Pet Calendar: Pet Cancer Awareness MonthLarry Kay
By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder
It’s Pet Cancer Awareness Month and I caught up with dog trainer and uber pet lover Geralynn Cada of GC Pet Style of Life and talked with her about the “monthly squeeze” that she performs on her pets and that she urges all pet parents to perform on theirs. “This monthly squeeze health check is a great item for all pet parents to put on their calendars,” she said. “You may not only save money on pet care, but you may be the first line of prevention to help your pet if you feel anything out of the ordinary when you do the monthly squeeze.”
Geralynn has been involved with pets since she was nine-years-old and lived on a farm. “I always knew I wanted to be a positive reinforcement dog trainer (even before that was something people talked about) and I apprenticed under a famous Westminster breeding facility for Boxers.” Geralynn, who has a degree in biochemistry knew that her first love was working with dogs. She earned her degree, but pursued her passion of training dogs.
The “squeeze” came about, she said, because she would take the dogs for runs along the river and the river banks were rife with burrs. If the dogs stepped on, or got burrs in their fur I knew I needed to remove them.” Burrs carry bacteria and can get completely entangled in the dog’s fur, sometimes making it necessary to cut out a hunk of fur. “Because of the burrs I would gently squeeze the dogs from head to toe to make sure there was nothing – no burrs – anywhere on them. I was also checking for ticks when I was squeezing.”
Pet Calendar: Pet Cancer Awareness Month
She has been a dog trainer to the stars and pet parents of all stripes. “I am always finding ways to help pet parents save themselves and their pets from headaches and heartache,” she said. “Giving pet parents the skills they need to live happily with their dog is a gold mine for the families. I want all dogs to be able to stay in their homes, and training is an integral part of that.”
Getting rid of the phrase, “I wish I would have known…” is something Geralynn makes certain the pet parents she works with don’t say. “I empower all pet parents with knowledge and skills to have the happiest, healthiest relationships with their fur babies.”
The benefits of the “monthly squeeze”
As a dog trainer and pet parent, Geralynn is always touching and interacting with dogs. She has turned that interaction into a method to help assure the dogs are healthy as well as feeling the love of touch. “I slide my hands up and down every inch of the dogs I interact with – from nose to tail.” She makes sure their skin is intact, that there are no lumps or bumps or ticks. The monthly squeeze helps assure the dog doesn’t have any invisible injuries like a swollen tendon or muscle. “I also check between their pads and make sure their feet smell okay. I check the dog’s eyes and inside their ears to make sure there is nothing hidden in there.”
The squeeze method learning curve
There is a learning curve, she said. “Before you can tell what is out of the ordinary with your dog, you need to know what normal is – a baseline. When you have established ‘normal’ you will notice when things have gone south of normal.”
Another benefit of the squeeze method is that you’re massaging your dog while you’re doing it.
Geralynn knows that understanding a dog’s body and if there are any ailments or swollen muscles will help with her positive reinforcement training methods. “If a dog has a bladder infection or a swollen, aching muscle it will impact its attitude toward me, toward his family and toward training,” she said. “If you’re running your hands down your dog’s body and she whimpers or tries to bite, she’s in pain and you should call your veterinarian to have her checked out.”
She said this squeeze method isn’t limited to only dogs. “I do this for my cat as well and cat parents should work this into a monthly routine check of their cats.”
Make certain you’re gentle when you’re squeezing your dog. “You don’t want to have a pressure on your dog that is so firm that it could hurt them,” she said. “A gentle, all over squeeze is best. Take your time and enjoy the bonding moment with your dog or cat.”
The pet squeeze method, pet cancer and personal experience. If you’re continually touching your pet (like I know I am!) you are the first line of defense in noticing if your pet has any bumps or lumps or suspicious areas that might turn out to be cancerous. Henrietta, my Diva Poodle, has had several moles and skin tags removed which, thankfully, were not cancerous. If I hadn’t been diligent in touching her — all over — I wouldn’t have noticed them hidden in her black curls. I love knowing I am her first line of defense and that I know her and her tiny body so well.