Written by Misty Withee, a canine bodywork student and practitioner through Angel's Animals, LLC.
Super excited. A dog I rescued a year ago (August 2022) has been coming around slowly. She learned to walk on a leash etc quickly as she had to stay on one to go outside or you wouldn’t be able to catch her. In the beginning she was terrified if you looked at her, tried to touch her, lay, or sit next to her and as she progressed, she could handle that but remained terrified if you tried cuddle with her, touch her body like you were going to pick her up and same if you got near her feet. She would roll up in a ball and she would always hide her feet from you. Touching her feet was a hard nope not happening. She would not snap but she would panic, flop, or bury them under so you could not reach them. We recently moved to the land I trapped her on and where she would come for food as a stray. Her brother was caught 8 months before her, and I think it made her more cautious. She was very cautious, and I do trap for rescues etc but she was a tough cookie. He was caught because he was hit by a car and came dragging up with bones hanging out of his foot etc. I caught him and got him fixed and he has a forever home with me so then I set my sights back on her because she kept having puppies and the ranchers were wanting to shoot her since no-one could catch her. Now a year later, she actually for the first time since being caught, handled me massaging her feet and legs etc. She even fell asleep and was drooling at times. She has been very off since we moved here as she remembers this place because it is one of the many places she would roam between. It’s like she searches for her past and she is using the same walking paths she did when she would come get food and water etc. Amazing to me how they remember. It was just nice to finally watch her come around enough to let me fully work on her and see her give in to it. I took things at her pace over the last year. We weren’t trying to “fix” anything in a sense and her craniosacral therapy (CST) sessions she wasn’t hip on because she guards her head and neck area due to the scar from a huge gash on her neck. She was treated very badly, and her tail was short anyway but was broken in a several places. She had her first adjustment, October 2022, 2 months after I got her trapped and spayed and the chiro said muscles, work the muscles. Since then, I have been working on her at her pace. Now after a full complete CST/massage session she is glued to my side, is attempting to play with me like she plays with my other dog she befriended immediately upon bringing her home and like she plays with her brother, she even wants to lay near me when I go room to room. I have always had a special way with animals, but I am super excited to have all the tools and knowledge I gained from the canine massage and CST courses so I can help the animals in so many other ways. This dog is super special, but she is a true testament to letting the dog guide you and work at their pace. You may have intentions/goals and that is great, but the dog must be a willing participant as well. Sometimes their needs are different than our good intentions. I found at times I needed to let her guide me and do as much as she would allow and then I would leave it. Each time, I would get farther along than before and some days her moods or emotions were having no part of it, and it was like starting over but I took it at her pace and when she was finally ready, she blossomed and is like a new dog.
Want to learn more about the techniques Misty used?
Dr. Angelique Barbara is the founder of Angel's Animals LLC, a company that has developed online animal bodywork courses for both owners and professionals. Dr. Barbara's unique teaching style along with the dynamic layout of the courses allows people of different educational backgrounds from all over the world to benefit from her knowledge.