Instructors

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Denise Theobald | LMT, CVMRT, NCCMT
Founder & 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,  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 studied animal massage through a variety of programs across the country and 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.  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.

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. 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.

Sara May | NCCMT, NCCAP
Instructor

Sara’s passion for canine massage was first sparked during a pet parent massage class at 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 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
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
Instructor

Sue has always had a love for dogs, but it was one, in particular, that pushed her towards learning about the health benefits of canine massage. Spencer was her 13-year-old Lab/Shepherd mix that passed away from osteo-sarcoma. She felt there was more she could have done for him, so her quest began. Sue completed Level 1 and Level 2 classes at the Chicago School of Canine Massage while working a 50+ hour a week corporate insurance job. Needless to say, she has left the "Corporate World" and is enjoying her journey.

Sue is a 2015 graduate of the Chicago School of Canine Massage. Sue also became certified in Pet CPR and First Aid in 2015. Sue is a Nationally Certified Canine Massage Therapist through NBCAAM. Sue has also completed the Instructor in Training program, with the Chicago School for Canine Massage in 2016.

As her quest continues, Sue offers canine massage services through her business, About a Dog Pawsitive Canine Massage, in the Aurora area. She also continues her education in canine massage in hopes of spreading calming, comfort and healing to dogs through massage.

When not working, Sue spends her time with her wife and their two dogs, Wrigley and Maggie.

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Alyson Snelling | NCCMT, RP
Instructor

After spending 20+ years in advertising as an Art Director, Alyson Snelling went after her life-long dream of working with animals. In 2015, Alyson gained her certification in Canine Massage Therapy, Pet CPR and First Aid through the Chicago School of Canine Massage. She is Nationally Certified through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupuncture & Massage (NBCAAM) and an Animal and Human Reiki Practitioner. Alyson has also been involved with several local rescue groups as both a foster parent and volunteer. She is dedicated to continuing to build her knowledge of canine massage, holistic modalities, animal behavior and communication. Her goal as a Canine Massage Therapist is to provide comfort and healing to those in need, and to educate parents on helping maintain a healthy lifestyle for their pets.

Aside from her love of animals, Alyson is an avid gardener, foodie, and occasional knitter. She lives in Old Historic Ferguson with her husband Sam, their three rescue dogs Ibbie, Arturo, and Bishop, and two rescue cats Miles and Thelonius.

Katie Sulzmann | LAT, CVMRT, NCCMT
Instructor

Katie received her BS in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Athletic Training from Northern Illinois University. She started her professional career in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. Later in her career, she discovered there was a way she could take her passion for animals and her background in kinesiology/rehabilitation and make it into a career.

Katie decided to follow through with her love for animals and further her education. She went through extensive training at Healing Oasis Wellness Center and became certified in Veterinary Massage and Rehab Therapy. She also worked as a Animal Rehab Therapist at Integrative Pet Care in the Chicago area. Katie continued to expand her knowledge and completed the Advanced Canine Massage Therapy program at Chicago School of Canine Massage in 2016. After she graduated, Katie sat for the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage and became a Nationally Certified Practitioner. She is certified in Pet CPR and First Aid through PetTech. Katie is always seeking ways to expand her knowledge about animal health, rehabilitation and behavior. She offers animal massage and exercise services through her business, Physio Pet Massage in the Glendale Heights area.

Katie resides in the west Chicago suburbs with her husband Rob, cat Elliott and dogs Scrabble & Rufus. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts, traveling and playing soccer.