Zebulon, a 70-pound german shepherd and “good boy," will work with animal trainer Rosanne Krager on Saturday at the Athens Community Center to relearn forgotten commands before an audience of pet owners and other community members.
Tina Romine, an acupressurist and "Zeb’s" owner, said she will help demonstrate how to train misbehaving dogs with Krager, the owner of The Calm Companion. Rescued on a rainy night from a shelter in northern Ohio after being abused, Zeb’s history makes him a prime candidate for receiving the services provided at Saturday’s event.
“I had used him at Hocking College,” Romine, a retired equine education specialist, said. “I brought him into the classroom and he would jump up on the table and let me demonstrate acupressure and massage techniques to the students.”
As Romine massages and Krager trains, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. they will attempt to calm, unclog the “chi” inside and provide behavioral plans for six dogs with no serious medical issues.
“In the world of acupressure, we have what is called chi, and chi is life force. So, basically, I’m effecting (flow) in stagnant chi,” Romine, who has practiced her “structured touch” on animals since the ’90s, said.
Romine explained that when the body develops blockages, energy can sit clogged in some areas, leaving other parts of the body without energy. In dogs, many of which have hip and other joint pains, acupressure can help release tension where the animal’s chi may be concentrated, she said.
“I’m not healing the body, I’m helping the body heal itself,” Romine said. “I’m the nudger.”
Massage also helps to rejuvenate the muscles, to help in the elimination of waste products and toxins and to increase circulation in the lymphatic system, she said.
Dog owners paid $35 to reserve one of the six spots for Romine to “nudge” and for Krager to develop a behavioral plan for the dogs. Anyone can pay $10 to both watch the demonstrations and enter a raffle for various prizes — including massage and training packages valued at $100.
“I’m very excited to demonstrate a balanced method of training,” Krager said. Her training style includes positive and negative reinforcement to make good behaviors intrinsic rather than exclusive to interactions between dogs and their owners.
Krager teaches integrated preschool for Athens City Schools, where she has used similar methods to teach good behaviors to children with disabilities.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Athens Friends of Shelter Dogs, who will use the money to pay their animals’ vetting expenses among other things, Angela Marx, president of Friends of Shelter Dogs, said.
“It’s always nice when community members offer to do things for us,” Marx said, “because we are a small group and it’s hard for us to be in charge of all the fundraisers we do.”
Romine, owner of Trees LLC, in addition to 11 dogs and seven horses, stressed that neither she nor Krager are veterinarians and therefore cannot prescribe, treat or perform medical procedures on animals.
“I want (the audience) to not only have a better understanding of what I do, but to have something from the demonstration they can take away to do with their dog,” Romine said. “My goal is for people to take away how this could benefit your animal, and not only how it can benefit the animal, but how it can benefit you.”