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Pet Perspectives: Massage, Acupuncture Now The Norm For Ailing Pets

By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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Jake Tedaldi, a Boston Veterinarian who founded Vetcall, (Credit: WBZ's Mary Blake)

Jake Tedaldi, a Boston Veterinarian who founded Vetcall, (Credit: WBZ’s Mary Blake)

420x316-grad-blake1 Mary Blake
Mary Blake is an award-winning reporter and anchor who joined WBZ News...
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Pets

BOSTON (CBS) — Frederika Vecchi is a canine masseuse in Pembroke.

She’s been working on dogs for 10 years and says they are very receptive to massage therapy.

Listen: Pet Perspectives Part 3 With WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s  Mary Blake

“Basically what I work on are older dogs. Many of them have had surgery on their knees, elbows or hips,” says Vecchi.

Related: Pet Perspectives Part 1 & 2

She says after two sessions, the dogs know what to expect and they settle right in. She also says massage therapy for dogs is catching on. “For years and years, acupuncture was off to a slow start, and now everybody knows about acupuncture for their pets. I see massage going down that same path,” says Vecchi.

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Marie Cargill is an alternative care practitioner in Boston’s Back Bay.

She works on both animals and people, using acupuncture, Chinese herbs and homeopathy. She’s been in the field since the 1970’s, and for more than 20 years, was the only individual in New England who offered this type of treatment for pets.

“It went from absolutely ridiculous, no way it’s ever going to help a cat or a dog, to now, we have what they call holistic vets who charge phenomenal prices to do the same treatments I do, says Cargill.

Cargill is self-trained and she remembers her initial experience with acupuncture.

“There were some charts and stuff on where to put the needles, but they were in Chinese, so it was a little squiggly for a while, but it happened,” laughs Cargill.

She says animals are a bit weary at first, but they love the needles.

“I have this old cat that comes in. She’s 19 and she starts to drool. I have dogs that fall asleep, and then the next time they come in they run into the building. They can’t wait,” says Cargill.

Over the years, Cargill has treated birds, rats and snakes. She started working with horses at Suffolk Downs last year, and says 100 turtles were among her more challenging clients.

“Now that’s interesting, because you only have four legs to work with,” says Cargill.

She says 40 percent of her clients are pets and the rest are people. Cargill also serves on the board of Gracie’s Mission, a non-profit group that provides alternative care for economically disadvantaged pet owners.

She says the mission’s immediate aim is helping veterans with their dogs.

Dr. Brendan Riordan is an animal chiropractor out of Norwell.

“When I’m working with animals, I’m usually very quiet. I just want to connect with that animal and feel what’s going on inside that animal’s body and how I can best facilitate and help that body to heal,” he says.

Riordan says he loves being asked whether he works on people, too.

“Of course I work on people, too. About 50 percent of the business is animals and the other half is people,” he says.

Among Riordan’s clients is an Australian Shepherd dog named Ginny. Ginny’s owner, Diane Dewberry runs a health food store for pets. The Healthy Animal in Pembroke was a change for Dewberry, after 25 years in the dog grooming business.

“I first started my way with acupuncture, and then I started my dog with acupuncture. I changed my diet and then switched my dog to a raw diet to help him with his allergies. I started oils and herbs and then he started with them. What you do in the human world just translates right over to the animal world,” says Dewberry.

Listen: Pet Perspectives Part 4 With WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s  Mary Blake

Jake Tedaldi, a Boston Veterinarian who founded Vetcall, makes house calls throughout Greater Boston.

He says the majority of his clients like the convenience of not having to transport their animals to a clinic.

He recently stopped at Michelle Avery’s home in Weston to treat Lucky, a Chinook suffering from advanced arthritis and hip problems.

“I see in the way they react to me that they’re comforted by my presence. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, and I get some that aren’t comforted by anyone or anything. However, I’m still there and capable of helping,” says Tedaldi.

He gave Lucky an injection that increases Lucky’s mobility. Teladi says over the past 20 years, a big change has been the availability of information.

He says many pet owners have a list of questions for him because they’ve been able to do a lot of research. Tedaldi says he sees between 25 and 50 clients a week.

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