I just had to share this short and moving story by Patricia Tirrell, a Tellington TTouch Practitioner-in-Training with you. The wonders animals are able to achieve still amaze me, day after day. Enjoy!
Charlie and I were visiting at The Durham Rehabilitation Center with a young woman who had had a stroke. Her left hand was still in the shape of a club and much of her left side was semi-paralyzed. She was the only person in the recreation room with Charlie and me while the recreation therapist, Betsy, went to go get more patients to start the session.
I sat in a chair with Charlie in my lap to make it easier for the woman to pet him. She wanted to pet him with her right hand and I pulled back and told her Betsy wouldn’t be happy with me if I didn’t have her use her left hand to pet Charlie. She looked at me in horror. She said “You want me to touch him with my DISABLED hand?!” I said “I want you to use your left hand. I will show you how.” I showed her how to touch Charlie using the Chimp TTouch and explained to her that this is a real way to touch animals that I often use it in my work with animals and that they really like it.
Charlie was wonderful and let her touch him all over his body and face (and he doesn’t usually let people touch his face). When she was done he sniffed her all over and gave her what I call Charlie kisses. These are like butterfly kisses – they are gentle sniffs that are so close to your ears that his whiskers tickle you. She was in LOVE!! She was happy and felt very connected to Charlie and like she could use her hand for something good.
This particular session lasted about 5 minutes – maybe 7 minutes at the most – while we waited for the recreation therapist to bring the others in to the room. She was very proud of herself for using her left hand and showed the therapist how she could pet Charlie. And I found that throughout the evening she would call Charlie over and give him little pets with her left hand whenever she could. It was very special.
Tomorrow Charlie and I are going over to the Duke Oncology unit and he will be wearing a shirt “Bark for a Cure” that Karen from Tampa Bay gave us – it belonged to her dog Szasha and she brought it up to Chapel Hill for Charlie in April so he could wear it on his visits to the oncology patients at Duke. Isn’t that special?!
The TTouch Practitioners really are a kind and generous group of people. You will be hard pressed to find another group of people like them anywhere else in the world. So tomorrow when we go to visit and since it is cancer survivor month, Charlie will be sporting the shirt and I will take pictures for my website and for Karen.
I know he will make many people smile in his shirt. He makes them happy anyway, but he will give them an extra reason to smile tomorrow – especially when they hear how he came to get the shirt and how it traveled all the way from Florida!
heart hugs to you,
Patricia and Charlie