The week after my May Virginia training for humans in Charlottsville, Virginia, and the weeklong TTouch training for horses with Pamela Woolley, I spent four days at the home of TTouch Practitioner Pam Wanveer and her husband John Hurd. This downtime with Pam and John has become an annual event and I have the pleasure meeting many of Pam’s regular TTouch clients with their dogs. I took this photo of Pam doing a Heart Hug on Reggie with Mike getting ready to practice, and am pleased to share Mike’s remarkable story of how Pam and TTouch made such a difference to Reggie.
by Mike Hummel
In September of 2007 Reggie, our eight-and-a-half-year-old blue merle Australian Shepherd mix, tore a ligament in her back left leg and had surgery. Needless to say, the surgery took its toll on our formerly high energy, active pup, and her recovery was a slow arduous process filled with physical therapy at home and at the vet. Two months after surgery, right around Thanksgiving, the vet pronounced her sufficiently healed that she could resume most of her normal activities with the caveat that she still needed to build strength and stamina. We took her to one more physical therapy visit after that and looked forward to continued improvement.
But instead, Reggie’s recovery started reversing itself. Before surgery, Reggie could handle an hour walk in cooler weather, no problem. Post-surgery, we had slowly built her up to a 20 minute walk with some hills thrown in for strength-training. Suddenly, after her last physical therapy treatment, Reggie walked about five minutes and sat down. By the end of that week, she refused to go on walks at all. Our spry eight-year-old dog now officially seemed like an old dog. Even more alarming, the problem seemed to be in her non-surgical leg (not uncommon, since it was being forced to compensate for the weakness of the other leg).
The physical therapist’s answer was more physical therapy and more medication, but I suspected that they had been pushing her too hard in physical therapy, and Reggie’s the kind of dog who will do whatever you ask of her. A couple of acupuncture treatments didn’t seem to do much for Reggie, and I decided to try a different approach. I had some experience with getting alternative “body work,” and a friend who is a bodyworker told me about “TTouch.” An investigation of the TTouch website revealed that there was a practitioner, Pam Wanveer, nearby in Silver Spring, MD. Feeling that things couldn’t get any worse, I made an appointment with Pam.
After the first visit, you could tell Reggie felt perkier. Pam treated Reggie with TTouch and other gentle hands-on modalities. By the third visit, she was jumping around at home again, though her strength and stamina were a long way from what they had been. Over the next few months I took Reggie in once or twice a month. She continued to improve. Pam also suggested I contact our veteranarian about a ligament supplement to fortify Reggie’s non-surgical knee (our vet had heard of it and okayed the use of the supplement), as well as cutting the fur under Reg’s paws shorter to allow her to feel the floor better. We also spread small rugs all over our slippery Pergo kitchen floor as Pam suggested. Pam was full of helpful little tips like this.
With regular visits, careful monitoring, diligent but regulated exercise (no more Frisbee jumps, at least not for a long time!), Reggie started improving. And there were unexpected benefits to the treatments. Reggie, who over the years had begun retreating more and more into corners out of the way, began seeking out petting more and more. Every night, she would plop down between my wife and me for “double love.” Slowly, her amazing agility and then her power returned. She had slept downstairs ever since the surgery, our staircase being just too much for her. One night, she popped in to our bedroom as if to announce “I’m back!” And although we didn’t encourage it, she started jumping again, and even standing up on her back legs (something I thought she’d never do again).
Where once I would monitor her every trip into our backyard to make sure she didn’t overextend herself, she now spends hours and hours out there every day, and is back to terrifying squirrels with blinding bursts of speed. We’ve resumed a lot of her agility play (though no Frisbee—after all, she is now ten!), and she is back to zigging and zagging, and doing her patented 360 degree spin move! We thought we had an old dog who was on her way to a steady decline. Although you can sometimes see a hitch in her step (the surgery changed the structure of one leg a bit by placing a metal rod in it), if anything, she feels better than she has in years. When I tell people Reggie is ten, they’re surprised—“She’s so frisky and spry!”
We owe Pam a lot for saving Reggie’s other leg, helping rehab the damaged one, and also giving us back the Reggie we had when she was young. More affectionate, more confident, more fun than she has been in years! And Reggie loves Pam—the mere mention of her name makes both of Reggie’s floppy ears stand straight up!
© copyright 2009 Linda Tellington-Jones