Friday, March 28, 2014

TTouch and Reiki at Bideawee with Jungle - a New Adventure Begins

Jungle recently arrived at Bideawee from a city shelter.  I had been told that he was quite a rambunctious and feisty young cat.

The minute I saw him, he came right to the front of the cage, putting his paws through.  I could feel his heart so wanting to connect, but his body not understanding that there are better ways to connect with people than grabbing them with your paws :) 

I started trying to do some TTouches with him with a paintbrush, and his first impulse was to hit it with his paw or to try to chew it.  That can happen sometimes, and I tried letting him play with one brush and then TTouching him with another.

I soon realized that did not feel like the best approach for him - that he was continuing to be in an over-stimulated mode, as he was getting more into a play mode than a relaxed mode.

When doing this work, I always have to keep my mind and body open to trying something new, to trying a new approach.  And the key is really to stop and listen to the animal.  By "listen", I mean to really connect with them and listen to where they are and to what will help them to feel safe.

I physically and mentally took a step back, and explained to Jungle that I was there to help him.  That everything was all right, that he was very safe.  I spoke to him in a very quiet, slow, gentle voice.  I had been sending Reiki energy all the while, but at this point felt a very strong flow of the energy.

While I did this, he got onto a little platform inside his cage into a comfortable, lying-down position.

His eyes began to look more relaxed and connected with me in a way which felt like "ok, I'm ok, I can trust you".

I knew this was a good position to try to start again, this time with a different approach.

Sometimes an animal prefers a hard surface to a soft one.  So I turned the paintbrushes around.  I have a wider, flat paintbrush (about two inches wide), with a wooden rounded end to the handle.  So I gently did a couple of circular TTouches on the outside of Jungle's mouth.  This time he didn't paw at me, but even leaned into it the slightest bit. 

Then I stood away, letting him get back into his laying down position.  I tried this again, and again he was responsive.  I continued in this way for a bit. 

As I worked with him, I could feel more and more that energetic connection and the flow of energy in between us.  Whenever I feel this first connection with an animal, particularly one who is guarded because of whatever they may have been through, I nearly always feel tears come to my eyes because of the power and beauty of this pure connection, and such honor at the level of generosity and trust that I feel from the animal, that they are letting me into their world.

Next, Jungle came forward to eat from his bowl.  I didn't want him to stop eating, but did want to see if he would let me touch him while he was eating.  I took the end of the smaller paintbrush (with a wooden handle which had a smaller, but not sharply pointed tip) and began to do some small circular TTouches on the top of his head. At first he stopped briefly, but then went back to eating, so I continued, and he became comfortable with that. 

After he finished eating, he came to the front of the cage again, sticking his paws through. 

With the paintbrushes and other tools that I use for TTouch, I will try different surfaces, including the handles, ends, and sides of them, as every animal is different as to what they prefer.

I took the flat, wide side of the handle of the brush and put it against one of his paws, very gently doing a circular TTouch.  That was something different for him.  And he didn't pull his paw away or try to dig his claws in.  He remained there.  So I was able to do a couple of these with both of his paws, and then paused. 

Like the space between the notes in music, the space of these pauses with the animal can be so important.  These pauses allow the animal to process, to shift their position, and then they are ready to try again. 

I continued to work with Jungle in this way, trying a few TTouches with the end of the handle of the brush if he was up on the platform, or a couple of TTouches on his paw if he came forward and put it towards me.  Sometimes I had the cage slightly open and sometimes I had it closed - I didn't want him to escape, so I was careful with this. 

In between, I would wait for him to go back up on the platform and get into his more restful position. 

At one point, he got really snuggly, rubbing and then resting his head against a soft ball as you see in the photo below.  When I left, he looked very comfortable, and his eyes were more open and relaxed, as you see in the photos. 

I think we got off to a great start, and I can't wait to see him again. 

Thanks, as always to the great people at Bideawee for all the loving care they give to these animals. xo

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