Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Power of Love: TTouch and Reiki with Annette at Bideawee.

I feel that I make a meaningful connection with every cat that I work with, but some cats just curl right up in the center of my heart.  And I know that they will live there forever.  Annette is one of those cats.

Annette is a beautiful older tuxedo cat at Bideawee.  Bideawee pulled her from the city shelter (where she would most likely have been euthanized), and brought her to the safety of Bideawee (which is no-kill). She is very shy and sensitive, and can become fearful and suddenly meow and/or swat if someone gets too close to her and she is not ready for it, or if she becomes overstimulated. 

She also had some very bad digestive issues -- advanced IBD and most likely cancer.  She has been receiving medical treatment, which is helping her.  So that is great.
I wanted to see what I could do to add to her comfort physically and emotionally.

When I first started working with her right after she first arrived, she was in very bad shape and extremely fearful, hunched down in the litter box.  She had been vomiting frequently and I could tell she did not feel well.  Unfortunately I do not have any pix from the beginning of our working together as the light was not good in her cage at that time. 
When I opened her cage, we connected very quickly.  I had been sharing Reiki with another cat in the same area and I am sure she had been feeling it. 
She started rubbing against my hand right away, but then after a bit, I could see her start to become overstimulated because she is so extremely sensitive that the contact soon became too much.  So I began to alternate using my hand and using a paintbrush, switching to the paintbrush when I felt she needed more space.
I discovered that the most comfortable approach with her was to share Reiki with her from a short distance away, and/or doing TTouches with the paintbrush (and with my hand when comfortable).  When she is at ease and comes closer to me, I will do TTouches with my hand for a short bit and then go back to using the brush again.  It is best to start out well within her comfort zone, and very gradually ease into the next level of closeness.
I mostly did circular TTouches around her head area - the top of her head, around the outside of the mouth, and under the chin, and occasionally could do a bit on her body as well, depending on her comfort level. 
I use an extremely light touch with her.  I generally do use a very light touch with TTouch, but particularly with sensitive and fearful animals. 
Over time, Annette became more and more comfortable with me.  She came right to me for attention, and we were able to have longer periods of contact.  She would rub her head into the brush or my hand, and lay down and roll around comfortably.  
She started to visibly recognize me when I opened her cage, and she seemed to look forward to the contact and connection.

A while ago, she was moved to a lower cage, so I could sit on the floor beside her cage and work with her.  To my surprise, one day she came out of the cage and right onto my lap, brushing her face against my face, and my hands and arms, so sweet!  Our energies truly became one, our hearts and our breath feeling as one being. She stayed there a short time, then went back in.  

This became a pattern, and now she will come out for longer periods of time, settling for Reiki in my lap sometimes.  She will spend whatever time is comfortable for her out of the cage with me, then go back into the cage and settle in her bed for Reiki.  I feel her absorb the energy more and more each time, trusting it and going deeper.  I feel the loving, beautiful energy connecting us and surrounding us.

I know that her condition is a serious one, but I am so glad that she is doing well for now, and that the work we do together can give her comfort and peacefulness, and that the love that we share brings such joy to us both.  And I believe that the energy of love is tremendously healing. 

Though she still will often hang out in her cavelike bed, the minute she sees me, she comes to the front of the cage and even meows for me to come and work with her.  

Sometimes she will come all the way out into the room, and I was so delighted one day recently when she got very cozy in a big dog bed which was out in the room.  At times when the shelter is now more quiet, she will come out and rest on the bed for Reiki for a while.  At these times she will often be comfortable with my hands directly on or at least very close to her body, the waves of energy and love connecting us.  I am always careful to let her guide how much or how little space she needs between my hands and her body.

Her face is so much more open now, and she less frightened of other people opening her cage and making contact with her.  Last weekend she came out onto the lap of one of the other volunteers, rubbing her face on him:)

Thank you always Annette, you are such a thoughtful and lovely soul.  I cherish our quiet moments together, and am glad that for now you are doing very well.  You are a beautiful warrior, and I am so grateful to know you.  Look forward to seeing you soon!   xoxo