a person also practices veterinary medicine when he or she performs physical rehabilitation or musculoskeletal manipulation upon an animal, unless otherwise authorized by regulation of the board. By thereby expanding the scope of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program."

See entire bill here.

No more convenience killing in Delaware

Shelter animals in Delaware can consider themselves relatively lucky to now have the protection of Senate Bill 280.  SB 280 (the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act) raises standards for animal shelters by requiring by law that every avenue has been taken to place a healthy animal before they can be killed.  The bill also mandates that shelter animals are provided with proper veterinary care; that shelters be open during convenient hours for the public to increase adoptions, including weekends and evenings; that there be a 72-hour holding period for strays to allow time for reclamation by their family; that every effort be made to find any kind of identification on the animal (microchip, tattoo, etc.); that the shelters work with rescue groups and foster homes to place animals; and when there is no alternative but to take an animal’s life, it must be done as humanely as possible.

See the full text of Delaware Senate Bill 280 here:  


Delaware's Governor Jack Markell signing Senate Bill 280 into law

Protection for Horses with H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act

H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, will prohibit the interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another.

"The time has come for Congress to ban double-decker trailers for all horses," said Keith Dane, The Humane Society of the US' director of equine protection. "We don't need any more gruesome incidents to know that double-decker trailers are inhumane and unsafe. These vehicles are primarily used by the horse slaughter industry for hauling as many horses as possible from auctions to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico. The American public loves horses and this legislation is urgently needed to prevent future tragedies."

Double-decker trailers are designed for animals such as cattle and pigs — shorter-necked species than horses, who require more headroom than double-decker trailers afford. Horses often throw their heads to maintain balance, and injure easily in such vehicles.

See full article here.

This is a typical double-decker trailer that has been banned for the transport of horses in the U.S.

Animals keep their voice in Massachusetts

In February 2009, 15-year-old Jordan Star of Needham, Massachusetts filed a bill to outlaw performing convenience devocalization procedures upon cats and dogs. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Scott Brown, with the title Logan's Law, after a debarked sheepdog. Star said of convenience devocalization: "To take a voice away from an animal is morally wrong." The bill became state law on April 23, 2010.

Bringing Awareness to the Plight of Chained Dogs

Tamira Ci Thayne, co-founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better, an organization that has pioneered anti-tethering laws for dogs, has now launched Operation Fido's Freedom by chaining herself to the State Capital building to convince Pennsylvania legislators to pass anti-tethering legislation.

Legislation against chaining dogs has been passed statewide in Maryland, Texas, California, Nevada, Virginia, West Virginia and Connecticut, and is being considered now in Hawaii, Washington, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maine. 
Similar ordinances have passed in numerous communities across the country.  

Chained dogs tend to be neglected and can be dangerous, straining animal control resources and endangering the community.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA) oppose chaining dogs.  The Center for Disease Control has said chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite adults. Chained dogs are nearly 5 times more likely to bite children. The National Canine Research Council reports that almost 30% of all fatal dog attacks involve chained or penned dogs. The ASPCA reports 81% of fatal dog attacks involve dogs that are isolated. Go here for more information.  Nicholas Dodman, DVM of Tufts University says, "Chaining dogs makes them more aggressive.  They are natural social animals and [chaining] induces 'isolation-induced aggression' and creates a 'junkyard' dog effect.  They basically go mad."
See full article here.

Unchain Your Dog

Have you checked out the thorough Study Guides available for reference at the NBCAAM Website?

Helpful Study Guides for all 4 exams are here.

Photo by Judy Abernathy


Did you miss the Debut NBCAAM Newsletter from the Spring?
Photo by Michelle Bame

See it here!

The information, opinions, and recommendations presented within the NBCAAM newsletter are for general information only. Such information should not be considered veterinary or medical advice and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified veterinarian or physician.




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