Tuesday, June 16, 2015

RIP Ernest: A Quiet, Sweet, Loving Soul and Beautiful Teacher

Ernest was a beautiful little white cat (with a bit of grey marking on his head) who arrived at BARC Shelter some months ago.  He had been living at a gas station, and the situation there had not been good.
But whatever abuse or hard times he may have endured from his life there and/or on the street or elsewhere, he had such a gentle, sweet, affectionate and trusting disposition.  It never ceases to amaze me how many animals can be so kind and forgiving, even if their previous experience was incredibly harsh.

Though according to the vets Ernest was not an old cat, he had the vibe of a sweet older gentleman, so polite and gentle.  He was adopted fairly quickly, but was soon returned as he was peeing all over the house and it was found that he had very serious underlying problems that had not been detected at the shelter since he had been peeing in the box and acting ok at that time.  It turned out that he had a malformed kidney, possibly due to eating antifreeze while he was living at the gas station.  He had other issues as well, most likely connected with the kidney problem.
We were all really concerned when he returned to the shelter.  He was very pulled in, and really did not look well at all.  He was not moving much and kept his beautiful light blue eyes closed most of the time.  We did not know if he would even live a few more days.

BARC began to give him intensive treatment of fluids and medication, and of course he received a huge amount of love from all the volunteers and staff.  Anyone who had contact with him was moved by his sweet and gentle spirit.  I began to give him regular Reiki treatments, which he really responded to, laying into my hands.  I could feel a lot of heat particularly in his lower body, where the chakra relating to the kidneys is.  I would imagine him filled with white, healing light.

Over the past few months since he returned to the shelter he had a comeback, gaining some weight, eating well, and enjoying the affection and attention which was showered on him.
When he had first returned to the shelter, I would often find him hunkered down in his litter box.  But during the course of our session, he would come out of the litter box and make his way to the front of the cage.

After some time, he began to come right to the front of the cage, his eyes open and looking at me.  He would give me head butts (sometimes keeping his head there for a bit and we just felt the connection) and lay right into my hands and arms for Reiki.  There was such a wistfulness, such a sweetness and a sadness and a joy all mixed into one that I felt in our sessions.  I could feel him connecting to the light.  I could feel us enveloped with and becoming one with the light and the energy.  I could feel us becoming one with the love that filled that light and energy.  Time truly suspends in those beautiful moments.

I think, because he had shown so much improvement for a while, we were surprised when suddenly last week he began to look and feel ill again.  I was hoping that maybe this was a temporary setback, but sadly, the dear kitty took a turn for the worse and the shelter people and vets determined that it was the kindest thing to let him go. Strange coincidence, I had come upon a photo of me with him and put it as my profile photo on facebook a few days earlier - perhaps I knew on a deeper level that this was coming.

I was so sad not to be able to say goodbye to him in person, but grateful that I had had one last session with him before he went. I am so sad that he was not able to be on the earth longer, but am so grateful I had the chance to know him and to have such special moments with him.

And of course I still can connect with him now.  Right now I am telling him how much he is loved, what a special creature he is, and how sorry I am that he had to go so soon.  I am telling him that he touched so many lives with his sweet soul.  And that he will always be in my heart, surrounded with love and light, such a sweet little angel.  And I am thanking him for reminding me to slow down and enjoy the moment, to feel the light and the love around us, to have gratitude for all of this.

Thank you dear Ernest, and thank you, dear BARC people, for all the love and care that you showed this special being.  xoxoxoxox

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TTouch Class at the Homeless Cat Network


Hi folks! About five years ago, I did a TTouch class at the Homeless Cat Network, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The experience was wonderful!  Wonderful shelter and great people, not to mention all the amazing kitties, of course!  I have since kept in touch with dear friend Cookie McCrory, who organized the class, and I was pleased to be invited to teach there again two months ago (April).
Homeless Cat Network is a no-kill organization, and relies on its dedicated volunteers, who take care of the cats and help to socialize them as well.  A number of the volunteers have taken Reiki and/or TTouch classes, so that is terrific.  The cats at HCN have the opportunity to receive these calming modalities on a regular basis.  And a number of the people in the class are also involved with caring for feral cats and TNR as well as working with the animals at HCN. 
The cats were watching us!

The space is set up really well, with a number of large enclosures made from wood and chicken wire, with shelves, cozy beds, etc. for the cats' comfort.  A few cats live in each enclosure, so they have much more space than if they were in a cage.  If a cat does not get along with others or has a health issue, then they are housed in a cage, but primarily the cats are in these enclosures.  And they also have a schedule to give the cats time out of the enclosures so they can roam around in the middle part of the room.

TTouches with Candy
We sat in a circle in the room for the class.  Everyone was so attentive, and had really great questions for me as I went along.

TTouches with Candy (Nani to my right)
Beautiful pastel calico Candy was a splendid demo kitty for me, and she calmed into my lap as I worked with her, sitting calmly even when I was not doing TTouches on her.
TTouches with Gianna
I think that it is so important for people to really get a feeling for that basic circular TTouch, the clouded leopard TTouch.  Once you have a sensation of how that feels, it is easier to try the many variations on it (using different surfaces of your hand, different pressure, different tempo, etc).
 TTouches with Katie and Rosie
I went around to each person and had them do TTouches on my arm to make sure they were clear on how to do them.  Common mistakes are to slide your hand over the skin, instead of moving the skin; making too big of a circle; going too fast; or keeping your fingers too stiff.  Some people who have arthritis or other issues may have trouble being flexible in their hands, but in that case it can be good to try a TTouch with the back of your hand such as the Chimp TTouch.  Even if your hand can't be as flexible as you may like, there are still ways to do the TTouches that will feel as though you are breathing and flowing with the TTouches.  Everyone did a great job!
TTouches with Gayle
I also stressed in the class how important it is to quiet yourself and just focus on being in the moment with the animal.  Once the animal feels that you are really there with them, amazing things can happen.

Showing a Body Wrap
In addition to showing the TTouches, I also showed how to do a basic body wrap, using a soft fleece material that I have found can at times be more acceptable to cats than the ace bandage.  Body wraps can be a bit tough to use with cats as they are not used to having anything put on their body, but for certain types of insecure personalities and definitely for cats with mobility issues, it can be quite effective.
Working with Lovey
I worked briefly with Lovey, who can be rather pulled in and scared, and she was quite receptive to TTouches with the paintbrush.  I actually was using the stick end of the paintbrush, as you can see.  Use caution when working around the head with anything sticklike, of course, as you don't want to go near their eyes.  In this photo, I was working around the outside of her mouth, which seemed to be a comfortable place for her.
Lovey relaxing
Everyone was so welcoming and kind, and I know that they will be using the TTouches on the shelter animals as well as their own animals or other rescue animals who they may be working with.  Thank you HCN for all you do! and I look forward to hearing from all of you about how you are doing with the kitties!