Monday, April 27, 2009

Emma and the TTouch Girls

I’ve been keeping a separate blog about Emma’s progress…but an up date is required here…

She is energetic, happy, calm, eager, a little independent, a little blown away by the world, but always steady and never spooky.
She is also into everything, alert to everything and passionate about small farms, so much so that she e fancies the flower garden as a field to be tilled and anything that moves (shovels, wheelbarrows) or comes in groups (gravel, bricks, flats of young plants) as livestock to be herded.

We’ve been going to Ellie’s and 2 weeks ago we started a foundation agility class in a beautiful barn out at the far west edge of Beaverton.
We are learning balance, attention, games, and the feel of the equipment with things like a wobble board and a tunnel of hoops.
Our favorite thing has been learning to tug and we’ve been experimenting with all kinds of tuggable materials. Whatever it is can be instantly enhanced by being tied on to the end of a 4 foot pole and shimmied around.

The class is at night and when we leave the building it is pitch black except for the various glinty bits of the sky and all I can hear are frogs and the bugs of spring. It has that air that is enriched by space and dirt and open vistas…beautiful.

We have fun learning together. She is very fast and is starting to let herself play and be more expressive in the world….although very few people have seen the REAL Emma who is a ringing little dust storm with teeth and springs in her legs.

Each time we go out and learn together we get closer.

This weekend I took a 16-hour TTouch workshop. Tellington Touch was “discovered” when Linda Tellington Jones was working with horses and it is a method of touch with the goal of bringing a body back into balance with itself from various states of imbalance like fear, pain, anxiety, over stimulation. etc. It pretty much addresses almost any problem state of being in a very simple, and highly respectful way. It is also a way of mindfulness for the practitioner…as its success depends on attention and communication.

Day 1 I brought Maudie with the goal of learning to help her seizures and need to recognize that she has a hind end and Day 2 I took Emma. For Emma I want a safe way of touching that will help her relax around human hands. For quite a bit of time in the late morning, she sat in my lap and was gorgeously trusting and cuddly.

It was at OHS and every time I took her out to try and get her to potty (something she has yet to do while on leash) someone would ask if “it was available for adoption.” This kind of depressed me; the idea that she would be and up for grabs to the public most of whom would not have either the sensitivity or knowledge to bring her out and although she might be just fine…she really belongs with me. I suppose it would be like going to a dance with your spouse and although there were plenty of eager partners, everyone kept eyeing yours…
But the workshop was yet another encounter with a revolutionary point of view about being in relationship with animals.
If anyone reads this blog…I would encourage them to give TTouch a look.
In Portland the go to girls are Debby Potts and Lauren McCall at The Integrated Animal. They are very easy to spend hours and hours with: kind, funny, authentic.

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