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 rescue horses and make new friends. Approved and Regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools and approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider # 451073-09. 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.
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 # 451073-09. 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.
Lisa B. Speaker, Founder and Executive Director
“Becoming certified in Animal Acupressure Massage was when I started following my true calling. I took my Basset Hound Betty with me and we stayed there in a little apartment and studied together. Betty is my inspiration and my most lovable, willing subject!”
Lisa founded Dogma in 2002 when she divided her time between treating animals, teaching classes and developing educational materials for enthusiasts and professionals. Her interest in complementary healthcare for animals stems from her life-long love for and interest in animals, their welfare and well-being.
Lisa has served as an Advisory Council Member of IAAMB, The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, and is a co-founder of CAAMB, Colorado Association of Animal Massage and bodyworkers. Lisa is also a member of IAAMT, International Association of Animal Massage Therapists and Founder of the non-profit, Colorado Alliance for Animal Owner's Rights (CAAOR).
Prior to founding Dogma, Lisa produced and directed educational programming, training and commercial videos in Boston, MA. Upon moving to Denver, Lisa became a Personal Fitness Trainer and triathlete, completing a half-ironman. Shortly thereafter, Lisa traveled to California to pursue her true calling, an education in Animal Acupressure and Massage. The training and anatomy courses required as a fitness trainer served her well as she began her study of animal acupressure and massage. During her studies Lisa identified a lack of educational materials for students and began authoring a workbook on canine acupressure. Lisa has also produced videos on equine and canine massage and developed several acupressure charts.
Upon award of licensing by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Lisa founded The Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. The Dogma Inc(www.denverdogma.com) mission became more focused toward providing resources, information and retail products for pet owners allowing the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage (RMSAAM) to flourish in it's ability to educate practitioners.
Today, Lisa runs the day to day operations of the school, works on legislation to further credibility for the practice of Animal Massage and is enjoying learning reining with her new reiner "Rudy". In 2008 Lisa and her husband Ron welcomed a new puppy, Madeline, to their family and very sadly said good-bye to her beloved Betty, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. There is a monument at the Carbondale location in honor of Miss Betty's many contributions to the success of the school. In 2012, Lisa welcomed twin boys, Tristram (Tris) and Tag, and a new Golden Retriever puppy, Tucker!
Hayley Pierce, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
Having the opportunity to join the RMSAAM team as "Receptionist and Administrative Assistant" is PERFECT for me, with a love for people, a passion for animals and being able to implement both of them every day, what more could you ask for?!?! Originally from England, I moved to America 8 years ago and finally settled in one of the most beautiful states, Colorado, last year. I love the outdoors, whether its snowmobiling, four wheeling, riding my horse or just relaxing on a chair..... not that I get much time to do that with four children... Hanna 20, Jamie 19, Tamara 11 and Yazmin 9. My professional background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business which gives me the skills to be a great asset to the team!
Ginger Currie, Enrollment Coordinator
“My love, passion for and commitment to the total wellbeing of oneself and all animals has brought me to RMSAAM! Having grown up in the beautiful mountains of Colorado I have developed a deep appreciation for wildlife and nature. I attended Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale Colorado where my innate love for the outdoors flourished. My love for art and travel allowed my to spend a year of study abroad in France.
I enjoy spending my time with my 3 dogs hiking or snowshoeing, biking and exploring new trails. Singing, painting, and finding new ways to just be creative and express my gratitude for life fills the rest of my time.
My professional background in IT and Project Control has given me a strong foundation in business management.
I truly believe our responsibility is to develop and maintain beautiful, healthy and meaningful relationships with ourselves, our animals, families, friends, communities and our planet. This is life’s most precious gift.
Brenda Thompson, Events Coordinator
Brenda has joined the RMSAAM staff part time as Events Coordinator. Brenda works at most of the events in which RMSAAM participates. Brenda is the proud guardian of "Jazzy", a Hurricane Katrina survivor. Recently retired from 18 years as a Sales Manager at Pitney Bowes, Brenda has a very personal connection to RMSSAM as she is the mother of Founder, Lisa Speaker!
Beth Pelosa, Instructor, Large and Small Animal Acupressure (Colorado)
Beth 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.
Jenny Rukavina, Class Coordinator & Equine and Canine Massage Instructor (Colorado)
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.
Kelly Legarreta, Instructor, Canine Massage (Florida)
Kelly 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.
Theresa Gagnon, Instructor, Canine and Equine Massage (Colorado)
Theresa Gagnon has been involved with animals her whole life. Dogs, cats and horses have always been part of her life. After holding a “real job” in computer management and programming for many years she was drawn back to working with animals. She started working as a veterinary assistant and then went on to obtain her Certification in Veterinary Technology and began teaching at the college level in the Becker College Veterinary Technology program in Massachusetts. When one of her horses had an odd front end lameness that veterinarians and farriers were unable to fix, she turned to massage. One short massage session to the shoulder completely took care of the problem. Theresa then turned to Jack Meagher and took his workshops. Drawing on her passion for anatomy and Jack’s books and workshops, she continued to work on her own horses. In 2003, she was asked to collaborate with the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy to create a curriculum for a Canine Massage Program. Once this was established, the Equine Massage Program was then created. Theresa also enrolled in Bancroft's human massage program and became a licensed human massage therapist. She continued to take classes in many modalities to hone her bodywork skills and used her animal anatomy knowledge to bring those new skills to the animal world.
While at Bancroft, Theresa met Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and was asked to be part of a group that eventually became The National Board of Certification Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). After several years of working Bancroft and being on the board, Theresa decided it was time to do what she loved best, go back out into the field and work directly with animals. She partnered with a former student, Jodi Clark, and they formed Mending Fences Animal Wellness, LLC. Theresa and Jodi have dedicated themselves to providing massage to horses, dogs and people (and sheep, llamas, goats and the occasional chicken). Never losing her love of teaching, Theresa approached Becker College and developed a canine massage class for the Veterinary Technology program, which she taught for 2 years. She has developed and trademarked Facilitated Movement, which combines a lot of the modalities she has learned over the years and teaches this to animal practitioners.
Tracey Vroom, Instructor, Canine and Equine Massage (Colorado)
In 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.
Kristi Dale, Substitute Teacher, Canine Massage (Colorado)
Kristi Dale is a graduate of Kansas University with a BS in Elementary Education and New Mexico University with a Masters in Education. After giving birth to her first two kids, Kristi attended the Colorado School of Healing arts massage program and has now been a human massage therapist for seven years. Kristi has always had a love of animals and a natural inclination to canine massage. Her fur babies include a jovial black lab named Gracie, and two very curious and ornery kittens. Her human babies are 12 year old son Cameron, 10 year old daughter Julia and 4 year old Henry. In Kristi’s free time (what free time?) you might see her and her husband running the trails of Colorado’s front range or on the ice playing hockey for the RMHL.
Shelley Sheets, Teacher, Canine Massage (Colorado)
Shelley 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 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 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)
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.