Puppy PetMassageTM demonstration video
Foundation Level class at Toledo/Northwest Ohio Area Humane Society
On the final day of each Foundation Level class we go to the Toledo/Northwest Ohio Area Humane Society and give complimentary PetMassageTM sessions to the dogs who are there as temporary residents. It is a great experience for the students. It is a greater experience for the dogs.
The people who take care of the dogs at the ASPCA tell us that when their dogs experience PetMassageTM, they are more adoptable. How does this work? The dogs evidently remember the gentle PetMassageTM and feelings of loving regard they get from our students. Then, when someone comes along who takes an interest in them, they have an expectation that these new people will give them a similar experience. They are so eager for another relationship as good as what they remembered, that they are more open and welcoming to strangers. That’s exactly the type of happy hopeful emoting that attracts potential pet-parents to consider them for adoption.
The February PetMassageTM for Dogs Foundation Level workshop students had just finished their sessions. As I was entering the room where they were all waiting for me, one of the people who work at the Humane Society called me over and asked if I could/would help the adorable tiny puppy I had just noticed sleeping, curled up in blanket, on the floor in a side office. I said, “Heck, yeah,” and thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for the students –and the Humane Society staff- to witness how a puppy would respond to PetMassageTM.
Special Needs Puppy
But, this wasn’t just any standard, healthy, ready for prime time puppy. This little guy was the only survivor of a litter. His mother had suffocated all of the others by sitting on them. When each of the diseased babies had been examined, they had presented with significant internal –life debilitating- physical abnormalities. So, the mother was not a bad mother, acting out of malice or fury. She was following the dictates of her biological programming. For her blood line, her pack, her progeny to remain strong and vital, she needed to destroy these deformed puppies.
I carried the tiny puppy into the room and set him on the PetMassageTM table. He was so little. I pulled up a chair so that I could be comfortable working with him on his low plane; very much like a big dog lowers his body when greeting a puppy. The “survivor” (isn’t that an emotionally charged term!) puppy had a very unusual hip and leg conformation. His little hind legs stuck out to the sides. He could barely walk. He had figured out that if he rocked from side to side, shifting his weight, he could move forward. I palpated his little hips. It felt as if the femoral heads on both sides were slip-sliding about on flat plates.
I was flooded with conflicted emotions as I began. One part of my monkey mind was chattering about how unfair it was to rescue a little dog destined to a life of discomfort, disfigurement, and restricted quality of life. If he lived, there would be many costly surgeries and lengthy recoveries. He would know more of the scent of pity than the scent of joy. Another, deeper, voice rejoiced at this precious little life, wriggling about in my hands, climbing up onto my arm, squealing, chortling, all warm and pulsey, smelling of sweet organic puppy pee.
These voices were loud enough for the puppy to hear. I needed to quiet them. As I listened, I realized they were forming dense filters through which I was beginning to define my connection with him. They were influencing the way I was approaching his life condition.
Benefits over time
Could one brief PetMassageTM fix his hips? Of course not. Not spontaneously; that would be a miracle. But then again, perhaps, maybe it would help, with time. We know that every PetMassageTM that a dog receives gets integrated into his body. It becomes part of his history. Each muscle and fascial release functions as a tiny course correction and plays a role in determining his overall way of moving, thinking, and experiencing his world.
This puppy was just 6 weeks old. The 6 minutes that I spent with him was a HUGE percentage of the time he has been alive. If what I believe, and have been proposing in my books, newsletters, and workshops for the past twenty years is true, then this little dog’s early course correction will be significant in his development, in his continuing life trajectory.
Consider: if two planes take off from JFK in New York and fly west, the difference of heading between landing at LAX, in Los Angeles or SEA, in Seattle–Tacoma is just a few degrees. These are very different destinations. Passengers will have a substantially different set of experiences and potential life outcomes.
Shifts early on in the puppy’s journey will make more of a difference than shift later on, i.e., at 3 months or a year.
I do not know what this little dog’s life will be. I do know that I felt tiny movements, adjustments, beneath my hands, within his musculoskeletal network. And, I do know that for the brief time I held him in my hands, he behaved as if he felt safe and cherished.
Video of the Demonstration on Facebook
Last week I posted the video of the PetMassageTM demonstration of this 6 week old pit calf (too young to be a bull).
I invite you to watch the video. Share it with your network of friends and colleagues.
Please note how, when he releases his little legs into a stretch, he is supported and guided. Watch how his little hips are supported and guided as he moved about the table, so that his femoral heads stay in place in his flattened acetabula. I could not but smile and coo at the little fellow. The love and support, the guidance and acceptance, for each of his movements, is the core of PetMassageTM. My resolve and his resolve are displayed in each of our breaths, each of our shared looks, and each of our shared connections.