“Be patient with all things.
Especially yourself.”
Mary Burmeister
On March 29, 2017 I adopted
my new rescue pup. Sharing
my life with Mira is like watching
a flower open up in
photography … sometimes
time-lapse and sometimes
slow-motion. I fall more deeply
in love with her every day.
Mira’s past is largely unknown and a little sketchy but
certainly not smooth or comfortable. The New Orleans
rescue group I adopted her from speculated that they
thought she was a German Shepard/Corgi mix, which
actually seems accurate and she is just as cute as that
sounds! They suspect she was always an outdoor dog,
spending most of her first years of life on a chain. She's
had at least two litters when I met her. I do not know if she
was surrendered or found but she ended up in the Baton
Rouge animal control, with part of the chain still around
her neck. During the floods that hit this area in 2016 the
animal control building needed to be evacuated and she
somehow found her way to foster care in New Orleans. I
was told she had been adopted out three times since then
but always brought back because of separation anxiety
and destructive behavior. In the first weeks I wondered,
“Has she been too abused to learn to trust? To heal?”. But
Mary tells us “ We are never in disharmony because of
what we lack, but because of what we have not let go of.” I
exhaled and I remembered that I can help bring balance
into her world with love and patience, JSJ, nutrition and
training. I can make it safe for her to let go. Decades of
daily Jin Shin Jyutsu self help have greatly increased my
patience and Mary tells us we live between F.E.A.R. and
love…. I am banking of love.
I brought this terrified sweetheart home and thought I
would offer a short, simple SEL 10 and 13 hold to calm
her and remind her of her ability to breathe. I was
surprised when I honestly could not place even one hand
on her for 3 full seconds before she panicked and
squirmed away. I was equally thrown when our once-feral/
now-spectacularly-social cat came in to meet her and
Mira lunged like she was ready to kill. I immediately called
the foster folks and confirmed that they had told me she
loved cats. They answered “ Well, we meant like she
loves liver treats.” I was holding my own index fingers by
now!
Luckily little Mira was crate trained and, while I have not
often used one before, in this case it was a blessing and
necessary.
So we began our steady and constant path forward to
become a family. I used every technique I have used in all
my classes and shelter work with shy and scared dogs.
Happily she was treat-motivated, so one hand offered little
tasty bites, while the other hand petted. This petting hand
was able to slow down and rest on a SEL after only one or
two days. Within a week, we were able to share “10/13
with her lying down. Eyes still open and breathing
shallow… but progress. The combo of dried chicken
breast and "10/13 " started to change the cat reaction as
well. Every time the cat
appeared, I called Mira,
offered her treats (with a drop
of Rescue Remedy) and held
her "10/13 " for a moment.
Luckily Mira thought this was
more fun than attacking the
cat and we made steady
headway. The cat seemed on
board with this training and appeared countless times a
day to practice. To be completely frank, the cat seemed to
direct the training and I was simply there to serve.
The next big challenge was the fact that Mira had a very
strong case of heartworms. I had been told she was about
4 years old but her energy seemed much more like an
elderly dog, except when she was terrified. Then she was
completely out of control and unfocused with the lack of
concentration of a very young pup. When the heartworm
test came back it was a very strong positive and the vet
informed me that she believed there was already some
damage to the heart and perhaps the lungs. We had
some big projects ahead! Thankfully by now she was
accepting full flows and we alternated between Spleen,
Liver and Kidney for critical needs. There are some flows
that she was not willing to accept in total as written, like
the beginning of the Kidney flow. By using number
exchanges or moving on to a second step, we succeeded
in sharing the flows. In Self Help book one on page 43,
Mary writes “ Always know that any step you are not able
to reach comfortably you can skip and go on to the next
step you are able to reach without strain. You may not be
able to feel the rhythm of the universe at first, but with
patience you can soon begin to feel the pulsation, or feel a
relaxation in the connection.” Multiple times during the
day we did a few moments of SEL 10/13, knowing we
were helping so very many things like breathing, creating
a strong bond, energizing her heart and lungs (they are
bustline flows), as well as allowing her to let go of past
abuse and neglect and learn new routines and habits. I
really believe Mary's words that “Jin Shin Jyutsu is an Art
of Living” and for me it is it is an Art of Living with Animals.
I looked for alternatives to the invasive heartworm protocol
but the severity of her case and the amount of damage
that had already occurred to her organs made me opt for
the strong western treatment with its tough drugs to kill the
adult female worms living in her heart and spilling over into
her lungs. I am on staff at Alaqua Animal Refuge near
Destin, Florida and was blessed that they were willing to
do the treatment there.
That meant I would take
her in for the three shots,
but she would be released
to my care immediately.
This procedure is very
tough and painful on the animals and it was hard to see
her in such pain. But I was able to be with her every
minute for days after the shots and she was now coming
to me and requesting sessions by poking up my arm with
that sweet little pointed nose. Her condition improved
slowly but constantly once we moved past the first 48
hours after the shots.
I strongly believe in using “Quickies” applied slowly when
sharing with the animal kingdom. Animals of many
species seem to understand and respond so well to one or
two hand positions, as opposed to always receiving full
flows. Mira and I have explored and expanded from the
initial SEL 10/13 (the anchor of the 13 flow) and now often
use SEL 12 and 25 to help with projects like ear cleaning
(anchor of self help bladder). SEL 4 and 13 anchor of 4
flow) has even allowed for nail clipping, which we were
told she would need to be sedated for. I believe that Mira
now interrupts these frequent gentle holds as an
affirmation that tells her she is safe and nothing bad will
follow. I am overwhelmed with joy when she melts under
my hands now. A playful and funny little personality is
showing itself more and more each day. Several weeks
ago I was given a great gift when we went to the vet for
her first real checkup since the heartworm treatment was
finished.This was a new vet to me and I was moved to
tears, when after a long and complete exam Dr. Mary
reported that she thought we had a wonderful and healthy
dog… but she did not believe she was 4 years old. My
breath caught a bit and I asked “ OK. How old then?” Dr
Mary said “ I think closer to 3 years old.” Mary tells us to
expect miracles at the end of our arms…. I think there is
one hitting me with her nose right now.