July 31, 2010

A Very Emotional Day

I'll be the first to admit that most times I'm pretty much of a Pollyanna and very rarely feel down, or blue.  Today is one of those days where I'm an emotional roller coaster.  As always I see the silver lining, it's just my nature but I also have a heavy heart.

Last night as I looked through the photos of dogs at the shelter and was trying to see if anyone "reached out to me"....one did.  I saw this face and immediately started paving the way to work with this dog.

This is Jack.  He is a 3 month old Pit Bull puppy. In Jack's short life he has seen more violence than anyone ever should. Here is a list of the issues he has:

  • Fractured skull
  • Old, improperly healed fracture to his front right leg
  • Left eye pushed back into his head
  • Huge Abscess on his face under his eye
  • Scars that appear that the left side of his face was all but removed
  • Countless old scars
Please keep in mind he is a baby.  He is only THREE MONTHS OLD!  My heart aches for what he has been through.  There is speculation that he was used as a bait dog.  With a fractured scull and no bite marks to the top of the head I have to wonder if there is a "human" element to this violence as well.  Come to think of it there is a human element in using a puppy as a bait dog too but you know what I mean.

Today I put all that out of my head and spent an hour and a half hanging out with Jack.  He is comfortable and happy in his huge dog crate but he doesn't want to come out at all.  So with the upper half of my body in his crate I did TTouch on his little body and told him how special and wonderful he is.  I promised that no one would ever hurt him again and that he is loved by many.  This happy puppy responded to my play bows with lots of kisses.  In some respects he is no different than any other puppy.

The pictures I took of Jack are very poor.  My beloved Nikon is feeling sick and was not my trusty companion today.  Add to that the fact that Jack won't come out of his crate and go outside with me and he is housed in a darkened area of the shelter - this is the best I can do.

You can see the lump on the left side of his face and that is the abscess.

Nicole, one of the medical staff, will be taking him home with her and keeping him a few days.  Early next week he will be evaluated and at minimum will have his left eye removed and the abscess dealt with.  As you can see from the paws he will be a BIG boy when he grows up.  I don't know that they plan to re-break the leg and fix it but you can see it is a mess.

Nicole will be fostering Jack after his surgery and as agreed to have me work with him and assist in his recovery.  I'll be approaching another shelter friend of mine that will be doing long term foster for him and see if I can continue working with him after he moves to her.

Jack will need help learning to trust.  He needs his self confidence built up and his fears put to rest.  Jack will need to learn to balance that big 'ol body he will be growing and TTouch can help with all of this.

I have visions of this beautiful boy walking the labyrinth, stepping over the poles of the star, walking the balance beam and weaving through cones - all with a smile on his face.

Please send your warm wishes and prayers for his speedy and complete recovery - physically and emotionally.

This loving, precious, amazing, adorable little boy deserves all the good this world has to offer.

Today I also learned that little Pinky, the frightened dog I worked with a couple weeks ago was lost to a Parvo outbreak at the shelter.  Rest in Peace little one.  You no longer have to be afraid of anything.

Before you start to think that volunteering at the shelter is a big downer I have to share that a very special boy, Charlie, started his new life with a family that loves him today!

Not every day at the shelter is a walk in the park.  Sometimes there is anger, rage or painful tears.  But the Pollyanna in me always sees the bigger picture.

  • Jack is surrounded by people that love him and will take care of him.  He will see more tenderness than ever before.  He will grow to be happy and healthy in body and spirit.  Someone will be very blessed to welcome him into their lives
  • Little Pinky is at peace and no longer afraid of the world
  • Charlie has a home
  • And I will find someone to fix my dear friend, Nikon

July 25, 2010

San Diego Dachshund Club Summer Picnic

TouchNpaws table at the Doxie Picnic

Today was San Diego Dachshund Club's Summer Picnic.  I was invited to have a booth next to my good friends at 2nd Chance Dachshund Rescue and my husband, Steve came along to enjoy the day.

It was a great opportunity to raise TTouch awareness and funds for the rescue all at the same time.

I met many wonderful dogs and their people.  We did a 5-10 minute session for a nervous and dog reactive boy.  It made my day when his owner stopped by to tell me how well he had done and that TTouch really worked!  He was not being reactive and there were many, many dogs at the picnic.

It is always my pleasure to talk to people about the benefits of Tellington TTouch and make sure they understood how to do ear work and the life saving benefits it can offer.

Not only did the dogs enjoy the touches but the owners came away with some things they can do to help their dogs.

Phoebe models her beautiful hand made harness

Take a look at these fantastic custom made harnesses that my friend Cathleen makes.  The funds are used pay for Camelot's medical care.  Camelot is an amazing doxie girl that I've worked with.  Put Cami in the search field of this blog to read all about her.  Please post a comment that you would like one and I'll put you in touch with the designer!

July 17, 2010

News from the Shelter

Well we have some great news.  Both Max and Bullet made it out of the shelter and into private rescue groups!  Max's sister Carly made it out of evaluation and into adoptions.  These events happened right before a parvo break out!  Thankfully these dogs are saved but others are in danger.  I'm saying a prayer that the parvo has been stopped and no more dogs will be lost.

I had a helper today!  Steve joined me with plans to read to a dog that is now in lock down due to the parvo situation.  Since we couldn't do that he helped me with Sassy, Daisy and Carly.

Meet Sassy!  OMG she is wonderful!!!  Incredibly loving and calm she will make someone very lucky when they discover her!  She loves nothing more than being cuddled and loved on.

Then came Daisy!  Daisy is all fun and games and very strong.  It took a bit to get her to settle down but once she felt Tellington TTouch she was so much calmer.  We were even able to get her to pose for a new photo for her adoption page.

I believe Steve is enamored by Carly....and Carly with Steve.  She is such a little character.  Carly quickly figured out what the clicker and sauteed turkey hearts were all about.  That little one sure can target to a hand  :-)

With temps hitting 100* by 11am we called it an early day.  But 2 hours of our time this morning made a beautiful day for 3 young ladies at the shelter - and for us too!

Count your blessings and hug your pups tonight.   If you know anyone wishing to add to their family please ask them to check their local shelters.  There are many, many wonderful dogs and cats just waiting for their furever home!

July 13, 2010

Tellington TTouch, CAPiT

This past week I have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico taking my 4th round of classes. Linda Tellington-Jones taught this class and we had an incredible group of Assistants and Students.

I had opportunities to work with numerous animals that taught me so much. A few of these Animal Teachers are featured on the blog but there were many others as well.

We had a very large group of first-time students and they were gracious enough to allow me to help them and that in turn helped me build my teaching skills. I formed many friendships that I hope will grow through the years. TTouch has a way of building "families" out of new friends.

"Benny", Jessica, Melissa, Linda Tellington-Jones, Me, Penny, Cynde and Jeannie

This is not the end of my adventure with Tellington TTouch but it is my first big milestone. I have graduated from "Student" to "Companion Animal Practitioner in Training".

Please visit my new website and pardon some of the bugs I'm trying to work out so that things line up on as many computer figurations as possible. TTouch is my specialty, not web design :-)

July 11, 2010

The Simple Things

Yesterday we had Client Appointments. As the dogs were introduced by their owners I knew immediately I wanted to work with Muchacho. Muchacho is an older dog with some type of neurological disorder that causes his back feet to cross when he walks and has difficulties balancing. In addition he is frightened of fireworks, thunder and noise from near-by concerts.

My goal for Muchacho was to help him walk in balance and see if he could walk with his feet squarely under his body.

I engaged the help of his owner, Jodie, because Muchacho was nervous around me and not sure he wanted me to work with him. I asked Jodie to do a couple touches on him and at that point he decided I was okay after all and walked over to me and allowed me to work on his body.

Muchacho had never worn a harness before so it was important to go very slowly when introducing him to a body wrap or a Thundershirt. At first neither were acceptable to him. Jodie and I took turns draping one or the other over his body.

Eventually I was able to get him into a Thundershirt and a Super Balance Leash configuration.

Between the equipment and walking Muchacho through the labyrinth he was able to walk more confidently. The wrap/Thundershirt and the Super Balance Leash helped him to feel and organize his body but one very simple addition immediately allowed him to uncross his back legs.......hair scrunchies!

I hope to hear from Jodie in the coming days to hear how Muchacho is doing!

Thank you to Jodie and Muchacho for this very rewarding experience.

July 9, 2010

Kindred Spirits


Okay, so I couldn't wait! I just have to write about Kindred Spirits. Kindred Spirits is a 501C non profit dedicated to end-of-life and hospice care for unwanted dogs, horses and poultry.

Yesterday our TTouch class visited Kindred Spirits to share our love with these very special animals.

Now some may thinks that visiting a hospice situation would be an emotionally painful experience. These animals are elderly, broken and/or dying. What I found at Kindred Spirits was not a bunch of sad and pitiful animals. No, what I found was animals that are different from others but as one with their peers. All of these animals lived in harmony with each other and are at peace.

Let me introduce you to a few of my new friends.

This is Ralphie. He is 16 years old and is mourning the loss of his best friend and Bassett Hound Brother, Junior. Junior passed last year and though Ralphie is surrounded by buddies it just isn't the same. Ralphie has arthritis and pain in his legs and hips.

Eskaya is a lovely dog that is about 15 years old. Her past is not known but she was so free with her love and greetings for all of us that you could not help but reach out to her.

The dog I'm spending time with in this picture is Lilia Rose and my new friend Kathy is working with Gracie. Lilia Rose is about 14 years old and was emaciated and fearful upon coming to Kindred Spirits. She is nearly blind but has learned to trust. Sure looks like she is enjoying her TTouch to me!

I went there with the intention of bringing joy and love to these animals. I did that. But they gave me so much more. I left with a full heart and confirmation that this is an area that will be at the heart of TouchNpaws!

Update on Romeo!

Yesterday our class visited an incredible place called "Kindred Spirits". It is a hospice and sanctuary for Dogs, Horses and Poultry - yes, poultry :-) I will be writing in detail about this in a day or two.

When we returned from Kindred Spirits one of the TTouch Assistants told me that Jill (Romeo's person) stopped by to thank me for working on Romeo and to share some wonderful news. She said that the next morning he got up before her which is something that never happens. He was getting around with ease, was happy and "full of beans".

I wish I would have been there to talk with her but I'm so thankful that Romeo and Jill had such a positive outcome from a session that lasted about 30 minutes!

This work never ceases to amaze me!

July 7, 2010

Santa Fe, NM

Well here I am! I'm in Santa Fe, NM with Linda Tellington-Jones my mentor, Cynde and about 25+ TTouch students. It is quite apparent that TTouch is alive and well.....and growing!

This session is my 4th and very important to me because when I leave Santa Fe I will be a Practitioner in Training and I will have quite a few more privileges.

This afternoon we were joined by a local group that trains Service Dogs. Some of these dogs were young and for others "being a youngster" was some time ago. As soon as the dogs were introduced I knew exactly who I wanted to work with.

Meet Romeo!

Romeo is a retired service dog. At 15 years old this fine gentleman is experiencing the pain of arthritis. As if the arthritis in the back end isn't enough he has bad pain in front too from over compensating. Jill's wishes for Romeo is that his remaining time is filled with as much comfort as possible. We want Romeo to be as free from pain as he can be and to be able to receive pleasure....just for the pleasure of it.

I worked on Romeo's entire body with a warming Abalone TTouch and made note of where he was open to touch and where he had his concerns. Because he has pain I used a very light touch. I also wanted to wake up his cells and help his body reconnect with itself.

Romeo allowed me to do work on his ears, face and muzzle getting more and more relaxed. Since his legs have pain I wanted to do some Raccoon TTouches and Snail Tail TTouches to reduce pain and inflammation. Romeo retracted his front leg when I touched it so I honored what he told me and moved to another. As his trust in me built up and he knew I was there to help him and that I would listen to his concerns he allowed me to work on all 4 of his legs. I did the pain and inflammation reducing touches and also did some Python Lifts on his legs. Just for the pure pleasure of it and also to help his body connect I did some Tarantulas Pulling The Plow along the entire length of his body.

Now that Romeo was a pool of Jell-o on his bed it was time to show Jill how she can work with him at home. We practiced Lying Leopards and Raccoon TTouches. To help Jill get a good feel for the work I put my hand on top of hers and together we made the touches along Romeo's body. After that Jill was up and running on her own.

Romeo is so fortunate that he has someone that loves him so very much. He is fed a species appropriate raw diet and has not had vaccines for years. 15 years old is incredible for a large dog. He is a happy and healthy boy and now Jill has tools to help him through his senior years.

Thank you Jill for sharing your precious boy with me.