Rubi Sullivan is one of Portland’s most beloved animal pros and SIX-time Top Dog Award winner for Holistic Wellness Practitioner. Come behind the scenes with Spot and get to know Rubi better . . .
Spot: Did you ever dream growing up that you’d end up where you are professionally?
Rubi: No — I didn’t even know it was an option!
Spot: How did you get here?
Rubi: Growing up as an only child, being around animals all the time . . . seeing them go through the life cycle. We had many pets, and I always cared for them. I knew I had a drive to be around animals and pets. I went to college to be a teacher, thinking teaching was great and it would be fun; but while I love kids . . . it wasn’t the right fit at this point in my life. Then I discovered there were schools to learn animal massage, I went for it, and after school I knew I was doing the right thing. I feel so fortunate to do this every day.
Spot: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Rubi: When I get a dog that’s either tricky or new . . . to really have it understand why I’m there and enjoy its session.
Spot: What would “tricky” be?
Rubi: Oh, a pet that’s uncomfortable or nervous in the beginning . . . fearful or wiggly.
Spot: What’s your biggest challenge?
Rubi: [Laughing] . . . scheduling!
Spot: What are a few of the top benefits of massage?
Rubi: Better mobility. I’ve had owners tell me massage lengthens their pets’ lives. Also, it warms my heart to see an uncomfortable dog enjoy his or herself and sink into the massage — a person getting to see their dog relax.
Spot: What’s your dream for the future of animal massage?
Rubi: It would be amazing to have more massage therapists to provide dogs and cats these benefits. I see so many happy animals benefiting . . . so — more!
Spot: Where do you see the field of animal massage headed?
Rubi: There is a better understanding thanks to education available to pet owners. I see it trending up — with pet owners and therapists.
Spot: Do you get regular massages?
Rubi: I do! They help so much with my own muscle tension, stress relief and overall rejuvenation. They make a world of difference!