Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bringing Balance and Confidence to Chancey Lou at Bideawee Through TTouch, Reiki, Treats and Love:)

Chancey Lou is a beautiful black and white kitty at Bideawee.  She was terrified when I first met her, hissing and swatting when people opened her cage.  She also has ear issues which affect her balance, so I am sure that makes her more apt to be anxious as well.

This photo is from when I first started working with her.  I sensed she really wanted to connect - actually she WAS connecting with me in the most direct and beautiful way one could imagine, heart to heart with her energy.  But I could sense she also wanted to connect with touch, but that she was just afraid at the moment.  At first, I mostly offered Reiki to her, sharing the gentle energy with her and fostering that connection with her.
Her thoughtful eyes connected with me deeply right away.  I sent her the feelings that I understood she was scared, but that she was very safe here.  That she would be very loved and cared for here.
That I loved her dearly.
Then after she got more relaxed, I started slowly trying a back scratcher or stick end of the stick toy with her.  The back scratcher seemed like it was too big a tool, so I just used the stick for a while.
At first, she was unsure about this, and would walk away.  So if that happened, I would give her a break, continuing to let the Reiki flow, and perhaps try again a bit later.  Over time, she started to understand that the stick was going to be used in a gentle way.

I also found that talking to her in a calm, slow voice was helpful.  The power of a soothing intention, combined with the calm voice, can be so powerful.
After a few weeks, she stopped the initial hissing, and I sensed she was looking at me to see what we were going to try next.
I started using treats with her, which worked out really well.  At first I would just put them near where she was, and after a bit of practice, she would take them from my hand.  I put my hand very flat on the bottom of the cage, so that it was close to the feeling of her taking the treat off the floor.  I was able to get her to come a bit closer to me for the treat as well.
After incorporating the treats, she started to come forward in her cage when she saw me.
Her face had started to look more and more open, and she was starting to trust others in the shelter who interacted with her as well.

At about this time, I brought in a long-handled paintbrush with a rather small brush at the end, thinking something small would work well, and maybe the softer surface of the brush would help.
After a bit of work with the treats, I gave her a break, then started to stroke her under her chin with the brush, and she started leaning into it a bit - yes! I love those moments when an animal really starts to respond on their own to touch, letting you know that they are starting to enjoy it, and that they are starting to trust you as well.

With a bit of gradual work, I was able to start to stroke and TTouch her on other parts of her head, always going back to under the chin when I sensed she needed that.  At times, I was able to touch her directly with my hand. She began to stretch her body completely out, sometimes kneading with her paws as well:)

About a week ago, I started to stroke a bit down her body with the paintbrush, and she got up and started to walk away from the brush.  I thought I had done too much, but actually she came to the front of the cage and began to rub her head against my hand!  You will see this breakthrough somewhere in the middle of the following video.  I know it is a bit lengthy, but it will show in more detail my process with her.
On this same day, she kept coming to the front of the cage, rubbing her face against my hand.  I was able to do some circular TTouches, strokes and zigzags on her body as well.
It literally felt like a wall or shell that had been in between us had melted, and that she was celebrating our connection.
I felt like my heart was completely open, and that a circular energy was moving from her to me to her, with such an expansive, opening feeling.  This beautiful, loving energy filling our hearts and filling the room.

She jumped up on a little shelf and started to stretch and roll around when I stroked her with the paintbrush there.  So sweet!
And things have continued to progress from there:)
Even people who don't have as much contact with her are noticing the change.  She will come to the front of the cage to say hello and ask for pets.
She has also started to venture out of her cage a bit, which is great.
Can't wait to see her again!
Love you, Chancey Lou!  Thank you for sharing your love with me, and for reminding me to be patient and in the moment, always.
And thank you to all the lovely Bideawee staff and volunteers who do so much to help these dear animals:)