Instructors

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Denise Theobald | NCCMT, VMRT, LMT
Founder & Lead Instructor

Chicago School of Canine Massage (CSCM) was founded by Denise when she recognized the need for comprehensive training in the field of pet massage. CSCM was developed to meet the demand of students seeking a high quality and fully hands-on education in the growing field of canine massage. 

Denise has been a licensed human massage therapist for over 27 years and has been working with animals for over 17 years. She is nationally certified in human massage through NCBTMB, she holds national certification as a canine massage therapist through NBCAAM, and is certified in Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapy from The Healing Oasis. Denise, who studied animal massage through a variety of programs across the country, became a pioneer in the field of canine massage when she founded her canine massage business, Pet-ri-ssage Ltd., in 1998. In addition to providing massage therapy services in the Chicago area, Pet-ri-ssage Ltd. offered educational seminars and weekend workshops for various organizational and veterinary clinics. Denise is a graduate of the Animal Sense Academy of dog training which is now Canine Link and serves as staff instructor at Integrative Pet Care, a state-of-the-art canine rehabilitation center in Chicago. Denise is a member of ABMPAPDT, PPG (Pet Professional Guild), and an allied member of AARV (the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians) . She is an NBCAAM board member and is certified in Canine Medical Massage. Denise’s background in athletic training, personal training (she is a certified personal trainer through NASM), and sports massage add a level of precision to her work with canine athletes. Her areas of advanced training and expertise include low-stress handling for dogs, working with touch reactive dogs, trigger point therapy (Janet Travell), neuromuscular therapy (Paul St. John), orthopedic massage (Dr. Ben Benjamin), and sports massage. Denise is a Canine First Aid instructor and First Aid and CPR instructor with the American Red Cross and an instructor at Canine Link. Additionally, she is a PetTech instructor for First Aid and CPR. She is a graduate of Chicago School of Massage Therapy, holding expertise in trigger point therapy and rehabilitative massage for humans and dogs. Denise is also certified in lymphatic edema massage from Klose Institute.

 

Jesse N. | NCCMT, RP, BFA
Program Manager | Instructor | Therapist

Jesse trained through the Chicago School of Canine Massage; completing Level One, Level Two, and the Advanced Certification courses.  He is Nationally Certified in Canine Massage through the National Certification Board for Animal Acupressure and Massage; the highest level of regulated certification. He currently serves as Program Manager, Lead Instructor, and Professional Therapist for the Chicago School of Canine Massage in Melrose Park, Illinois.  Jesse is also an attuned Reiki Practitioner for humans and canines.  He volunteers in numerous Chicagoland rescue organizations, assisting as an adoption counselor, foster, canine massage therapist, and graphic/web designer.  In addition, he has years of experience within a veterinary hospital facility.  Jesse is also certified in Pet CPR and First Aid through PetTech. He enjoys serving dogs by offering comforting and corrective care, as well as, palliative and hospice care, by implementing anatomical, kinesiological, behavioral, and intuitive knowledge.  In his down time, Jesse enjoys hiking with his beloved dog, Freya.

Megan Ridley DVM | CVA, CCRT, CVSMT
Instructor

Dr. Ridley is a veterinarian and medical director at Integrative Pet Care in Chicago with 10 years of emergency medical experience.  She received her doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2001 from Cornell University.  She is a certified canine rehabilitation therapist (CCRT) through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) through the Chi Institute, and a certified veterinary spinal manipulation therapist (CVSMT) through The Healing Oasis.  (VSMT is also often referred to as veterinary or animal chiropractic).  Dr. Ridley has special interest in rehabilitative medicine, geriatric medicine, hospice care and special needs pets.  Dr. Ridley lives in Chicago with her two cats, Lourdes and Lorenzo.  In her free time she enjoys travel, swimming and dining out in Chicago.

Jessie Walter | CCMT, LMT, MRP
Instructor

Jessie is a 2005 graduate of the Chicago School of Massage Therapy and is licensed and nationally certified in human massage therapy. She is a 2011 graduate of the Chicago School of Canine Massage. Jessie is attuned to the second degree of Reiki, and specializes in Myofascial, Trigger Point, Clinical, and Sports Massage. She is the proud Owner/Operator of The Diddy Club, a dog walking, boarding, and pet care company she began in 2006, serving the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. She is on staff at the Cortiva Institute of Chicago as a professional massage therapist, and served for several years as a lead instructor. She continues as a mentor to over twenty massage graduates of the Cortiva Institute.  She recently started Diddy Dog Designs - sewing and embroidering super sassy custom and holiday canine bandanas and toys. Jessie is a Licensed Massage Therapist (2005), Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage (2005), Certified in Canine Massage Therapy (2011), a professional member of Assoicated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, and Certified in Canine CPR and First Aid. When not working she loves spending time with her border collie, Benson… throwing a squeaky ball, baking up dog biscuits, and, of course, giving him his weekly massage! 

Sara May | NCCMT
Instructor

Sara’s passion for canine massage was first sparked while participating in a pet parent massage class offered by the Chicago School of Canine Massage. She quickly decided that she needed to learn more of this amazing work. She completed the 50 hour canine massage certification program at CSCM, and followed that with the 200 hour advanced canine massage certification program. Sara proudly achieved national certification through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM) in October 2012. However, Sara believes that one can never truly be finished with learning and growing, so she continues to seek education and experiences that will expand her knowledge and advance her skill.  

Sara started her own canine massage business in the Chicago area in the summer of 2011.  She continues to have a thriving practice in Northern Virginia where she moved in the summer of 2014.  Sara is certified and experienced in a wide variety of massage therapy techniques and touch techniques, including relaxation and wellness massage, trigger point and myofascial techniques, palliative care and massage for geriatric dogs, pre- and post-surgical massage, and sports massage for the canine athlete.  She also works with touch-sensitive dogs to help them learn that gentle touch is ok and can feel good. Sara is also certified in animal first aid and CPR. Sara has a special love for shelter dogs and regularly volunteers at her local animal shelter, Friends of Homeless Animals in Aldie, VA, where she offers massage therapy to many of the canine residents.   

A former college instructor, Sara is a strong advocate for education. Teaching massage classes to pet parents and to prospective therapists is one of the favorite parts of her work. Through education, she believes that the value and important of canine massage can be understood, shared, and appreciated by an ever-increasing audience.

Heide Jakiel | NCCMT
Assistant Instructor
Heide has been involved in the dog world for 30 plus years. Her love of dogs has led her down many paths, including grooming, training, competing in dog shows, and teaching dog obedience. Heide has a passion for learning and teaching. She continues to attend seminars related to canine behavior, training and nutrition. Her interest in massage began in 2011 as her Rottweiler began to age. Heide’s goal is to bring comfort, healing and balance to dogs through massage.  

Heide is a 2015 graduate of Chicago School of Canine Massage. In 2015 she was also certified in Pet CPR and First Aid. In 2016 she achieved national certification through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM).

When not working Heide spends time with her husband as well as training and playing with her 2 Siberian huskies.
 

Sue Bohr | NCCMT
Assistant Instructor