Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TTouch in Santa Fe - Dogs Part II

Hi folks, it will take a while for me to get some more info about the Santa Fe training with Kathy Cascade (http://spiritdog.com) online, but here is my second installment about some of the dogs (and their people) who were there.

Here we have LH with Josey. LH is very generous with her knowledge, and she I especially connected because we both work a lot with cats, and she had some wonderful tips to share with me. I look forward to continuing to keep in touch with her, particularly about our work with cats who have had a rough time of it and who are fearful with people and/or other animals.

Josey and I also became friends in the course of the training. She went through a dramatic change in behavior over the course of the training. The first day she came in, it was hard for her to stop spinning and barking. I think it was hard for her initially to be around so many unfamiliar dogs and people all in one place. Josey was the first dog that was worked on during the first day of the training. Thanks to Kathy's very focused work with her and further work by her mom LH, as well as others who worked with Josey, by the end of the trainiing, Josey was able to settle comfortably even with all the people and other animals around. I found that Josey responded to TTouch and the leash work more and more quickly as time went on, so when she started to get into a ramped-up state, it grew easier and easier for her to settle. She is a dear little soul and it was a pleasure to work with and learn from both her and her mom, LH.

Rudy is owned by Peggy, a very interesting woman who lives in South Dakota. Rudy has a hard time being away from Peggy, and, though this still concerns him, he did shift and it was easier for him as time went on. He is a very gentle, sweet dog and I enjoyed the opportunity to do some body work on him intermittently during the training. The body wraps were very comforting to him. Here he is with Peggy and Kathy, as Kathy demonstrated several ways to do leg circles with dogs. I found in one of my earlier case studies that the leg circles were very calming to the little dachshund Petey, who can get pretty revved up. I think the leg circles can also be very grounding and help a dog to feel more in balance.

Luna is owned by Patty, who lives in Colorado, and I had some lovely exchanges with them both. Patty and her dear dog Luna are extremely bonded, which is always a delight to see. I also had a strong connection with Luna, and enjoyed working with her very much. She was a little shy to have TTouch done on her initially but she grew more and more receptive to it. By the end, every time I walked by her, Luna looked up at me longingly as you see in the bottom picture, wondering perhaps if she can get her ears stroked :)
Luna can get very over-excited sometimes, and also can get into a freeze mode when Patty or others are walking her on a leash. One of the times I was working with her with one of the other women in the training, and we noticed that Luna was getting frozen when we were walking her in the labyrinth. However, when we took her outside of the confidence course space and were just walking her around, she was a much happier camper and kept on walking.
Thanks to all of you, I enjoyed you all and learned so much. I will post more about the training soon!

Back at Social Tees, two cats and three kittens!

Yesterday I went back to Social Tees shelter (http://socialtees.com). One female cat I had worked on just briefly had been adopted, but the two tabby girls were still there (see top photo). It was very interesting, we picked up pretty much where we left off .
The tabby and white girl is receptive to being touched anywhere on her body, and the all-tabby girl is initially reluctant to being touched, but by the end of working, she was fine with very firm ear strokes and work with my hand on her head. She was a bit shy at being touched on her body with my hand, so I only did very light abalone touches on her body with my hand, and circles w/the wand and corn dog, and she was quite happy with that. I alternated from one cat to the other, and it seemed that seeing me work on the tabby and white girl made the all-tabby girl more and more comfortable with me. By the end of the session with them, they both were snuggled up to each other and sleeping. I had worked up to a harder pressure with the ear strokes on the all-tabby girl and these seemed to help her really relax, I could feel her head relax into my hand, as I did raccoon touches on her head and then gently down around the base of her head and neck area. This helped her relax as well.
I hope so much for these girls to get a home soon, they both are very sweet, they are just a bit scared, and I'm sure it is hard being in the cage for so long.
Then I had the opportunity to work on three shy kittens. These three pictured above were all a bit flinchy and hissy with flattened ears etc when I started to touch them but I kept alternating between the three of them, first working on their heads, doing light ear strokes and raccoon touches, then Noah's march and llama touches on their body. I also did some strokes on their body with a feather, which they were all quite receptive to. The feather seemed to be a better concept than the wand and corn-dog because these kittens are pretty small! Little by little, I gained their trust and was able to touch them more readily without them turning away or flinching. The most reluctant of this trio was the one on the bottom picture with the swirly tabby pattern (can't remember the correct name for this!). By the end, this kitten actually was the most receptive of all, letting me even do some raccoon touches down its legs and on its paws. I hope these little cuties get homes soon!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Garbanzo on the Confidence Course, Part 2

OK, here we go again, my patient guy Jeffrey shot these clips, so here you will see Garbanzo on the confidence course with the orange cones, lured by little crunchy treats. Again, after going back and forth on this a number of times, he was completely worn out and curled up and went to sleep, just as the dogs did in our training after working on the confidence course.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the confidence course used in TTouch, one generally uses the confidence course with dogs. This is a setup which usually consists of a number of things, such as a labyrinth, orange cones, hula hoops, various surfaces such as plastic, bubble wrap, or wood boards, and the like. Challenging a dog with walking between the lines of a labyrinth, weaving through cones or walking on unusual surfaces can really focus a dog and is especially helpful for dogs who are over-excited, dogs who have a tendency to freeze, dogs who are fearful, etc. I recently bought these orange cones and thought I'd try it on my cat Garbanzo.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garbanzo on the Confidence Course

Hi everyone. I'm back in NYC now and my dear cat Garbanzo is glad I'm back but a bit worried that I'll leave him again. Today he was running around squeaking at me and a bit agitated, so I ran him through a little confidence course with orange cones. He was lured using a treat, of course. We had done this for several days before I went to the training, so I was also curious to see what would happen, having a week break. Just for clarification, this video begins near the end of the course going one direction, then I give him a treat and go back in the other direction. At some point, I'll get someone else to film so you can have a better view. Well done, Garbanzo! and then below, you will see the result, he went to sleep.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Santa Fe TTouch Dogs Part 1

Hi folks, this will take a few entries, but I'd like to share some more about some of the dogs that we worked with in the training in Santa Fe. Above you see two pictures of me with Rita's handsome Belgian Turvuren, Copper (the middle picture is blurry as I must have been in mid-ttouch!), and the bottom picture you see Rita holding him (he doesn't look too stressed out there, does he?). Can you tell that I really enjoy this dog?

Rita was one of the assistants in the training, who were all incredibly helpful. Rita has been very supportive throughout the training, has a great eye and also has a great sense of humor, which is always very much appreciated :)

Today I worked with Copper, walking him through the labyrinth, cones, over a wood board etc. First Copper walked in between Rita and me to get him used to walking with me. Then I began to walk Copper through the various parts of the confidence course, stopping every now and then, occasionally giving Copper a treat at first, but then I stopped the treat-giving to see if I could do that, and Copper was most cooperative. I also did some zigzag touches and abalone touches on Copper's body from time to time, as well as some ear strokes and touches on his head. Rita gave me really helpful feedback about my body position, how I was holding the leash, etc.

Then another level of change came when Rita went away from where Copper and I were working. Again, I have to say, Copper was most cooperative! He looked for Rita now and then but he came along when I asked him to, and when I stopped walking each time I would do some TTouch on him, speaking to him in a low, calm voice and Copper grew more and more at ease with me. Thank you Rita and Copper! This session helped ME to get a bit more confident with the process of working with the confidence course, and I appreciate you both teaching me more about that.

Now a bit more about dear Mr. Brown, who I have spoken about before. In the first picture you see him standing there with his very determined look, and then you see him walking along very proudly with a little wrap with his owner, Lauren, a delightful woman who used to live in my stomping grounds, New York, but is currently in San Diego. Today I helped Lauren put the wrap above on Mr. Brown. We used half-inch sewing elastic, as a 2-inch ace bandage is way too thick for the little fellow. Mr. Brown also gets quite concerned about being away from Lauren, so we did a little session where I had him on the leash and would lure him away from Lauren using a treat, then after I gave him the treat I would do a few TTouches. Little by little, I was able to touch him for longer periods of time. At the end, I found that using my whole hand on his body seemed to be comforting to him, and I got in a few belly lifts, which he also seemed to find calming. Lauren sweetly said she wished I was in San Diego to come and work with him, and I feel the same - I felt a strong connection with Mr. Brown and would love to have the opportunity to work with him again -- at the end of this session it felt at a point where some more sessions of work with him could have jumped to another level. Maybe we'll have the good fortune to cross paths at another training or elsewhere, I hope so!

Mr. Brown made a lot of progress during the course of the workshop thanks to the thoughtful work Kathy Cascade, Lauren and others did on him.

Thank you, Lauren and Mr. Brown -- Mr. Brown reminded me once again of how important patience and sensitivity is, particularly with small dogs. I really bring my focus down to their level to try to truly meet them where they are.

More about some of the dogs in the training will be coming soon!

Kathy Cascade and the TTouch Transformation of Alf, a Michael Vick Dog

Hi everyone, today was the last day of the Santa Fe training with Kathy Cascade, wow! It will take a few days to get my thoughts and pictures together to communicate some more of what happened there.

Anyway, no pictures with this entry, just a link where you will see an amazing and heartbreakingly beautiful story from Kathy Cascade about the TTouch transformation of one of the Michael Vick dogs, Alf. She showed this to us in class today and there was not a dry eye in the house. Thanks to Kathy (and others who assisted her), this dog's story has a very happy ending.

Here's the link:


Please check it out!

also check out Kathy's website:

Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Kathy!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Client Day in Santa Fe

Today was client day at the TTouch training in Santa Fe, and I had the pleasure of working with Ed and his lovely border collie Chica. They have a very strong and special bond, which is beautiful to see. I have to say, as this was my first official client session within the TTouch training with people observing etc, I was pretty nervous beforehand, and at various points I wasn't sure what to do next, but thankfully Kathy Cascade stepped in to help me when I got to those lost places. We did end up with a very much calmer dog by the end of the session.

Ed's main concern was Chica's barking. I could see that the dog's energy was ramped up, First I put a wrap on the dog, explaining to him the purpose of the wrap. I did some TTouch on the dog as I explained this to him, and the dog was completely receptive to being touched just about anywhere on his body. He said he did massage on the dog, and I got a bit tongue-tied trying to explain the difference between TTouch and massage, but again Kathy came to my rescue demonstrated on Ed the difference in feeling between the two, which was great because we had some laughs in this process, and it is a good thing to keep a sense of humor going during these sessions!

I also showed Ed how to use a balance plus leash configuration and showed him some of the basic TTouches. As Kathy and I were explaining things to him, I was doing quite a lot of TTouch on Chica (who still had the wrap on) and I could really feel her energy change and let go into a very settled level. Also, initially Chica had been hesitant to be away from her owner but by the end I was holding onto her leash and doing TTouch and she was not trying to get back to him while this was happening. And even though other people and dogs were passing by and in the near vicinity, she didn't bark the entire time.

At the end, I asked Ed if he wanted me to go over how to put on the wrap, and he did a lovely job of putting on the wrap without any coaching. I gave him the wrap so that he can continue to use it on Chica. Thanks, Ed, Chica and Kathy, this was a great learning experience for me. And I also appreciated some very on-point feedback which I received from my fellow TTouchers on this session, so thanks to you all as well.

P.S. re TTouch in Santa Fe Shelter

Something else I wanted to mention about the Santa Fe Shelter is that the staff at the shelter are very interested and curious to know more about TTouch. As Kathy explained more about it to them, they grew even more intrigued, as they could see how this work can be so beneficial for the animals. They will be bringing one of their dogs to the training on Friday so we can do a little demo for them, which is great!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Yesterday and today we went to Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society (http://www.sfhumanesociety.org/). Yesterday we all worked on cats, while today most people worked on dogs, though several of us, including me, continued working on cats today. The shelter is quite nicely laid out. Many of the animals are in small rooms instead of cages, and there is a lot of outdoor space for walking the dogs.

Yesterday I worked in a room with four cats. One of the cats, a grey long-haired cat named Elvin, was designated as a difficult cat. The other cats were Lua, a grey and white cat, Cammie, a black cat, and Sheila, a mottled brown and black cat. Cammie was by far the most social of the bunch, and she kept coming to my side when I was working on the other cats. I would periodically take breaks from working on the other cats and do some ttouch on her, which she really responded to, and at one point she looked me straight in the eyes to give me a kiss (Cammie is pictured above).

Elvin, as pictured above, was in his little fuzzy cylindrical space, so I approached him there. First I spoke to him, telling him I was going to be very quiet, and very gentle, and that I kept picturing in my mind someone very kind who would give him a new home. I first did small circles on his head with the wand and corndog, which he found relaxing and he began to turn his head, telling me where he wanted to be touched yet. I did these very lightly, as he is extremely sensitive. Then as he grew used to this, I then did some small circles using a fuzzy paint roller, and he enjoyed the soft surface of this. Then I was able to slowly begin to do some ear strokes and raccoon touches on his head. I periodically gave him breaks to make sure I was not overwhelming him. After a while he shifted in his little enclosure and had his back to me, so I slowly and softly tried doing abalone touches on his back, barely touching him at first to make sure he was all right with being touched there. He seemed to settle into it, so I continued for a while. I felt him relax with the continued contact.
Then I moved on to Lua (above), who was lying on top of the cat condo. He had a grumpy face initially, and squeaked when I first touched him because I think he was a little startled. However, he quickly settled in as I did ear touches and raccoon touches on his head and then chimp touches on the body.
Cammie was checking all this out and I continued to alternate to her from time to time, as she kept nuzzling up to me as though she wanted me to do TTouch on her. She particularly responded to zigzag touches

Sheila (pictured above with Elvin) was hiding in the back of the enclosure this whole time, so I approached her very slowly and quietly with the wand and corn dog. She ran away from me at first, but when I waited, then tried again several times, she settled down as I did circles on her back with the wand. This was enough for her today. Around this time, food was brought in for the cats so I told them all goodbye and that I hoped all the best for them.
I was happy to have the chance to revisit these four cats today. With Elvin, I was able to quickly transition from the wand to using my hand to first do raccoon touches on his head and ear strokes. He became more and more relaxed as I worked, and from time to time I would take a break and did some TTouch on the other cats, and when I came back to him, he grew more relaxed. I even was able to do some TTouch around his mouth and jaw. Eventually I was also able to do some abalone touch on his body. This all took place in his cylindrical space. He grew so relaxed that he curled up cozily in there while I worked and was ready to sleep. Then, to my delight, he came forth from the cylinder and out into the open. He ate some of his food, and then I was able to continue doing TTouch on him for a while out in the open space.
Meanwhile, today the other three cats were also very receptive. Cammie right away gave me a kiss and continued to be at my side, waiting for TTouch which I did on her intermittently, and Lua kept squeaking at me from his cat condo for me to do TTouch on him. He readily accepted TTouch on his head and ears and abalone touch on his body. He relaxed and spread himself out on the cat condo. Sheila was still a bit skittish but less so than yesterday and I was able to do TTouch on her directly with my hand, rather than having to reach for her in a corner. When I left, I told them all I wished the best for them, and Lua squeaked goodbye to me.

Next, I worked on the above cat, Roo. Unfortunately this picture does not do him justice. He is a gorgeous long-haired cat, who looks to be possibly part Maine Coon. He was designated as a difficult cat, though I found him to be friendly and he was not the least bit aggressive with me. I wanted to try to work on him outside his cage, so I was able to let him out in the room for a while. Unfortunately, he was so excited to be out of his cage, he was not really in the mood for TTouch, but I did manage to get in some touches on his back while I played with him with a cat toy.

I also had the opportunity to work on a bunny. The lovely lady above is named Tessa. I did some nice ear slides and then some chimp touch and abalone touch on her body. She was quite cozy and settled with all of this.

Above is Lita, who was initially a little shy but once she got accustomed to some small raccoon touches on her head, she settled into a cozy sleepy position. She wasn't ready to be touched on her body but she was very content with touches all over her head.

Finally I made it into the dog portion of the shelter and promptly fell in love with this charming girl above named Wanda. She is a German Shepherd mix, probably part Chow. She has a very sweet disposition and gave me a big kiss right away. I did ear touches, mouth work and clouded leopard on her body, then some python lifts on her legs. She seemed a little surprised by the python lifts but then settled into them, and they seemed to make her more grounded.
All of the above animals and more are up for adoption so if you are in or near Santa Fe, stop by the shelter!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TTouch in Santa Fe with Kathy Cascade

Hi, I'm writing from sunny Santa Fe, where I'm in the midst of a wonderful TTouch training with Kathy Cascade (http://spiritdog.com/). Each TTouch instructor who I have worked with has so generously shared their wealth of knowledge, and Kathy is no exception! Kathy is clear, focused and full of heart, and she has helped me to clarify some concepts in my mind which were somewhat muddy before, and has shared some new ways of looking at aspects of TTouch which have been very helpful to me as well. I look forward to the next days and learning much more.

Above, you see Kathy on the right and Jennifer on the left, with Jennifer's dog Booba in the middle. They are doing what is called the "homing pigeon" with Booba, who is generally quite fearful of new people and other dogs as she had a difficult past, and fortunately Booba hit the jackpot when the very kind and patient Jennifer adopted her. To get back to the "homing pigeon", this technique is very helpful in getting dogs accustomed to having a new person walk them on the leash, as with this technique both the owner and another person are leading the dog. Kathy and Jennifer are leading Booba through a labyrinth, which can really help a dog have focus, and can ultimately increase the confidence of the dog as well. Booba did quite well with this, and she has come a long way in the short space of several days.

The dear little fellow above is named Mr. Brown. He is quite the charmer, and I have had the pleasure of working with him several times over the past few days. He is a little shy of new folks but he, like all the other dogs in the training, is really coming along! Above, first you see Kathy giving treats to Mr. Brown as he gets accustomed to being able to leave his owner's side with less stress. Of course, he looks very stylish as well in his lovely t-shirt.

Then in this picture, you can see his new leash and halter setup with two points of contact on the harness (the leash is clipped on either side of the harness). The setup shown above is particularly effective for small dogs and puppies.

I'll be sharing more stories with you from the training soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Update from Social Tees

Today I went to work on the two cats above plus one other cat who I have been working on at Social Tees (http://www.socialtees.com), and we are continuing to make progress. I know the cat pictured on the bottom shelf above looks a bit sad - he is still somewhat reluctant about being touched but he is coming around. He just needs to be approached very quietly and slowly. I am hoping these cats will have a new home by the time I get back from Santa Fe, where I am going tomorrow for the next installment of the TTouch training.

After I finished working, I was talking to Robert (who runs Social Tees). We were standing outside of the shelter, and a woman came by and started to talk to us. She said that she had recently adopted a cat from the shelter, and that he was sweet and not aggressive at all, and was getting along very well with her other cat. It turned out that this was the cat I had worked on in the first two sessions who had been adopted! I was so happy to hear he was doing so well in his new home. She named the cat Matt, which is her brother's name, and she gave the cat this name because she thinks he is so much like her brother, who is a very sweet person. What a lovely way to end the week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Staying in the Moment at Social Tees

Hi folks, today I was back at the shelter at Social Tees (http://www.socialtees.com/) to continue doing Ttouch on the two boy cats I have been working on, one a tabby and white kitty and one all-tabby kitty. I believe they are sisters, or at least pals. The all-tabby girl has been much more reluctant in general but has been coming around little by little, and the other has quickly turned around and has gone from not wanting to be touched at all to enjoying being touched all over her body. Today I was able to do ear TTouch, clouded leopard and chimp TTouch all over her body and head, including her lower back which was initially very tight and got somewhat looser as I worked.

The all-tabby cat hissed a bit as I first approached her, so I started out doing light circles w/the wand and ace bandage "corndog". I alternated working on one cat, then the other. Then when I went back to the all-tabby cat, she continued to look reluctant and I felt myself let go of my expectations and accept that it might be right to simply continue with the wand, if she was not ready for my hand. However, a little later, I asked her if it was ok to touch him with my hand. She seemed to be OK so I talked softly to her as I started to do light, slow llama ttouches on her back. She was settling down and her eyes began to look sleepy. Then I continued and worked up to her head and a little bit on her ears. I gave her a little break and when I went back to working on her again, I was able to work quite a bit on her body, including his lower back which was also quite tight. She got more and more comfortable as I worked, as if she was realizing that indeed this was an enjoyable experience, and that I was not going to do something that would hurt her. And one of the turning points seemed to come when I let go of what I wanted to happen and was able to be truly in the moment with her.

I look forward to working more on these two cats and I hope they will be able to be adopted soon. If you are looking to adopt a kitty and are in NYC, check Social Tees out!

The New Gang at Whiskers, Brooklyn in da House

Yesterday when I arrived at Whiskers, kitty Brooklyn (above in his cat tent) had two new friends, Beyonce (the grey and pink girl) and Hamilton (the orange and white boy).
When I entered the window cat enclosure, Hamilton was on a perch up near the ceiling, hidden, Beyonce was hiding behind a cat bed near the litter box, and Brooklyn was in a cat tent. I approached them one by one very quietly and carefully.

First I approached Brooklyn in his cat tent. I asked him if it was all right to touch him. He was very shy, but let me touch him on his head and a bit of llama touch on his body. Then he hissed, so I used the wand a little bit and then backed off.

I then approached Beyonce, asking her if I could touch her and she was receptive right away, rubbing herself against me. I was able to do TTouch on her ears and all over her body. After a few minutes I moved away from her and more out in the open in the enclosure. I called to her and she slowly came out to me. Once she came to me out in the open section in the window she stayed there, receiving more TTouch and rubbing herself against me. There was a soft cat bed near where she was and she started kneading that with her claws. We did this for a while, then I gave her a break.

By this time, Hamilton was peering at me with his little face and paws hanging over his perch. I used the wand and corndog to do circles on his head and face, which he responded to and rubbed against the corndog. I then touched his ears and head with my hand. Soon came down from his perch and I did clouded leopard touches, hair slides (which all 3 cats really responded well to), chimp ttouch, zigzag and more ear touch. He was really craving the attention. I began to alternate between him and Beyonce, and before too long, both cats were in close proximity to each other and very eager to receive TTouch. He began kneading the soft cat bed with his paws, which was calming to him, and I was able to do TTouch on him for quite an extended period, as he kept nuzzling against me for more.

For a while I was working on Hamilton and Beyonce simultaneously. Sometimes I would just have my hand resting on Hamilton's back while I was doing slow clouded leopard touch on Beyonce. They seemed to be getting more and more comfortable with each other while this was happening.

Every once in a while I would then go back to Brooklyn very quietly. He was still very shy, so for a while, I would just do a few circles with the corndog and then back off. Sometimes he would initially hiss but if I persisted and just did light circles on his body or head with the corndog, the hissing stopped and he settled down. Later, after I had done a considerable amount of TTouch on the other two cats on every inch of their body and head, he was peering out of his tent, and I did some light, very slow raccoon touches and stroking of his ear, and he was blinking at me.

I was toning nearly the entire time I was doing all of this, which created a very calm bubble of space inside the enclosure. Both Hamilton and Beyonce began to groom themselves, and when I left, Beyonce was sleeping on the cat bed out in the open and Hamilton was on a perch more out in the open. I blinked at Brooklyn before I left and I know that he began to trust me more by the end of the session. I am holding good thoughts for all three of these dear beings to be in new homes soon! Please contact Whiskers (http://1800whiskers.com/)
if you would like to adopt any of these beautiful cats.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another Update from Whiskers

I stopped by Whiskers again today, and lo and behold, little Wilma has also been adopted, so all three of the kitties I TTouched at Whiskers now have homes, hooray! They had a new little guy named Brooklyn in there, and expect to be getting some more rescue cats soon so I'll be posting on continued adventures there soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Update on Cats at Whiskers

Hi folks, an update on the 3 cats I have been doing TTouch on at Whiskers Holistic Petcare (http://1800whiskers.com/). On my way uptown yesterday, I walked by there and looked in the window and the two boy cats, Lokai and Bele, have been adopted, hooray! Wilma (the cat with one eye) is still there. She looked right at me and we exchanged winks as I sent her good thoughts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Quiet Moments in the Shelter

Yesterday I went back to Social Tees (http://socialtees.com/), and one of the three kitties I had worked with has been adopted, yay! So I spent my time there yesterday with these two little sisters pictured here, who are the other two I have been working with. The striped girl in the front has been the most reluctant of the three to being touched (let's call her Kitty 1), and the white-and-tabby girl in the back (Kitty 2) has been the most accepting of being touched. Kitty 1 looks a little grumpy here, maybe it was because I interrupted doing TTouch to take a picture!) I started out as I have before, standing with my body sideways to the cage, using a wand with the ace bandage (corndog) on the end, doing small circles on the back of Kitty 1 first, then gradually doing some small circles with the corn dog on her head, toning the entire time. I actually started toning (speaking in a calm, low, soft voice) before I started doing TTouch on the cats, telling them I to be v-e-r-y quiet, that I would touch them v-e-r-y softly, etc. I think of Linda Tellington especially when I do the toning, as she has a very special way of toning that is so relaxing.
I had not touched Kitty 1 on her head before, so I did not know what would happen, but she really liked it. I continued with the corn dog on her head and body, then alternated to Kitty 2, using the wand and corn dog on her body and then her head.
I took some deep breaths and slowly reached in to try doing some TTouch with my hand. First I did it with a leather glove on, first one cat and then the other, light llama touches to see what the reaction would be. There seemed to be a general bubble of calm and the cats were blinking at me. Then I tried working with my bare hand on Kitty 2 first, on her body and head, raccoon touches on her head and then stroking her ears, and she was quite happy with this. She was very settled and just got more relaxed as I continued. As I had to reach over Kitty 1 to do this, she was also feeling my arm brush against her and she was also relaxing, and closing her eyes more, as I continued toning as I did this. As Kitty 2 was so accepting, I think it helped Kitty 1 to trust me more. I went then to Kitty 1, a little scared to touch her on the head as she can try to bite, but she was fine with this, and let me continue doing raccoon touch on her head, stroke her ears and do gentle touches on her body. I alternated doing between the two cats, so that each could have a break. So by the end of the session, I had been able to touch these cats all over their bodies and heads, whereas they had been reluctant to being touched at all just a week or two ago. This morning when I woke up, I saw myself doing TTouch on them again in my mind and am holding such good thoughts for these girls to have a wonderful home soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Way to A Cat's Heart Is...

Yesterday I was back at Whiskers Holistic Health Care, where I have been going to do TTouch on three rescue cats the past 3 Sundays. Above is a picture of one-eyed Wilma from yesterday and a picture of Bele from last week. The really nice news, sounds like Lokai and Bele are soon to be adopted and there is interest in Wilma as well, so I'm crossing fingers for all of them.
To get back to the subject of the above heading, yesterday in I went to visit these three cats and they gathered around me looking very eager. I opened my bag, as Wilma likes to go in and snuggle there. She was even more interested in it than usual, and started digging inside. I had forgotten that I had left some packaged samples of dry food in there. Anyhow, she was happy to receive TTouch as she was busy in the bag. She found the treats and tore into the treat bag. The other two cats got crazy about the food being in there as well. A few minutes later I found out from the people at Whiskers that the cats were probably hungry as they were going to be fed pretty soon. They were ok with the cats receiving treats, so we had treats and TTouch, alternating between one and the other. I took the treats out of the bag and put them inside another plastic bag and behind me to hopefully get them out of mind. We did get in some nice TTouch with the wand with an ace bandage wrapped around the end (we call it a corn-dog) and some abalone touch and other types of touch, including some belly lifts on Lokai. Their concentration and patience seemed to be less than usual because they were hungry and somewhat distracted, wondering when/if more treats would be produced, so next time I will try to go at a different time when they are not apt to be so hungry! On the very up side though, Wilma, who is by far the shyest and most reluctant of the bunch, is getting more and more comfortable around me, and likes to sit right next to me now for much of the time, even if she is not in the mood to be touched all of that time. It feels like a breakthrough for her to be comfortable and content in close proximity to a person. Another NEW thing we tried yesterday was using a fuzzy paint roller (no paint on it though!!) to do some TTouch and Wilma loved it. Also, I actually had two cloth bags plus a towel spread out on the floor around me and the cats really took to this, they were all snuggled around me on the soft surfaces.

Fiona and Banksy

AAAAH! No, don't worry, I didn't torture this cat, she is simply letting out a large yawwwwnn after receiving some TTouch. On Friday I worked on two of my brother Pierre and family's animals (there are two more cats, a bunny, turtles, am I missing anybody), Fiona and Banksy. Fiona gets a bit stressed out because the dog is always wanting to tease her and play with her and the other cats. The family has also recently moved to a new space, so that is taking some time for to get used to for everyone, I'm sure. I did some slow chimp TTouch and Abalone circles on her, which she loved, and made her very sleepy. She wasn't so fond of the ear touch at the moment since she has had some problems with ear infection, but she was ok with small raccoon touches around the base of the ear. I am finding that working around the base of the ear is often a good way to get an animal used to being touched on the ear if they are hesitant at first. I used a very light touch (1 pressure) because she is SO sensitive.
And, here is Banksy, a young, lively, sweet Tibetan terrier. Not to mention adorable! I had not seen him for a bunch of months and he has calmed down substantially since his youngest puppy days. However, he is still bursting with life! I tried doing a wrap on him which initially seemed like a good idea but he got a hold of one of the tied-off ends of the wrap and suddenly it became a chew-toy. At the suggestion of some of my other TTouch-ers, next time I will try putting the ends underneath, and if he still does the same thing, try something else and go back to it. Anyway, he did enjoy receiving TTouch on his body and on his ears. I did have to do lighter pressure on his ears though as that seems to be a place he is not accustomed to being touched. We also tried some different leash configurations in Pierre's hallway: the balance leash and the balance plus with his collar, and then we tried him walking with a step-in halter on, which is a new feeling for him. He was a little confused with the halter at first but got used to it fairly quickly. The balance leash is constructed by using a simple collar and leash, then looping the leash around in front of his chest from left to right, then standing on the dog's right hand side and holding the leash doubled over coming from the left and the end of the leash on the right. I'll have to take a picture of him with it on to clarify soon! The balance plus is similar, but with the leash under the left leg. Banksy seemed to be pleased with the balance leash, at least within the controlled environment of the hall. It was raining outside, so we will have to try this all with the added crazy NYC stimulus of outsideness next time. I also want to have a chat w/Banksy about the cats and see if we can get a more amenable relationship going there too. Banksy means well, I think he doesn't realize that the cats are frightened by the way he approaches them when he is trying to play with them.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Few Thoughts on a Friday

I have been in contact with my fellow TTouchers, including Linda Tellington herself, for advice on the work I've been doing with the animals. One thing she reminded me of is how important INTENTION is when doing this work, and also remaining in the moment and not being focused on outcome.
Something else floated around in my mind last night. I could see the faces of the animals I had worked on during the day so clearly in my mind and I could feel from them how sweet their intentions were, and the power of their longing for love and contact. In so many of these animals with difficult backgrounds there is simply the barrier of fear there that keeps them from what they long for so much. Of course, "simply" is not the right word to use exactly as it is not so simple, but I think when there is a point of clear realization by the animals that you are approaching them with the most gentle and loving intention, then they are able to release that fear. They always seem so relieved at that moment, you can sometimes feel them sigh as though they are thinking "oh, finally, yes, I am comfortable in this moment in time and space and can truly relax."
Have a great weekend everyone! more adventures to come soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wrapping at the Gym

Here is Lily, a dear young Doberman (thankfully with ears and tail still intact) who I met at my local gym, and who was adopted from Social Tees by one of the gym staff recently. Her owner brings her to the gym, where she snuggles up under the front desk. She has a sweet disposition and is friendly but is fearful of noisy situations and people, so I offered to do a wrap and some TTouch on her. The wrap (this is actually called a "half-wrap") was immediately effective on Lily, whose body had been shaking and stopped shaking completely once the wrap was on. She seemed a bit confused at first since this was a new feeling, but she settled into it. I did some TTouch on her with the wrap on but the wrap alone seemed to be so dramatic an effect, I didn't want to do too much with her in one fell swoop.
I then let her be and soon she was cuddled up in her spot under the desk, sleeping with a very peaceful look on her face.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quiet Moments in a Shelter

Wow, the power of TTouch never ceases to amaze me. Today I went to Social Tees http://www.socialtees.com/, a shelter on East 4th St in the East Village in NYC. I was asked to work with several semi-feral cats who did not want to be touched. One of the staff tried to touch all three of these cats and though they did not bite, they turned away and/or hissed, as though they were afraid that the touch was going to hurt them. Two cats were in one cage and the third was in a separate cage in a separate room. First I worked on the two cats in one cage. I alternated between them with very slow, light circles using a thin wooden dowel with an ace bandage wrapped around one end, which we call a corn-dog. The circles were done with the ace bandage (corn-dog) end of the stick touching the animal on its side, the wand slowly moved in a circle and a quarter. After a while, both cats calmed substantially and I could feel a calm in our space, even though the shelter environment is quite busy. Especially the smaller cat in the cage became quite sleepy, and both were giving me calming signals. Then I took some deep breaths and moved on to try some very light llama ttouches, done using the back of the hand and moving the hand in a circle and a quarter. I did these on the body of both these cats. They were both quite receptive to this as well, and remained calm. Hooray! Then I did the work with the wand and corn-dog on the third cat but unfortunately time did not permit as much work. He was initially very skeptical and hissed at me but calmed right down after doing a few gentle circles on him. I am so grateful for this work, and look forward to returning to the shelter and doing more TTouch on the animals there. I also reflected on how doing TTouch is like making art , it is not me making the work, I am merely a vessel through which the magic of the work travels. And, last but not least, if any of you NYC folks are looking to adopt a cat or dog, check these folks out, they have many animals, particularly cats, seeking homes.