I loved this interview with Hayley Hilton, owner of Hands On Heart Clinical Canine Massage. Especially Hayley’s impression of an aching Labrador…

All joking aside! Hands on Heart Clinical Canine Massage offers a dog massage therapy service in Warrington and around the Cheshire including Runcorn and Widnes. In this #HaltonHour Features interview chatted about dogs (obviously…), vet referrals, the benefits of canine massage, staying visible online as a business and much more!

You can get involved in #HaltonHour too, find out how on our Get Involved page.

#HaltonHour Interview with Hayley Hilton, Hands On Heart Clinical Canine Massage

In this video I chat with Hayley about:

  • Why vet consent is needed before canine massage therapy
  • Who can refer a dog for massage therapy
  • Working with dogs while social distancing with owners…
  • Mental health when isolated
  • Noticing signs of pain and discomfort in your dog
  • Video marketing and staying visible online as a small business owner
  • and more!

Watch Via YouTube

Video interview with Hayley Hilton, Hands On Heart Clinical Canine Massage Therapy (please like and subscribe 🙂 )

Connect with Hayley Hilton

Website: https://handsonheart.dog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HandsOnHeartCanine
LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/hayley-hilton-hands-on-heart-clinical-canine-massage-%F0%9F%92%9C%F0%9F%90%95-098b7a38

#HaltonHour Features: Hayley Hilton Video Interview Transcript

Transcribed with otter.ai

Jan Kearney
Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hayley Hilton
And yeah, okay, so I’m Hayley Hilton and I run Hands On Heart Clinical Canine Massage Therapy, as you can see from behind me. And yeah. And that basically means that I reduce the pain and increase the comfort in dogs of all ages, really. And yeah, I’m based in Warrington, but I have been travelling all the way around Cheshire and Lancashire and currently trying to figure that out at the moment. But yes. Yeah.

Jan Kearney
So one of the things I wanted to ask you, because you specifically say, a Clinical Massage, is that all vet referred? Or can you self refer?

Hayley Hilton
Yeah, so we do actually need a vet referral for each, a vet consent form for each of them. But I think I haven’t done it and an actual statistical analysis, but I think it’s kind of about yeah, at least three quarters of people that actually come to me first. And say, you know, my dogs got this issue, or they’ve been limping on and off, I’m not entirely sure what the issue is either been slowing down, or the behaviours change this way. And then because of the fact that I need a vet referral form or a vet consent form to, to make sure there’s no underlying issues. And I mean, that’s the same with any massage therapy for any dogs, whether or not you call yourself clinical or not. And it’s, it runs alongside the vet surgeons act. And, and it’s, it’s one of those you know. So it’s, it’s just making sure that there’s no underlying issues with the dog, because we’re not medically trained. So we just have to make sure that that that all those boxes have been ticked, but and it gives us that extra conversation point with the vet as well, actually. And so it’s it’s one of those, you know, so we can keep the conversation going for the good of your dog really. And does that answer the question?

I’m terrible at waffling,

Jan Kearney
That answers the question. It’s just it’s, yeah, you’re the first person I’ve met that’s actually specifically put the clinical in, and I went Oh, right. Is it vet referral only at that point, but

Hayley Hilton
yeah, but it’s, um, I think I had quite a few actually have come through in the past year, once the vet starts to get to know me, and the trust me as well, because obviously, it’s not just a dog to the dog owners that need to trust you. It’s also about, you know, that any of the vets are any the dog behaviourist, or anyone like that as well. But it’s, it’s that I’ve actually had quite a few of the vets have said, Oh, yeah, well, we know somebody who can help with that. And that’s been quite humbling as well. I’m after you’ve been struggling to get those conversations going. And now they’re just I’ve got a couple of them referring to me. I know, I know, someone can help. Oh, thanks.

Jan Kearney
Brilliant. So really sort of personal question now. Perhaps.

Hayley Hilton
I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Jan Kearney
Not that. Not that personal. You said you work with dogs of all breeds. So yeah, I mean, do you have a favourite breed of dog to work with you like big chunky dogs or little diddy dog or?

Hayley Hilton
Well? I mean, obviously, a lot of people who know me know that I’ve got a Rottweiler anyway. And yeah, I think they they are definitely my favourite breed of all. And I spotted this a couple of years ago when I was at dog shows and have you see a Rottweiler you’re like, Oh, can I come and stroke your dog? See, I’m just as much of a dog lover as anybody. Um, but yeah, I mean, I see quite a lot of the Labradors and a lot of the retrievers and they always, I mean, they always amuse me, because if you do actually hit a point that’s actually hurting, they tend to lick you to try and distract you to get away from it instead. Whereas a couple of the other dogs will start to grumble or you know, you have to, if notice in those signs until we get up to that point, but the Labradors are just like I said, I’m just going to come in and lick you to death and you’re not gonna want to do that to me, are you? I just get into that it’s about mindset of the dog as well. Well, they, they do they just have spotted that especially if they’ve got any areas in their hips or their knees. And yeah, that’s they don’t know whether or not you can have a favourite but, but yeah, and any dog that just kind of likes me, I suppose.

Jan Kearney
I would imagine its most of them if you sat there massaging them

Hayley Hilton
I mean that that said that the first session is about building that trust and, and get and building the baseline. So it’s getting the effleurage and the blood flowing around the body and softening the tissues up so that that one is a lot more pleasurable. But it is when you actually get to the deeper layers of muscles, that you start to find the ones that are hurting and the ones that are causing the issues. I mean, it may have been something that’s been there for quite a quite a few years. But because the dog adapts and the dog starts, you know they’ll run on a certain leg, but then you’ll have the other leg that starts to overcompensate, but you start to get to those the pain points. And yeah, it does, they don’t tend to like it. So you know, some of them and then after after you build that trust that they do actually tend to think well, you know, it’s it is more of a case of Oh, actually, I know that that’s going to hurt now, we call it therapeutic discomfort in the trade. But it’s so it’s one of those you know that if you really need to get a knot out for any of us who have human massages. And if you really need to get that knot out or do it one of the myofascial release techniques. And it’s Yeah, it can be a bit painful in that instant, but then all of a sudden, it’s released and you go. Oh, I see what you mean now, right? Yes. And so that bit can be a bit relaxing. But yeah, actually during it some sometimes that is a bit tricky.

Jan Kearney
You’ve not had anything go for you?

Hayley Hilton
No, what they have, there was one who was bless him, there was an Italian Greyhound, but he just had, it just had a double knee operation. He’d had a load of other things, he had a lot of myofacial pain going on as well, which is a layer of connective tissue that’s underneath the skin, it can hold quite a lot of the pain. And he had a lot of things going on. I think he’d been groomed the day before. And he was walking all over slippery surfaces within the house as well, which was exacerbating the situation. And so so yes, he did end up he did end up snapping at one stage. But I’ve thoroughly understood why. Because everything was just going on. Yeah, with all that stress, if it’s just that one little thing, and it’s just like sod off now. And immediately, he was like, Oh, I’m sorry. And it’s like so all right. So right, don’t worry, I’ll get a plaster off your owner. It’s Ironically, the more I mean, the the the the dog bites that I actually have got, in my past, I’ve actually been from when I used to do the dog walking in the dog home boarding. That’s, that was kind of, you know, when you walk in multiple dogs, and you’re looking after one and then one gets in the way of another one, and then you get in the way. And, and but actually know that that is actually the only one from from last year, which was, which is that one. Thankfully, I did you do tend you do tend to notice those signs and signals starts off with a lip licking, which which can be a sign of the pain, but also a sign of the stress as well. But I don’t know, I tend to have that whole, I spot it and then we kind of lock eyes and then it’s that moment, you know, in a romantic movie when you’re looking at looking for the red light. Choice, okay, and then kind of look away, especially where the Labradors like, oh all right then…

Jan Kearney
You’ve mentioned last year, last year was a bit of a shit show for many people. Really? Did you work throughout that? Or is it was it something that you had to pause? And just do? I don’t know. But do you have any urgent cases for massage?

Hayley Hilton
I the thing is I was quite lucky in the fact that the guidelines for human massages were to stay away from from each other obviously. But because of the fact that I could stay two metres away from the owner and still look at the after the dog. I was able to do a lot of garden appointments that beautiful summer that we actually had last year I was man it helped to take advantage of that. And a couple of my clients actually set areas up in their garages as well for for those rainy days. Those were quite good. But no, the I mean, the government guidelines were were really around the if it’s a welfare issue for the dog, so yes, if it was a maintenance session, and and you know the dog wasn’t actually in any pain, but if you’re there to if your techniques are then going to prevent the pain and from returning like a lot of the chronic conditions so arthritis or hip dysplasia, and it’s the muscles have a tendency to, to this splint the joint. So they, they, they over work in place of the joints. So actually, if you don’t see to those muscles, then the dog will be increasingly in more pain. But I actually got quite a few new clients as well, who, who obviously needed the treatment phase because of the fact that their dog had been limping or was either, you know, post operative. And, and yeah, it was, it was, I was lucky in that respect. But I was also unlucky in the in the fact that I was 2020 was the year that I was going to build my business up and tell everybody about it was going to go everywhere. But then I think it was. So obviously, the previous two years that I’d been doing it full time, then I didn’t have that, you know, the books were still going up, as we all know, with like starting new businesses, then, you know, said that the books were on that upward trajectory. So the some whether or not that the government, you know, disliked me actually applying for any of the things that’s computer said no, so I wasn’t actually eligible for any of the handouts, unfortunately, because your business hasn’t taken a plummet, you know, but I still need something to live off. It’s just

Jan Kearney
I need to eat this week. Yeah.

Hayley Hilton
Yes, it would have been nice, you know, obviously, I’m still here, I’m fine. Um, but no, it was it, the were those those ways of actually, you know, being able to continue with the job. And, and they, I had quite a lot of heartfelt moments actually, during that as well. So not just for the dogs themselves, but also the dog owners. Because sometimes, even if it was like a garden appointment, and it was sometimes the first time that that owner had actually seen anybody, you know, face to face either, even if it was like 5-10 metres apart from each other. But it was, it was nice to at least be there as a listening ear for the owner as well. During all that,

Jan Kearney
there, I was very lucky that I’ve worked right the way through, so I’m so thankful I did because I don’t think I would have coped a living on my own just me in the dog. Whereas in normal circumstances, that is perfectly fine. It’s like, you know, I do social distancing by choice, why are you stay over there? Even I who don’t do people have found it really, really quite difficult that when you want to have a conversation with someone other than your dog? To a real life actual person? Yeah, that’s Yeah, to be sat in your house all day and locked down? I don’t think I would have coped very well.

Hayley Hilton
No, I wasn’t like that. When I did the I used to run Hilton hotel for dogs. That was the name of our home boarding business. And, and I realised that it was like 24, seven. And it was this was before COVID. And I and I was exactly the same and you, you don’t realise how much of a of an issue it has with your mental health just talking to dogs. I mean, they’re great company, and they will listen to you, but whether or not you know, you’re making sense or not. But you do yeah, I mean, the amount of times when I have done another those those friends who who just came around and we’re like, right, I’m taking you out for lunch. You can leave them alone for I mean, it couldn’t couldn’t leave them alone for longer than three hours. And so but it was one of that. So they knew that those were that was when they had to bring me back for that. Especially if they can, I had had friends that on social media who could tell when my mood was dropping, I couldn’t tell. But they were like, yeah, you sound really down. I’m coming taking you to lunch and I was like Thank you. You don’t realise until after you get back. So I mean, I’m assuming it was exactly the same for a lot of people.

Jan Kearney
A lot of people struggling. Did you find when obviously, because people were forced to stay at home. Did you find your referral started to creep up as people noticed things with the dogs that they might not have noticed normally because yeah, you fly around the block before work or you quick walk when you get home and and it’s part of a busy life, isn’t it and all of a sudden, you’ve got this dog that’s with you all day every day. And they notice don’t they?

Hayley Hilton
Yeah, and there was a exactly there was a lot of that I had I think I had like three separate months it was rather random. I had the best months in my business ever over these three specific months and yeah, I think it probably was a correlation as as to you know, when people had been at home for probably about a month or so during each lock down period and, and yeah, I think it was just those bits. You know, as you say you’re you’re spotting them not getting out of their beds more often because they’ll normally have been sleeping all day. And they’ll have been self recovery and healing the bones and the muscles anyway as the as you were probably at work. And then and then yeah, you’re noticing them take longer to get up out of the bed or they’re not coming seeing you as often or, or not getting not jumping on to the their favourite spot of the sofa. And you think or at least they’re hesitating, but because obviously you’re up there, then there’s there’s that reward at the end of it. But yeah, there were a lot of people who noticed, I think noticed a lot more and, and just opening up that dialogue plus the fact that I think the more people on social media who were actually seeing me talk about, about canine massage therapy as well. And, and those videos that actually work. As we were saying earlier about technology. Well, yeah, I think it it did just open up that dialogue with people and just got the the canine massage therapy out there with a little bit more trust the people were thinking, yeah, it’s not actually this pamper session. You know, it’s it’s not there’s woowoo technology, it’s actually just working alongside the vets and alongside other therapists and people can start seeing the changes.

And yeah, that’s

Jan Kearney
One of the things that you when you mentioned videos. I mean, I’ve known of you since before this whole mess, and it was because my dog walker shared a video that you did originally. And, and then yes, then I attended one of your online classes, and it was about preventing injury in in the home, which was really, really interested. Well worth going to. Now I’m buying coffee of you? So it’s wierd how things.

Hayley Hilton
Yeah,

Jan Kearney
connect.

Hayley Hilton
Yeah.

Jan Kearney
But yeah, it was the saying that videos at work. But yeah, it’s about keeping yourself out there and talking about what you do.

Hayley Hilton
And the and the videos, it always amuses because everyone always says, you know, how do you how do you get so confident in the videos?

Well, you know, when you work with dogs, and you start talking to yourself all day, that’s all you’re doing. I actually started a few years ago, and I did myself a challenge of 30 videos in 30 days. And actually, that kind of gets you over that fear factor. So for any of your listeners who were wanting to get into doing videos as well, obviously, you do have those days when you feel terrible, and you just can’t be bothered. But then you’ve got those other days where you’re like, you know what I’m going to do what I’m going to go get showered, I’m going to do my hair, I’m going to do that. I’m going to make that at least make myself look a bit. The lockdown give us all that as well didn’t know, he couldn’t be bothered. And there wasn’t any point

Jan Kearney
on that say and funny enough when I decided to do these chats for Halton Hour. And we’ve had such positive feedback and I’m there no makeup, I’m not Instagram ready. I don’t just sit down and we have a chat. And it’s been really, really well received doing it that way. And I think before all the lockdown and the mess and the change in technology, I don’t think I would have done it. I’ve done a lot of video in the past behind the screen with the presentations and stuff, but not face to face. And it’s not something I’m comfortable with doing. But we’ve had such a such good feedback because it’s it’s human and it’s natural. And it’s and it’s just a chat. And I like that but like I said I’ve got some some notes in case I get stuck. But I haven’t got a list of questions and it’s not robotic. And it’s and it comes to

Hayley Hilton
flow with and that’s what I love about it about your your Halton Hour videos because they do they just flow as well. It’s Yeah, it’s enough. Do you find a bit easier now to do right now that you’ve done

Jan Kearney
You’re number 4? Is it four or five? I can’t remember how many have done and and it’s it’s I wouldn’t say it’s easy because I’m quite awkward anyway. Don’t do people say I keep saying it…

Hayley Hilton
I have days like that

Jan Kearney
I’d rather talk to the dog? Yeah, give me give me a pet. It’s fine. But because I’m talking to you on a screen, I find that easier than networking where you’d find me in the kitchen with a cup of coffee finding a small, small animal to stroke or out in the garden. Oh,

Hayley Hilton
it used to be like that as well. Yeah. And any party or anything like that is I was always the one that’s just a stroking the dog. And yeah, so

Jan Kearney
people coming in work with babies and going oh look and I’m going oh it’s a baby and then somebody will bring a dog in and do you want a treat? some things in my pocket, do you want a treat? Look at you office dog,

Hayley Hilton
they’re just non judgmental as well, you can be in any mood at all whatsoever and the dogs just, they’re usually happy to see you know what, I’m going to keep looking out the window here because because there was a neighbor’s dog just got used to the fact that exactly as you said, with the treats in my back pocket because I’ve normally come back in from a client appointment, and I’ve got treats in the back of my jeans, because they really do help. But he’s spotted this and he’s realised this though, so he’ll always come over and give me a hug. And because of the fact that I’ve not currently got my dog, because we’ve, I split up with my partner recently, but we have joint custody.

Jan Kearney
Okay,

Hayley Hilton
he’s like one week on one week off because we both got her together and we both love her anyway, so it works out quite well. So especially this morning, I really appreciated that because I really appreciate you coming over and just come in for a treat because I got to have doggy cuddles when they were right.

Jan Kearney
How is Lola by the way? She had an up recently, didn’t she?

Hayley Hilton
Yes. So she had the cruciate operation. So I ended up doing a lot of the massages and helping her and we both had like black pudding for our breakfast the day before the nil by mouth as well, you know, so we both had a bit of a pamper day last week. And now she’s, she’s she’s doing really well thank you. And her her fans on social media, I keep updating them. But she’s, um, no, we had her three day follow up appointment the other day. And even the vet nurse was like, she’s not really limping on it is she? I don’t know whether or not it’s like, finally, I can take the pressure off me other leg? Because I think it was she, she tore it. I think it was four weeks beforehand, because they had such a backlog at our vet for the to do the X ray. And then to fit in for the the, the operation itself. So she was just slow five minute walks up to the up to the top and back round again. And just a sniff-a-thon, really, because that helps engage the brain. And, and and it was Yeah, it was quite, it’s quite good. The fact that that the vet nurse was just like, Wow, she’s, she’s doing really well. And, and yeah, so that was quite good to see.

Jan Kearney
Well, it’s I mean, that’s got to be down to as well if your talents isn’t it? If you using them on your own dog and it shows

Hayley Hilton
Yeah, yeah, cuz immediately post operative I couldn’t I can’t do any work on her because that that may impinge on the, on the healing process, you know, within the scar tissue has got to naturally lay down and fit the fibres back together. Before before we can help them mobilise. But yeah, there’s, it’s there’s a lot of things that I that I was doing beforehand, to just make sure her body was prepared for it. Yeah. But yeah, even even that with me, I mean, I was doing some some neck and shoulder work on her after the operation, because she was just holding herself like that instead. And, but it was, but other than that, you know, anywhere near the back end, I can’t do anything with it. And it’s amazing when you’ve got these skills, and you’re not allowed to use it on your dog.

Jan Kearney
It’s a shame. Such a shame. So where are we up to? Oh my god, say half an hour gone.

Hayley Hilton
We’re on half an hour already.

Jan Kearney
We haven’t done anything. So um, so anything particularly that you want to raise? I mean, we mentioned very, very briefly, you did some online classes. I mean, are they something that you’re going to be repeating

Hayley Hilton
yeah, hopefully with the webinars so I ended up doing those couple of weeks ago again, so I ended up putting, I did like six in a week but but just double ones, you know, so did them at 10 o’clock in the morning and 7 o’clock in the evening. And but I did yeah, injury prevention for the dogs. So because I would much rather our dogs not be in pain in the first place. As as you saw with that one that’s things like laminate flooring and you know putting rugs down because laminate flooring is one of the one of the biggest risks of groin strain, as well as superficial pectoral strain if the front legs go as well. And it can be really painful and are raising the bowls as well to just take the pressure off the front legs and the neck and the shoulders. And then it was identifying the pain signals in the dogs because they tend to hide quite a lot of their pain from us, especially, you know, I mean, they think they’re there to just cheer us up half the time that they can get the help themselves. And then the other one was just kind of the benefits of canine massage from What I’ve seen as well, so, I will be running those three again at some stage in time. And but interestingly, I’ve actually had some vets that are interested in in receiving those talks as well. So So yeah, if any of your, of your listeners and watchers have got, they actually want I’ve got some, some packs on my wherever they are hidden them some. But I’ve actually got some packs that I can actually give to your veterinary surgery if they’re interested in learning a bit more about canine massage therapy as well.

Jan Kearney
Brilliant. So where can people get in touch with you?

Hayley Hilton
And it’s quite a lot of time on Facebook, as you know. But that is just a great place to meet dogs and dog owners more than anything and but but yeah, our my my website, which I’m currently in the middle of updating is handsonheart.dog.

Jan Kearney
Right,

Hayley Hilton
Dot dog rather than dot com.

Jan Kearney
Yeah.

Hayley Hilton
So my, my email address is Haley.Hilton at handsonheart.dog. Yes. So with those ones, but obviously, I’m usually via Facebook, or via LinkedIn as well.

Jan Kearney
It would pop your LinkedIn link, I don’t log into LinkedIn. I can’t even remember the last time I logged into LinkedIn To be honest, I really don’t like it. So I don’t.

Hayley Hilton
There’s a lot more people that who are using it. It’s turning into a lot more like Facebook at the moment. But But yeah,

Jan Kearney
Every time I login, you just get all these messages from people trying to tell sell you things and I’m not interested.

Hayley Hilton
So it’s not it’s not as bad these days. Yeah.

Jan Kearney
Not interested, go away. But yeah, if you drop your LinkedIn link over on my email, I’ll just make sure it goes all in the show notes. And this will be getting a video, it’ll be up on YouTube. It’ll be on the website, and the audio will be stripped. And I will get around to podcasting it. So the whole will be going out and you’ll be tweeted forever. Essentially,

Hayley Hilton
I have got a Twitter account. And I have a Haley Hilton 13. But I don’t use it and I haven’t been on there. So I’m probably like you and I’ve got millions of notification messages. Yeah, so so if I don’t respond on that, yeah, try me on any other media.

Jan Kearney
Well, thank you. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. Thank you,

Hayley Hilton
You’re welcome and if I can help any of your other listeners as well with introductions to other people because I forget who I know as well. What networking across across the Northwest for the past five years. I forget who I know as well. So if anybody does, what do you know? So do you know do you know a business coach or do you know such and such an electrician? So I usually do.

Jan Kearney
Good, good. We might need an electrician. Thanks. Thank you so much Hayley and it was lovely, lovely to speak to you.

Transcribed with otter.ai

Connect with Hayley Hilton, Hands On Heart Clinical Canine Massage

Contact Hayley Hilton Hands On Heart Canine Massage Interview

Website: https://handsonheart.dog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HandsOnHeartCanine
LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/hayley-hilton-hands-on-heart-clinical-canine-massage-%F0%9F%92%9C%F0%9F%90%95-098b7a38

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