I have long been aware that animals are strongly tuned into healing energy, and that given the opportunity, they can help us on our path to wellness. Today I was visited by a very special dog who took an active role in a healing session with her best friend.
Issie is a six year old German Shepherd Dog who is recent months had become lame on one of her hind legs and was struggling to clear a jump in her obedience trials. Issie normally has a very strong work ethic, therefore her owner became concerned when she showed signs of discomfort, lack of drive, and eventual lameness.
At Issie’s first appointment with me for Kinesiology and Bowen Therapy, her owner also brought Gina, another German Shepherd Dog and the other dog in the household. The pair are extremely bonded and the beautiful connection was evident from the start. Whilst I assessed Issie’s gait and muscle condition, looking for signs of imbalance, I was fully aware that Gina was conducting her own assessment – of me! Gina has the most wonderful gentle nature, and in the most caring of ways she showed her concern for Issie and seemed worried that I may hurt her friend. After a few moments however she settled down.
Today was Issie’s second appointment with me and both dogs arrived and greeted me with enthusiasm. As I began my assessment of Issie, Gina came over and sniffed Issie’s sore leg as if indicating to me the source of Issie’s discomfort. Both her owner and I assured her Issie was fine in my hands and she happily settled herself down for a nap, although I was conscious of her keeping half an eye on my movements.
I was really pleased with how Issie’s treatment was going. As a therapist, there is a balancing act between the numerous techniques and corrections available for any given ailment, and the awareness that the animals body must not be over treated. When undertaking body work it is important to understand that the animal’s brain can only process a certain amount of muscle changes before becoming overloaded. This can negate the whole treatment. As a rule we will release and reset a muscle pattern, and then allow the animal time to process this change at a neurological level before moving to the next.
I was keen to correct as much of Issie’s problem as possible, but I became aware that I was reaching the limit to the number of changes her body and brain would be able to process for the optimum result. As I watched Issie walk I was pleased to see her limp had disappeared and she was weight bearing much more evenly across her hind quarters. I had one more correction up my sleeve I knew would help her ailment, but I tossed up whether or not to add it to the treatment. As I knelt down to assess her leg to help me make up my mind, Gina suddenly appeared and nuzzled under my arm, lifting my hand away. Thinking perhaps she was just feeling left out of the session I placed my hands back on Issie only to have Gina nudge them away once more. The message was very clear, “That’s enough, she doesn’t need anything further just now”.
“You’re absolutely right Gina”, I said “she has had enough for today.”
Sometimes our desire to help can cloud our judgment and we forget who is really in charge of the healing – the animals. We need to follow their lead and listen to what they have to teach us. As therapists we need to notice every muscle flicker, every change of breath, the appearance or disappearance of hot spots etc. to make sure we are holding the space to allow healing to occur, and not overloading the animal with energetic changes. Gina was my little reminder today that animals know best, and not only that, they are the best teachers we have.
Feature photograph: Gina
Photograph below: Issie