This beautiful deaf boxer girl had come over to the UK from Romania at approximately 6 months old, her history not clear, and was first fostered by a couple with a handful of other dogs. It quickly became very obvious and worrying that she was a very anxious girl around dinner times, guarding her food and showing aggression towards the other dogs and the humans in her foster home. It became so severe that the couple had to take the heart breaking decision of handing her back to the rehoming organisation and, due to her aggressive behaviour, sadly she had to be looked after at a rescue boarding kennel while the organisation began the responsible and stressful task of finding the next right home for her. Prospects were unclear… who would take on a deaf dog who literally might bite the hand that feeds her?
I first met her at the kennels, and, as I try to do with all of the shelter dogs I meet first time, we began with some gentle reiki, so that I could prove to her that I wanted nothing of her, that I was no threat and that I could hopefully offer her some peace after what had to have been a very frightening start to her young life.
She was a fabulous teacher for me and added weight to my study of the six pillars of the Let Animals Lead® method… She needed me to be in the mindful space of peace and she needed me to focus on her perfection in the moment before she would join me. In the video here, my third visit to Pebble, you see me practicing the Shine Your Light meditation for a few moments before she settles down to join me. And a beautiful thing happens at about two and a half minutes in–she rests completely flat on her side, showing herself to be entirely vulnerable and at peace in my presence. Who knows when she was last able to do this? When I work with anxious and aggressive dogs and their families sometimes the dogs are not even able to allow themselves this level of peace in their own home environment, never mind a shelter scenario. So, this was a gift for us both.
There is more to the story from a behavioural perspective to enable Pebble to be ready for a new family, ensuring safety for all concerned, but the reason I could work so effectively with her is down to our trust in each other and the peace and hope achieved through reiki.
This video was taken nearly 2 years ago, and it has certainly been a journey for this girl, but it resonates recently with me as she has just been officially adopted. After living with her foster family for some time, they have ironed out all the behavioural challenges of gaining the trust of this deaf and frightened dog, and have decided they want to commit to her wellbeing for the rest of her life. I am a better reiki practitioner, teacher and dog behaviour coach since meeting this girl, and know she is thriving now in her wonderful safe new home.