May 22, 2010

Gertie's Tumor

I want to share something remarkable. I have had 3 sessions with the little Doxie with the tumor. Gertie is 15 -17 years old, blind, mostly deaf and with an inoperable tumor. But she is spunky and has a real zest for life.

Medically nothing is being done to treat her tumor. The Dr.s said they can't help her. She is on a custom made diet by Sabine Contreras of Better Dog Care. Sabine made her a diet specific for cancer patients. Gertie has had the diet and TTouch only. Who knows how much of each contributed to the success or if it is a blend of the two. Either way her owner, LeeAnne is beside herself with joy. LeeAnne is the owner of Rowdy (another Doxie) that had a reaction to a bite and LeeAnne and her daughter saved her life using ear touches on the way to the vet.

Gertie - Before (April 23)

Gertie - After (May 19)

We used touches all over Gertie's body but concentrated Raccoon Touches on her tumor. I focused on asking her cells to remember their perfection. LeeAnne was very dedicated in doing the work between our visits and this is the result of our joint effort for Gertie.

May 15, 2010

The 3 C's

Camelot, Cooper and Carlee

Today was our final session...well officially it was. I have no doubt I'll be seeing these sweethearts again down the road. My goal for today was to make sure that Cathleen was comfortable doing the touches and answer any questions she had.

As usual Cooper was first on my lap but Cami made sure she got her's too! Carlee is very laid back and really enjoys the touch but at the same time takes a back seat to Cooper and Cami.

The last couple sessions Cami has been doing something quite unusual. Something I've never seen with any other dog. At certain points in the work, when I'm doing Heart Hugs or touches to her chest her ears take on a life of their own. Normally they hang down like Doxie ears should.

Then as I start to work on her chest she starts moving her head almost like she is stretching and then the "ear thing' happens. The left ear kinda folds over itself and the right ear sticks straight out!

Here she is stretching her head and the ears are beginning to transform.

I'll be asking others involved in the work if they have seen anything like this before. I'd be curious if it has any significance.

I'd like to share something Cathleen said:
Cooper really likes TTouch.... which makes quite a bit of sense, seeing how his poor little body was so disconnected from itself for the first 5+ years of his life that he battled with a liver shunt, bladder stones and multiple infections throughout his body. I truely believe TTouch felt so wonderful to Cooper because it helped him to finally be one with his whole body...Cami on the other hand is a different dog from the first session to today.

This case study has really taken on a life of its own. Some may say "by chance" and others may say it was "in the plan" but a simple email asking a local rescue if they had a dog I could work on has really brought joy to my life. I have met some very knowledgeable ladies who are dedicated to the health and well-being of dogs. I have learned much from them and there is so much more to learn.

When people say that you receive more than you give doing this work they couldn't be any more correct!

'Nilla's 2nd Session

Today I saw Nilla and her family again. She was still fearful of me when I came in but quite better than last time. After a few minutes I decided to put a Thundershirt on her and see if that reassured her any. Once again I was in awe over the influence the Thudershirt has on a dog's behavior or emotions. I should be used to seeing this but I imagine it will all seem new and fresh to me every time.

Instantly Nilla became relaxed and actually laid down while I talked with Bill & Tina. Nilla is doing better on her potty training and has a very reliable "sit". Not bad for such a young puppy. I was able to do touches on Nilla today without any fear response. I showed Bill and Tina how to do Mouth Work, how to work on her Tail & Ears.

One thing that was unique about today's session is I worked with their son, Cole. I showed Cole how to do some Chimp touches and how to be very calming and gentle with Nilla. Cole is Nilla's main target for jumping and biting. When Cole was very softly touching Nilla's muzzle and she was licking him it was a good time to explain how puppies test things out with their mouth like we do our hands. It doesn't take much excitement for a puppy to go from licking to biting. Cole understood and was very good to make adjustments where needed.

I put Nilla on my lap as we sat on the floor and she was more than accepting to the touches, she was welcoming. Then we took the shirt off to see if she would remain confident or if she would revert to being fearful. It seemed to be a mix. Her body language said she was not as comfortable as she was with the shirt but she was really trying and she was interacting.

Bill questioned how to get Nilla to drop the ball when they are playing so I showed the steps to teach "drop it". Nilla was great to engage with me. This is when I discovered how good at targeting the had she had become in the last two weeks! She was dead on each time. Bill has been working with her It really showed.

We were unable to duplicate the jumping and biting behavior and that isn't something we really want to set up so we talked about how to handle this when it happens next time. I consulted with Dennis Fehling a fantastic positive trainer and a Tellington Touch Practitioner in Training in Oregon. Using Dennis' technique we talked about making available a time out area upstairs and one downstairs. We would use a sound to replace the word "no" and if she repeated the behavior he is to say "too bad", pick her up and put her in time out for 2-3 minutes. When she is quiet let her out but don't acknowledge her. It won't take too many times before she learns that biting the boys is unacceptable.

Bill and Tina are ready to put the new things they learned in practice in the up coming 2 weeks. I look forward to hearing how things are going!

May 14, 2010

A Little Bird.........

On the way into the office today I saw two guys kneeling down with something in their hands. Turns out it was a little yellow and green/gray bird. they had seen the bird fly into the window and fall to the ground and were holding it trying to decide what to do.

None of us know how to help this little one. Its left foot looked broken and it was holding its neck at a backward angle like it was looking up at the sky. He handed me the bird and I sat quietly talking to it and doing little tiny TTouches with my fingernail. At one point the bird which was facing away from me turned around and looked at me. A little later he fluffed up and it looked like he was doing really good (considering) so I put him on some soft ivy to see if he could rest there. He wouldn't have any part of it and wanted back into my hand.

The guys and I talked and thought it would be best if I took him with me and called Project Wildlife. Unfortunately this little one passed away in my hand on the elevator ride up to my office :-( I know the odds are slim for a little bird in its condition, they are so very fragile. But I'm sad. I've never held anything while it died before. He never even closed his eyes. He just relaxed while looking at me and left.

I'm thankful for the guys that stopped so he didn't have to die by himself hurting and scared.

Although TTouch didn't help him get better I do believe he liked it enough he didn't want to stop looking at me with soft eyes or get out of my hand. I think TTough gave him peace through his pain and helped ease his transition.

Rest well little one.

May 9, 2010

Cami and Friends

When I visited Cami and her friends yesterday I got to see her in all her glory! This little girl is completely different from the one I met at our first session! She is really feeling great and running and playing. Such a joy to see.

The Doxies seemed to know I was there for their benefit and promptly got up in my lap for their TTouch. As I hold all three, Carlee, Cami and Cooper, I switch off on who is actually being worked on and who is having a pause to process. It actually works out quite well.

Cooper enjoys his ear work. What better ears for Ear TTouch than those of a Doxie? I do believe he looks like he is going to fall asleep!

Carlee has a very BIG yawn during the Abalone TTouches I'm doing on her chest.

I made another wrap for Cami and I think she looks like a little present. She is a little present to all those who know her so it is very fitting. Doesn't she look pretty?

Soon little Gertie stopped by for some TTouch before heading to the vet. Gertie has been having some trouble that does not appear to be related to her tumor. This sweet one sure doesn't need another thing on her plate. Thoughts and prayers are with her as they look for answers.

As for her tumor, even though it looks large and I couldn't really SEE a difference I absolutely could FEEL a difference. The tumor felt very full and tight before. Now there is relaxation in the lump. According to Lee Anne it has shrunk quite a bit. Before when Lee Anne would cup her hand over the tumor her hand would be full. Now there is a significant difference in how much of her and the tumor fills. We are happy for any reduction in size or pressure that we can get for her.

Gertie would benefit from a few more sessions

I think Cami is pretty much back to normal. She seems to be feeling fit as a fiddle which you can see in this video clip of her playing. We will most likely have one more session where I can make sure Cathleen can carry on the work on her own. Then I'll be around on an as needed basis for this sweet girl for as long as they need me.

- Camelot, Cami, The Princess -

This has really been a fantastic case study. Not only had Cami benefited but so has Cooper. Cooper was described to me as a nervous boy that was cautious of women and would leave the room when company came. I never met that Cooper. The Cooper I know is quite confident, loving and the first to hop on my lap and the last to leave. As for Carlee, I think she just plain loved TTouch and how good it feels to her. Gertie has had a reduction in size and pressure of her tumor. On top of all these things I've met two very nice friends in Cathleen and Lee Anne. What more could I ask for?


Yesterday I did an evaluation for a Powerpuff Chinese Crested named Skylar.

Skylar was rescued by my friend Nichole about a year ago. Prior to that he lived with an animal hoarder. Skylar is under socialized and frightened of the world in general and tends to mark his territory. Nichole has done an amazing job in the year that she has had him. I actually expected his issues to be far worse that what I saw.

It is so easy to get angry at hoarders for the mental damage that is done to these dogs and typically the lack of veterinary care too. Studies have shown that many hoarders are previous victims of violence and / or sexual abuse. They start off with a genuine desire and need to protect and save these animals. They can't say no and saving one dog turns into many, many more than they are able to deal with. So although we can understand how one thing led to another it is so important to reach out to the authorities if you suspect a hoarding situation so that all involved can get the help they need.

Now, back to Skylar.

Skylar was quite timid but with an offer of an excellent treat he was not too timid to approach me. A very good sign. Using calming signals with Skylar and avoiding direct eye contact he was happy to let me do touches all over his body. I was able to do a nonthreatening Chimp Touch on his head, mouth, body, hind quarters (where frightened dogs have a lot of tension) and his legs and feet. I was impressed with his tolerance. He was actually relaxing rather than just being too afraid to protest.

I think Skylar would be a wonderful candidate for a Thundershirt and we found the Extra Small fit him just right. Skylar was quite accepting of the shirt but unfortunately in the process of putting it on him we ended up "cornering" him and he became very stressed and would not allow touches.

Time to regroup! Skylar told us he was uncomfortable and it was our job to fix that. So outside we went! From this point Skylar was less receptive of my touching him although I could touch his head and face. The rest of Skylar was now off limits.

This is where I turned the work over to Nichole. I asked her to do lots of mouth work on him since there is a connection between the mouth and emotions. Skylar did great outside with Nichole doing the work.

As Nichole and I talked she said that Skylar is afraid of the camera and will look away or leave as soon as she breaks it out. I took out the camera for the first time after putting on the Thundershirt. Connection? I'm willing to bet on it. The other thing was that Skylar usually won't accept touch to his back end. She didn't want to say anything to influence my work with him and just watched. Nichole was pretty pleased that Skylar allowed the touches where he needed it so badly.

I won't be taking Skylar on as a case study until after I get back from Santa Fe in July. I want to do some research on the best ways to help Skylar overcome his fears between now and then. I'm sure I will come back refreshed with lots of new ideas after training with Linda Tellington-Jones in July. In the meantime Nichole has lots of touches she can continue on Skylar and she knows how to find me between now and then.

I've seen some amazing responses using the Thundershirts and if you are considering getting one in the next two weeks please enter the code "2ndchance" in the Discount Code box when you order your shirt from Thundershirts. When you do 50% of the purchase price will go to help Doxi's in need. Doxies just like Princess Cami and her friends! This special run May 10 - 24! Help your dog while you help the Wiener dogs!

May 4, 2010

Shelter pups

Tonight I had the pleasure of volunteering at the shelter. I really enjoy the time I spend there and as soon as I win the lotto I'll be spending TONS of time there. But for now I have to settle for the opportunities I do have.

Usually I will ask a couple of my friends, Jan (Zorro's new Momma) and Kathy (who was critical to his rescue) who they think could use some TTouch. Tonight I worked from Kathy's suggestions and one dog I wanted to redo his picture.

I started off the night with Argo. Argo's intake picture has a nasty looking prong collar and until a volunteer has a chance to redo pictures the dogs go on to the Available page with their initial intake picture. Not good. Thankfully more and more volunteers are seeing the benefit of a good picture and are helping me out quite a bit!

Argo is a handsome boy. I forgot to bring treats with me and he was rather shy of me at first. It seemed he wanted to stay just outside my reach. But when the opportunity allowed I'd do 1 or 2 touches as he walked by. It wasn't much more than 5 minutes before he came and sat next to me so I could do touches all over. Next thing you knew his head was in my lap and he allowed touches on his head, face, muzzle and gums! TTouch is a powerful tool for building trust.

Next I worked with Zada who has been at the shelter for some time but I've never worked with her. Have I ever been missing out!!! Zada is incredible. I just love the big Pit Bulls and Zada is about 75 pounds of solid muscle. She has a big 'ol head which is perfect for TTouchin' on.

I sat on my sheet and Zada backed her body right up to me and allowed touches everywhere. There was never a question if she would like something. Her body language said she was loving every touch or stroke. A few minutes into our session she turned that extra large head toward me and licked me from my chin to the top of my head, knocking my glasses off. One of the other volunteers commented she looked like she was going to pass out toward the end of our time together.

Now, before you start thinking Zada is a lover girl with no brains let me tell you she is attending classes at the shelter to earn her CGC and rumor has it she will be testing soon.

Someone is going to be extra lucky to get this beautiful girl with brains and manners!

Next came Sophie. I've both worked with and written about this sweetheart. Sophie is very receptive to touches also but is terribly camera shy. As soon as I lift the camera she is outta there!

Sophie is starting to get her waist back after having a litter of puppies and really putting on the pounds. One thing that may never change is her "underside". Poor Sophie's girlish figure may never return. Yet another good reason to spay & neuter your pets.

Lastly I saw Andre. Okay, talk about another love bug! Andre is taking the same CGC classes Zada is in. Andre loved touches all over too. He was good with me working on his feet, head, face and mouth.

Turns out Andre is a little vocal around other dogs. He gets excited and just has to tell them his life story. I saw this first hand when he spotted dogs several hundred feet away. He got all excited and started to bark and cry.

I've been talking with folks about Thundershirts today and I wondered if the shirt would help him settle around other dogs. Well, can't hurt and just might help. I fitted Andre in a size large and no sooner had I got it on him when someone came by with a dog. The dogs greeted each other through the fence and all was quite. Andre was a perfect gentleman! They played with a fence between them for a couple minutes and then the pretty girl puppy went on her way. It was only when she left that Andre let out a cry. This time it was quite easy to get his focus back on me.

Before you knew it my 2 hours were up and it was time for me to go home to my own pups. No matter how long I'm at the shelter it is never long enough. I always leave with a full heart, a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart that one of these lotto tickets pays off.

May 1, 2010

'Nilla - Puppyhood

Isn't 'Nilla (Short for Vanilla) precious? 'Nilla is 12 weeks old and doing what puppies her age do....jumping up and nipping! Unfortunately the family and most especially the two very young boys in the family really don't appreciate this behavior. My goal is to help 'Nilla become a more calmed puppy and teach her lots of other wonderful ways to get attention.

Today when I arrived little 'Nilla was quite shy and hiding behind her person at every opportunity. Working in a large area where she could avoid me wasn't working so well. When we moved to a smaller area I was able to toss her treats and she would reluctantly take them. I was very surprised when I reached to pet her she was terrified of me and let out a scream and piddled.

According to her owner this is not a behavior they have seen in the 2 weeks she has been there. Although we aren't sure why she was frightened of me, one thought is that she smelled dogs on me and was fearful because she had been sternly barked at this morning. Maybe, I'm not sure. She most certainly isn't afraid of her family.

Bill and I reviewed the paper work I brought and I tossed treats to 'Nilla. We discussed food for her and picked out a nice high quality, grain-free diet that will get her off to a good start in life.

It was time to try touches on her again and I contained her in front of me and she was more accepting of touches. Oddly enough she was very accepting of touches on her head, face and mouth.

Thinking a body wrap would help calm her I used a 2" wrap and did a 1/4 wrap but didn't tie it. After 20-30 seconds she wanted it off and I complied. Later we tried again and as I contained her on my lap I very slowly put the wrap on her and she was fine with it. I allowed her to walk about with it on. Soon she laid down and was completely relaxed. At this point I was able to work her entire body, feet, face, head and mouth.

We did a minimal introduction to clicker training. We "loaded the clicker" and did some very easy "touch".

That was enough for today!

I'm constantly reminded that although I may have an idea in mind of where I want the session to lead the dog may have another idea. It is my job to meet the dog where she is and with tenderness and patience get her set up for success.