Friday, February 27, 2015

Update on BARC's Little JB (now Isis Pie): Her New Journey in Her Loving Forever Home:)

JB/Isis Pie on her favorite chair
A while back I wrote about my work with Little JB, a lovely, dear cat at BARC Shelter (  Most likely due to her negative experiences before arriving at the shelter, she was very withdrawn and mistrustful of contact with people.  She was ok playing with toys, but it was hard for her to trust being touched.

I found that working with her very slowly and gradually, using TTouch and Reiki, I was able to start to build trust with her.  I would offer her Reiki from a short distance away, giving her space, and would work with her with TTouch either using tools or with "air TTouches", which are TTouches done a short distance (or it can be a long distance) from the body. Sometimes I would do TTouches with a paintbrush, on or off the body.  I also did a bit of clicker training with her, simply having her touch her nose to a wand for treats.  In this way, I could sometimes encourage her to come closer to me. 

I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track with JB, and so I had my dear friend and colleague Eileen Garfinkel (who is a wonderful animal communicator, do a communication with JB.  Eileen could feel how frightened JB was at the shelter, and her experience before the shelter was negative and neglectful.  When I next went to BARC, I could feel in JB, as though she was more receptive to me and more trusting, as though through the session I had made a deeper connection with her.  I knew that I had to be even more gentle in my approach than I had been before, and I think JB sensed this.  I focused more on Reiki from a short distance away, and kept the direct contact to very short periods of time, following her body language very closely.

At the end of the November, a lovely woman named Julia came into BARC Shelter and felt she made a really special connection with JB.  Not long after that, she and her husband Fred decided to bring JB into their loving home.

Several weeks later, Julia had me come to her home to work with JB (now Isis Pie -- I am going to continue to use her former name for the rest of this post).  JB was contentedly resting on top of the cage that she had borrowed from the shelter to ease JB's transition into the home. JB had been in a cage for about a year, and it is really useful to have a cage to help this type of the transition, so that they don't become overwhelmed by the space and hide.

When I arrived at their lovely apartment, JB was sitting comfortably in a cat bed on top of the cage.  From what Julia told me, she was settling into their home really amazingly well, even coming on her lap and on their bed a couple of times.  She was only using the cage to go to the litter box inside it, and was completely out and about in the apartment.

It was clear that JB recognized me and was probably more comfortable with me there than in the shelter environment, which can be overwhelming.

I showed Julia how to do some of the TTouches by hand, as well as by using tools such as the stick end of a stick toy or the handle of a wooden spoon, and showed her how to do "air TTouches", which are literally TTouches done in the air.  The air TTouches I did out of JB's view, as seeing the movement of these TTouches can be irritating or can entice some cats to want to attack your hand like a toy.  Doing the air TTouches very slowly can create a relaxing energy from a distance if the cat needs some space.  I also did Reiki with JB, which Julia said relaxed her as well.

Subsequently I did a couple of sessions with JB, which went quite well.  I could tell that she was really absorbing the fact that this was her home. It is so beautiful to see that change, particularly in an animal who tends to be so cautious and fearful.  I still was working with JB in a very slow, gradual way, allowing her to come to me if she wished, doing Reiki from a short distance if she wasn't in the mood for more direct contact with TTouch (either with my hand or with a tool).  Occasionally I would push the envelope a bit and come towards her a bit to see what she would do, but it was usually best to stay mostly in one place and offer the Reiki energy, allowing her to come and go as she felt comfortable. She would greet me when I came to see her, coming up to me and sometimes rubbing her face a bit on my hand.
And I know that Julia and Fred are being so kind to and respectful of JB, letting her come to them as she is comfortable, really listening to what she is ready to do.
 Recently, Julia and Fred went out of town.  They were concerned about how JB would do in their absence.  I offered to come by a few times while they were gone (in addition to the cat sitter who was coming every day) to check on JB and see how she was doing, and do some Reiki and/or TTouch with her.

JB and me
To my surprise, when I entered the apartment, JB came right to me for attention, rubbing her face against my hand. I sat down on the couch and she jumped right up, again rubbing against me, coming in my lap briefly.  She was comfortable with TTouches with the back of my hand around her face.  She laid on her side, stretching out, so cozy. This was the most direct and extended contact I had experienced with her.  (In one of the later visits, she head-butted me as seen in the photo above:))

JB enjoying a Reiki session

When she had enough, she would go sit on a chair or on the floor near me, and I would offer her Reiki energy from where I was.

 Reiki with JB:  keeping a bit of distance so she is comfortable

She looked so comfortable, so at ease.

Settling into Reiki///
Instead of JB becoming more frightened and withdrawn in her people's absence, both the cat sitter and I had the experience of JB being more outgoing each time we saw her.  I knew that she missed her people, but she was so happy to have contact with us in the meantime. 

I told her that her people loved her and would be back, and sent her images of it getting light and dark however many times it would be before their return.

When Julia and Fred returned, of course JB was happy to see them and they were delighted to see her.
Since their return, she has continued to get more comfortable with them, enjoying play sessions and getting closer to them all the time.  It is a gradual process, but it is continuing to move forward. With a fearful cat like JB, it is important to give her the time and space she needs to feel comfortable with closer contact with people.  That way she can continue to feel safe and feel like things will move at a pace she is comfortable with.  Slow and steady is the way to go, less is more!  What feels to us like small steps can feel like very big steps to them.

This past week, I went to do a Reiki session with JB.  When I arrived, Julia said JB had come to them and greeted both of them very sweetly in the morning, rubbing against them, head butts, etc, which is a big deal. As her personality is coming out more and more, she is finding certain cozy spots that she did not venture to before. She loves to go up high and snuggle on a shelf in the closet, as seen below:)

Today she was resting in her bed which is right next to the window.  This is one of her favorite cozy places.  The sun was coming in, and I could tell that she really felt this was her place.  When I first walked up next to her, she recognized me of course but at first looked at me like, what are you going to do now?  I let her sniff my hand, and I decided to offer her Reiki from where I was, so my hands were about six inches away.  I might have been able to touch her but I felt that the gentle energy work was going to be the most beneficial approach that day.

JB responded to the energy right away, and began to relax and stretch out more and more and more, feeling the energy and the warmth of the sun coming through the window.  I was sending energy with the intention that she is very safe and loved.  At one point she rolled completely on her side with her belly exposed to me, and what looked like a smile on her face. By the end, she was very stretched out and cozy as you see here.

 JB and Julia

Just as I was finishing up this post, Julia texted me with the above photo of JB, who nestled in right next to her today as she sat on the bed.  She said this broke all previous records:)

Much gratitude to JB, Julia and Fred.  I thank you so much for taking this dear creature in, and for surrounding her with all your love and understanding.  And of course I thank BARC Shelter for taking her in, caring for her and giving her the opportunity to land in this wonderful home. xxoo