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Fall 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!

Kim Bauer

Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Animal Ease Therapies, LLC
Parkdale, OR  
Graduate of and Instructor with Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and Graduate of Northwest School of Animal Massage

Karen Shaw
Nationally Certified Canine Acupressure Practitioner
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner

West on the Wheel Acupressure
Marshall, CA
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Brenda Utzerath

Nationally Certified Canine Acupressure Practitioner
Modern Dog
Beaver Dam, WI
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
Brenda said she took the NBCAAM exam because, "Education and credentials are important. Without them, I was just another pet lover with good intentions. By enrolling in an accredited school and ultimately passing those stringent expectations, I was well prepared to take the NBCAAM exam and enter the profession of animal acupressure with confidence and credibility. It is important to uphold the standards and ethics in this profession and NBCAAM is setting those standards."

Diane Wilson

Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Miami Valley Equine Acupressure
Yellow Springs, OH
Attended Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
Diane said she took the NBCAAM exam because, "I believe in ethics and being held accountable to a high standard. If we don’t strive for excellence, and expect other practitioners to as well, the animals are the ones who will suffer.  They deserve nothing less than the best."

Lynn Caldwell 

Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Miami Valley Equine Acupressure
Yellow Springs, OH
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Sheryl Mankel
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Wichita, KS
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
Sheryl was motivated to take the NBCAAM exam by "the feeling that we should be the best we can be and the ability to prove it. If I am going to practice on someone else's beloved animal, I want to know that I have the knowledge to do the best for that animal. Anyone can give a loving touch, and the animal will respond, but if you have the knowledge of WHERE to touch, you are given the ablility to heal."

Collene Gaolach
Nationally Certified Canine Acupressure Practitioner
Seattle, WA
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Sharon Akiyama
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Denver, CO
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Nationally Certified Animal Massage Practitioners:

Marianne McClain
Nationally Certified Equine & Canine Massage Practitioner
Durango, CO
Graduate of Northwest School of Animal Massage 

Jennifer Wheeler
Nationally Certified Equine Massage Practitioner
Pittsburgh, PA
Graduate of Hocking College

Kimberly Hellems
Nationally Certified Canine Massage Practitioner
Blue Ridge Animal Massage
Crozet, VA
Graduate of Northwest School of Animal Massage

Denise Theobald
Nationally Certified Canine Massage Practitioner
Deeply Kneaded Therapeutic Massage 
Chicago, IL
Graduate of Chicago School of Massage Therapy

Faye Bader
Nationally Certified Equine Massage Practitioner
Central New Jersey
Graduate of Hocking College

Nationally Certified Animal Acupressure Practitioners:

Anita Read
Nationally Certified Equine & Canine Acupressure Practitioner
Fort Worth, TX
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Karen Shaw
Nationally Certified Equine & Canine Acupressure Practitioner
West on the Wheel Acupressure
Marshall, CA
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute 

Leann "Lu" Garnas
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner,
Garnas Equine Therapeutic Services
Belgrade, MT
Graduate of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Kathi Soukup
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
KS Equine Massage and Bodywork
Freeport, IL
Graduate of 
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Casie Bazay
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Porter, OK
Graduate of 
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Wilma Sorsby
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner
Wilson, WY

Dee Dee Sorsby
Nationally Certified Equine Acupressure Practitioner

Equine Mobile Massage of Jackson Hole, Inc.
Wilson, WY
Graduate of 
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and Western Montana School of Equine Massage

Click here for more information on NBCAAM Members

Check out the 
NBCAAM Café Press Shop!

Take a look at the comprehensive Study Guides available for reference at the NBCAAM Website!

Helpful Study Guides for all 4 exams are here.

News to Know

America's Shameful Treatment of Symbols of Our Heritage

Photo Living Images by Carol Walker

Over the past 10 years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has removed some 74,000 wild horses and burros from the range, and it intends to remove a total of 12,000 horses this year. The current program is costly, illogical, and has also had tragic consequences.*   The despicable tactics used by the BLM to round up these majestic creatures would make any animal lover's stomach turn. They have chosen the warmest days of the year to terrorize the horses with low-flying helicopters over many miles causing a "stampede of death". The stories of the irresponsible and unnecessary carnage enrage and break our hearts.  Two foals died after their hooves were run off as they tried to escape the roaring helicopter. Another young foal whose hooves were falling off had to be euthanized after several agonizing days. The geriatric horses that have survived the cruel roundups are killed and it's called "humane euthanasia". As much as the BLM has tried to prevent any observers or documentation, there are pictures and videos of these senseless roundups that haunt us showing helicopters actually hitting the horses and the brutal death of the wild stallion dubbed “Blue Moon”. Horses, many of them older, would fall from exhaustion and not be able to get back up, despite many attempts until they finally gave up for good. 

The Humane Society of the US has called for a halt of these massive wild horse roundups after a well-publicized massacre over rough terrain at Nevada's Calico Complex roundup (Tuscarora wild horse gather in Elko County, Nev.), which In Defense of Animals fought in federal court. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) reports, "of the 1,922 Calico horses reported as captured 
by the BLM between December 28, 2009 and February 4, 2010, 86 horses have died to date. Dozens more sustained injuries as a direct result of the helicopter stampede, transport to short-term holding, or confinement in "feedlot"-type holding pens. An additional 40 heavily pregnant mares spontaneously aborted."

These 'holding areas' that the taxpayers are paying private land owners for are strictly controlled and don't allow for observation by concerned parties. All of the Calico Complex horses were sent to Broken Arrow Holding Facility in Fallon, NV where no covering or windbreaks are provided. The horses have no protection from the wind and cold, not even newborns.* There are proposed wild horse sanctuaries that would try to provide a more natural, less captive-like existence for these deserving horses, but opposition has been met. One has been proposed by Governor Bill Richardson in New Mexico and has been dogged by criticism of spending federal economic stimulus funds to buy the land. Another is the dream of Madeleine Pickens in Elko County, Nevada called "Mustang Monument". Madeleine and her husband, Boone Pickens, led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States. Their work resulted in the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act by the United States House of Representatives.  The Elko County Commission has voted 3-1 in opposition to the sanctuary for many of the same reasons that wild horses are under attack: a perceived threat to land that could be used for cattle. There is a fear that allowing this sanctuary could lead to the conversion of more cattle ranches to horse sanctuaries at the expense of future cattle ranchers.

Since 1971, the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from their Western home ranges and taken away over 24 million acres of wild horse habitat. Only 37,000 wild horses and burros remain on public lands in the West. By contrast, millions of cattle graze our public lands. Thirty-two thousand wild horses who have been removed from the range are already held in government holding facilities.*

There are now almost an equal number of wild horses in captivity in short-term holding facilities as there are still roaming public lands. The Cloud Foundation estimates that, since BLM began actively managing the herds in the early 1970s, more than a hundred herds have been eliminated and the total population of wild horses still on the range has been cut in half.*

This winter, BLM plans to roundup 9107 wild horses and burros and remove 6,244 of them. After that they plan to roundup 5,548 wild horses in the summer and remove 4,502 of them- total of 14,655 rounded up and 10,746 removed for fiscal year 2010. On top of the $75 million BLM is asking Congress for (basically half to roundup these horses and half to feed what will be over 45,000 in government holding), BLM is requesting $42.5 million to purchase private land in the East to house captured, sterilized and separated wild horses. This is part of the absurd “Salazar Plan” that has been met with close to zero public approval and is likely not within the legal abilities of BLM. The over 24 million acres that have been taken away from wild horses and burros over the past 40 years must be returned to the horses and the horses released back onto these herd areas. Call on Congress to Rein in BLM Spending! TAKE ACTION HERE.*

Please Ask President Obama to Protect America's Remaining Wild Horses

Please Take Action Today on Wild Horse Bill (S. 1579) 

Equitarian Workshop Lays Groundwork for Future Collaborations

The word “equitarian” was coined by Dr. Jay Merriam, a presenting clinician at the first annual Equitarian Workshop held recently in Veracruz, Mexico.  The workshop—a four-day educational event designed to foster equine welfare globally—was a success on many levels.  

Organizations represented at this event were as diverse as the individuals; HSVMA, AAEP, The Donkey Sanctuary, WHE, and AAMVEE each brought a unique institutional perspective to Equitarian work, and the groundwork was laid for further collaboration. 

Learn more about global equine welfare at the 56th Annual AAEP Conference in Baltimore, where there will be an equitarian panel discussing the specifics of organizing, funding and supporting new initiatives to help working equines around the world.
-David Turoff, DVM

See article here.

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


Lisa Malone
Dallas, TX


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

Lisa Ruthig
Lively Dog
Thompson, CT

Advisory Board

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

Michael W. Fox, DVM
Minneapolis, MN

Member Schools

Business Supporting Members

Student Members

Courtney Collins Horn
Student of Northwest School of Animal Massage

Bettina Lally
Student of Northwest School of Animal MassageTallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and TTouch

Jami Waldrop
Student of 
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Winston Rodriguez
Student of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

NBCAAM Member Listing

Have you missed past NBCAAM Newsletters?

Don't worry! You can
see them here:
Summer 2010
Spring 2010 - Premiere Issue

NOTENBCAAM recognizes animal massage and acupressure are not intended to replace medical or veterinary healthcare. NBCAAM Certified Practitioners do not provide medical diagnosis, prescribe medications, perform surgical procedures, or provide chiropractic manipulations. We do expect that NBCAAM Certified Practitioners only provide the professional services set out in the Scope of Practice and strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics identified on this website. NBCAAM cannot be held responsible for anyone not acting within the Scope of Practice or not adhering to the Code of Ethics herein.

photo by Megan Lamb

Dr. Michael W. Fox joins Linda Tellington-Jones on NBCAAM's Advisory Board! Dr. Fox is renowned for being the pioneer in the field of animal massage and human-animal relationships. A distinguished veterinarian and author, Dr. Fox has written over 40 books and currently writes the nationally syndicated newspaper column Animal Doctor. Dr. Fox has served in various positions with the Humane Society of the United States, including Scientific Director and Vice President for Bioethics and Sustainable Agriculture. NBCAAM is honored to have Dr. Fox on board!  See Press Release here.

NBCAAM Partners with Washington State!

Since 2007, Washington State has regulated the certification of animal massage practitioners. The state requires that candidates complete 300 hours of instruction as well as successfully pass a qualifying examination. The great news is that the Washington Department of Health is in the process of being able to accept NBCAAM's exams as their qualifying exam! We will keep you posted on this exciting development. 

NBCAAM Welcomes Two New Board Members:  
Lisa Malone and Lisa Ruthig

Lisa Malone of Equishen in Denton, TX has taken over the NBCAAM Board Secretary position. Lisa received Certification in Equine Acupressure from Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute.

Throughout the mid 1980s and 1990s, Lisa owned and managed the Malone Boarding Stables.  She also successfully bred and showed Appaloosas which included a 2 year-old Texas High Point Western Pleasure Horse, Impressive Dolly, and Smokey Adair, 4th place Non-Pro Halter at the Appaloosa World Finals. In 2002, Lisa began studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship and has completed Level 3 with her horse Nightwind, who she shares her life with, along with her husband, their other equine partner, Winnie and an incorrigible Corgi named Nikki.

Lisa Ruthig, BS, CSAMT 
of Lively Dog in Thompson, CT is the newest Member at Large on the NBCAAM Board. Lisa is Director of Animal Programs and an instructor at Bancroft School of Massage Therapy.

After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BS in Biology, Lisa worked in molecular biology and immunology laboratories for a number of years before a traumatic injury to her puppy, Fergus, led Lisa into the realm of complementary healing techniques. A graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy's Small Animal Massage Program and a Level II Reiki practitioner, Lisa uses her scientific mindset, along with her natural affinity for the emotions of animals, to guide her in treating various behavioral problems, injuries and movement disorders in small animals. Lisa shares her life with Fergus and Smitty, two rescued terrier mixes.

photo by Jessie Henderson

NBCAAM Review Courses Coming Soon!
Preparation is the key to success, so Amy Snow and Lola Michelin are working hard developing comprehensive review courses to help candidates prepare to take the NBCAAM exams. This curriculum will allow new program graduates or those needing a refresher to gain confidence of their knowledge needed to pass the NBCAAM exams and become Nationally-Certified. Stay tuned because more information on how to participate in NBCAAM Review Classes will soon be available! 

A Collaboration Not to be Missed!
IMA Seminar (Integrated Massage & Acupressure) - Caring for Canine Tendon & Ligament Conditions Seattle, WA - March 5-6, 2011

Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute (TgAAI) and the Northwest School of Animal Massage (NWSAM) are collaborating on a unique course for canine massage and acupressure participants and practitioners. Canine issues will be addressed from both an Eastern and Western perspective and integrated massage and acupressure session plans will be developed. Participants will see and hear how the two top schools approach different canine conditions. There will be hands-on exercises and lots of interactive discussion. This course will fulfill 20 hours of the elective requirement for Tallgrass participants and CEs for NCBTMB. 

This IMA course will expand your viewpoint as well as your treatment options!

NOTE: Prerequisites: This course is open to Tallgrass students who have completed 150 hours of acupressure training in the following courses; the hands on classes, Intro to Acupressure and Meridians & Specific Conditions 1&2, as well as the online classes, Overview of TCM and Meridian Theory. NWSAM students who have completed the LAMP100 program (150 hours) are eligible for this class as well. If you are a graduate of another program and wish to sign up, please submit your transcript to be considered for the class.

Course Level: Intermediate Level
Price: $350.00
List Price: $375.00

You Save: $25.00




Practitioners in California were able to breathe a sigh of relief on August 10th when language was removed from Assembly Bill 1980 that would have made their occupations illegal unless they were Doctors of Veterinary Medicine. See the amendment here.  Thank you to all who had their voices heard!

Governor Schwarzenegger Vetos CA Anti-Declaw, Devocalization Bill

As with the fur labeling bill and anti-puppy mill bill, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed another animal welfare measure, 
A.B. 2743, a bill sponsored by The Paw Project that would have prohibited landlords from requiring tenants to devocalize or declaw their animals. Although AB 2743 applied only to landlords, the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) feared that this bill could be used as a "stepping stone" to a statewide declaw ban. The bill contained no provisions which would have restricted or prohibited veterinarians from performing devocalization or declawing procedures.

This animal protection bill was supported by animal welfare organizations including the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Veterinary Medicine Association. It was supported by tenant groups and was also supported by those that the bill intended to regulate, landlords. The California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents over 50,000 landlords responsible for over 2 million rental units, formally urged the Governor to sign the bill.

See more at The Paw Project.


There is reason for celebration at the narrow passing of Prop B (The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act) in Missouri. The final verdict was a real shocker seeing how at one point, the bill was losing by 200,000 votes. When 1.75 million votes had been counted, there were only 21 votes separating the two sides! When it was all said and done, compassion won out by 61,028 votes. It is estimated that Missouri has 30 percent of all puppy mills in the country, with 200,000 breeding animals producing 1 million puppies a year according to the Humane Society of the United States. Prop B gives large-scale commercial breeding operations one year to provide the most basic of humane care like: sufficient food and clean water; necessary veterinary care; sufficient housing, including protection from the elements; sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend their limbs; regular exercise; and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The measure will also limit the number of breeding animals per facility to 50. Opponents to the measure included the American Kennel Club (AKC) and surprisingly, the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association.

Just days after Missouri voters approved tough new restrictions on puppy mills, Missouri lawmakers started talking about amending or overturning them. Opponents claim reversing Prop B might be seen as an effort to save jobs in the rural economy, because the new regulations could force many breeders out of business. Barbara Schmitz, spokeswoman for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs and Prop B spokeswoman, countered that economics actually argued in favor of the new law, because it will create additional demand for veterinary services and reduce the larger social costs of mistreated animals.

Read more here.


House Bill 5772, which passed the legislature earlier this year, has now been signed by Governor Pat Quinn and has thereby become law. Beginning January 1, 2011, pet stores must disclose the origin of any dog or cat sold, including any sales over the internet. The Pet Store Disclosure Bill amends the Animal Welfare Act and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. 


Pennsylvania has become known as the "puppy mill capital of the East."  The undesired nickname resulted mainly from the prevalence of dog factories in Lancaster and Chester counties where puppies are the new cash crop in Amish and Mennonite country.  Governor Ed Rendell tried to change this with the passing of HB 2525 (The Dog Law) in 2008.  

The law banned wire flooring; mandated unfettered access to outdoor exercise areas; required breeders to adhere to strict temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting requirements; doubled cage sizes; barred stacking cages; and ordered that only veterinarians can euthanize dogs. The last requirement was added when two Berks County breeders shot to death 80 dogs in kennels after an inspector issued citations for extreme heat, insufficient bedding and dangerous flooring, and ordered veterinarian checks for 39 of the dogs.*  Opponents of the law are upset that many breeding operations had to shut down since the law went into effect in 2009.  At the beginning of last year, the state had more than 300 commercial dog kennels. Today, there are 111.* There's no way to know how many unlicensed and undetected puppy mills there are.

The new developments that have dog lovers so upset happened in July, when the state Department of Agriculture issued two controversial policy statements: one reversing the outdoor-exercise regulation and another saying that pregnant and nursing dogs can be kept in cages with up to 50 percent wire flooring. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission in Harrisburg recently approved the amendments, despite nearly five hours of testimony opposing the changes.*Pennsylvania Attorney General and governor-elect Tom Corbett must now review and decide whether to approve the regulations.


It was a victory for both wildlife and voter rights when 56% of Arizonians shot down Prop 109 (The Arizona Hunting and Fishing Amendment). Opponents dubbed it a 'power grab' that would have that would have taken away citizens' rights to use the ballot initiative process to protect wildlife. The bill could have even jeopardized previous measures such as the 1994 ban on steel-jawed leghold traps and poisons on public lands.  

North Dakota, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee

Animals did not fare as well in these states on November 2nd when Measure 2 in North Dakota was shockingly rejected by almost 57% of voters. Measure 2 was sponsored by a group of hunters and would have outlawed the disgusting and morally objectionable practice of canned hunting, where exotic and native animals (often tame) are trapped within enclosures making killing them much easier. There is even remote canned hunting done via the internet. Canned hunting has been banned or restricted in 20 states. 

Wildlife suffered a major setback at the polls when Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee all made it a constitutional right for their citizens to hunt, trap, fish and harvest wildlife.

NBCAAM Membership has its Privileges.

Become a NBCAAM member and get your name and link on the NBCAAM website, newsletter and other promotional materials.

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

The Rabies Challenge Fund is transitioning to a new and improved e-mail communication system and they need verification even if you are already subscribed that you’d still like to receive e-mail communications from the Rabies Challenge Fund. These communications are typically critical action alerts regarding rabies vaccine legislation throughout the U.S. and other timely news about the Rabies Challenge Fund.

It’s very simple – please take a quick moment to re-subscribe to their new list by clicking here and entering your e-mail address.  

***Between September 1 and November 30, 2010, donations to the Rabies Challenge Fund will be matched by an anonymous donor, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000! ***

The goal of The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust is to extend the legally required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then 7 years by financing the concurrent 5 and 7 year rabies challenge studies currently beginning their third year at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and being conducted according to the USDA's vaccine licensing code, Title 9 Section 113.209 by Dr. Ronald Schultz.

Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute's Amy Snow and Kim Bauer recently returned from a full 11 days of hands-on courses in Australia. Their students included some savvy travelers from the U.S., Argentina and Ireland that combined their learning with sightseeing in places like Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand. Check out Tallgrass' schedule and pick one of the great locales from England to New England to visit and learn animal acupressure!

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 on NBCAAM committees.

Photo by Gail Court

NBCAAM offers you an opportunity to be recognized as one of the best animal massage and/or acupressure professional practitioners in the country!
Join now:

Thank you for your interest in NBCAAM!


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