Home Buddy NWSAM: Buddy’s Hands-on Experience

NWSAM: Buddy’s Hands-on Experience

NWSAM: Buddy’s Hands-on Experience
Buddy the bulldog, aptly laying down on the job. (Photo credit: A.J. Cabrera)

Buddy, my bulldog is a lot of things: my top dog, my moment-to-moment muse, my unwitting comic, and my cherished companion; but lately Mr. Buddy has assumed a new role, that of a model, specifically a massage model. Yep, my favorite fur-ball has secured the best gig a quadruped could be fortunate enough to enjoy on Vashon Island, that of a massage dog at the Northwest School of Animal Massage (NWSAM). In essence, Buddy has a dedicated team of students learning the art and practice of animal massage on him–a hands-on experience the likes of which Buddy has only dreamed of.

bulldog Buddy at Northwest School of Animal Massage
Buddy, always a giver… (photos shown, credit: Wendy Dahl)

At first I was worried Buddy would suffer a little separation anxiety when I introduced him to the class and handed the leash over to the wonderful Lola Michelin, animal whisperer extraordinaire. Buddy instead had the look of a kid at Disneyland, the bulldog equivalent of let’s get this party started, oh yeah, and buh-bye Pops. As I turned to leave, Buddy was making new friends, ensconced in the attention, and reveling in each student’s unbridled adoration of the new big boy in class.

Buddy doing his best to impress Miss Lola.

Buddy did look back at me, and mustered an assuring I-got-this kind of nod. I knew he was in good hands, lots of good hands. After arriving home, the house seemed empty without him–grunts, slobbers, farts, snoring, and barks nowhere to be found or heard. Ironic that I was the one now with separation anxiety.

Buddy: Volunteer of the year!

When I returned to pick up Buddy, a student body of devotees shared some Buddy-love in tales and laughter and delight. Instead of being worn out, my little Master and Commander was fully charged and ready for playing, eating, walking, barking, and getting in my face. I think we play enough tug-o-war on his school days to lengthen my right arm.

Buddy, and his buddy Edward, enjoying some “bro-time” and a break.

A big thank you to the Lola and Wendy of NWSAM who love Buddy just as much as I do, and provide for his welfare and good health every time we visit. Buddy agrees, he’s got the best gig in town!

Splendor in the grass, as class goes outside…
Back at the ranch, Buddy extends his playtime and my arm.


  1. omg…this is the cutest story ever! willie wants to know if someone will fly him out there for endless rubs. he was made for a job like this and it looks like buddy is too. what a gig!

  2. Buddy and his buddy Edward are the penultimate demo dogs at NWSAM. Students not only benefit from these willing canine volunteers, they also get free chuckles watching The Budster’s antics when he’s off duty. Buddy is all that and more! Thanks for sharing your great Buddy!

  3. AS always a lovely story that makes me smile.. So happy for Buddy..I always look forward to your updates. I have my own little buddy named Teddi. He is a Shih Tzu.. He is descended from Chinese royalty and he does live up to his name. He say arf, arf to your Buddy.. Keep up the good work and good stories.

    • Thank you Janet, and Teddi sounds like a regal companion indeed. What would we do with out them. Buddy sends a snort of love and well wishes to you and Teddi!


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