We had quite a scare
DNR, Do Not Resuscitate
I had a Healing Touch session last week during which the abbreviation “DNR” surfaced to my conscious awareness. I heard the letters spoken in my inner ear and saw them in capital letters in my mind’s eye. Why was I thinking about “Do Not Resuscitate.” I did a quick head to toe assessment; I was okay. If I were going to spontaneously slip to the other side, perhaps I ought to warn my therapist.
Then, I began to break the word “resuscitate” into root, prefix and suffix. I wondered, what could “susc” mean? That’s the root, right? After I had alighted from the massage table, I mentioned my experience to my therapist, and then on my way to the car, to my friend at the reception desk. I talked about it to Anastasia and over lunch with some friends. We consulted our reference guru, Siri, and learned that “resuscitate” comes from the verb resuscitare, re- ‘back’ + suscitare ‘raise.’ It means to , to bring back to consciousness.
Synonyms for resuscitat are: revive, resurrect, restore, regenerate, revitalize, breathe new life into, reinvigorate, rejuvenate, and stimulate.
Our two boxers and I have an evening routine. It goes like this: when I have finished watching TV in our basement den, the ladies are roused from their evening naps. They are then sent upstairs and out into the backyard for their last chance evening pee. When they come back inside, they are each given a little piece of kibble (when they sit nicely) as a snack. Following that, they are ushered to bed. On the way, Camille flips onto her back, posing, until she gets her night-night belly scratch. Lola just heads to my study to circle into her nest on the sofa.
Last Saturday night, we had quite a scare. This was the night before Anastasia, the dogs, and I were scheduled to have a book signing event and give the presentation about canine massage.
That evening, when I called for the dogs to come upstairs to go outside, Lola, who is usually first to the door, continued to lie on the ottoman, soundly napping. Camille ran outside to do her business and again, I called for Lola. The metal tags on her collar clinked as she stepped down onto the carpet and shook herself loose. She stretched, crawled slowly up the stairs, paused while I opened the door, and descended the steps onto our patio. I assembled their snacks and glanced, as I always do, through the window, to see if they were ready to come back inside.
Lola was lying on her side. Motionless, on the cold flagstone.
I called to her. No response. Camille paced anxiously back and forth around her. In seconds, I was kneeling by her side, my hands moving over her, assessing. She was warm. Her body was resilient. My worst fears were crowding my vision and thoughts. Oskar, our first boxer had passed on when he was 10, Jacques, at 10 ½. Lola was 11 years old. Both passed at this time of year.
I’m acutely aware of Lola’s age. She is, shall we say, chronologically challenged. I document her slowing gait, her graying coat, and her need for occasional assistance. As I write this, there is another file open on my computer. I’m just now completing the print version of the Kindle book, How to Massage My Older Dog. It is dedicated to the lovely Ms. Lola Ginabrigida.
Cool, calm, collected … with PetMassageTM
I needed to stay calm. I paused, collecting myself; I focused on observing my breathing. I knew that I knew exactly what to do. My practice of PetMassageTM has given me the tools and skills I need.
So, I initiated the same vectoring routine that I teach all my students. Vectoring is a system of revitalizing the channels of energy in the dog’s body. There are six vectors, or pathways of energy flow, that we engage. Their function is to facilitate movement in the dog’s body between our hands.
The first Vector is the path between the Chest and the Withers. With one hand on the sternum and the other on the top of the shoulder blades, the route between them flows through the dog’s body. It “resuscitates” the chest and chest muscles, the thorax, the heart, the pericardium, the scapula and shoulder muscles attached to it, the upper segments of the thoracic vertebrae, the muscles attached to them, and the entire complex of fascia that keeps everything functioning and synchronized.
I observed the quality of energy flowing between my hands. And as I watched, sensed, and listened, I brought Lola with me. Her increased body awareness harnessed her self-balancing, self-healing abilities.
I continued through the other five vectors (they are all in my book, Art and Essence of Canine Massage: PetMassageTM for Dogs), holding, observing, supporting, and infusing her body, mind and spirit with love and hope.
She continued to lie there on the cold, hard surface: motionless, quietly breathing. Her eyes were open, bright, and alert. She was not drooling. Lola hardly ever drools. Nor was she leaking urine. Sometimes, if she drinks a lot of water…
PetMassageTM integrates well with every modality of bodywork. It is like the fascia of bodywork.
I stimulated several acupoints that I learned at the Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and from Dr. Cheryl Schwartz’s book Four Paws Five Directions. They included points on her sternum, her nose, her hocks, the middle of her spine, and in the hollows of her rear stopper pads. I squeezed the tips of her ears, the T-Touch® “shock points” that Linda Tellington-Jones teaches to help dogs in shock. I stimulated Lola’s cardiovascular and lymphatic systems with upward and forward directed scratching. I brushed her aura as I had been reminded about in my Healing Touch session. All this took just 3 or 4 minutes.
Resuscitare: re- ‘back’ + suscitare ‘raise.’
Lola raised her head. (Hallelujah chorus)
I helped her regain her feet and stepped back as she stood on her own. Lola turned and, as Camille brushed past her, stumbled up the four steps to the doorway. She staggered over to her spot where she receives her treats and stood unsteadily waiting. Lola usually gobbles her treat and dashes for the stairs. This time, she stood where she was, slowly chewing her single piece of kibble. I watched her through tears of relief.
She regained her footing and climbed the stairs at her normal rate to her second floor sleeping area. She slept through the night. I was up and down every few hours, checking on her.
During the PetMassageTM Presentation: An Insight
The next day was our presentation at the Nicola’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI. That’s about a 45 minute drive from Toledo. Watching Lola and Camille in the rear view mirror, I had time to ponder about what we had just been through. I had somehow sensed a forewarning. I was ready when I was confronted with our traumatic episode.
I began the presentation with this story. As I was speaking, I realized that PetMassageTM is more than a way to help dogs attain a better quality of life. We know all that. I write about it every week! Knowing to use the PetMassageTM breathing, the intense presence, the palpation assessment skills, the manual massage skills with appropriate body mechanics, and the ancillary bodywork energy modalities, and the being able to utilize them when needed, is actually empowering.
How easy would it have been to slide into the place of fear and helplessness? Of course we acknowledge the negative emotions; and we do not allow them to overwhelm. We take away their power over us when we become the seer, the observer. And then we can regain control. Control: of ourselves and the situation.
Empowerment: another reason for pet parents and all pet care professionals, from dog walkers to veterinarians, to learn PetMassageTM for dogs.
Art and Essence
Kindle How to Massage My Older Dog
Four Paws Five Directions