About Us

RMSAAM Mission

To promote and enhance the well-being of animals around the world through responsible and comprehensive educational programming, classes and certificate programs.


Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure Massage has two locations at the base of the Rocky Mountains and one in Florida. All campuses are inspirational settings for learning the art of massage and acupressure for animals. Bring your dog or work on one of ours, practice on one of our friendly horses and make new friends.

RMSAAM is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools. RMSAAM is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider #719. RMSAAM is an approved provider of Florida LMT CE's. IAAMB/ACWT Approved Preferred Educational Provider #10-1. In 2012 RMSAAM also achieved approvals from the Registry of Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Medical Education (RAIVE) Provider # 2013-4 (Technical CE’s), CACVT Technical CE’s (Onsite hours only), and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Training Provider.

These approval processes are a part of our continuing effort to provide high quality educational programs at the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. We are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of practice in the industry. For this reason, students seek out our program from around the country and around the world.


Why the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure And Massage?

Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage offers a wide range of courses in animal massage, acupressure, reiki, essential oils, animal communication and more. We are proud of our offerings and our legacy.

All RMSAAM faculty members are educated professionals with extensive training, fieldwork and teaching experience. Additionally, we require all of our instructors to be licensed and credentialed by the state of Colorado as teaching professionals. Each teacher brings their own experiences and approach to the classroom while abiding by RMSAAM's strict set of teaching standards and curriculum to create a dynamic environment, consistent program and the highest of standards for our profession.

When you join the RMSAAM team, you become part of a supportive and professional group of practitioners who are passionate about their practice and the well-being of animals.

Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure Massage (RMSAAM) is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Continuing Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools and is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider # 719. In 2012 RMSAAM also achieved approvals from theRegistry of Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Medical Education (RAIVE) Provider # 2013-4 (Technical CE’s), CACVT Technical CE’s (Onsite hours only), and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Training Provider.


Jenny Rukavina , Executive Director

Jenny Rukavina Acadia Rehab with mare

2007 was a year of big changes for Jenny, when she found herself transplanted to Colorado from Montana on a new and different career path.  Formerly a high school biology teacher,  she now finds herself immersed in the horse business after founding Acadia Equine Rehabilitation just south of Denver.  AER was an idea based on Jenny's personal experience bringing her mare, Acadia, back to work as a dressage horse after sustaining a severe stifle injury that required surgery and months of layup and rehabilitation. Becoming a certified equine and canine massage practitioner fit into the mission of her business, and until recently she said one of the only things missing in her life was teaching...so she now balances her time between her equine rehab clients, teaching equine and canine massage classes for the school, as well as a limited number of equine and canine massage clients. Jenny shares her life with Australian Shepherd Cori, a faithful co-worker and companion;  warmblood mare Acadia (aka "Cadie"), inspiration for many things and dressage partner; and African Grey Parrot, Roscoe who tries to keep her in line. In her spare time she can be found hiking and birding with Cori, watering her over population of orchids,  and continuing her education. 


Sarah Gonzales , Assistant to the Director

Sarah GonzalesSarah is originally from Florida, and has lived many places before settling down in beautiful Colorado.  Since she was a little girl her love and passion has been horses.  Sarah has competed in the sport of show jumping nationally and internationally since she was 8 years old winning many top national awards. 

Real life has slowed her down some with a daughter and a husband. Sarah and her family live on a farm with four horses, four donkeys, three dogs, and too many cats to count. 




Dendria Mclaughlin, Instructor, Crystals and Chakras

Dendria grew up on a Kansas cattle ranch and then detoured her journey for a short while by spending 21 years in the military.

Returning to her passion of helping horses and humans in 2003 by becoming a Hatha Yoga Instructor and then in 2010, a Centered Riding Instructor. Dendria combines these instructions to help the rider bring an awareness to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of both horse and human to better the relationship of the two.Dendria is also a certified Equine Energy Therapist  incorporating Chakra balancing, Reiki practices, Photonic Light  Therapy and CranialSacral techniques. With the guidance of her BFF,  Joker, (pictured above) Dendria developed her own line of essential oil sprays to assist in horse and human energy healing.

 Dendria can be reached at www.hathahorse.com

Beth Pelosa, Instructor, Large and Small Animal Acupressure (Colorado)

Beth Pelosa, Instructor, Acupressure Levels 1 & 2Beth is a Certified Large and Small Animal Acupressure Practitioner, Animal Acupressure Instructor, and owner of Equine Energy Works, LLC. In addition to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupressure, Beth has also studied Dr. McLaren's Photonic Light Therapy and other vibrational healing modalities including equine massage, Bach Flower Remedies therapy, floral acupressure and aromatherapy. Beth believes in a balanced approach to animal health care including good nutritional support, exercise, natural training techniques and regular preventative maintenance acupressure and vibrational energy work. Beth's passion is teaching animal owners and caregivers TCM and animal acupressure to help them support their animal's health and experience the strong bond and cooperative partnership energy work creates with animals.


Kelly Legarreta, Instructor, Canine Massage (Florida)

Kelly legaretta, canine massage instructorKelly Legarreta is a Certified Canine and Equine Massage Therapist, Canine Trainer, and Owner of Healing Paws-Abilities, LLC. Her passion for massage and wellness has led her down an amazing road working with animals and their families, working to bring harmony to their lives through health and building great relationships through positive only training. Kelly shares her life with 3 amazing rescue Australian Shepherds; Kylie, Frosty, and Zazz, a chihuahua named Booker-T and an 18 year old Pomeranian named Papa, not to mention a very patient husband! Kelly teaches and competes in many dog sports including Agility, and is excited to embark on a continuing journey into Canine Sports Rehab, in order to further help her fellow canine athletes! Having just recently become a Florida Licensed Human Massage Therapist, she is beyond excited to be a part of the RMSAAM family and teach the amazing art of compassionate touch for companion animals in SW Florida.


Tracey Vroom, Instructor, Canine and Equine Massage (Colorado)

Tracey Vroom Equine MassageIn 1998, after many years in the publishing field, Tracy decided to make a big shift in her life by following her heart into a new career. Having grown up on a farm in IA, working with animals, it brought her back to her roots. She founded The CranioConnection after becoming certified in The Tellington TTouch Method and craniosacral therapy. She loves to learn so continues to add tools to her tool box. Massage, herbalism and shamanic work were a great addition to her practice. She enjoys seeing companion animals and horses for private sessions and loves teaching workshops. Tracy spent a lot of time working at the race track on the east coast and ended up bringing home 3 thoroughbreds who needed rehab. The experience taught her a tremendous amount about what’s possible when the right team of practitioners comes together for the good of the horse. It really drives her now to share her experiences with as many people as she can, so more animals can benefit. Tracy came to Colorado in 2007 in pursuit of a more peaceful life near the mountains. Her horses and 2 rescue dogs came with her and keep her busy. Spending time in nature, volunteering with dog and horse rescues and reading are at the top of the list when she has free time. 


Emily Tronetti, Teacher's Assistant

It took me a few years to listen to my heart and start working with  animals. When I finally did, it was the best feeling to know that I was finally on the right path! I worked at a natural dog food store, became a veterinary assistant for a small clinic, worked at the Longmont Humane Society as the client care team lead, and worked as a veterinary receptionist at a growing integrative veterinary hospital. While I loved working with animals, there was still a part of me that felt like I was meant for something more.   Then, in late 2013, I discovered the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. Within a few months, I was sitting in my first class. Right away, I knew I had finally found what I had been looking for. I wasn’t only drawn to learning about canine massage, but I felt incredibly connected to the school and the people who are a part of it. I was absolutely thrilled and honored when I was asked to become a teaching assistant! I also started teaching the canine-related webinars for RMSAAM, and it’s a lot of fun. In addition to working at RMSAAM, I currently work at a grooming salon and run my own massage, Reiki and pet sitting business. I can’t wait to continue my journey learning to help animals and teaching others to do the same!


Shelley Sheets, Instructor, Canine Massage (Colorado)

Shelley Sheets, Canine Massage InstructorShelley Sheets is a Denver Native.  She has a bachelor’s degree in education and has been a practicing massage therapist for twenty years.  Shelley  has taught massage therapy for Community College of Denver, wrote a massage therapy program for Arapahoe Community College and developed and directed a  massage program that was launched in January of 2002 at Denver Career College.  Her massage experience has taken her everywhere from  working at Craig Hospital on spinal cord and traumatic brain injured patients to owning her own day spa in Littleton Colorado.

In 2007 she took part in the first ever training at CSU Veterinary School in Canine Massage while at the same time beginning a two year program at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood Colorado to become a licensed spiritual counselor.  Her ultimate goal is to support senior animals and their companions with massage and counseling, through the end of life process and the grief period that follows.  She currently lives in Green Mountain with her husband and two dogs, Dodger and Ruby.

Frances Cleveland, Aromatherapist (Colorado)

Frances Cleveland AromatherapistFrances Fitzgerald Cleveland has worked with horses for more than 25 years in a range of disciplines. Her aspirations started with horses and grew to include people and other animals. In 1996, Frances founded her company, FrogWorks. She has always aimed to heighten the well-being of people and animals naturally, through individualized use of essential oils.

Frances has extensive experience in the realms of health and behavior as it relates to both animals and humans. She obtained certification from the Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy and the International School of Animal Aromatics. Frances studied in England with Caroline Ingraham, the pioneer of Animal Aromatics. Frances is an apprentice of Rosemary Gladstar, world renowned author, herbalist and teacher, and has completed the intensive Apprenticeship Program and the Science and Art of Herbalism Program in the didactic, therapeutic, laboratory and fieldwork in herbalism.

Frances recently trained zookeepers in the use of essential oils on animals. Her groundbreaking Animal Aromatherapy work at The Denver Zoo with the Orangutans, Gorillas and Black Crested Macaques was covered in the Denver Post and L.A.Times. Frances' work has also been written about by the Rocky Mountain News, Associated Press, The German Press and a featured guest on Animal Radio. This work showed excellent results, which confirm the effectiveness of essential oils. These magnificent animals clearly demonstrated which oils they wanted, when they wanted them and how they wanted them applied. They have truly been teachers about how these oils can help them.

Her specific expertise, her love of animals and people, and her commitment to natural healing make Frances a respected and highly effective Aromatherapist. Frances and her husband, John, live in Colorado and operate a horse facility, Outback Farm, where Frances teaches and practices Aromatherapy, trains horses, gives riding lessons and manufactures her internationally sold products.


Yvette Gonzalez, Instructor, Pet Tech Canine First Aid and CPR (Colorado)

Yvette Gonzalez PetTech CPR InstructorYvette is a native of Colorado and is the owner of As You Wish Pet Sitters which she started in 2004. She has always considered pet wellness and safety an important part of her business. Certified in pet first aid/cpr since the beginning of her business, she thought it also crucial to share the knowledge of being prepared in a pet emergency. In 2012 she took the additional steps necessary to become a Pet Tech Instructor. Having passed the criteria to begin teaching, she now certifies her own pet sitters, clients and the general public to be pet first aid/cpr certified.

Yvette is the President Elect for the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) as well as an active member of the Douglas Elbert Counties Animal Rescue Team (DECART). Yvette is "mom" to a Portuguese water dog named Lexi and "step-mom" to all her client's fur babies.


Anna Twinney, Instructor, Animal Communication (Colorado and Florida)

Anna Twinney on horse, Animal Communication at RMSAAM

Throughout the United States, Australia, Europe, Denmark, Canada, Holland, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand, Anna Twinney has conducted classes, clinics, and training sessions; teaching the art of creating trust-based partnerships between humans, horses, and all other animal companions.  Anna is a well-respected and internationally known Natural Clinician, Trainer, Animal Communicator, and Reiki Master.

Based in Golden, Colorado, Anna is the founder of Reach Out to Horses®.  Her dream is to take her organization around the world and especially in third-world countries, working with people and their horses, teaching them about her ground-breaking methods.  Drawing on a lifetime of equine knowledge and experience, and over ten years of coaching international students, some with learning disabilities and physical challenges, she has imbued her clinics with a wealth of information, integrity, and compassion.Anna is also the creator of the Reaching Out to Natural Horsemanship DVD Series and can regularly be heard on radio and podcasts around the world including her popular podcast show Reaching Out with Anna Twinney.  Anna’s interview about Animal Communication can be heard on the Canine Wellness Radio show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/caninewellness/2011/06/13/animal-communication-interview-with-anna-twinney

Her work has been featured on TV, including Martha Stewart’s Living “The Horse Whisperer” and the BBC fly on the wall documentary “Living in the Sun”.  In addition, Anna has written articles for a variety of national and international equine-related magazines, and is a contributing author of Horse as Teacher: The Path to Authenticity with Horses, released in May of 2009.Anna has also worked in collaboration with other leading clinicians on natural horsemanship and animal communication. Beyond her own equine training and experience, Anna has explored a number of "alternative" healing modalities over the years, including becoming a certified Karuna® Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer. She has studied Equine Herbal Natural Remedies and Aromatherapy, is a certified Reconnective Healing® Level III practitioner, Level II Healing Touch for Animals practitioner, and a graduate of the Carol Gurney HeartTalk Program® as a certified Animal Communicator.One of Anna's great passions is the survival and protection of wild horses, and she has been privileged to observe Brumbies in their natural habitat in Victoria, Australia along with colleague Eric Godward. She also assisted Neda DeMayo in the Santa Ynez Valley at the wild horse sanctuary 'Return to Freedom' for a number of years. RTF is home to the American Wild Horse and is considered a living museum. It provides a natural environment for the horses to live in herd groups, and a place students can observe natural wild horse dynamics. Anna was part of the education program and played a significant role in gentling mustangs for special care and foster homes.  

She continues to support a number of Charities including the Equine Angels Rescue Sanctuary in Connecticut, the The Horse Protection League in Golden, CO, Zuma's Rescue Ranch in Littleton, CO, and Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary in Tucson, Arizona, where she is actively involved as an Advisory Board Member.



Follow Us!