February 26, 2011

Tellington TTouch Graduation

March 2009 I embarked on my journey to become a Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner.

I created this blog to help me remember all the important moments along the way.  Looking back through the posts I'm filled with so many emotions.  Remembering each and every one of the Animal Teachers that have touched my life and helped me learn to help them brings me smiles and tears.

Some of these teachers have crossed the Rainbow Bridge but not without leaving a tremendous impact on my life.  I thank them all.

Shelter Sam - Rainbow Bridge

One of the really important things I wanted to happen before my graduation was to get Marley into a training session so I could get some ideas for his dog reactivity.  The only way for that to happen was to host a session here in San Diego.  We did that in a big way.  Our class here was huge!  We had a great mix of junior and senior students.

I was blessed to have Kathy Cascade, who taught my first classes, as my final instructor.  My mentor, Cynde Van Vleet, was here to assist the class and I learned so very much.  Marley was a wonderful student hanging on her every word.

February 24, 2011 I completed my formal training!  I have reached my goal and am now a fully certified Practitioner.

Because I will be focusing on building my business, TouchNpaws - studying Aromatherapy and concentrating my shelter work on a group of dogs we are not allowed to discuss in public arenas, it is time to give my blog a rest.

Looking at the statistical data that has been captured every time someone clicks on my page I'm tremendously humbled.  There have been well over 4,000 unique visitors.  I have had readers from all over the United States and Canada.  People from the UK and all over Europe, Italy, South Africa, Russia, India, Portugal, Netherlands, Greece, Australia, Belgium, Latvia, Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia - and these countries only include the latest 500 hits to the blog!  How you lovely people heard of me I have no idea but I'm amazed that so many have been interested in my learning process.

I hope some of these animals have left their paw print on your heart.

February 4, 2011

Super quiet on the blog!

I have been asked by a few why things have been so quiet on the blog lately.

Well the truth of the matter is that I'm not supposed to share information about the dogs I work with at the shelter that have not yet passed their behavior tests.  They can't be talked about until they are in adoptions.  By the time they are in adoptions I'm working with new dogs that haven't yet made it.

Still working on the logistics of how best to share the wonderful work Tellington TTouch is doing to change the lives of these dogs without breaking the rules.  :-)  We'll figure it out.

In the meantime I'd like to share a few pics and notes about some of the dogs that have gone to adoptions.

Have you ever seen two more beautiful creatures in your life?  This is Tucker and Tanya.  These dogs are incredibly smart, well mannered and sweet.  

This little girl's picture at intake shows a terrified and cowering little one not sure of where she was and what was happening to her.  Just look at her now!

This is John Wayne, aptly named because he is slightly bow legged.  Kinda makes me think he may be mixed with an English Bulldog.  John Wayne is currently up for adoption at the shelter.  He is a very loving boy that consideres himself a lap ornament.  :-)

This little girl was truly scared to death until I put her in a Thundershirt and did a few TTouches on her.  After that she saught out attention and cuddling.

Holy Smokes!  Have you ever seen a happier smile than Java has?

Finally, meet Dallas.  She is about 7 years old and as gentle as a lamb.

Did you know that finding dogs as wonderful as these at the shelter is not uncommon at all?  I really hope you and your friends will consider checking you local shelter for your next best friend.

These dogs really deserve to find their Happily Ever After.

Oh by the way, I started this blog to track my journey to becoming a Tellington TTouch Practioner.  Well guess what!  That journey will be complete in just 20 days!  On February 24, 2010 I'll be graduating!!  (Can you see me doing my Happy Dance?)

January 8, 2011


Remember Aurora?  She is doing really well and is making small improvements all the time.  She still spins but not nearly as bad and is quite capable of walking straight to get a toy or to chase a ball.  Problem is if she isn't focused on something she puts her head down and spins.  Today I put a head wrap on her and the change was a bit more than remarkable.  Not only does she look adorable in her little had but she held her head up and ran and played without spinning. 

We are continuing to try lots of different options to get her to walk straight on a lead.  But off lead with a head wrap she's pretty much got it!

Felipe the beautiful blind Boxer boy made it to adoptions!  But his stay there was very short.  He wasn't adopted but the next best thing.  Felipe made it into a rescue specifically for Boxer dogs!  Not only that but when I arrived at the shelter today I saw the gentleman that was coordinating his transfer to a foster home in Los Angeles and we had a chance to chat. Seems Felipe will be fostered by an older couple that are home a lot of the time.  They have Boxer experience but not blind Boxer experience.  As we chatted I shared how well he reacted to my "Beep-Beep" technique.  This info will be passed on to his new foster home.


Also remember the little Puggle that was abandoned in a cardboard box?  Well his new name is Rascal and he is available for adoption! 

All good stuff.

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

What a great way to start off my New Year!  Meeting my friend Eli at the shelter and working with the dogs.

Quick update on Neo - he is a complete LOVE and was very excited to see me today.  To tell the truth I was quite excited to see him too.  He should get his behavior testing this week and hopefully a spot will clear for him to go into adoptions!

A quick note about Elmer - Turns out I didn't get to work with Elmer today.  The Kennel Staff was in the middle of cleaning out their kennels and he wasn't where I could get him out.  Next week I will be going later in the day so that shouldn't be a concern.  But the excellent news is that he cuddled with one of the employees this week!  He just hung out with her in a relaxed way.  Not only that but he is being taken into a local rescue as soon has he is neutered!  Yipee for Elmer!

This beautiful boy doesn't have a name yet - most in the back room don't.  I've seen him many times and have given him treats on my walk through.  Today I confirmed what I have suspected.  He is blind.  I don't have a lot of experience with blind dogs but as we walked and he bumped into things I had an idea.  If he was walking toward something I would "Beep" like those big trucks do when they back up.  It didn't take him long at all to understand that "Bang" soon followed "Beep".  We walked all over in the play yard working our way around obstacles using the sound of my voice.

He is a bit on the thin side and needed a serious brushing to bring the shine back to his coat.  I used my Jelly Scrubber to remove all the dead hair and he was comfortable with my doing so.  He is an easy going boy and accepted touch all over his body.  Hopefully a local Boxer Rescue will be interested in this sweet boy.

Dogs handle stress (and fear is a form of stress) by doing one of the "Four F's"...they "Freeze", "Flee", "Fight" or they "Fool Around".  I'm pretty comfortable working with the first three but struggle when I am faced with a Fool Around dog.  These dogs are hyperactive, jump and bounce all over the place.  Basically they appear to be very happy but they are indeed stressed.  Today I worked with a Fool Around dog.

Meet Leroy!  Thankfully Eli had taken Leroy for a walk prior to me working with him.  As I watched Eli and Leroy I was impressed with how well Eli could ignore Leroy's foolish behavior.  Believe me I was taking notes!

First thing I did with Leroy was put him in a Thundershirt.  He was not excited about the process at all but as soon as it was on he was far better able to focus on me.  My entire session with Leroy was done with him in a Balance Leash Plus.

Between the the Thundershirt and the leash configuration I had a very well behaved dog on my hands!  We practiced walking "Let's go", "and wait", and "Look at me".  I had Leroy's full attention!  When I decided to sit in front of him in a chair he became too excited.  Edie-Jane's words of "keep the dog moving" came flooding into my head.  As long as we walked and I stopped briefly for TTouches he was calm.

Leroy walked all the way back to his kennel checking in with me and responding to my queues.  He sat nicely while I removed his Thundershirt and lead, gave him a treat and wished him a very happy day.

I know I say it all the time but certain things just really surprise me when they work so well.  You would think I'd be used to it by now.  I was really pleased with my session with Leroy.  Maybe Leroy will be a turning point for me and I won't avoid the "Fool Around" dogs quite as much.  Thank you Leroy!  The animals really are our teachers.

After thought:  Today I keep having a certain thought pass through my mind.  I keep thinking that IF every single person that has ever loved an animal of any kind did SOMETHING for another animal this year.....the world would be a far better place.