Meet Lisa Ruthig, Lively Dog

Lisa is the founder and owner of Lively Dog in N. Grosvenordale, CT.

Cattie: I first met Lisa through Bancroft’s animal massage online discussion group, and was immediately impressed with her wealth of knowledge. People in the group ask a LOT of questions about pretty much everything related to animal health, as well as the practicalities of being a practitioner, and Lisa always has an answer. She will share her experiences and expertise both as a teacher and a practitioner with us here, and I am absolutely thrilled that she agreed to be a regular contributor to AWG.


Lisa and Fergus, Lively DogI have shared my life with some wonderful animals. Muffin, the first “Lively Dog,” helped me to survive puberty and exemplified enjoying life while working within your limits. I wish I had known massage back then to help with her arthritis, but she made the most of what she had.
My next dog, Fergus, suffered a traumatic injury when he was a puppy. He needed a steel plate to secure his broken femur and it remains to this day. While the break was not near a growth plate, that leg grew slightly shorter than the others. He also became anxious after the experience.
I knew that he would be prone to arthritis as he aged and wanted to learn something that would help him. This desire led to me animal massage and as I studied it, I realized I had found my new passion and life work. At this point in my life, I had already left scientific research, feeling disillusioned with the politics, and was gratified to find a career with such deep meaning. In animal massage you not only help the animal, but also the people who care about that animal’s well being. Think back to the last time your dog, cat, or horse was sick or injured, how heavy you felt, and how relieved you were once they felt better. Animal massage has the power to improve peoples’ lives, both Lisa Ruthigthrough the benefits to their animals, and the calm and healing atmosphere created at a session.
In my teaching at Bancroft, I try to emphasize this deep and almost mystical connection to the work, while keeping myself and my students firmly grounded in the scientific principles that dominated the first half of my life. Keeping current with research in massage and physiology can only help the authenticity of our practice and give us the confidence that we are always doing the very best work for our clients.
In my column here at the Animal Wellness Guide, I would like to pass along knowledge that might be useful to the new practitioner just starting out, as well as to the experienced professional. This coming month we will explore finding the courage to market yourself to new clients and grow your business, which is second nature to only a lucky few. We will try, like my first mentor Muffin, to make the most of what we have.

Read posts by Lisa

If you would like to submit a question for Lisa, you can do so either by using the “Ask a Question” window below, or by using the contact form.

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Lisa Ruthig
Lisa is a Small Animal and Equine Massage practitioner, Reiki practitioner, instructor and director of Animal Programs at Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA. Learn more about Lisa
Lisa Ruthig


Small Animal and Equine Massage, Reiki, Dog Training
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