Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs
I write this blog every week to share some of the insights I’ve had about dogs. I’ve written about dog massage, dog life, dog death, dog youth, dog middle age, dog seniors, well dogs, sick dogs, happy dogs, sad dogs, grieving dogs, confused dogs, content dogs, dog empathy, dog chakras, dog energy, dry dogs and wet dogs. You know, dogs.
Transitions and Transformations
One of my favorite topics is recognizing and honoring dogs in transition. Transition does not necessarily have to mean the one that includes a rainbow. The transitions I appreciate are the shifts that dogs share with me while they are in my hands during their PetMassage™ and just after their session. I am enchanted when I get to experience their spontaneous transformations such as when they move from hurting to pain free, and limping to balanced weight bearing on all fours, or foggy to clear.
Dogs react to stressors
Last week I had the pleasure of sharing an hour with a cute young puggle named Roxy. Roxy has been dealing with some stressors in her life. She is becoming overwhelmed by them and beginning to act out. She has recently had some complicated dental work, a sty removed (What would Louise Hay say about that?), and the introduction, or should we say “imposition” of a new foster puppy into the household. Roxy is resource guarding, dog aggressive, and requires extra attention from her humans.
PetMassage and Bodywork
Her humans are doing everything they can think of to make her happy. Roxy gets acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. I had seen Roxy 9 months ago and had written in my notes that she was a busy girl, not readily accepting of touch, who mostly was intent on wriggling away. She refused to allow me to touch her paws. My notes read, “Likes her belly rubbed and scratched.” I always like to include something positive in my notes.
Roxy’s human drove 60 miles to our clinic. She entered, carrying her dog. She placed her on the carpet and held the leash as Roxy strained to pull away to investigate her new surroundings. The leash was just a loose slip knot. Roxy doesn’t like to wear a collar. As I was listening to Roxy’s tales of misery and woe, I walked her back and forth in the classroom where I like to perform the PetMassage™. We walked back and forth. We moved in straight lines and weaved around tables. I’d stop and she’d keep on moving. I’d move forward and she’d charge off to the side. Eventually, I stopped and she sat and looked up toward me. We moved forward; and we went together. I felt that I had join-up and I moved her to the table.
In her new space, Roxy lost our connection. She was all over the place. Spinning, twisting, rolling on her back, lurching precariously close to the table’s edge. I focused on breathing and maintaining my Buddha smile as I continued to redirect her toward the center of the table. Did I mention that Roxy doesn’t wear a collar? I was concerned about her safety; and confident that I’d be able to catch this little wiggle butt and gently restrain her in my hands.
The Storm Before the Calm
For ten minutes, this went on. She was distracted and busy. She was demonstrating her independence, her power, her leadership. She was feeling powerless at home and felt the need to express her sense of control. I was as calm as I could maintain; and persistent. As I caught her and redirected her, I visualized that I was an oasis of quiet calm, a resource for balance, available to her in her world of challenges.
Revising What I Believe To Be True
Yes, she liked her belly rubbed and scratched. These are not a serious part of PetMassage™. I normally consider them more akin to petting. They are comforting, familiar, and usually minimally therapeutic. Though when her belly was rubbed and scratched I was able to find a path in. I had to revise what I had believed was “right practice” because when I was there we were able to share some brief moments of commonality.
I combined rubbing on the belly with cranial to caudal skin rolling over the spine. Her frenetic movement slowed. I was earning her attention. Skin rolling continued over the shoulders, the neck, and under the jaw. She stood still, as if taking it all in and feeling it all move through her little body. I observed the white wake of her skin as I brushed my hand slowly up her spine and felt her thick coat bunch and luxuriously relax back into place. “Ooh,” I heard her think.
Positional Release of The Spirit
Roxy sat. She leaned into me, lifted her head up and back, and looked directly into my eyes. Her jaw relaxed. Her mouth opened. Her little tongue curled up and she grinned. I moved my hands down her spine applying the suggestion for Positional Release. Over her lumbar spine I felt my hands held as if they were tangled in a horse’s mane. Her coat slid into an alternative position and a blast of heat warmed my hands. She smiled at me again. No, she laughed. Her eyes sparkled. Her coat glowed. This little lady was transformed.
After her PetMassage™ and she’d been placed on the floor, she shook completely and danced over to her human. Her little spiral tail was up and happy. Her gait was steady and straight. She was back to moving purposely on purpose. A bowl of fresh water was offered to her and she eagerly lapped it dry.
Then, when Anastasia squatted down, she backed into her hands, and sat still, leaning back and smiling, eager for even more massage. We called it the post-PetMassage™ massage. Now, that’s a transition!
This Work, This Profession, Is Incredibly Rewarding.
We see this kind of transition, or transformation of one of more aspects of the body, the mind, and the spirit with every PetMassage™. This work is incredibly rewarding. Rewarding for me, the practitioner, the dog, and the dog’s human. Everyone benefits. Every time.