February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day!

I'm so happy I had a holiday from work today. The sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear. No better place to start my day than at the shelter!

Zorro's foster mom told me about a darling pit girl named Cassadee. I've been watching her on the website and she has the most incredible smile. Looking at her intake picture I never would have dreamed this girl with a million dollar smile could possibly have a care in the world.

Remember when we all learned not to judge a book by its cover? Well this is one of those times. You see, Cassadee is a Distemper survivor!

Thankfully she is alive and a very happy girl. Unfortunately it has left her with some neurological damage. Cassedee's eyes are a bit "off" and she is pretty loose in her legs. When she walks she kind of reminds me of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

Cassadee was very friendly and enjoyed the touches I did on her. We did Tarantulas Pulling the Plow, Python Lifts, and lots of Ear Work. She loved it all.

I put a body wrap on her and she handled it well.

Just to see what happened I put scrunchies on her feet and then encouraged her to walk with some targeting exercises. I didn't see that the scrunchies made a difference.

Knowing that what I do to one side I should do to the other I switched them around and when I did she started walking normally. I had a double take and had her walk more and more so I could confirm what I was seeing.

I don't know how long the change will last but for today Cassadee is walking like any other dog.

I came armed with a list of dogs that needed new photos taken for their adoption page and here are some of the dogs I had the honor and privileged of working with today.





Chica (Steve named this little girl) :-)

When I got to the shelter I ran into my friend Stephanie who was working with one of the most stunning dogs I've seen....George Forman! Not only is this dog amazing to look at hie is one heck of a sweetheart! I took photos of him and Stephanie just cuz they were so darned cute. George isn't going to need my help to get adopted.

George Forman and Stephanie

It is my sincere hope that my TTouch will lift the dogs spirits, calm their minds and awaken them to new possibilities. And I hope that my photos show their beautiful personalities so just the right person will discover what a treasure these special dogs are!

February 13, 2010

Zorro - Noted Calmness

Today was the first I'd seen Zorro in a couple months. Immediately I noticed a level of calmness I'd not yet seen in Zorro.

Previously Zorro was uncomfortable with my usual Confidence Course. Fortunately Jan has a built in Confidence Course literally in her back yard. Although not a traditional Course it does have Cones (trees) and Obstacles (fallen trees) and passers by with dogs. Zorro takes his daily walks in this area and is happy here so we met him where he was and used a Natural Confidence Course for this session.

Our areas of concentration for Zorro are calmness, walking nicely on a lead and minimizing his reaction to other dogs.

Jan has been incorporating TTouches into her quite time with Zorro. She has noticed that he will now lay calmly and play with a toy or just relax. This is a very new coping skill for Zorro!

Today we focused on walking nicely on the lead and used the Step-In Harness with the Super Balance Leash configuration. With the "Ask & Release" signals on the lead Zorro walked more calmly and with more intention than I've seen. When we have our bodys in proper alignment with his and our signals are clear he is right on target.

Today I used some clicker training with him to build the "Watch Me" and "Touch" requests. We were given the opportunity to practice these with a redirection when I saw someone approaching with a dog. Zorro focused on the dog in the distance and I stood to the opposite side and asked him to "Watch Me" and gave a click & treat when he complied. Next I asked him to "Touch" my hand as I took his focus in the opposite direction of the approaching dog. As we redirected Zorro's focus we also changed the direction of our walk. Rather than force Zorro into a situation where he may not be successful we walked him another way and built upon the success we already had with him taking his focus off the dog and putting it back on us.

Jan was very pleased with how Zorro didn't become vocal with the other dog. I'm pleased that Jan has a some new tools in her tool box for working with Zorro with other dogs. We also talked about what happens when we, the handler, tenses up on a leash when we anticipate trouble. That tension transmits down the leash and to the dog. The dog reads this tension as a stressful situation that the handler cannot handle! If the handler is worried than the dog becomes concerned as well. If we can remain calm, lighthearted and loose in the leash while we redirect the dog we stand a very good chance of preventing the situation from escalating.

Between each of our learning opportunities and leash exercises Zorro enjoyed some TTouches!

February 11, 2010

The Two Month Mile Marker!

Thank goodness it wasn't raining tonight and we could do the drive into San Diego for Marley's therapy. He should have gone on Tuesday although it was pouring rain but would you believe in the short walk from the front door to the car door he stepped on a bee! Some days you wonder if life is fair and then you remember that no one ever said it was and you move on.

Marley did his full 25 min in the underwater treadmill but he seemed to struggle more tonight and his gait was really off. Sometimes I find myself looking for him to be the way he was and most likely he won't ever be the same. Yesterday marked 2 months since his paralysis and surgery. Dr. Sosna said he is doing fantastic.

His obstacle course was tougher this week. The ramp was higher and the cushions were thicker. Can you believe Marley went through this course 20 times tonight??? 10 times in each direction.

Up the step, across the cushion and down the ramp. Then over all the logs!

Weaving through all the cones helps him with his flexibility and regaining his agility.

Standing on the blow up dome helps with balance and core strength. Using a treat he has to look up and hold his balance for 5 or more seconds.

Hey! Are those muscles returning to his thighs????

February 4, 2010

Important - Please Read

Most of you know how near and dear the Escondido Humane Society is to my heart. If for some reason you don't please keep reading my blog and you will soon see why I have a special passion for this shelter.

Not only do I enjoy spending time with these dogs but they have become teachers on my path to becoming a Certified TTouch Practitioner. What they have given to me is immeasurable! Words cannot express my gratitude.

January, 2001 in the middle of the night the shelter was burned to the ground. 115 animals were killed in the fire. They rebuilt. This Summer they have a Million Dollar balloon payment due on the property.

Every once in a lifetime a miracle occurs. This miracle came in the form of an anonymous donor who has offered to match raised funds up to $1,000,000! Can you imagine having the ability to do something like that??? That is my lotto dream. But in the meantime it is some wonderful person's reality.

Volunteers and Staff have brainstormed on ways to raise money to pay the mortgage. One standard fundraiser is Paws in the Park.

I have never in my life done a Walk-a-Thon in my life but I want to participate. I want to help repay all that the animals have given to me. The best way I know how it to raise donations through this Walk-a-Thon so the mortgage can be paid and the shelter can move forward with their mission to rehome the homeless.

Escondido Humane Society is a blessing to the animals. I've seen fancy boarding kennels that don't offer as much TLC as animals at the shelter get. They have volunteers to train them, bathe them and talk them for walks and Adventure Days. Others sit and read to a stressed or ill dog. I have the opportunity to practice my TTouch and the list goes on and on. The staff and the volunteers adore these animals and want only the best for them.

Yes, I have a big goal. But if everyone did a little bit I can get there. Will you help me? Any amount would be most appreciated.

February 2, 2010

Marley - Wonder Boy

Marley, the Wonder Boy

Marley had his therapy tonight and did an incredible job. He continues to amaze his Dr. and the therapists he works with. Tonight Dr. Sosna called him Wonder Boy!

Elmer was Marley's therapist tonight and he really had Marley giving his all. Not only did he do his standard 25 min on the treadmill but it was also cranked up at a higher speed!

It is amazing how hard a pup will work with a spoon of Peanut Butter dangled in front of them :-)

When it is all over he gets hosed off and dried with towels....and lots of lovin' thrown in for good measure.

Boy were we surprised when we saw that he was promoted to a tougher obstacle course. My first thought was "Marley is gonna love this". And love it he did!

Take a look at how his movement is coming along and he is walking with more confidence and purpose. There is no way we could be more proud of our boy. He has worked very hard at regaining his mobility.

Can you believe that after doing this obstacle course 5 time in each direction he still had floor exercises to do??? Marley will end up better than ever when Dr. Sosna, Elmer and Tara are through with him. What a boy.

February 1, 2010

The Momma's and the Puppies

Yesterday was another great day at the shelter. I honestly think that volunteering to help animals in need can sure cure what ails ya.

The first Momma I worked with was Sophie a smaller Rottweiler who has a ways to go before she regains her pre-pregnancy figure. Judging by her underside and its relation to the ground I'm guessing this was not her first litter. Thanks to the shelter it was her last.

I spent time with Sophie just wanting her to feel good. Sometimes I do TTouch that way. Not really trying to release tension or help with an ailment or behavior. Sometimes I just want the dog to feel loved and pampered. That was my wish for Sophie.

Sophie seemed to enjoy the Zig-Zags and the Belly Lifts. The Ear work turned her into a melted pool of butter. Doing it over again I'd have used my really long wrap but instead I used my regular one and she ended up with a 1/4 wrap. It had to feel good to have things lifted up where they belonged.

Sophie is a love sponge and showed her appreciation with lots of kisses.

Next I spent time with Shelby. This Hound mix is quite the character. She LOVES tennis balls! Oh yes she does. She and I played a little ball and then broke for touches...then more ball.

As I tried to take pictures of Shelby I found she was really drawn to my camera! To get pictures of her I'd throw the ball and try to get a shot before she was right on me again.

I think Shelby would be the perfect dog for a young and athletic guy that would like a fly ball partner! I do believe she'd think she had died and gone to Heaven.

There has been a little Pit Bull puppy I have had my eye on for awhile. He was in the stray area of the shelter but I really did not like his picture. The way he was being held up was far from natural and he had this red piece of cloth around his neck. It was all wrong.

I've watched Duke move through the system and vowed to do a little photo shoot with him so his web page could be updates. Sunday was his day.

Duke is a beautiful little boy with his right ear partially cut off. What is it with people cutting dog's ears like that? I just don't get it. Anyway, Duke and I did some TTouch and a photo shoot.

Today I got the word that he was adopted! He now has his own forever parents and let me tell you they are very lucky to have this good little boy.

I saw little Reese crying for attention in her crate and instantly fell in love with her little face. Reese is a couple months old and is fighting Demodex Mange. Right there I decided she needed some TTouch. When we got to the enclosure where I work with the dogs she was jumping all over, bouncing and kissing me. VERY cute for a puppy but not so cute when she grows up to be a big Pit Bull girl. No, not good.

Reese had her first clicker training session and she is as smart as they come. As I loaded the clicker (click and treat for nothing to establish what the clicker is for) she thought that was a great game. I was very careful not to click and treat unless all four were on the floor.

What a quick study Reese was! It wasn't 3 minutes before she realized that jumping on me resulted in nothing. No verbal command to get down, no eye contact, no brushing her off...she received absolutely nothing. And not only that, but she realized that if she just stood there not doing anything clicks & treats magically appeared.

In the 20 minutes I spent with Reese she learned not to jump, "look at me", targeting my hand and started to volunteer sits. I captured this behavior and will work on it more next time if she hasn't been adopted.

Of course puppies like to play and Reese is no different. It was pretty funny when she snatched my keys off my TTouch case and ran with them. The more they jingled the more fun she had.

Reese is a fun, silly and very smart girl.

Where is that darned Lotto ticket when I need it? Add Reese's name to the list of pups I want to adopt when my ship comes in. :-)

Days like this it is difficult to leave the shelter. I have a very peaceful feeling and a desire to work on every animal there.

I'm constantly in awe that the more TTouch I give away the more enriched my life becomes.