Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Steps for Little Kittens

Yesterday at Social Tees I worked on the above kitten again. He had started out so scared but is REALLY coming around, it is such a pleasure to see. I am calling him Jimmy (I'll have to check later and make sure he's a HE :) ). You can see in the above picture that his ears are in a normal position, not flattened and tense. Yesterday when I first approached him, he still hissed, but again once I began to do TTouch on him, he relaxed, and yesterday I was able to do more TTouch on his body in order to get his body relaxed, which was wonderful. This time he started purring very shortly after I started touching him and he continued to purr the entire time I worked on him. I know it is going to take him a while to really trust people but he is really coming along, and it is such a pleasure to feel his body, head, ears etc relax as he was so completely rigid when I first began to work on him. Even his little face looks more relaxed and in less of a worried expression here. A big hug to this little being!

And the three formerly very frightened kittens together in one cage are really coming along as well. Yesterday I put a chair right outside their cage so I could take each one out, one at a time, and do TTouch on them while they sat in my lap. This way, they could see their friends and be very close to their cage. Even the most frightened kitten, the little black one, was ok with me doing this after an initial small growl when I took him out. The growl soon faded and he let me do TTouch all over his head and body before going back into his cage.

Thank you so much to Linda Tellington-Jones (and to all my other wonderful teachers of this work) for the gift of this powerful work.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Staying in the Moment with Fearful Cats and Kittens

Recently a number of very frightened cats and kittens have arrived at Social Tees, and I have been working with them very gradually and quietly. The beautiful cat above was crouched in the back of her cage hissing at me at first, so I began with her by doing small circles on her head and strokes on her body with a long feather. As she grew accustomed to this, I worked my hand down the feather until I was doing circles on her head with my hand (starting with chimp touch and raccoon touch). After working on her head for a while I was able to do some connected clouded leopard touches down her body, just a few touches at first, then eventually I could go most of the way down her body. After a few days, she still stays on the top shelf in her cage, and she still may hiss initially at me but once I put my hand on her head and begin to do TTouch, she begins to rub her head against me. Lately she has looked as though she wants to come forward in her cage, but she is just not ready yet.

The sweet cat pictured above looks a little sad, but this is actually a good improvement from how he was at first. For the first few days in the shelter, I could just do a little TTouch on his head and some Ttouch down his body very briefly before he would start to try to snap at me. Yesterday I had a lovely breakthrough with him. I began to do very light raccoon touches in between his eyes and on his forward. These really relaxed him and he went from his usual rigid position where he was lying down but with his head up, to putting his head down and relaxing it. When he did this, his body felt more relaxed as well. I hope to continue our progress and to help him be more comfortable and trustful.

I also worked again on the three kitten in the same cage (two of them are pictured above). They still initially hiss (and even growl) a little bit but once I touch them, it is as they remember that I am going to do something that feels good and so after a few touches the sounds go away and they start to relax. I was even able to pick up one of the tabby kittens and sit with her outside the cage for a few minutes, doing TTouch on her but keeping the cage open so she could see her cage mates and feel like she could go back with them soon.

Above is pictured the other little scared kitten who I have worked on the past few days. He does still look reluctant here but I had an unexpected and lovely breakthrough with him yesterday. He also really responds to little raccoon touches on his forehead and in between his eyes, and is becoming more comfortable with ear touches as well. Initially his ears were flattened and tense, so it took a while before I could do ear work on him. At any rate, I was doing some very gentle raccoon touches on his head and for a few minutes I was speaking to some new volunteers as I did this, so I was a bit distracted. When I turned my attention back to the kitty, he had started to purr! I continued to do the touches for a while longer and he continued to purr as I did this. When I finished, I thanked him. I hope this dear little soul continues to feel more comfortable. As you can see by the picture above, he has such expressive eyes which really look so human! I wish all these creatures well and can't wait to see them again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bringing Calm to some Frightened Cats at Social Tees

We have gotten a lot of new kittens in Social Tees shelter lately. Some arrive already-socialized, but there was a group of three (two tabby and one black) and then one grey and white cat who arrived very terrified, with their eyes wide open and huddling at the back of the cage. They all seem to be at least semi-feral. The grey and white one was the most extreme case, I think. Even getting him out of his carrier was difficult, as he was so fearful of being handled. The first day I worked with him, I just did some little circles on his head with a painbrush with a fairly long handle, so I could keep some distance between him and me. He hissed and growled at first but settled down a bit as I worked. The next day, the other two kittens in his cage were adopted so today he was by himself in his cage, which made it easier for me to work on him. Sometimes if one or two cats are friendly and the other is huddled at the back of the cage, it is a challenge to work on the scared one without the friendly ones trying to jump out!

So today I decided to try to touch him directly with my hand. I spoke to him quietly, and started out with some very light, small raccoon touches on his head and around the back of his neck. He was hissing and a little growly at first, but as I continued, he slowly and very gradually began to settle down. The back of the neck can really be a key place, sometimes you can beel an animal let go there and then feel its breath and body begin to relax. After a while, I was able to start working in some raccoon touches around the outside of his mouth, some strokes on his ears and eventually some clouded leopard touches down his body. He still felt tense, so next I began to do some very light raccoon touches on his forehead right above and in between his eyes. He finally really began to grow calmer and his eyes went from the wide-open scared look to sleepy and nearly closed. I gave him a break and came back to him after working on the other kittens and the next time I approached him, he was not so scared and more easily settled back to where I had left him before. I had a similar experience with the little group of three kittens, who were initially very frozen-feeling as they clumped together in the back of the cage.
The black kitten growled at first and hissed. I alternated between him and the other two kittens, working on their heads, mouths, ears, and then some clouded leopard and abalone touches on their bodies. The mouth area, in my experience, has been a great area to do some raccoon touches on the kittens, quite often I feel a real shift after working there. I then gave those kittens a break and when I came back to them the second time, my friend and fellow volunteer Estee noticed that they were much more at ease when I approached them. I will be interested to see what happens when I see them next :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Big White Cat, a Little White Cat, the Orange Kitten and a new gang of kittens

Today again I went to work on the big white cat at Social Tees, and she seems to be doing better than ever. She was laying down sleeping when I first began to approach her cage, but once I opened the cage and began to touch her, she sat up and was eager to nuzzle and cuddle and receive TTouch. I am so glad to see her feeling so much better. As she was more energized, I decided to only do a little Reiki on her today and mostly do TTouch. What a sweet cat. As you can see from the pictures here, it was hard to get her to stay still as she was in cuddly, nuzzly mode.

I did some ear work on her to help continue to support her immune system, as she is still a little sneezy, and some clouded leopard and abalone touches down her body. I also did some raccoon touches around her head and mouth area.

The little orange blind kitten and little white calico who are in the same cage both came to the front of the cage and I took them out one by one to do TTouch on them. The little white calico has a bit of a cold and some digestive issues so I did some ear work and later on some very gentle belly lifts on her. She also responded very strongly to work around her mouth area. Everyone working in the shelter has remarked on her dramatic behavior change from extremely scared cat to extremely friendly cat. This is a pleasure to see. And the blind orange cat continues to look more healthy, with the quality of its coat improving and its general energy level seeming stronger.

I also worked on a new young black cat who is extremely afraid and was at the back of the cage. When I initially opened the cage and approached her, she hissed and her ears flattened, so I decided to approach her first with a feather (so there was distance between my hand and her), doing little circles and strokes on her head and body. I did a number of short little spurts of TTouch with her, closing her cage and giving her breaks. Near the end of the couple of hours I was at the shelter, I was able to do TTouch on her entire body and head with my hand, which was terrific. I even heard her purring. As the other kitten in her cage was adopted, we put two kittens from another cage in with her to keep her company. I did TTouch on all three of them before leaving, and the initial hisses soon calmed down and it seemed all three would get along fine.

More Little Steps Forward

Yesterday when I was at Social Tees, the little blind kitten I have been working on came right to the front of the cage to see me. It has had a kitty cold and seems to have turned a big corner, she seems to feel much better and it was a pleasure to see her standing up, walking around and playing a bit in her cage. I did some TTouch on her within the cage before taking her out, doing some zigzag touches down her body and down her legs to help her get a sense of connection with her whole body and legs, which is especially important for a blind animal. She responded to these touches and is seeming to feel more at ease within her body. I then took her out and concentrated on doing some ear strokes and mouth work with her. I have been doing a lot of ear work with her to help strengthen her immune system. When I put her back inside the cage, once again I saw her stretch up on her legs, as though she was trying to feel all four legs underneath her. It is lovely to see her feeling more comfortable and energetic.

You can see in the background of this picture the little white calico who came to the front to kiss me the last two times I was there. After I worked on the orange kitten, she once again came to the front of the cage to see me and I took her out of the cage to do some TTouch on her on a nearby table. I was pleased to hear that one of the other volunteers, Este, had also had the experience of this cat coming to the front of the cage for her and being very pleased to be held and taken out of the cage.
I wish these two dear little cats well!

Update on White Cat at Social Tees

Thursday and Friday I did Reiki on the big white cat pictured below who is at Social Tees. She has had a bad cold and had seemed quite uncomfortable, mostly remaining in the position you see in the picture below, sleeping. The Reiki had seemed to relieve her breathing (she had a stuffed up nose) and I had also done some ear strokes on her.

Yesterday when I arrived, this cat looked much more alert - she was lying in the front of her cage with her head up and was looking right at me, doing a little meow which felt like she was calling me to her cage. She has also had an eye infection, which is still there but the infected eye is improved as well. I was so relieved to see her looking better. Another volunteer remarked on her improved condition as well.

I did Reiki on her once again, and she began to nuzzle against my hand as I did this. I did several different hand positions, following my intuition. The energy appeared to make her feel very comfortable and from time to time she would rub her head against me. She was sitting right in front of her water dish and she began to drink a lot of water. As I am now attuned to Reiki II, I have also been using the symbols and indeed these do seem to strenghen the flow of the energy. I also did some TTouch on this cat after doing the Reiki treatment, as she seemed to crave physical contact. Her back felt a bit tight, and I could feel it start to relax as I did some TTouch on her body. I also did some ear strokes to help her immune system. I was so happy to see her feeling better and send her good thoughts for continued improved health and for her to be adopted soon by a very kind person or persons.

My adventure with this cat has brought home to me once again the importance of being in the moment with the animal, listening to what they need instead of concentrating on what you want the outcome to be.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

TTouch Training in Dayton NJ - visit to SAVE shelter

On the fourth day of the TTouch training with Debby Potts, we went to SAVE shelter in Princeton ( The shelter was clean and from what I saw, well-laid out. The cats were in two different rooms, where some were in closed cages and some had their cages open so they were allowed to roam. First, Debby did a brief cat TTouch demo. Below you will see two pictures of her as she picked up a cat by wrapping it in a blanket, and then contained the cat within the blanket or "cat tent", as she called it.

Debby could contain the cat under the blanket and do TTouches on it either on top of or underneath the blanket. Again, the success of use of the blanket depends on the cat, as some cats feel very comfortable with this but others do not like to be wrapped in anything.

After the demo, we were set loose to work on either cats or dogs. I spent nearly the whole time with the cats. The cats have different-colored signs depending on their behavior and so I chose to work with three of the most challenging cats.
The cat below is named "Moo Kitty". This kitty had some type of digestive ailment and the sign on his cage said not to let him loose. As I wanted to make sure he didn't escape, I did TTouch o him through the bars of the cage. When I first approached him, he was curled up on his blanket. I took the wand and wrapped just a bit of ACE bandage on the end ("corn dog") so it would fit through the bars of the cage. I began to do gentle circles with the bandage end on his head. The cat soon woke up and came right to the front of the cage, where I continued to do TTouch on his head and as much of his body as I could reach either with my hand or with the wand and corn dog. I spent a good amount of time doing ear strokes on him, as these can help with digestion. I would have liked to try belly lifts but was not able to fit my hand far enough through the bars to do this. He responded very strongly to all the touches I was doing on him and each time I paused to see if he had had enough, he nuzzled against me, seeming to ask for more, so I spent quite a bit of time with him. You can see him below looking right at me with his beautiful eyes.

Another cat I worked on was Tabitha. She is a lovely little tabby, and is extremely skittish and afraid of people. When I first put my opened her cage, she kept trying to move away from me, so I decided to try the wand and corn dog on her so she would be able to remain a distance from me and still have contact. I would do a few circles, then pause, etc. Little by little her movement slowed down, she seemed to grow somewhat more comfortable, and I was able to do circles both on her head and on her body. She actually got out of her cage at one point (she was fast!), so I thought she might be stressed once I got her back in the cage but after I gave her a break and worked on another cat I looked over and here she was, watching me and sitting right in the front of her cage.

Then I worked on Snickers, a lovely smoky grey cat. Snickers was hanging out outside of his cage. He is extremely skittish and when I first reached towards him he ran away. After a while I saw that he had gone back inside of his cage, so I decided to try to carefully approach him there.

At this point the other people were outside of the room so it was nice and quiet. I turned my back nearly completely to him, sitting outside of his cage and very quietly approached him, only looking at him out of the corner of my eye as I kept my back to him so he would not feel threatened, yet I could see enough to watch his signals in case he decided to swat, etc. I was able to do some gentle strokes with the back of my hand along the side of his body. He then sat down, still in his cage but closer to me. I did some chimp touches on his head and his neck, which helped him relax and he seemed to really enjoy. I continued this for a few minutes and after it seemed to be enough, I took my hand back out of the cage again. After a bit he came out of his cage again and I started to touch him again, but he batted me with his paw (not claws) to tell me he had enough.

At this point we were getting ready to wind it up so I spent a little time with one of the dogs, Honey Bee, outside. Honey Bee is a chow mix who is small, but EXTREMELY strong, and it was a challenge to keep her from pulling on the leash. Debby had made a makeshift halter-like thingie using the leash, so that provided some more control but still, I had to be patient, going a few steps, stopping to do some TTouch (which the dog responded very much to), then walking a few more steps. I still need a lot of practice when it comes to "pully" dogs!
All in all, we had a really great visit at the shelter and my fellow TTouchers had lovely stories to tell about their experiences with the animals there. Sending good thoughts for these animals to be adopted to nice people very soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's a (TTouch) Wrap!

At the recent TTouch training in Dayton, NJ, Debby Potts ( taught us quite a lot about TTouch wraps. These wraps are done using ACE bandages (or similar materials) and are gently wrapped around the animal in a variety of ways. When an animal is stressed or uncomfortable in some physical or emotional way, it can be very disconnected from its body. The wraps can help bring the animal back into its body, and can feel as though it is being gently held and cuddled, which can be very comforting.

In the two pictures below you see Debby demonstrating a couple of ways to do head wraps on Naomi, a lovely German shepherd owned by Gerlinde (you see her in the second picture on the left). A head wrap, in addition to being calming, can also be great preparation for getting a dog ready to have a head collar put on. A head collar was a good idea for Naomi because of her proportions and because she tends to be very forward with her head, so Debby showed Gerlinde a leash configuration with three points of contact which included one point connected to the head collar and then two points connected to a harness and leash, or to two different points on the harness (the "superbalance leash" which is connected to the back center clip of a step-in harness, looped through the front of the harness and then connected to the side clip of the harness. See one of the TTouch for dogs books for a full description before trying this!).

Next, below you see Marsha W ( and her dachshund Gracie, great to get to know both of them! Marsha also brought a lovely black Cocker Spaniel with her named Bella, unfortunately I did not get a good pic of her. Anyway, Gracie has a lot of difficulty walking, as her back legs are not working too well, and so we thought a wrap was a great idea for her, especially a "full wrap", which goes around the back end of the dog.
Pictured below is Gracie in the full wrap. This will give her a lot more awareness of her back end. Later, Marsha and I cut an Ace bandage in half so it was a thin strip, cut this into two shorter strips, and wrapped these around Gracie's back legs. This seemed to help her to be even more aware of her back legs and although she seemed a bit confused by the leg wrap at first, I think this could be really helpful for her. She is a sweet dog! and was very cooperative while we were wrapping all these contraptions around her.

I was also very pleased that my friend and Feldenkrais practitioner Kathy Yates was at this training with her dog Mia. Mia is a great dog! She was also extremely cooperative with having a wrap put on her and so below you see her in another kind of wrap, I believe this is what we called the racing stripe wrap. Mia is an older dog and has arthritis so it is helpful for her to have increased body awareness going to the back part of her body as well.

Mia is a terrific dog but she is extremely attached to her mom and can get very jealous when Mom pays attention to someone else. Kathy (below right) was sitting with Gracie on one side and Mia on the other side, and Mia decided that was just too much for her and she wanted attention, so she moved away from Kathy and right into the middle of the circle, where everyone would see her. This is pictured below, and gave us all quite a chuckle!
If you are trying a wrap on your dog, be sure not to wrap it too tight and just leave it on for a few minutes at first, so it is not too overwhelming experience. I have found so far that cats really do not like to be wrapped but a few people have found otherwise. We had an expression in the training "DOD" which means "depends on the dog" and in the case of cats, it is "DOC" as to whether a cat will enjoy a wrap, that's for sure.

A Kiss from a Calico and More

Hi folks. Yesterday at Social Tees ( was quite an interesting day. I was reminded of something our TTouch instructor Debby Potts ( told us in the training - that if you are too focused on REALLY WANTING, WANTING, WANTING to make a change, it is so much less likely to happen than if you let go of what your expectations are and simply remain in the moment. Sometimes so much MORE can really happen than you could imagine if you can truly do this.

So I approached the cage where a dear little mostly-white calico cat was. She was very afraid when she first came into the shelter and most recently had been purring once I began to do TTouch on her, but still remained at the back of the cage as that is where she felt safe. I did some very gentle work on her head and ears, and connected touches down her body, feeling her relax and purr. After a few moments I took my hand away and to my surprise, she did a little meow, and walked all the way forward to the front of the cage, put her face right up to my face and gave me a kiss! She rubbed her face against my face and then sat up very straight, just looking at me. She then came forward again and seemed as though she wanted to come out of the cage. I picked her up (I felt no fear on her part while I was doing this) and held her for a while, doing TTouch on her as I held her. She seemed completely comfortable there. I would not have been able to do this with this cat just a few short days ago. Here she is pictured below, isn't she pretty? The funny thing too is that she is in the same cage in which I had a very similar experience with another cat who came in quite scared and one day came to the front and gave me a kiss. Do certain locations in there have particular vibrations? I wonder.

Also, a black kitten who had previously been in the shelter is staying there again briefly. She still has a limp, so I decided to see what I could do to hopefully help her feel more in balance. I took her out of her cage, sat on a table and put her beside me, held securely but gently with the little makeshift shoelace harness which I have described in earlier posts. This is a very friendly kitten who is comfortable being touched anywhere on her body. I did clouded leopard touches down her body and down each of her legs. She had no resistance to me doing this, even on the limping leg, though on this leg she did make a movement when I touched her there which suggested to me that it was a different sensation to be touched that way on that leg. She then got very cozy and sat down, but I continued to do some touches and strokes down her legs for a while.

I also did TTouch for a good amount of time on the little blind orange kitten who has been in the shelter. She seems to really look forward to me taking her out of the cage, holding her and doing TTouch on her. The eye infection she had and the cold she has had seem to be clearing up very well. I have been doing a lot of ear stokes with her to help her immune system (and she seems to really enjoy the sensation of the ear strokes as well). She is eating quite heartily and is growing bigger. Here she is resting peacefully after TTouch.

Towards the end of the day, several new cats were brought in from the kill shelter. After they were settled in their cages, I did some TTouch on each of them to hopefully relax them a bit in their new environment. There were two adult cats who seemed to adjust very quickly to their new environment and were quite cuddly just about right away. This little kitten below was more scared though. I first did some little raccoon touches on her head and around her mouth area, and clouded leopard and abalone on her body, but she still seemed quite scared. Then I began to do ear strokes on her and like magic, she really responded to these and began to visibly calm down once I began to do these. She pushed her head against my hand as though she wanted me to continue, so of course I did. I'm not sure why one eye seems more open than the other in the picture below, hopefully just a temporary quirk but we'll see later on.

Reiki in the Shelter

The day before yesterday I finished Level I and II Reiki with Sheryl Berger,, who is a wonderful teacher and a delightful person. I highly recommend her. I had the opportunity for a private class with her, which was terrific. I had previously done a Reiki for Animals workshop with her. It was also fun to see her animals again, her lovely dog Tiki and her two cats. I had a chance to do a little TTouch on her dog, who is very friendly and immediately game up to me and offered her paw to me.

So now I am able to do Reiki from a distance as well as "on location" and will also be able to do this on humans as well as animals. It is all very certainly a fascinating adventure.

Til now, most of the time that I am in the shelter I do TTouch instead of Reiki on the animals because it is more difficult to have the concentration for Reiki there, but yesterday there was a cat who I felt was very much in need of Reiki and so I gave it a try.

She is a very large white cat, and has a very bad cold, so it seems as though her congestion is causing her discomfort. Yesterday when I approached her cage she came to the front and did a little meow to me which felt like she really wanted attention. First I did a little TTouch, especially concentrating on ear strokes as this can be so helpful for the immune system and for when you have a cold or flu. Then I gently began to perform Reiki on her. I did a scan of her body and felt that the area needing most concentration was around her head, neck and chest. I did several hand positions with her, sometimes placing my hand directly on her and sometimes holding them a few inches away. Often animals can find directly hands-on to be too intense, but she seemed to crave the contact. I felt my hands become very warm and I felt her body relax more as I did the session. As it was a rainy day, we did not have adopters coming to where her cage was at the time, so it was nice and quiet. As I finished the session, I felt that her breathing was somewhat easier and she definitely felt more relaxed. If you have a look at the picture below, doesn't it look as though she is smiling? I sent her some Reiki later last night and hope to be able to check in on her later today. Thanks so much Sheryl for helping me to have another way to help the animals (and people) in my life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TTouch Training in Dayton with Debby Potts: Dusty

Last week I did my fifth TTouch training in Dayton, New Jersey with Debby Potts (, who is a fabulous instructor. Each TTouch teacher I have had has been wonderful, and each one has their own specialties of knowledge, adding another dimension to what I know about TTouch. Debby has such a huge amount of knowledge to share and also has a great sense of humor, which is always appreciated!

Above is a picture of Jude and her dog Dusty. You can see from the picture how bonded they are. Jude was in my last training in Dayton with her three dogs, and this time she focused on Dusty. Dusty has come a long way since the last training, and made great strides during this training. Both Dusty and Jude taught me a tremendous amount this training. I am so thankful for this.

Dusty is reactive to other dogs and to people, so we all made sure to be very conscious and considerate, not staring at him or approaching him head-on. When we touched him and worked with him, Jude had a muzzle on him to make sure everyone kept safe.

The second day, Debby showed us one way to get a dog accustomed to having someone other than their owner touch them. First, Jude began to do TTouch on Dusty.

Then Debby joined Jude and they both began to do TTouch on Dusty together. This really was a magical moment. Both Debby and Jude were SO in the moment with Dusty, and in synch with each other as well.

Dusty grew more and more relaxed as they both worked on him, and was very responsive to TTouch in general. He went from a sitting position to lying down as they worked.

Later in the training, we went outside to do leash work with the dogs. Dusty was extremely cooperative and a setup with two points of contact worked like a charm for him. I had the opportunity of walking Dusty on a leash a couple of times, and felt I only needed to hold the leash very lightly, as he was responsive to very light signals vocally and with the leash. Before long, I felt completely in synch with Dusty, as though were were completely connected. I walked him in various directions around orange cones and stopped intermittently, doing some TTouch on him, to which he was very responsive. I did slow zigzag touches down his body and down his legs, as well as abalone touches on his body and ear touches.

After the second time walking Dusty came a very big learning moment, which fortunately turned out OK. Jude, Grace Ann (one of our wonderful teaching assistants) and I were talking and I was holding Dusty very lightly on the leash. All of a sudden, I felt Dusty jerk and pull with incredible strength and before I knew it, I was on the ground and Dusty had broken free from me and he and one of the other dogs, Chanhiya (who is also a reactive dog), were entangled in a dog fight where the two dogs looked like one dog and there was a lot of growling and noise. Fortunately Grace Ann stepped right in and helped break up the fight and luckily both dogs were all right. I was a little black and blue as I had ended up face down on the ground but I was more concerned to see if the dogs and people were all right, which fortunately they were, other than being shaken up. Jude gave us (including Dusty) Rescue Remedy, which was much needed and appreciated.

This was a huge lesson to us all to keep aware and in the moment at all times, and to keep our peripheral vision active, particularly when we are dealing with reactive dogs. I will certainly never forget it! I apologized profusely, as I really felt bad that I had not been as vigilant as I should have been.

Below, you see Jude and Marge walking Dusty in the graveyard which is adjacent to the training area a while after the scuffle. Fortunately, Dusty seemed to be calming down at this point.

There is a very special type of connection with an animal that happens through TTouch. With all the animals I do TTouch on, I feel that there is a part of them that touches my heart in a unique and profound way and stays with me forever. I certainly know this is true with Dusty.

Thank you Jude and Dusty, I really appreciated working with you and learning from you!

Guinea Pigs, Ear Strokes and a Shy Cat

There are many new residents at Social Tees shelter ( so they have been keeping me busy, I hardly know where to start.
Yesterday and the day before yesterday I did TTouch on the three guinea pigs pictured above, which was a first for me! I opened the cage just enough to get my hand in and began by gently stroking their heads with the back of the top joint of my fingers. They were all squeaking vigorously and gathering around my hand, gently nibbling on it from time to time, and seemed to be curious. Because I didn't know if the nibbling would turn into biting, I began primarily with touches using the back of my fingers and hand. These little critters were quite active, so I would do a few little circles with the back of my finger on one head, then another, etc, alternating. As their activity seemed to come down a notch, I began working in hair slides on their body and strokes using the back of my hand. Little by little, their loud squeaks turned into happy-sounding gurgles as they moved about, and one could feel and see their activity level calming down a notch. The guinea pig on the top left was particularly responsive and my friend and fellow volunteer Este told me that it kept moving towards my hand and wiggling its rear end in delight as I did circles and strokes on it. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as these little ones are very humorous. When I decided to stop and took my hand out of the cage, they squeaked loudly as though they wanted me to come back!

Above are several kittens who I have been working with. The white one and the grey one started out very shy, but within a short amount of time have become much more friendly and we are able to take them out of the cage and hold them, and I do TTouch on them both inside and outside of the cage.
The little orange kitten on the right, who is blind, could not be a sweeter little creature. When I hold it, it purrrrrrrs the entire time, and is extremely responsive to TTouch. I do chimp touches down its back, a few little circles with its tail, raccoon touches around its mouth and head. It has a kitty cold and so I thought it was important to try ear strokes. The day before yesterday, I began to try to stroke its ears and it seemed very sensitive, so I just did a few gentle strokes there. Yesterday was a different story there though. It was VERY responsive to having its ears stroked and I began to put a bit stronger pressure, and it was even more responsive, closing its eyes and putting its head back as though it was blissing out. Robert walked by at this point and remarked that the kitten looked like it was in heaven. I will be interested to see how the kitten progresses and hope that the ear work will help speed recovery from its cold.

There are many new cats in the back part of the shelter and I particularly wanted to work on the shyest one there, pictured above and below. When I began, it was huddled in the back part of the cage. However, when I began to do TTouch on it, it seemed to remember me from the day before and soon began to purr. The purr grew louder and louder and its body relaxed. She rolled over onto her back and began to nuzzle against its box and against my hand. I had begun with chimp touches on its head, llama touches on its body and then worked in some touches around the mouth and ears.

Below you see her gently closing her eyes as I begin to stroke her ear.
This delightful little cat will be going out to an adoption event with the other animals from Social Tees today, so I hope she and many of the other animals will be going to new homes today :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to the new Gang at Social Tees

Since I was doing TTouch training for a week, I had not been able to see my pals at Social Tees ( and when I returned there, a lot of cats and dogs had been adopted, which is terrific. There were also a lot of new arrivals. Among other creatures, the three guinea pigs above greeted me with their exuberant squeaks, and they would respond to anything I said to them with a little chorus of squeaks. I haven't done any TTouch on them yet but hopefully will have a chance to do that soon.

Yesterday a whole bunch of new cats arrived at the shelter at the same time that I did, and so I did TTouch first on some of the cats who had been there for a while, as the new cats were getting settled in their new cages.

This lovely little black kitten came into the shelter while I was in the TTouch training. It is recovering from a broken leg and is still limping a bit, so I took it out of its cage and put the little shoelace harness on it to contain it, and did some TTouch on it on my lap and with it on a table. It is a very friendly cat, and I was easily able to touch it on any part of its body. I wanted to do some TTouch going from the front to the back of the cat, giving it more awareness particularly of its back legs. I did connected TTouches down its body and down its leg, and some little raccoon touches on its paws as well. I wanted to try some python touches, but the kitten got so relaxed that it laid down in my lap, so I just continued doing some light chimp touches down its body and abalone touches transitioning to smaller touches on its hind legs and paws. What a sweet little spirit this cat has!

I went to the back room of the shelter, where the new arrivals were. Some of them were very agitated, and others had quickly settled in. I decided to begin working on the more settled animals, in hope that our energy would calm the other animals down another level. This would also be helpful so that there would be less chance of them bolting out of the cage the minute I opened it. I first worked on this beautiful white cat pictured above. I stood with my body sideways to the cage, spoke to the cat softly and began doing TTouch on its head and ears. I could feel that it was receptive and friendly. I began to do some small circles in its jaw area, and it turned to make the jaw more accessible to me, which was great. It stuck its chin out, seeming to ask me to stroke it there as well. It was a bit hesitant for me to touch it on its body, so I did a few touches on the body, went back to the head, a few more touches on the body, etc. Then I gave the cat a break. When I closed the cage it began to vocalize a bit but I think this may have been prompted by the vigorous activity of the cat who was underneath, which appeared to be unsettling to this cat.

Next, I went to the cat above. It was scrunched in the back of its cage, looking very afraid. I was not sure if it would be OK with direct touch, so I first did a few strokes and circles with a feather. I had the feeling that it was ok to touch with my hands, so I very gently stroked the top of its head with the back of my hand. It seemed hesitant but started to relax as I did a few circles on its head, gave it a break, then went back again. It did not seem ready for much touch on the body, so I just did a few little strokes on its body and left it at that. It was still at the back of its cage when I finished but appeared to be less frozen, which was great.

I then did TTouch on the cat pictured above and below. It was very interesting because this cat's relaxation was so visible. I wasn't sure what would happen at first because I blinked at it and it did not blink back at me, seeming to be a bit frozen. I began to do a few raccoon touches on its forehead and strokes with the back of my fingers on its head, and I could see its body let go and start to b-r-e-a-t-h-e. It looked like a ripple going down its body. It was such a pleasure to feel and see this cat relax and settle into itself.

The cat below was quite active, so I waited a while before I approached its cage, working on other cats first. When I opened the cage to touch it, it was quite receptive but very energetic so I kept my body sideways and right up against the edge of the cage, with one hand around its chest so that I could keep it contained and keep it from getting out. This was especially essential yesterday because there was a new dog in the space. I did some strokes down the cat with the back of my fingers, and chimp touches on its head and neck. I find that quite often, the cats in the shelter are very tight around the back of their necks and so that is a place where I usually do some chimp touch and find that they really can let go of their bodies once that area is relaxed.

The young cat below was also very ramped-up and so I first just did some little strokes through the bars of its cage, and I did TTouch on it in several spurts with the cage open, then closing it, again, to keep it from getting out. This cat was also very friendly, but over-stimulated. Among other touches, I did some TTouch around the outside of its mouth area, which can be a key area for cats that are very worked up. As I continued to go from cage to cage and work on the different cats, also working on some of the cats who had been there for a while and needed some TLC, I could feel the energy of the room begin to calm down and even the ramped-up kitties began to take their energy level down a notch.

The little cat below appeared to be concerned so I approached with caution. I soon found out that I could touch it with my hands but I needed to go slowly and listen to what it needed. I did some raccoon touches in the middle of its forehead, then began to do some ear strokes. The cat really settled into the strokes on its ears, and I could feel its body begin to relax as well. As you can see, he still looks concerned but is not scrunched in the back of the cage, which was a big step for him.
The big cat below I am calling Blizzard for now. He didn't seem to be bothered at all by all the newness and activity. I did some lying leopard touches down his body and some ear strokes, and he stretched right out to take a cat nap in his new abode.
Social Tees will be having an adoption event on Sunday 1 - 7 in front of The Bean on 1st avenue between 3rd and 4th street in New York City, so if you are in the area, come by and say hello!

Adoptions etc

Hi folks, I have been busy during the past week at a TTouch training in Dayton, NJ with Debby Potts, who is a fabulous teacher. We had a great group there of people and dogs, and I will be posting about that shortly.

Meanwhile, I returned to Social Tees the day before yesterday and there had been many adoptions, which is terrific. Among other critters, Jigsaw Sr. was adopted and Fiona and Buster (the two ittiest bittiest kittens) were adopted together (I had hoped these two would go together, as they are such good buddies).

Many new cats have arrived at Social Tees and I will talk about them in the next post.

Here's to the cats and dogs and their new homes!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jigsaw Sr. and pals at Social Tees

Hi folks, above is a picture of my recent pal, Jigsaw Sr. Isn't he handsome? The paw that is draped over the side of the shelf is the one which he doesn't use. He has been very responsive to all the touches I have been doing on him, though he still seems to be more sensitive around his lower back and back leg on the left side, which makes sense as this side has to work harder as the front part of that side does not function properly. I have been continuing to do TTouches on his head, down both sides of his back and strokes and circles down all his legs. Then I make little circles with his toes and do raccoon touches on his paws, around the pads and on the top of his foot, to the extent I am able to reach everything. He signals when he has had enough when he goes up to his little shelf and starts chomping away on his food. He really seems to enjoy the touch and relaxes right into it except for a few sensitive areas.

Above is a picture of me doing TTouch on Buster, one of the teeny tiny kittens, and if you look above left you will see Jigsaw Jr. right in the front of the cage, watching my every move. Very interesting! and if you look closely you can see that I have the little shoestring harness on Buster so that I can hold him securely while I do TTouch on him.

Buster really relaxes into the TTouch, as I do little raccoon touches on his head, ear strokes (which I have been doing every day on these little guys as they came in with kitty colds, which fortunately they seem to be on the road to recovery from), then little chimp touches down each side of his back. Sometimes I will do a few abalone touches on the body. You can see that in the case of these tiny guys, my hand covers nearly the whole body -- and sometimes the big circles of the abalone touch can be comforting. You can see from the photo part of why I use the little harness below (a dog), though the dog seems to be receiving some of the calm energy of TTouch and is taking a nap.

Above is Buster's little friend, Fiona, who is looking much more bright-eyed than she did a few days ago, which is great. She also comes running to the front of the cage to be taken out when I come in the shelter. She is more squiggly than Buster, so I start out by doing the touches at a quicker tempo which is where her energy is, then gradually slowing them down, and that usually will relax her into a more sleepy state and she settles in on my lap.

Above are two kittens who came in a few days ago. They are small, but look huge compared to Buster and Fiona, they are probably 3-4 times as big. This photo was taken a few days ago when they first came in and they were quite shy, flinching and pulling away when I reached to them. The white kitten would hiss, but stopped hissing when I touched her. I started out by alternating from one to the other, just doing a few little touches on the head, then doing some gentle strokes on the ears, gradually increasing the strength of the ear stroke. It turned out that both kittens responded to rather firm pressure of the ear stroke, maybe between 2 and 3. It is best to start out light and then gradually increase, to see what feels most comfortable to the cat.

I am now able to easily pick up both these kittens and to do TTouch on them either in or out of the cage. Initially they still might pull away a bit, but once I begin the TTouch they are very responsive to it. Above you see both the grey and the white kitten, out of hiding and looking more confident (don't you love the two different colored eyes of the white kitten?). Patience is really key with scared cats and kittens, and sometimes you have to start with very short bursts of TTouch (a few seconds) but you can do a number of these little bursts within a session, alternating from one cat to another, giving them a break and leaving them alone for a bit then coming back to them. If you're in NYC, come by Social Tees ( and have a look!