All Dogs Are Therapy Dogs, They Just Don’t Realize It
I have had my dog Belle Belle for some time now.
At first, when I got her from the Atlanta Pet Rescue, she had severe abandonment issues.
When I would go downstairs to go to work and shut the door at the top of the stairs, she would start crying and howling pitiably.
I admit I was worried about her.
I tried an assortment of tricks.
I filled a bright green ball full of chopped up dog treats, so that it would take her awhile to remove all the cookies. I turned on music that was supposed to be soothing to dog ears. I tried to be firm, look tough and shut the door in her face as she sat there looking lonely as I went downstairs to go to work.
Of course, none of these tricks actually worked.
Eventually, I would let Belle come downstairs to go to work with me.
She sits on a yoga mat with her own athletic equipment, one of her torn up stuffed rabbit toys. Or she wanders about the studio until someone pets her. Frequently she lies down right in the middle of the floor, right where everybody needs to work, until someone has to pick her up and hug her.
Initially, when she came down as I did my healing work, I would try very hard to be firm and tell her to sit or lie down next to my massage table. I would do my best to ignore her, but gradually she has come to train me. She paws me until I pick her up and put her on the table next to my client.
Now I admit this is unorthodox and it was completely unplanned on my part. I never intended for Belle to be a therapy dog.
But Belle has the softest heart. She was in not just one but two animal rescue shelters. The gentleman at the Pet Gallery, her groomer, told me once that she is the sweetest dog he has ever groomed.
If I am doing hands on healing, she will paw me until I pick her up and put her on the table with my client. Invariably she walks exactly right to the spot where the client needs the most help.
Fortunately, most of my clients like dogs. I am always careful not to allow her down to my studio if I think someone does not like dogs, but usually she ends up part of the treatment.
She will lie on the table with the client, saying hello and or licking them in the face before settling in to her work.
At the end of our sessions, both my client and I frequently compliment Belle on what a good job she has done. She soaks in the praise, looking confident that indeed this has been the case.
The funny thing is that I receive hands on healing regularly, but when the opportunity comes for Belle to receive healing, she would rather lie on the floor.
I go to see Shyamala Strack for cranio sacral therapy. Shyamala lets Belle come too under the agreement that she is not supposed to sit on the furniture in the waiting room. I usually give Belle her weekly bath on the morning she and I go to see Shyamala so she arrives spotless and well groomed.
Belle knows when she is going to work at my office and when it’s simply time to relax while I am receiving my own healing.
I have studied healing work for nearly 19 years. Belle is just a dog and gets it all naturally.