Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tavi & Friends Cats, part II

I also worked on two other cats when I was at the boarding facility through Tavi & Friends through their TTouch-in-Rescue™ program. One was a black cat named Riley whose cage was marked "Caution! Not Friendly" and the other was a large tabby named Baby whose cage was also marked "Caution" but he was a very friendly guy.

The black cat is quite fearful of being touched. When I opened his cage, he retreated to the back of his cage, growling. At first I tried using a long plastic back scratcher (using the back of the plastic hand to stroke the cat), and he seemed to be too afraid of that. The next thing I tried was a long feather. Different cats respond to different types of surfaces. He really settled down as I did circles and strokes on his ear with the feather. I did a couple of short sessions with him (just a few minutes each) with the feather, and in between, he seemed to be very curious what I was doing with Porter, the cat in the cage next to him. After a while, he was done being touched w/the feather and began to want to play with it. He jumped to the upper level of his cage (there is a hole to give him access to both an upper and lower cage, and I was able to reach the feather up through the hole to do a few strokes on him. Sometimes he seemed ok with that and other times he just wanted to play with the feather. Then I gave him another break.

Then I opened his cage, just speaking to him softly. He blinked at me from time to time. Finally he softly came up to me and just touched me with his paw, then moved quickly away again. He did this a few times. I tried reaching toward him with my hands, but he seemed to not be ready for that, so I didn't push the issue.

He seems to really long for contact, but still is afraid of it. I look forward to working with him further and to hearing what Marge's experience with Riley and Porter is next time she sees them.

I also spent a little time with Baby (pictured above). He is a total mush, a big sweetie. I did circles and strokes down his body, as well as work on his ears and head. He was purring up a storm and very responsive to the attention. What a love! Thanks Mary, I look forward to working with these cats again and to sharing with you and the other people who work with these cats about our experience with them.

Meeting New Cats Through Tavi & Friends

Yesterday I did TTouch on some cats through Tavi & Friends, through their TTouch-in-Rescue™ program to provide TTouch® to the animals of one of TaF's partner groups, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. These cats are temporarily at a boarding facility until they can be sent to various rescue groups or sent out to an adoption event, etc. Some of them are quite friendly and others need a great deal of socialization. Mary Bruce, who runs Tavi & Friends, who does so much good work, introduced me to the facility and to the cats.

My friend Marge Piatak has been working on some of these cats, including a lovely Russian Blue kitty named Porter. Here is what she had done with him before I met him:
"I've been having an interesting experience at Mayor's Alliance - Porter - a cat who was marked CAUTION - Not Friendly! My first visit with him - he was so low in his bed you could only see the top of his head and 2 eyes - which were literally horizontal slits! He stayed that way the entire time I was in the room. Once or twice I stood to the side, toned & did some air circles.. Second visit - same initial position in the bed... I did more touches -- on the window with paintbrush -- strokes... toned.... I went back several times near front of cage..Then --- after working in front of the room, I walked to the back -- i didn't recognize him -- he was standing up in front of the cage following my movements. Did window touches w/ brush, my hands.. Then put brush through cut out circles - he bit it like crazy, but I got in circles....
Yesterday was a 3rd visit (these are 2 weeks apart).. In bed when I got there, but within a minute - to the front of hs cage. Can now touch his body and head with brush & stroke w/wand --- but he really likes to bite down hard on the brush or whatever --- I'm really happy though. His first posture looked more like --- Come one step closer & I kill!
Now he's allowing the interaction & I hope benefiting from the circles I can do with him."

Marge has done such a great job with Porter, and I'm sure that all her work prepared him for the interaction I had with him yesterday. I started out with him doing some strokes with a plastic back scratcher, but he seemed to dislike this. So I changed over to a long feather. I was able to do some circles and strokes on his head, and a few strokes on other parts of his body, but he would also bite and play with the feather. I gave him many breaks, and each time I stopped, he came to the front of the cage to see what I would do next.

I decided to see what would happen if I really calmed and slowed my energy down, and if I felt an invisible connection from my fingers to him. He sat down and looked at me, blinking at me. I began to do clouded leopard circles in the air about a foot away from where he was lying down. I could tell he was familiar with the circles and I could feel him being calmed by them, as he settled into a more cozy position and his eyes got more sleepy. He in the back of his cage so it was hard to reach him, but I started to do some strokes and circles with the back of my fingers around his jaw and cheek area, and then his forehead, and felt him begin to push back with his head. I did some circular touches w/the back of my fingers on other parts of his head and neck area. Then he came to the front of the cage and down on the bottom level, right in front of me, where I was able to continue doing circular touches and strokes with the back of my hand down his back, as well as some ear work, and he was really responding, leaning into my hand. When he had enough, he went back to the top level, back of the cage for a bit, and when I closed his cage he came to the front again, watching me work on the cat next to him. I came back to him again after that, and when I started out with him he was a little shy, in the back of the cage again at first, but then was leaning into my hand again.

Big thanks to Marge, Mary and other volunteers who have worked w/Porter, I know all their patient work with him got him ready to be able to make complete contact. Porter is such an intelligent, engaging cat, that once he becomes more accustomed to being touched, his chances for being adopted soon will be very great.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Update on Buddy

A few days ago I went to visit my friend Jordyn and her animals, especially to work on her dog Buddy, who she is fostering and who we were first told was "paralyzed". When I saw him a couple of weeks ago, Jordyn had had him for just a few days, and within these few days he was walking pretty well with a sling around his hind end. His hind legs were still figuring out what to do and sometimes his feet would flop over so the front of the foot was dragging, but still he was getting along well and had a great attitude about everything.

As you will see in these clips, Buddy is now walking amazingly well on his own without the sling, doesn't flip his feet over any more. He is doing great! He still can use some TTouch etc to help increase awareness in his back end and especially his feet, as he is still stiff there. But he can really move along. Jordyn's concern now is that he tries to go too fast sometimes and then gets out of balance, so I am having her walking him using a step-in harness and a double-ended leash attached to the two side clips of the harness.

I have to credit Jordyn with all the love and care she and her guy John have given Buddy, they are doing an awesome job on him. And Buddy's positive attitude has really helped him to progress as well. After Jordyn and I walked Buddy for a while, I did some TTouch on him back at their apt. I did zigzags going down his back and down his legs and connected abalone touches on his back, some python lifts on his legs, and some raccoon touches all around his feet. I showed Jordyn what I was doing so she can do these touches on him as well. Great job all! I am so grateful that this dog has made such wonderful and quick progress.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on Sparkle

Sparkle is a feral kitten who I have been working on for a couple of months or so. She is one of the most challenging cats I have met so far, as she is SO fearful. She still will hiss and spit, and sometimes swat, when first approached, but she is much more curious and outgoing than before, and seems to really long for contact. She now is mostly in the front of her cage, reaching out to anyone who passes by (especially me or some of the other volunteers who she is familiar with), and sometimes trying to play with someone in a cage adjacent to hers. She is growing, as she must be about 5 months old now, and is long and slim, her body type seems similar to some Siamese cats. We still have her in a cage with Wally, who is a very sweet grey and white adult kitty, and they cuddle together.
Sometimes recently I had been sneaking my hand onto Sparkle when the two of them were cuddling, putting my hand on Wally first and then going around the back of him to the back of her head and doing some TTouch on her that way. A few days ago, I decided to take a plunge and try touching her directly. In order to protect my hands, I have been wearing some rather thick, but snug-fitting gardening gloves, so I can be protected but still feel what I am doing. At first she will still hiss at me, but once I begin to do some raccoon touches on her head, she will settle down for a few minutes. I have been keeping these sessions short, as I don't want to push the issue too much, but if feels like she is beginning to get used to the contact. This is such an interesting ongoing adventure -- Sparkle is teaching me so much about being in the moment and being patient, and letting go of any expectations I might have.

Milton, the Savannah Monitor Lizard

Social Tees Animal Rescue Shelter does reptile rehabilitation (the reptiles are not adopted out, they are rehabilitated and then generally go to a reptile refuge or sanctuary) as well as rescue of cats and dogs, and one of our current reptile residents is Milton, who is a Savannah Monitor Lizard. He is a very chill guy, and sometimes you would swear he is smiling. I had the unusual experience of holding him and doing some TTouch on him the other day.

I was instructed to hold Milton rather like a baby, with his head facing over my shoulder, one of my hands under his rear end and the other behind his shoulders. What an interesting texture of skin, I had never felt anything quite like it. It felt a bit like thick, scaly leather.

Very slowly I began to do some abalone touches (circular TTouches which use the whole surface of the hand, which can be very soothing) on Milton's back with the hand that was supporting his shoulder area. I would do a circular touch, then slide my hand to the next location, going down his back a ways and then moving to the side a bit and coming back up, pausing at the end of each circle and a quarter. At first Milton felt as though he was a bit unsure, as this must have been a new sensation. So I would pause for a bit, then start again. After a while I felt his body begin to relax down against my body. His tongue was coming in and out of his mouth, and at one point he actually kissed my cheek with his tongue.

After perhaps about five minutes (remember, with TTouch it is moments, not minutes, that we strive for -- quality, not quantity), I felt that Milton had had enough of this new sensation, so I returned him to his enclosure. He soon settled down for a nap.

Thank you Milton, for giving me this very different experience. I look forward to further contact with Milton and lessons from him. And thanks Estee, one of the very kind and dedicated volunteers at the shelter who took several of these pictures, and who does so much to help!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Article and Pet Identa-Search

My friend Jordyn Thiessen has developed a great website with her father called Pet Identa-Search, and a page of this website is devoted to articles about pets. I had the honor or her asking me to write an article, so here it is: http://02cd1c2.netsolhost.com/pettalkarticles.html.

Please also check out the site, it is fascinating, has a lot of great information, and the Pet Identa-Search toolkit is a great idea.

Thanks so much, Jordyn, you are the best!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Iggy and the Baby Chimp Touch

Iggy is another one of my sister Katie's gorgeous kitties, and here he is above as I demonstrate the baby chimp touch. This is a circular TTouch which is done using the very top part of the finger. It is a very nice touch to use on cats and small animals as you can touch a very small area, such as the head or around the mouth, and as it uses a back surface of the hand, it is a less threatening type of touch than some others which use the front surface on the hand. Thank you Iggy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Creating a Calm Space for Two Terrified Dogs

A couple of new dogs, a shitzu and a small black and white spotted Chihuahua, arrived in a very terrified state at Social Tees shelter the day before yesterday, and are in a room in the back as it is more quiet, and is otherwise inhabited by a few very mellow cats. I asked if I could go back there and just see what could happen.

As I opened the door, the dogs ran out barking at me. I crouched down on the floor with my back to them, making myself very small. I stayed very still, mostly silent, only once in a while said something calming in a very soft voice. I didn't make eye contact, only watched in my periphery. They continued to run around and bark for a while, and I continued to stay still.

I have to say here, that I was putting myself at risk putting myself in such a low position, as these dogs could so easily bite me if they wanted to. I was purely following my intuition and fortunately this approach turned out to be very successful and there was never at any point even a threat of a bite from them.

Very gradually, the Chihuahua began to check me out. First he came up and gave me a sniff, then ran away. Then he came back and rubbed his nose against me, agan ran away. He did this a few times, each time making more body contact with me. The Shitzu kept his distance but watched everything the Chihuahua was doing and began to come closer. The barking subsided. Then the Chihuahua began rubbing himself against me like a cat, walking back and forth, rubbing himself, nose first and then body, against me. Little by little I began to do a few strokes on him with the back of my hand, then some abalone touches on his body, and before long he was nuzzling into me and I was doing TTouches pretty much anywhere on his body. In the first clip above, you see him sitting w/his back against me, and I am still not looking at him but doing TTouch on him as he faces away from me.

In the second clip, you see me doing more TTouch on the Chihuahua, and the Shitzu is spread out on the floor, playing around and generally looking much more relaxed than when I entered! I say in the second clip that I think the Chihuahua has a little trouble walking - that's not exactly accurate, he definitely can run around like crazy, but he seems a little stiff in his legs. I'm not sure how old he is, I'll have to check that out. When he gets more comfortable with me, I'll have to try some work on his legs as well as his body.

I didn't want to overwhelm them so I left the room after a while, but I did come back a couple of times to check in and do some more TTouch on the Chihuahua. I didn't want to push the issue with the Shitzu, I feel he will come to me when he is ready. The shelter owner went into the room later, and said that the dogs seemed to be really turning around. I look forward to working with them more!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mika and Mischa in the Window, and their pal Mr. Robinson

Mika and Mischa are two semi-feral cats who I have been working on for a few months. They came in EXTREMELY scared, frozen in their litter box (they do not bite or scratch though). I have offered them a lot of TTouch and Reiki, and other volunteers have been kind and patient with them. Recently we transferred them from their cage to the window, with a few other cats including the ultra-friendly Mr. Robinson (so-named as the male version of Mrs. Robinson, referencing "The Graduate" because he is an older fellow who loves the ladies), pictured above. Their first go-round they remained pretty scared there, so we put them back in a cage for a few days. On their second try in the window, they appear to be more comfortable than they were before. The shelter is also a lot less hectic in general at this particular moment, as many dogs were just adopted, so that is good for them.

So I can fully interact with the cats, I climb completely into the caged-in window enclosure. This is a very interesting experience on many levels. For one thing, I am glad to be able to have more full contact with the cats, to be able to hold one on my lap as I squat in there, etc. I can also have some idea of how it might feel to be in there. Though it is exposed to people looking in, there is something that feels safe in there, what I expect might feel safer than some of the cages at least on the lower level, as you are out of reach of any dogs and there is more space inside there than in the cages.

Mr. Robinson is an older gentleman kitty and couldn't be more friendly. He insists on rubbing against my arm and hand, so most often when I am doing TTouch on Mika and Mischa with one hand, I have the other arm and hand wrapped around Mr. Robinson, as he likes to be enclosed in a big hug. I expect his relaxed nature must be helpful to the other cats in the window.

Mischa usually comes up to me when I am in the window. He especially responds to connected clouded leopard touches down his body, and Noah's marches with the back of my hand down his body. I usually do work around his head and mouth as well. Here he is getting sleepy and ready for a nap.

Mika (below) is still more shy, and might do a little hiss in the beginning, but I speak to her softly and once I touch her on the head, she calms down. She especially responds to raccoon touches around her forehead, ear slides and zigzag touches down her body. Last time she was in the window, she trembled a lot and was quite frightened but she appears to be much more at ease this time around. Here she is looking straight at me after some TTouch.

I often also offer these two Reiki while I'm in the shelter, and sometimes when I am outside of the shelter as well, especially to Mika as she tends to be more fearful.

I have a special place in my heart for these gentle little souls and am hoping for them to have a forever home soon :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visit to Homeless Cat Network Shelter

During my recent trip to the Bay Area, I had the pleasure of going with my sister and mother to visit the shelter of the Homeless Cat Network. Cookie and Marilyn, two of the many dedicated volunteers who do so much for these cats showed us around, told us about the shelter and introduced us to the great kitties there. I was referred to Cookie by Holly at the TTouch office, who is always so kind and helpful. Many thanks, Holly!

Below are a couple of photos of the shelter where you can see the general layout. Most of the cats are kept in large enclosures which each house 3 or so cats. There are a few smaller crates for kitties who are on medication or who must be separated from the others for one reason or another. At different times of the day, different groups of cats are released into the central area to play and socialize. Each day there are two shifts of volunteers who come to the shelter to clean up and to socialize the cats. There are lots of soft surfaces for the cats to lie on: beds, cat condos, towels, etc. and the shelter is kept absolutely spotless due to the ongoing very disciplined cleaning on behalf of the volunteers. The level of generosity, thoughtfulness and commitment to these animals which was shown here was so lovely and very impressive.

Besides the center, there are volunteers who feed a feral cat colony and who take some of the cats out to adoption events etc. There is also a special playdate time on Sunday to focus on socializing particularly the more challenging cats. There are 11 volunteers for the Sunday playdate. Five are Reiki 1 and the other five were recently attuned to Reiki 2. Four volunteers have taken classes on Ttouch for cats. They always bring other personal skills to share with the group. The playdate time is a great idea, as it gives a time which is completely dedicated to TTouch and Reiki, as sometimes the other maintenance tasks in a shelter can take up quite a bit of time and energy. It is lovely that the volunteers are able to share this work with each other as well.

Cookie and told us about the cats, especially about some of the more challenging cats, who have become so much more at ease and friendly after Reiki and TTouch. It is always so lovely to see what can happen with this work. Below, here I am with Cookie (left) and Marilyn (right), and the beautiful kitty here is Calvin, who is about to be adopted.

And below here I am with Calvin, what a love he is.

Please visit the Homeless Cat Network website (http://homelesscatnetwork.com/) and check out their page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Homeless-Cat-Network/54047121725?ref=ts) as well, and you can contact them if you wish to pay the shelter a visit, volunteer, etc. Thanks ladies -- and I wish for forever homes soon for all your lovely cats.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Above is one of my sister Katie's cats, Luigi. Luigi has a very big personality and is a sweet, lovable guy, as well as being incredibly smart and interactive. I did TTouch and Reiki on him for quite a while the other day, and he continued to follow me around for a good deal of the rest of the evening while I was at my sister's apt.

I am doing a short demo on him of zigzag touch, and what I call "knuckle on the noggin", but what is really a circular touch I do with my thumb instead of my fingers. This is not an official TTouch, as I have never seen Linda or others use their thumb instead of fingers, but I have found that when doing TTouch on the forehead of a cat, it works very well to stabilize my fingers behind the cat's head and then do the circular touch (doing a circle and a quarter) using the thumb on the forehead. Doing these touches on the forehead is very relaxing for cats, and also works very well for humans. I do these touches on my human companion, Jeffrey, when his mind gets too busy in the middle of the night, and quite often, moments later he is snoring away.

Beach Morning in San Francisco

Hi folks, I'm in San Francisco and am near a wonderful beach near Crissy Field where people can let their dogs off-leash so they can run and play to their heart's content. Today this lovely dog, instead of bringing the ball back to its owner, laid it right at my feet, and I was only too happy to continue to throw the ball for him over and over. What a charming creature he is, and it did my heart good to see him having such a good time. Of course I asked his caregiver if it was all right if I played with his dog and he was perfectly happy about it. Every time the dog broght the dog right to me, rolled it to me gently and then did a play bow to let me know he was ready to have it thrown for him again. Eventually, he met up with a couple of other dog friends and went merrily chasing them down the beach. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sun felt so good. What a lovely morning!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gigi and friends, and Gigi inhabits my dreams

(Above, Ray on left, Gigi on right, Below, Gigi)

Especially since I have begun working more intensively with animals, they often visit me in dreams, or appear in my head as I wake up or go to sleep. One of the cats in the shelter has appeared several times this way.
Her name is Gigi, and she's a sweet little kitten about three months old. Many times the animals which we take into the shelter arrive needing medication of various kinds, because often these are the animals which the kill shelters would otherwise euthanize. Gigi and her two cage-mates, Ray and Layla, have colds and ringworm, which we are treating with medication. I offered Reiki and hands-on healing to these animals connect with them in hopes of helping their bodies achieve more balance so that they may heal more quickly. Gigi is a very friendly kitten, coming right to the front of the cage all the time, nuzzling in my hand, so I could not help but connect with her right away.
After giving the kittens their medication and some wet food, I held one hand directed at Ray and Layla, and the other directed at Gigi, and began to send them healing light. I began to feel energy pouring from my fingers. Ray and Layla, who were cuddliing together, looked even more cozy and closed their eyes. Gigi, who is usually active and rubbing herself against my hand, laid down on her side, as I felt a golden energy passing from my fingers to her body. That image and that feeling is so strong in my visual and feeling memory right now. It is an image I can return to at will and can help me if I'm at the shelter and having trouble focusing (which can happen, as it is busy, and sometimes hectic there).
The next morning, as I opened my eyes, I saw Gigi come running up to me in my mind, so full of life. It really took me by surprise and was such a lovely feeling to wake up to. When I saw her and her friends later, I could really feel them welcoming and absorbing the energy work.
A few nights later, one of the long-time volunteers at the shelter, Marisa, helped me to give these three a medicated bath to help with their ringworm. Though Ray was a bit difficult to get out of his cage because I think he was startled as we had just put some shredded paper in his cage, all three seemed to really enjoy the bath, as we got the water just the right temperature and it was as if they were getting a gentle massage from Marisa and me in the warm, soapy water. This is another sense memory that remains so strong, feeling their bodies relax as we cleaned them. After we dried them off, they looked lovely, and I think the bath really accelerated their healing process as well.
That night, Gigi again appeared to me, this time in a dream, and she was doing forward handsprings over and over. She was so joyous! It was as though she was thanking me.
Over the past week or so, I have continued to give them their medication and work with them with Reiki and energy healing. Different days, I connect with one of them more than another, and each has shown me a different place where they would like me to put my hands. With Ray, he seemed to want me to hold my hands over the lower part of his body, near the base of his spine. And there was one day where I felt a particularly strong connection with Layla, a lovely black and white long-haired kitten, who has had a particularly stubborn patch of ringworm on her face. I held my hands slightly over her shoulders and began to feel intense energy passing back and forth between my hands and her body. I stayed there for quite a while, I could really feel her absorbing the energy into her body, as though she was craving it so much. She looked straight at me with a look that felt like thank you. The next day, I felt a tangible shift with her, and her fur has begun to grow back now on a particularly stubborn patch of ringworm on her face.
Though they all have a ways to go, I have noticed a shift with all three, and felt so much gratitude from them. Here's to their continued healing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vanessa the Hairless Rat

All kinds of interesting people and animals come into Social Tees shelter, and yesterday was no exception. A man named Gus came in with his hairless rat, Vanessa, who happily stayed on his shoulder as he walked around. One could see right away how connected they are with each other. (above and below, Gus holding Vanessa off his shoulder for a better look at her)

I had never seen or held one of these creatures before, and Gus was kind enough to let me hold her. When she was first in my hands, of course she was rather unsure of a new person. Her skin felt rather hot to the touch, was rather loose and was different than anything I've felt before.

I slowly began doing some little raccoon touches and clouded leopard touches down Vanessa's body, and felt her start to relax into my hands right away. I showed Gus what I was doing as well, in case he feels like trying it on her.

Many thanks to both Vanessa and Gus for allowing me this very new TTouch experience! It's always so interesting to try TTouch on a new animal.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Recently this adorable dachshund mix arrived at our shelter, apparently with very little use of his back legs. The xray which had been done showed nothing broken, but a disk problem of some kind. My friend Jordyn Theissen (http://www.myspace.com/dancingminddesign) came to see the dog and they connected immediately, so she is now fostering him and doing an amazing job with him.

I went to see Jordyn and Buddy (and the rest of her gang, Petey, Noodles, Dura and Jinx, two dogs and two cats) a couple of days ago. Within four days, she has made amazing progress with Buddy. She walks him with a leash slung around the lower part of his body and a leash attached to a harness, which works very well. He also has little booties on his back feet to keep them from slipping too much. Buddy is still learning how to use us feet and sometimes they flop over on the top side of the foot, but he is learning fast.

I showed Jordyn how to do a variety of Ttouches on Buddy which will help him bring more awareness to the back half of his body and his feet: zigzag touches going all the way down the body and down the legs, connected abalone touches going down the body, python lifts on the legs, and raccoon touches all around the paws and pads of the paws. Buddy is an enthusiastic learner and responded to everything we did. We also put a half-wrap on him for about five minutes. I would like to try a full wrap but didn't want to overwhelm him with too much information in one session.

I demonstrated the TTouches not only on Buddy but did them on Jordyn's arm as well so she could feel the very light pressure which I was using. As we don't have many details about Buddy's condition, I did not want to use a heavy pressure with any of the touches.

I also had him simply stand on all four feet briefly (supporting his back end when he needed it) a couple of times and subtly adjusted his body and feet til he was more in balance.

Two nights later I spoke to Jordyn and she said Buddy was able to walk without the leash around his hind end. He's still learning how to do this but she said he is learning amazingly fast and is increasing in mobility by leaps and bounds. I look forward to working with them more, and congratulate Jordyn and Buddy on so much progress. I'm sure all the love she gives him doesn't hurt either :)