Tuesday, December 29, 2009

San Francisco Dogs

San Francisco is such a great town for dogs, and while we've been here we've been walking on the beach near Crissy Field, where many people bring their dogs to play. It has been great to once again have such a powerful connection with the pure and very contagious joy which dogs can radiate, and it is wonderful to see these dogs be able to just cut loose, run as fast as they can and play with their friends.

I know there is also always potential danger when dogs are off-leash, but in my experience at this particular place, the owners appear to be very watchful, respectful and responsible with their dogs. Above are two adorable little dogs who were chasing each other. It is hard to get a sense of scale but they are both quite small. The dog on the right is a miniature husky, which I had never seen, and a miniature doberman.

Working with the animals in the shelter in New York is an ongoing incredible journey and these brave and spirited animals teach me so much. But there can be such intensity and sometimes stress, as so many of these animals have arrived from dire conditions and we want to do our best to help them as much as we can. I greatly miss being at the shelter while out in SF but I think it is good to have a chance for a break from the intensity, step back and clear my mind for a few days.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More San Francisco Dogs

I forgot to publish this post for a while, oops! Here are some photos I took of some of the dogs I met on the beach when I was out in San Francisco. My guy Jeffrey and I would walk every morning on the beach near Crissy Field there, and people and their dogs are always out having a great time. It is such a delight to feel the pure joy these animals have, being out in the open where they can run to their heart's content, play in the water and do whatever other fun things dogs enjoy. I can't remember whether the two little dudes above are brothers or father and son, but they are adorable.

Above is a mini doberman with a miniature Husky (a type of mini I had never seen), these dogs were so sweet together.
And of course I love this feisty little guy below, tearing off at full speed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Journey to the Bay Area

We're spending a few days with family in the San Francisco Bay Area, and what a lovely place it is. San Francisco is a very animal-friendly, and particularly dog-friendly town, and there is a great beach for dogs to run on down near Crissy Field, which is close to the Golden Gate Bridge. I have an ongoing series of photos taken of dogs on this beach. Above you'll see one having a great time on a sunny day here.

We also drove to the Point Reyes area, where they have many cow pastures alongside the road. We pulled off the road at one point and I got out with my camera. There was a LOONNG line of cows all along the fence who were coming to look at me and see what I was up to. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could TTouch them but that was not in the cards as we didn't have much time to spend there and these cows seemed to be pretty shy and unaccustomed to human contact. I did get a chance to do a few air circles near them and a few small strokes on the head of the cow pictured below, who seemed to be the most dominant cow who the others would follow. Every time they heard even the most subtle sound, such as my camera clicking off, they all moved in unison. At one point it was very humorous because I was looking at them instead of where I was going, and suddenly down I went onto the ground, as I had stepped in a huge hole! no harm done to me but we did start to laugh, which I think startled the cows a bit, they seemed a bit confused about the purpose of my presence. I'm sure if I had a suitable treat to give them they would have been very glad to take it but unfortunately I didn't. Hope to see them next time I take a trip out here with treat in hand!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ebony and Harold III

A while back I spoke about doing slow, patient work with the black cat pictured above, who I am calling Ebony. I had not been able to work with her for a while, so what a surprise I had when I opened her cage and began to do some chimp touches on her head and body and ear strokes. She had been getting increasingly friendly with me but somehow in between the last time I worked with her and this time (probably a week and a half), there had been a change in her and now she was actually rubbing herself against my hand and purring. It was strange to think that this was the same cat that some weeks ago was crouched in the back of the cage, hissing and flattening its ears when first approached. TTouch has certainly helped, but also regular contact with some of the other people who work at the shelter has been helpful. Another thing that has seemed to help her become more socialized is by having a cagemate who is a more socialized cat. We are finding that sometimes a semiferal cat can appear to learn to be more socialized when they are paired with a cat that is more friendly, though it can be not so helpful to have a cagemate who is too much of an attention hog, as that can result in the shy cat just being stuck in the back of the cage or up on the shelf. In Ebony's case, her latest cagemate who is quite a dominant boy decided that the shelf in the back top of the cage was his, forcing Ebony to hang out more in the front of the cage. I think over time she grew used to being there and that she realized that being touched feels pretty good after all! I am sending her best wishes for being adopted soon -- as you can see, she is gorgeous, with big lovely eyes and a shiny coat.

The next thing I wanted to mention is that sometimes we will get a cat in that looks just like another one who was recently in the shelter, and sometimes they even have the same temperament. The kitty pictured above we are calling Harold III (there was a Harold II, who had similar coloring but was larger, so not as similar as Harold I and III). His coloring, markings and fur texture are nearly identical to that of the first Harold that we had a while back. He also has that wise little look on his face. He was a bit more shy at first than the other one, but after a few times of me taking him out of the cage, combing him and doing TTouch on him, he does the same thing as the other one did -- he settles right down in my lap, looking very comfortable even when sometimes the surrounding pace of the shelter can be a bit hectic. I started out with ear strokes, raccoon touches around his mouth area and his head and then worked my way down his back doing chimp touches. You have to love this little guy and I'm sure he will find a nice person to give him a home soon.

The Indomitable Spirit of a Kitten

Quite often when animals come into our shelter, they are in pretty rough shape. We do our best to help them with TLC, nourishment, medication when needed, and veterinary care if required.
I am so often struck with the strength of spirit of some of these creatures -- and a small calico kitten who ended up at our shelter is one of those special beings. She was very sick and so we sent her to the vet and it turned out that her internal infection had also gone into her eyes, which resulted in her needing to have an eye removed.

The day after the kitten came back from surgery, she seemed to still be adjusting to only seeing with one eye and a bit hesitant when jumping down from the shelf in her cage but she was very much seeking attention, purring and rubbing against my hand. The day after that, she was playing with the other kittens in her cage (nobody was playing too rough with her either), and when I came near her cage she came right to the front, sitting up straight and looking right at me with a very confident look. Before I got to the shelter, I was thinking about how tragic this was, this young little being that has had such a rough start, being so sick, having to be at the vet for quite a while and needing to have an eye removed. But here she was, looking at me as though saying, "What's the problem? I'm here, I feel good and I'm ready for some attention from you".

When I took her out of the cage to comb her and do TTouch on her, she was very receptive, was purring and I could just feel so much gratitude coming from her. On the little kittens, I have been using a very small, inexpensive mustache comb which I found in a local pharmacy. The kittens are very soothed by being combed and the fine-tooth comb is great to use on their very short, fine fur. I have been doing a lot of ear strokes on this kitten as well, as the ear has many acupressure points, so this can help strengthen the immune system and digestive system.

Every day when I come in, she is waiting right at the front of her cage for me to take her out and do TTouch on her.

I have to thank this kitten for teaching me so much and for showing me what strength and persistence of spirit is possible from a very young, small creature. She also reminded me once again of how important it is to truly appreciate the moment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Extra TLC for Garbanzo

It has got to be one of the most difficult things when one of our own animals is sick, we want so badly to help them and to have them tell us what they are feeling. My cat Garbanzo, pictured above, is nearly 16 and has been hyperthyroid for a couple of years, and he has been going strong and his levels are kept stable w/medication (Methimazole), and we are giving him quite a few other natural supplements to keep his immune system strong. He generally has a very enthusiatic appetite (that is a euphemism!), so if he is not interested in eating, I know that something is very wrong.
He was not interested in eating for several days, but really didn't have a lot of other symptoms, other than his heart rate being a bit elevated from the usual (I have a stethescope and listen to his heart rate every couple of days), and vomiting a little bit. I was able to get him to eat just very tiny bits of wet food or baby food. I gave him a homeopathic remedy recommended by my homeopathic vet (who I consult over the phone) that usually helps when Garbanzo has had digestive issues, but it didn't seem to have much effect.
This was several days into this so I decided it was time to take him to the conventional vet we use. When I took him to the vet, it turned out his blood levels were normal (his thyroid rate actually came down a bit from last time we checked) except for the amylase level, so the vet had us give him some pepcid ac, along w/metameucil and a hairball remedy because he found that Garbanzo seemed constipated and thought that might account for the decreased appetite.
After the first time giving him the pepcid, still Garbanzo was not hungry, though I tried all kinds of bribe foods -- sardines, tuna, baby food, etc. Earlier that day, I had done Reiki on him and had felt a lot of heat in the lower area of his body, near his tail. He had responded very much to the Reiki, and I felt his body relax with the warmth of my hands. At this point I was very mystified as to what was going on and, of course, continued to be stressed and concerned, even though his blood levels had at least ruled out some scary things.
I did some TTouch very slowly down his body, using connected abalone touches going down his body, and really felt him release and relax. I also did ear strokes and raccoon touches around the outside of his mouth, which he really responds to. He looked at me with an expression that told me, "Don't worry, I'm going to be all right." I do TTouch on Garbanzo all the time but at times like this I really try to become more focused and specific on what I am doing with him.
I went to the shelter to help a few animals there, and when I returned, my guy Jeffrey said he had noticed a change in Garbanzo, that he seemed better. Garbanzo and Jeffrey are very connected and great buddies, and Jeffrey often does some TTouch on Garbanzo as well. I had brought home some sliced turkey with me, as that was a bribe food I had not tried. Before I even unwrapped the turkey, Garbanzo had come up to me with his "looking for food" dance, looking as though he is praying to the refridgerator. I gave him a bit of the turkey, and he scarfed it down like his regular old self, and when I then gave him some wet food, he ate that enthusiatically as well. Hooray! Since Saturday night, he has been getting back to his regular feisty, hungry self. I have continued to do Reiki and TTouch on Garbanzo to try to help him along the way as well.
What a relief that was. I also want to mention that I had some wonderful insights given to me by my friend, animal communicator Eileen Garfinkel, as she had checked in with Garbanzo. Thanks so much! Here's to Garbanzo, and his continued heath, I love that little guy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cadbury and Harold

We have gotten a bunch more animals in lately at Social Tees, both cats and dogs, so if you are in NYC, come on down and have a look! Two of my new friends are Cadbury (pictured above), named because he is the color of semisweet chocolate, and Harold (pictured below). They both came in with very bad colds and runny eyes, so I was asked to give them eye medication each day for a while. Of course I have turned the medication-giving into a whole little event. I have been combing the cats using what is probably a mustache comb, a very small-sized and small-toothed comb which is perfect for combing kittens who have very short fur and can be sensitive. The combing seems to be very soothing to them. Little Harold was quite dirty when he arrived, and so I gave him a good wipe-down with pet wipes and a damp paper towel, then dried him off with a paper towel. I have been wiping both cats around their face area carefully to clean the residue left by the runny eyes. I am happy to say that their eyes have pretty much cleared up already (this is after a few days of medication), and their colds appear to be just about gone (they were given antibiotics for this). Since I have been taking them out of the cage to do all this, of course I incorporate a lot of TTouch to make this a comfortable experience. Little Harold now settles right down on my lap the minute I put him there and he seems to find the whole experience very relaxing. Cadbury is a more peppy kitten in general but his energy also relaxes down a notch after doing some chimp touches down his body and raccoon touches all over his head along with some ear strokes.

I have to admit that little Harold has found a special place in my heart and it is very hard not to bring him home! He has such a wistful, wise face. Some kittens have a look of wisdom beyond their years, and he is one of those kittens for sure! Both these little guys are absolutely irresistible and I'm sure they will find homes soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jesse James Gets Adopted

Yesterday a very nice young woman came into the shelter and was interested in having a look at my pal Jesse James. Of course I was happy to tell her all about him. I explained to him that he is a great little dog but one has to really be observant and err on the side of caution as to how much contact he is ready for. I showed her how he will put his paw on your knee when he is ready to be picked up to put on your lap, etc. We also went for a walk with him. I showed her how I use the step-in harness and TTouch leash (which I donated to her), clipped to the side clips of the harness, which is a great setup for a dog who is small or very low to the ground like a dachshund. I explained to her how when you put on the step-in harness, it is easy to remember which part of the clip is where because "The female is always right" (thanks, Kathy Cascade, for teaching me that). Jesse gets VERY excited when he knows he is going to be going out for a walk, so it was good that she saw the reality of that and that it can be a bit of a challenge to get his harness and leash on!

The young woman fell absolutely in love with Jesse (I can't blame her) so she decided to adopt him. I am very happy for her and happy for Jesse that he is going to a very kind person. I have to admit it was very strange after they left the shelter though, as his absence was so palpable. I will miss him so much but I truly hope this works out well for both of them, and send them all the best for a great life together.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Taking Jesse James for a Walk

When I took the Chihuahua at the shelter (Social Tees Shelter), Jesse James, to have a bath a few days ago, I noticed that he gets so excited to go out when I bring out his leash. So today when I got to the shelter I took him out for a walk. Again, when I brought out the leash, he went running and jumping towards the door. Again, I put on a step-in harness with a double-ended leash clipped to the two side clips of the harness to have two points of contact, as Jesse can get pully on the leash. When we got out, he was very excited to be outside, smelling everything, looking around, etc. We took a little walk around the neighborhood, ending up at Animal Crackers, a wonderful local pet store on East Second St in NYC, where they gave him some treats, which helped to make the walk even more special for him.

When we got back from the shelter, Jesse munched on his treats from Animal Crackers and seemed more relaxed than usual and when it came time to put him in a cage for a night, he went in on his own and was very quiet and content there. I want to start doing this more often for him, or have other volunteers take him out, it really makes a difference.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jesse James Gets a Bath

My friend and fellow volunteer Estee arranged for a local pet grooming and bath place, Puppy Love, to donate a professional bath for our friend Jesse James. So I got him ready to go out from Social Tees with a step-in harness and the double-ended TTouch leash clipped to the two side clips of the harness, giving him two points of contact. I had previously walked him around in the shelter with this setup and he was very cooperative. He also really responded the minute I brought out the leash, so that signaled to me that he likes to go out for walks! And indeed when I got him outside he was excited to be there, looking at everything, sniffing all the different smells etc. At points he did try to pull on the leash but if I spread my hands apart (each hand holding one end of the leash) or if I stroked one side of the leash then the other, he came back in balance. When we passed people, he was perfectly polite and we even passed a dog at one point, who he was curious about but as I wanted to err on the side of caution and keep him away, when I signaled to him on the lead to come back to my side, again he was quite cooperative.

When I got him to Puppy Love I told them that Jesse might get a little feisty with someone he didn't know, and they were totally unfazed. When I handed him over to the man who would bathe him, Jesse acted as though he already knew this guy. I felt very good about the whole situation so I'm sure he picked up on this as well.

When I came back to pick Jesse up, what a jolly little guy! The fellows at Puppy Love said he had been a perfect little gentleman and they gave him some treats. Jesse's fur felt so soft and he smelled great. It really did seem that he felt good being clean as well. Congrats Jesse! He's really coming along.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Building Trust

Hi everyone, sometimes I am presented with some challenging animals at Social Tees Shelter, and fortunately it is a no-kill shelter so I do have time to work with them for a number of sessions.
The black cat below has been in the shelter for about six weeks and is still quite shy, but it is becoming socialized little by little. Initially it would only lurk in the back of the cage up on the shelf. The cat's most recent cage mate who is a very dominant cat has taken over the back shelf quite often, so circumstances have encouraged this cat to hang out more in the front of the cage (luckily it is brave enough not to hide in the litter box behind, which many cats do at first). When I first begin to approach the cat with my hand, it still often looks scared but will not bite. I begin on its head. Simply stroking the ears, which are usually very tense, can help the cat to relax quite quickly, and it is easy to see this happening. I stroke the ears and do little raccoon touches on its forehead, all around its head and the back of its neck. I find that a lot of the shelter cats are very tense in the back of the neck, and working here can also help the rest of the body begin to relax. By this time, the cat will start stretching its body out and looking more comfortable. I still work in touches on its body intermittently, doing a few touches down the body and then going back to the head where it is more comfortable being touched. You can see below this lovely animal still has its eyes pretty wide but it is generally much more comfortable than it was when it arrived at the shelter.

Our lovely big grey boy Stuart has required very gradual, patient work as well. He still is a bit of a "split personality" cat, who can stretch out next to me comfortably on a table one moment and then swat me the next, so I have to be very watchful to keep both of us safe (him safe from escaping when I have him out of the cage and me safe from his claws). I have had to take him out of the cage recently again to give him eye and nose meds (he had a cold, got better, then got worse again). Fortunately, the second time, he has responded very quickly to the medication, but it has also been good for him to get used to being handled - taken in and out of the cage, placed on a table etc. Having him on the table is a great chance to do some TTouch on him. He really responds to TTouch on his ears and head, and these touches trigger more relaxation in his body, but again I have to be careful when doing circles or strokes on his body, as he can easily be over-stimulated and swat. Here he is pictured below - a very soulful boy. I'm glad he is getting better and look forward to working with him more.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Thanks to the Animals who Heal Me

I have to take a special moment to thank all the animals in my life for how much my connection with them has been healing to me. They give me so much every day (and of course a special thanks to my own cat Garbanzo)!

This past Saturday was a case in point. We were having an adoption event for Social Tees and I had a sore throat and was feeling a bit achy and like I was fighting a bug of some kind, but I went over to the event at least so say hi and see what was going on.

Below is a dear little tortoise-shell cat who I have been working on lately. She was initially very shy but has really come around. and I have given her special attention lately because I had to put some cream on a little abrasion she had on her tail. I saw her in the van and she was being so cute and kind of silly, sitting inside a metal ring generally meant for a water dish. Here she is looking right at me, aww!

This little darling was adopted this week by a very kind young man - they seemed to bond with each other instantly, and she was very comfortable sitting in his lap and being petted right away. She came a long way from the scared little kitty she was just a short time ago. I wish her well in her new home.

Below is the lovely calico friend of Carrot Top. She looked so peaceful as she took a nap in the van, it was cozy and warm in there. She and Carrot Top were adopted this week as well by two young women, so good luck to them too.

After visiting with the animals in the van, I needed to go back to the shelter to give eye medication to some tiny little kittens we have there. I try to make this event a more pleasant one by combing and cleaning the kittens, doing ear strokes and other TTouch on them while I have them out to give the eye drops. They really are quite cooperative, and they all want to come bounding out of the cage when I open it. The interesting thing is that they sometimes seem to have a sense of taking turns, as the last kitten who I need to give eye meds to (and I go in a different order each time) will often come to the door on its own, seeming to know that it's his or her time out with me. The mom cat and all her five kids are all completely socialized and hopefully in a couple of weeks they will be ready for adoption.

And below you will see two pictures of my pal Jesse James, who is coming around more and more. Other volunteers in the shelter who used to be a little afraid of him are now able to pet him and sometimes he will even give them a kiss!

You can see how happy he looks below. I am able to touch him on all parts of his body now, though I do have to be a little careful around his mouth area as this can be a little iffy still. I think he just gets nervous when there is too much going on and if there are larger dogs in the shelter - he seems to generally get along with dogs around his own size.

At the end of this day, when I was back in the shelter, Jesse came up to me like he often does and puts his paw on my knee, as you see in the picture below. This is his signal he wants to be picked up to sit on my lap. Of course I was happy to do this! He is now very comfortable in my lap and ready to receive TTouch there. He gives me kisses there as well. What a great little guy. I have also been teaching him (using treats) to sit on command. This is challenging for him and sometimes I have to just wait for him to sit, as he will often first try to jump up to get the treat, but ultimately he realizes what he needs to do and he sits and receives the treat.

So by the end of this day I had just about forgotten that I had been feeling so lousy in the beginning of the day. My body aches and sore throat had totally gone away. I have to thank the animals for that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jesse and the Cats

This little Chihuahua pictured above has become very bonded with me lately, following me around and checking out what I'm up to. He is very endearing, but he does have some issues! He can get jealous sometimes if you are paying attention to another animal, so sometimes when I am doing TTouch on one of the cats who is loose in the shelter, he comes up and starts barking or lunging at the cat. Most recently, when he does this, I will do TTouch on him with one hand and on the cat with the other. This settles both animals down pretty well, reassuring both of them. I am hoping I will have a chance to do this enough to give Jesse some more confidence so he does not feel like he is being neglected when someone else is being paid attention to.

Below is a picture of Jesse and Jigsaw Sr. (he was brought back to the shelter recently -- as we are a no-kill shelter, we assure adopters that they may bring back their animal if for any reason it doesn't work out in their home). Jigsaw cannot use his front left leg, so he cannot run as quickly as the other cats, though he can get going at a pretty good clip and can jump out or reach if need be. However, I was particularly concerned about getting Jesse and Jigsaw off to a better start with each other so they are the two that I worked on first with this concept. After TTouch, Jesse is still watching me as I am nearer to Jigsaw but he didn't feel the need to come over and bark and threaten this time. I know it will take time for Jesse to become more peaceful and comfortable when he is around cats, but we're off to a good start.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mrs. Patches and Kids: update and adoption news

Hi folks, a while back I told you about Kathy and the feral cats she rescued: mom cat Mrs. Patches and her three kittens Darla (bw kitten below), Carmelita (originally called Einstein until we found out he was a she, tortoise shell kitten below) and Bette (bw kitten on right). I did a number of TTouch sessions with these sweet cats, and we made good progress. Kathy and Marge also did TTouch on them at that time. Since that time, Kathy continued to do TTouch and Reiki with these cats and they have really come along.

Recently, Darla was adopted to a good home with another cat, where she is adjusting well, and the day before Thanksgiving I found out that both Carmelita and Bette, who are really attached to each other, were being adopted by a couple with two other cats. I wish them well! Mrs. Patches still needs a home but meanwhile she is still being taken care of by Kathy and Sisca (Sisca acted as foster mom for all these cats for most of the time since they were rescued from a wood pile in New Jersey).

As you can see by the picture at the top, Mrs. Patches is simply gorgeous and is a sweet soul. She still is pretty shy so she is looking for a patient, kind, gentle forever home.

Best wishes to all and thanks to Kathy for rescuing these cats and to everyone who has helped these cats along the way:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Demo of TTouch Balance Plus Leash

Hi everyone, I recently posted to a TTouch list about a very good result I had using the Balance Plus leash configuration with a pit bull from the shelter. I had to walk him from the vet. I could tell he was a "pully" dog and when I got him set up in this configuration, like magic, he was walking very politely beside me and stopping when I signaled gently. I was able to have a lighter touch on the leash, which was more comfortable for both of us.

Linda Tellington-Jones (the amazing woman who is the originator and developer of TTouch) asked me to post a clip of this leash setup on youtube. At some point I will do a demo with a live dog but in the meantime, here is a demo of the setup using my little pet beanie baby dog.



Feral Adoptions

Hi folks, I have been working on five feral cats who came in at the same time, and I am happy to say that all of them have become SO much more relaxed and eager to be handled and touched. Two of the five have been adopted. The first one, a black kitty, was adopted a while ago. It has only taken a short time for it to become acclimated to its new household (including another cat) and owners. Now it will even roll over on its back for its owner to touch it.

The little darling pictured above was adopted yesterday. He was initially the second-most-scared of the bunch (the most scared was Jimmy Girl, who I have spoken about in previous posts). At first he was growling and hissing every time I opened the cage. But little by little he grew more receptive to TTouch and to being handled, and became very comfortable with me holding him on my lap to do TTouch, getting sleepy and relaxed. When the adopters came in (a man and woman with their darling pug dog in tow to help them pick out its new playmate), Este showed them how to do ear strokes on the kitty and I told them that the kitten was used to being held on a lap, so the woman tried this and the kitten looked very comfortable there. A while after they had left with the kitten, the man came back to retrieve a cell phone left behind, and he said that the woman was already able to hold the kitten on her lap in their home and it was quite at ease. I wish these animals well and look forward to the other ferals going to homes soon (crossing fingers).

By the way, Social Tees will be doing an adoption event this Saturday afternoon on First Ave between 3rd and 4th Street from 1-7 pm (look for the van), call 212 614 9653 for more information.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bonding with Jesse James, and More Progress with Ferals

Ever since Jesse (pictured above) comforted me the other day at the shelter, we have become very bonded. Now when I come in, he comes running up to greet me, and he follows me around and often sits near where I am working. Very sweet! And I am getting in some good TTouch on him. He really responds to ear strokes, some gentle touches around his head and mouth area, and clouded leopard touches on his body, though I have to be a bit more careful around his hindquarters as that seems to be a somewhat sensitive area. I think he's seeking out the contact.

In the pictures below, you will Jesse him sitting at my feet as I sit on a stepladder doing TTouch on one of the little ferals we have in there. These little ferals have really come along. They still flinch and occasionally growl when they are first approached, but once I get them out of the cage, they become very relaxed as they sit on my lap and receive TTouch.

I think it will just take time and patience for these little ones to become accustomed to human contact, but it is definitely happening. When they are in their cage, they also look more relaxed. They do not always huddle in the back of the cage now, and are not always in a crunched-up position, which is great. It is a joy to feel their little bodies much more soft and relaxed as they sit in my lap.

Below again you see Jesse as he keeps me company (he looks a bit like he is standing guard here!). I hope that he will have a forever home soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RIP Cartwright and Thank You Jesse James

I had very sad news yesterday. The little black kitten w/roundworm who I had rescued took a turn for the worse a few days ago (other health complications as his immune system was very delicate) and sadly did not make it. I felt so filled with sorrow for this little guy, we had really tried to help him. I hope we at least helped him feel more comfortable, loved and less alone in the last few days of his too-short life.

I found out this news when I took one of the shelter dogs to the vet to be neutered, as when I got to the vet I had a chance to ask about the kitten's condition. Needless to say, when I returned to the shelter, I was really beside myself. Robert, who runs the shelter and has had so much experience with both the joyous and the sad events which can happen in a no-kill shelter, had some really helpful words to offer.

Then something very unexpected happened. Our little Chihuahua who I have been calling Jesse James, as he is kind of an outlaw little guy, has been very friendly to me when the shelter is quiet but this day he came right up to me, seeming to know that I was very sad, put his little face right in my face and began to lick me.

I did some TTouch and he snuggled near me for a while. Most of the rest of the day, he stayed near where I was. I was so touched by that and so grateful. I knew that he truly sensed what I was feeling.

I hope that wherever Cartwright's little kitty spirit is now, he is happy and free. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Patience and Breathing

When I am doing TTouch on animals at the shelter, I have to remind myself to continue to breathe and to try to keep my body position as un-stressed as possible, as sometimes our idea of "concentrating" is to tighten up :)

I wanted to first show you this picture of Stuart from about a week ago.

and below is a more recent picture of him. Though it is stil hard to get a really accurate photo, as he is a bit camera-shy, his face looks very much clearer and less sad in general. He is a really handsome cat! He is feeling a lot better as he recovers from his cold. Last time I mentioned that this also meant a return of some feisty behavior, but my work with him using a paintbrush has been very productive. He now looks forward to me doing little circles on his face as well as some strokes down his body with the paintbrush. I will get back to touching his body with my hand soon, but I do not want to push it too fast, as he is enjoying being touched with a bit of distance between me and him.

The shelter has been extremely busy as we have had a recent influx and are full to the brim with both cats and dogs. Some of these dogs can get a bit overstimulated with all that is going on, and the barking can be really stressful on the cats. I do find though that once I begin to do some TTouch on one animal, the general energy in the room quiets and usually the barking stops.

The kitty below just came in a couple of days ago. It had bad diarrhea when it first arrived so I really wanted to help clean him up. He hissed and growled at me initially, so I was not sure what would happen. I spoke to him gently and tried touching the top of his head with the back of my hand. I did this while watching his body language very carefully and would not have touched him if I saw any sign of potential biting etc. He did not resist and so I began to do small circles on his head with the back of my fingers (chimp touch), very gradually working up to doing strokes down his body with the back of my hand. After a bit, he came off his shelf to the front of the cage and began to rub himself against my hand. At this point, I was able to take a damp paper towel and gently clean off his back end and legs, which were soiled from the diarrhea. Quite often, I feel that animals sense that you are truly trying to help them, and that is what I felt here, as the cat did not resist me cleaning him up.
In our subsequent TTouch sessions, this cat will still initially growl or hiss, but once you touch him on the head with the back of your hand, he settles down and really responds to touch. Hopefully the hissing and growling reaction will stop over a bit more time. Below is a photo of him - sorry about the blurriness but he was on the move :)

The Little Dog Gets a Cat

Over the weekend, a very pleasant couple came into Social Tees shelter with their tiny Chihuahua (see photo below). They wanted to adopt a kitty friend for the dog, so I accompanied them while they looked at different kitties to decide who would be a good companion. As I do TTouch on all the cats there, I am familiar with the general temperaments of the cats, so I showed them the cats who I thought would be gentle and kind to this little dog. We tried putting him near several cats (either holding him up near their cage or taking the cat out and having me or someone else hold the cat in proximity (being careful to go slowly and not get too close too soon) to make sure there wasn't any violent type of reaction.

They settled on the gorgeous cat pictured below, who is quite a bit larger than the dog. The kitty has a very mild temperament and when we put them near each other, both the cat and dog were very nonchalant, which is a great sign. They also match rather well in color :)
I wish them well and hope they become great pals in no time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Steps Add Up

Hi folks, it is easy to want to achieve instant success with TTouch, especially when you are working in a shelter and you are so eager for the animals to be comfortable, friendly and adoptable. I always have to remind myself that I need to stay in the moment with the animals and go at the pace which they are ready for.

It is also useful to keep perspective, as sometimes you are working along and you forget where you started out with an animal. I am thinking in particular right now about the little grey and white kitty we have been calling Jimmy Girl (pictured above). When she first came in, the volunteer who put her into her cage had to use gloves to do that and even then it was really difficult, with hissing, spitting, biting etc. A couple of weeks later, she is now rubbing herself against my hand and coming to the front of the cage after I touch her. She is still more shy with new people, but I know in time this will come along as well.

I also wanted to mention my progress with Stuart, who is making a wonderful recovery from his cold. But now that he is feeling better, some of his feistiness and meowy-bitey behavior is coming back (and he may also be afraid that I am going to poke or prod him with medication), so I have had to take a step back and begin again with him using a paintbrush with a rather long handle to do circles on him so that he is not so afraid of me approaching him and so that I feel safe as well. The past couple of days we have been just using the paintbrush instead of my hand, and he is really loving it, rubbing his face against it and letting me do circles all over his heand and once in a while a little bit on his body. I will work my way back to doing TTouch with my hands on him but I want to respect the pace at which he needs to go.

My little black kitten friend Cartwright is also continuing to do well - his stool is normal now and his appetite remains good. He has remained such a social, friendly little guy too, and meows at me to do TTouch on him when I am near his cage. What an endearing little face this guy has (though of course he looks more like a little bad-boy rascal in the photo above)!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marge and Lola

Above you see my friend Marge and her dog Lola. I took this photo when we went through a training in October with Debby Potts. Marge and I have been through four wonderful TTouch trainings together: two with Edie Jane Eaton, one with Debby Potts, and one with Linda Tellington-Jones (I also did a training with Kathy Cascade this summer in Santa Fe, so I have been through five trainings). I haven't driven in many years so Marge was our chauffeur for the two trainings we did in New Jersey (thank you for making those possible, Marge!). Marge is a lovely, kind woman who has a very gentle, natural way with animals.

On the last day of the recent training with Debby, Marge decided to bring her dog Lola. Lola is a gorgeous German Shepherd who is perfectly comfortable with people but can have trouble when she comes in contact with other dogs. First of all, going in the car with Marge driving was a new experience for Lola and I was a new person sitting in the back seat with her. She was a little nervous about all the new stimuli at first, especially when we went under bridges and into tunnels. But I did some TTouch on her and after a while, she settled and you could really feel a calm energy in the car. When we got to the training, everyone was very respectful of Lola's space and we had made a little area enclosed by tables where Lola and Marge could sit. Again, Lola was nervous at first but calmed down after a while and some great directon by Debby and work by Debby, Marge and others in the training, including Mary and Peggy of Tavi and Friends, who were assisting the training and took Lola outside for a while and really calmed her down. We all think Lola did a good job! She was very sweet on the way back in the car, putting her head on my lap at times and putting her paws on top of my hands. AWWWW! She is a very special dog. Marge is doing a really great job with Lola and is using a balance plus leash setup on her which is very helpful for keeping Lola from pulling too much on the leash (more on the balance plus setup at another time).

So a few days ago I had the pleasure of visiting Marge and Lola at their home. Lola was a great hostess, showing me around her beautiful apartment and garden. Marge really has a nice flair and has fixed up her apartment so it is lovely and cheery. The way she has painted it and decorated it, there is something very magical about the atmosphere there. Below you see Lola in her cozy cabana.

Marge, Lola and I had a great visit. Marge had prepared a really nice lunch (of course Lola had lunch with us too). Below you see Lola on her bed with one of her favorite toys, her little raccoon (I think the name is Racky). I got in some zigzag touches on Lola, which she seemed to enjoy.

Marge told me about the interesting happenings in her case studies, and was kind enough to give me a bunch of cat food that a friend had given her, which I was able to bring to Social Tees shelter later. As Marge and I talked with each other, Lola got very sleepy and below you see her settling in for a nap. Thanks Lola and Marge! I look forward to more TTouch adventures with you both.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adoption News and Joe Update

Hi folks, the adoptions at Social Tees continue at a wonderful clip. A couple of days ago, one of the kitties dearest to my heart, the blind orange kitten pictured above who we call Carrot Top, was adopted by a very sweet woman who also adopted a lovely, gentle little calico kitten for a playmate for Carrot Top. I know they will have a great life together. Carrot Top would always come to the front of the cage to see me (as pictured above), and loved me to take her out and do TTouch on her as I held her. She would purrrrr up a storm the entire time. She did the same thing when her new owner picked her up and held her, which was so endearing. I wish them well!

Now an update on my little pal Joe, who I rescued and brought to the shelter last week. I had started to call him Little Joe and so we thought of Little Joe Cartwright of Bonanza and so now his name has evolved into Cartwright. I need to take a new picture of him, as he is looking better now and the diarrhea stopped yesterday, which is great! I'm sure the medication (including a homeopathic remedy recommended by my homeopathic vet) plus the TLC has been working wonders. He waits in the front of the cage for me when I come in. I clean him with a damp cloth, do TTouch on him, give him wet food and a clean little cloth for him to lie on so he is not tempted to lie in his litter box. Yesterday after I had done this and was working on another cat, he saw me and meowed to me as though he wanted me to come back. Of course I did, and it was so sweet, he started to eat his wet food while I was doing clouded leopard touches on his body, so I kept doing this and he kept on eating. A lot of times during or after doing TTouch on an animal, it will stimulate them to eat. I send him distant Reiki when I am not there. I feel a very special connection with this cat as I was responsible for rescuing him and bringing him to the shelter.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Sometimes the rescued animals that come into Social Tees shelter have behavior and/or medical issues when they arrive. This sad-looking gorgeous boy above who we call Stuart came in with a bad cold and so has needed some extra TLC.
Recently I was trained by a vet how to do subcutaneous hydration, which is a very valuable skill for any cat-owner to learn, as this can save a cat's life if he is dehydrated. Robert knows how to do the hydration but it has been great for two of us and fellow volunteer Este to all work together as a team to administer the fluids. First we have been taking Stuart out of his cage, I do some TTouch to get him good and relaxed, then Este and I contain the cat and make sure the needle stays in his body as Robert administers the fluids to the cat. He also has needed antibiotics, eye and nose medication and so after all this I have been doing some TTouch again to get him nice and relaxed before putting him back in his cage. His nose was very stopped up at first so I also did some Reiki on him, as this combined with the TTouch on his head has seemed to give him some additional sinus relief to supplement the effects of the medication.
And, at first he was not eating, so Este and I gave him some KMR milk replacement through a syringe a few times a day. Fortunately, at the end of the second night of doing this, I had a little bowl with the KMR mixture next to Stuart, and he began to drink it! I knew this was a good sign and so yesterday I opened a can of wet food in front of his cage. He jumped up enthusiastically and so I knew he must be hungry. When I put a bowl with the wet food in his cage I was happy to see him able to eat a bunch of it, and later on after his hydration and medication and TTouch, he ate some more. I am seeing quite often that TTouch seems to stimulate a cat to eat either after or during a TTouch session. At any rate, we are very happy that Stuart has turned the corner, is much less congested and is eating solid food again. I'm sure all the love he has been receiving hasn't hurt either! I think the only time he seemed to really complain last night was when I stopped doing TTouch on him to put him back in his cage :) He is looking less sad now than he was but this wise boy will always have a soulful face, he seems like such a wise, thoughtful being.

Rescuing Joe

Yesterday at about noon Robert from Social Tees gave me a call and told me there was a little kitten with roundworm and bad diarrhea that he wanted to bring to Social Tees and asked me if I could go pick it up. Of course I said yes. The little guy is pictured above and his name is Joe. He was a good sport riding back to the shelter on the subway in his little box, and as soon as we got him to the shelter we medicated him and fed him. He was really hungry! He ate a bunch of wet food, then I did some TTouch on him which seemed to stimulate his appetite for him to eat some more and to have some water. Roundworm is very treatable with medication so I'm sure he will be in good shape soon. He is a very friendly, sweet little kitten and was really responding to the ear strokes, raccoon touches and clouded leopard touches I was doing all over his little body. He kept rubbing himself against my hand. I felt so much love and gratitude coming from this little guy, I felt that he really knew we were doing our best to help him and give him a chance for a lovely life. When I left the shelter, he was sleeping peacefully and looked as though he had a smile on his little face.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Adoption News for A Big White Cat and a Little White Cat

Yesterday the lovely big white cat (pictured above) who initially was quite sick and now is healthy and feeling good was adopted yesterday by a very pleasant young woman, I am so excited that this cat now has a forever home. She loves to purrrr and cuddle, and I'm sure she will have a great life with her new owner.

A few posts back I spoke about a little white calico (pictured above) who initially came in quite shy and soon became quite friendly. We called her Venus, as she is so full of love, she is like a little angel. Unfortunately shortly after she began to really come out of her shell, it became evident she had a very bad cold so we had to send her to the vet. I am starting to see a pattern that sometimes when a cat comes in quite frozenly and stiffly scared, it seems that part of the reason they are doing that is that they don't feel well, because sometimes after some TTouch and their body relaxes more in general it becomes easier to see these symptoms because they are not simply frozen in place.
While Venus was at the vet, I sent her distant Reiki every day. In my heart I felt that she would be OK -- she was sick when we took her to the vet but seemed to have a very strong will to make it through her illness. We had also given her fluids and fed her by hand before she went to the vet so I think we kept her from getting as sick as she might have.

At any rate, we were happy to hear from the vet that the cat was doing well and ready to be released from the vet. We were even happier when we heard that a woman who works at the vet's office was going to adopt her and would come to the shelter to find another kitten to adopt to be her playmate. Above is a photo of Venus right before she went off to her new home, along with a little grey tabby kitten. We wish her well. This small cat with such a strong and lovely spirit taught me so much.