August 30, 2009

Friends from the Shelter

I am honored and blessed to encounter so many special friends at the shelter. There have been so many in such a short time.

Today I worked with Dolly who has been there more than a year. What stands in the way of a sweet girl like Dolly getting adopted? I just don't get it. We took her to the Big Dog Adoption event and she didn't even get a 2nd look. But Dolly has many friends at the shelter and she is a happy girl. As my friend Kate always says......"There's a lid for every pot". I hope and pray we find Dolly's lid.


Dolly

Dolly tends to be very submissive and will even do submissive urination from time to time. I am careful not to do TTouch on her when she is on her back. I wait. Sometimes that means we don't get any touches in because as soon as I reach for her she rolls over on her back. Today was different. Today Dolly was all about her TTouch session and was very happy to play by my rules. :-)

After Dolly I had the opportunity to work with Natasha. She is a year old pit bull mix and as precious as they come.


Natasha

Her picture is a little funny because she just wanted to sit in my lap and get touches. I couldn't get far enough away from her to get a decent shot. We had a nice session. She had been barking and was unsettled in her crate. I worked on her and she relaxed. Such a funny peanut. Anytime I asked her to sit she would sit on my lap! Soon "medical" came for her as today was her "Spay Day". I was told someone was seriously looking at her yesterday. By the time I had gotten home she was no longer on the website. Looks like she has her new home. I'm happy she will not be a long-term resident like Dolly.

No shelter visit is complete without working on "My Alfie". He has been on my mind a lot this week. Maybe I feel our time is coming to an end soon. Alfie is one of those dogs, like Elektra and Duncan, that will always reside in my heart.

"My Alfie"


Buster is one of those dogs that really needs TTouch but I have trouble working with him. He is very wild and strong. 100% fool around. Because I'm not allowed to walk him, and I really don't want to, I worked with him in his out door enclosure. He isn't a bad dog....he is just a strong and unruly puppy. I tried my best but once again Buster got the better of me. Covered in mud from his jumping on me I gave up. What does one do with a boy like him? Must find out.


Buster


I was able to spend time with Sam today and was thrilled at how good his wounds are healing. His back is completely scabbed over and the hole has filled in. A week and a half ago we were looking at a huge infected hole left by a chunk of missing "Sam". The worst of the worst.....the inner back leg is also coming along nicely but obviously needs more time.


Soon he will be going into foster care. I'm not sure if the new foster home will welcome my assistance but it is offered.


Sam

Tomorrow I go talk to the surgeon about my upcoming shoulder surgery. I'm really torn about it because it needs to be done. If I'm to pursue working with dogs I need good arms to do it with. But the timing is just awful - I will be away from the shelter for quite some time while I heal and rehab. The other thing bothering me is the surgery interfering with my TTouch Training.

This time tomorrow I should have a better idea what is going to happen.


August 29, 2009

Sydney - Client Case Study - A pulling dog

Meet Sydney!


Isn't she beautiful? She just turned 1 year old and weighs 142 (shhhh, don't tell her I told her weight).

The only issue with Sydney is she pulls and lunges on her lead.....Or she lays down and refuses to budge. Her poor Momma has scarred up knees like you wouldn't believe.

Here Sydney is resting in the shade and not one bit interested in walking through the star with me.


Turns out I need serious work on my leashing and ground work. Sounds like a match made in Heaven.

So today, in record breaking heat, I head to meet Terri and Sydney for the first session of my new Case Study. I arrive with tools in hand, full of hope & optimism....and a bunch of notes on what I should and should not do.

There are things like:

  • Don't look at the dog....look forward and move forward



  • Leave the leash loose and hanging in a "J" (Kinda hard to do with a tall dog)



  • Stroke the lead if they won't go

    Seem to be having some trouble stroking the lead


    I even resorted to begging...


  • And above all, don't get into a pulling match


Well, all I can say is I tried. Thankfully Terri took a bunch of pictures because I really though things went quite a bit better than they actually did.

But we were NOT without our glimmers of hope.



I think I see the start of a "J"



And this is a little better too.

But the best part was I made a new friend today and the rest will come in time.



She even told me she wants me to come back next Saturday and try again.




August 23, 2009

The Confidence Course


The time has come! The most challenging facet of TTouch for me is the Confidence Course. Now, I've made the rope labyrinth but the only time I tried to use it with someone it was all tangled in a knot and I couldn't get it laid out right. It looked like something..but I'm not really sure what.

So this weekend I bought my PVC, Connectors and some pretty Red Electrical Tape! I started off making the Labyrinth in 4' sections so it would fit nicely in the trunk of my car. The "Star" needed 5' poles so those will have to ride shotgun when I go see a client.

Summer is not the time to work with French Bulldogs outside. This morning I was excited to put the finished pipes together and give it a shot. It was already heating up when we began.

Pierre volunteered to be first. I suited him up and off we went. You know, the good thing about pictures is they don't lie. Turns out Pierre's harness is too tight across his belly and I'm too tight on the lead.




Pierre did pretty well in spite of my leash work and a too tight harness.


Now it was Marley's turn...to be honest, Marley will need a bit more work. He really did not see the point of walking through the Labyrinth nor navigating the star. But he loves his momma and did it anyway....with a bit of coaxing.




Then there is Sammi. Typically Sam avoids anything that even resembles "work". Once Sammi realized he was not going for a walk he really started to have fun.



The great thing with me doing photos and videos of my work is I can send them to my Mentor, Cynde and get feedback right away. Things I wouldn't notice..Like Pierre's harness cutting him in half :-)

Now here is the million dollar question. Do you think my working with 30 pound French Bulldogs will help me prepare for working with a 142# English Mastiff that is a serious puller on the leash? I have a session scheduled with Sydney!


August 22, 2009

"Sam"


What an amazing experience I had today. I'm overwhelmed, really.

First, I'm bummed they are no longer calling him Sam. The name they have picked out for him is just awful and I plan to talk to his foster mom about changing it when she gets him. I tried today to get it stopped but no one saw it as a big deal. But to me he is still Sam.

Sam is a precious boy. I was very excited that they let me take him out of medical and do as I wished. Most of his wounds are "sealed" now. Healed enough that they have a light covering. However there are some that are very, very deep and wide.......or gaping open to the bone. (Sorry but you need to know that part to understand how I worked with him). I didn't want to work with him outside where I usually do because of the dirt & dust, other dogs that have eliminated on the grass, or risk any sunburn to his owies. I took him in a cool conference room with no lights and opened the outer door for a nice breeze.

I put out my pretty, freshly washed blue over sized beach towel and he laid right down. I was wondering how to get started as I sat down next to him. Before I even finished the thought he had cuddled up to me and put his head in my lap. I had my answer. I told him about my TTouch friends and that there are people all over the country and even in other countries that have been visiting him and working with him. I hoped it was okay that I gave them permission to do so. He just looked up at me with such soft and warm eyes.

I started with touches all over his head and face and the outside of his ears. I had to modify the ear slides as the inside of the ears are damaged. He allowed me to do snail tail and clouded leopards over the areas that had smaller, more healed, wounds. When I got to his back which looked very sore I did phantom abalone touches about 2" away from his body.........he actually shifted his position from time to time and provided access to other areas. For the wounds that were the worst of the worst I did the phantom raccoon touches around the edges from about 5" thinking the intensity from 2" may be too much.

We were together for about an hour. We did TTouch, talked, cuddled, more TTouch. Over and over again Sam showed me where he wanted the work. I've never seen such injuries in person before let alone touch anyone, or anything, in this condition. All I could see was the beauty of his face and his tender and gentle soul.

Please continue to keep Sam in your prayers and good thoughts. To those of you that have joined me in Project Sam, I appreciate you. Thanks to each and every one of you that helped me get a grasp on Phantom work. I really benefited from you sharing your experiences.

I hope Sam has made you feel just a little warmer and fuzzier today :-)

August 18, 2009

Phantom Touches

I admit the whole idea of Phantom Touches seemed foreign to me.

Being open minded to ALL of TTouch and its possibilities I posted to the Practitioners list and asked for stories that may help me grasp the concept. One comparison really hit home. Think of a radio signal. You have a transmitter and a receiver. There is nothing in between to carry the signal and yet it is picked up by the receiver.

Why the sudden interest in Phantom work?

Because there is a dog who needs TTouch that I cannot touch right now. He is injured and infected beyond comprehension. I cannot touch his body right now. I won't even meet him face to face until tomorrow.

Here is his story:

Sam (or at least that was his name on the website before they removed it) was called in from a local Indian Reservation. He stumbled into a pow wow and some kind soul called for help.

"Sam" has what appear to be knife wounds and gouges in much of his body. Some injuries are down to the bone and many through the muscle. He is horribly infected and had a maggot infestation.

A wonderful person at the shelter removed all the "visitors" and shaved his back and other areas. He is on strong antibiotics and healing.

The law says they can only use life saving measures because technically he is a lost dog that could be reclaimed. Ugh! So anyway I need to work on him and due to laws, injuries and risk of further infection I can't touch him.

In walk Phantom Touches.

I've worked on him today via this photo.



Tomorrow I'll see him and do touches over his body but not touching. I'll concentrate on my intention and picture him in his perfection. He will start to know my voice as I do toning and will learn my face and smell.

After the 5 days are up and he is eligible to go to foster care I'll work with him frequently. At this point I'll be able to touch the body as healing allows.

Please say prayers for "Sam", think good thoughts, and if you know how - please send some Phantom Touches.

Ranger



Ranger is a dog with a bad rap. Actually I don't know that Ranger has done anything any worse than other dogs in the shelter. Unfortunately he was on the short list and one misstep and we wouldn't have Ranger.


Any how............


I talked to Cynde about his situation and asked for her guidance. She graciously offered to come help me with him. I wasn't sure, based on his reputation, if I he was out of my league or not.

Ranger likes most people but not all...........likes most dogs, but not all. Not a serious crime by most standards. Heck, the same could be said about me too except I haven't met a dog I don't like.


I got there before Cynde and thought I'd get started doing some touches on this wild beast that likes to eat people like me for breakfast.






Then Cynde came and she worked him in the Labyrinth. The first pass through Ranger was not really with us and his attention was everywhere BUT where we wanted it. By the 4th pass through he even noticed that one of the poles that constructed the Labyrinth didn't match.

He was able to walk toward a dog (fence between us), make a turn, and then head up the other way with his back to the dog, turn again and then head toward the dog again. He did excellent. This teaches him he has choices he can make. He doesn't have to lunge and bark at the scary thing but he can walk away and nothing happens.


Ranger was blessed to be welcomed into a foster home. This is the chance he needed to make it. Originally I planned on working with Ranger and his Foster Dad as a case study but from what his foster family reports he is doing excellent and really dotes on the family dogs.....especially a tiny little one.

There goes my case study! :-)


I hope Ranger's story goes a long way for other dogs that find theirselves in his situation. I thank the Shelter for allowing us the opportunity to show them what a good boy Ranger is.

Duncan




Ask me to tell you about Duncan and I'll start by saying he is perfect! So, why then, would I be working on him when so many other dogs are in need? I work on Duncan because he feeds my soul. He refills my gas tank and gives me so much.





At times he really seems like a big version of our Pierre.







Duncan was adopted once a long time ago. Then he was found 1/2 starved and wandering many, many miles away. Thankfully his microchip was linked with the shelter he was adopted from and he was returned and nursed back to health.


If only we had a bigger yard.......if only Marley were more receptive to adding a dog........if only it were a good idea to have 4 boys........if only...........


One Saturday I decided to bring a little camera with me. I wanted photos of "My Duncan". I'm so glad I did. Turned out it was the same day Alfie decided to play.....it was also the day Duncan was adopted and my last time to be with him.








There seems to be a recurring thing going on here........tears. When I got the joyful email telling me that "my boy" and been adopted I sobbed so hard I though I'd be sick. Of course I was thrilled for Duncan and his new family......but for me, the pain was raw.


Don't get me wrong. I don't spend all my time crying. Most of the time my tears are of joy. But Duncan really touched my soul.

Alfie


Alfie is absolutely precious beyond words. He started off very fearful. Because he was found as a stray we don't know what happened to him in his short little life but we know it was not the sweet tender things a puppy should grow up with.


Alfie was what one would call Fear Reactive. He would cower, lunge away from you, protect his kennel with a vengeance...and unfortunately, he would try to bite.

When asked to work with Alfie I had some fears. All I could think of is the mass hysteria you hear in the media. I'd been brainwashed like so many others. I also didn't know if I had the skills to work with a dog that would most likely bite me (as I'd been told).


I decided to put my TTouch to the test! I got out my Language of Peace and came armed with boiled duck hearts with garlic. A girl does need to establish her worth after all :-)




Now Alfie knows where the goodies are kept!

Using calming signals to show Alfie I was no threat to him I got him to take treats from me. After he realized I was one of the good guys he was okay for me to do touches on him. It took about 10 sessions for him to be completely comfortable with me touching his back end or tail. He was very protective of that area.






Cynde Van Vleet, my mentor, taught a TTouch workshop one Saturday and some gals from the shelter brought Alfie. He was fearful getting into the car but had a great time at the workshop! He was a star.




Alfie had no idea how to play. His first attempts were very awkward as I didn't know what he was doing. Actually I thought something had frightened him.


Well about a week ago when I went to see Alfie - he didn't want TTouch.
Alfie wanted to play and play he did!


video




Of course, I cried.

Elektra

I'm so far behind that I've decided rather than to "catch up" I will just record some highlights.

Elektra is at the top of that list.





When I first started working with Elektra I found her to be an energetic, jumpy and playful girl. Imagine my surprise when someone says "I can't believe you are working on Elektra....snarled at me!". Hmmmm, I could only think to myself that maybe Elektra was having a bad day that day. I worked with her for a few months and she never showed me a naughty side.


One Saturday, June 13, I worked with Elektra and then she went into an Interaction with a potential family. They adopted her that day......I cried. Yes, part of me was sad to see her go but another part wasn't thrilled with a feeling I got from her new family. Sure enough she was returned 3 days later for failing to bond with the husband.


Our work continued!




A short time ago Elektra was adopted again. This time I didn't cry. Elektra was ready and her new home sounds incredible. It has been 3 weeks now and there is no sign of my girl. I really hope this adoption sticks.