I’ve known Jake a long time, most of his life, in fact.
He’s a fidgety dude, he’s not especially cuddly and frankly some of his behaviours are downright off putting, but I love him anyway.
Jake is a Shih Tzu. He has a special place in my heart because his adoption by close friends occurred as my dad lay drawing his final breaths after a brief bout of the flu. My dad was elderly and his spirit had been sucked up by dementia a few years before he died, but it was a sad time. Jake, a little ball of fluff that fit nicely in my cupped together hands, was a happy diversion.
His adoptive parents found his transplant into their family more than a diversion. Right from the start Jake was trouble. Highly strung and demanding, he soon ruled the roost. Well, not completely, since his “big brother” Jenga was at the top of the pecking order.
Jake operates on high anxiety every waking moment. One positive outcome of this personality trait was his work as “interpreter” for Jenga. Jenga didn’t bark. He assumed his people were in tune to his Shih Tzu vibes, so if they didn’t happen to see him head to the back door to be let out, too bad for them. Jake took up the job of doing Jenga’s barking for him, saving his older mentor from numerous scoldings.
Sadly Jake and Jenga were separated when Jenga passed away at a ripe old age last summer. Since Jenga’s passing Jake’s high anxiety behaviour has degenerated into pathological. He suffers anxiety attacks during which all must be dropped in order to soothe him. All attempts to discern the source of his angst have failed.
Beginning as a puppy one of Jake’s least endearing qualities is his penchant for singing a full throated “aria” that sounds as if someone is subjecting him to mortal torture. This little trick is a Shih Tzu temper tantrum. The arias have gone from being a sometimes thing to a several times daily occurrence.
When Bobbi Wright of Being in Balance was interviewed for a story about her new therapies — Reconnective Healing, The Reconnection and Reconnective Healing with Animals, Jake immediately came to mind.
She claims the therapy can help with emotional, mental and spiritual issues. That certainly describes Jake. Why not give it a try?
Bobbi came to Jake’s house on a sunny spring afternoon. She says her hands are able to channel the energy flow from her subject to restore a delicate interconnectedness between the meridian lines, or acupuncture lines, in her their body with the grid lines that encircle the planet.
It is this reconnection that leads to the healing she is attempting to share.
Jake certainly enjoyed being in the spotlight. Besides Bobbi and I, he had his mom and a neighbour, who has a cat with an eating disorder (as in socks, underwear, tea towels), giving him their undivided attention.
When Bobbi first arrived we attempted to give her a demonstration of Jake’s aria. We all went into the neighbour’s yard leaving Jake behind in his. Any other time this would be an instant trigger to the hair raising howling. Not this time. Jake just sat in his chair and looked at us. Bobbi said it was because he could already feel her manipulating his energy.
For about 30 minutes Bobbi worked with Jake. He didn’t sit still for the entire time, often trotting off across the yard to investigate something going on outside the fence. Bobbi said that was no problem as she could channel the energy from a distance. Strangely for Jake he did keep coming back to her, seemingly drawn by what she was doing.
At one point Bobbi asked Jake if he wanted her to touch him and he immediately starting doing some odd gyrations helping her to touch just the right spots. Early in the procedure he was perched on my lap and engaged in some serious licking behaviours. He often licks while enduring pain, but that didn’t seem to be the case this time. It was as if he was experiencing something and was anxious about it.
Later he yawned frequently, which is Shih Tzu for, “what the hell?”
After Bobbi pronounced the procedure complete she said Jake might be inclined to just lie around for awhile and we were amazed to see him do just that, on the ground! Jake is not a ground kind of dog. If there is a chair or a lap he’s on it. In this case he had choices of both and he was reposed with his little butt under him. That was unusual too, because the only other time he is a ground lying kind of pooch is when he is overheated. Then he’s flat with all four feet splayed.
She also said Jake would be in a stage of high energy the following day. His mom rolled her eyes. Jake is always in a state of high energy, but Bobbi assured her it would be a “good” kind of energy.
Shortly after Bobbi departed Jake’s absolute favourite guy in the world, the Treat Man, arrived. Jake bounded up from his uncharacteristic repose beneath the patio table and launched into his circus dog imitation, leaping chest high to make sure the Treat Man knew he was there. Unfortunately the Treat Man decided to return to his car for his jacket and sunglasses before sharing the treats Jake knew he had. Instant aria!
Jake arose a little earlier than normal the next day, but other than that his mom said his behaviour was normal, well at least what passes for normal in Jake. Bobbi did caution her treatment might take more than one session to be effective. We decided after the Treat Man destroyed in 20 seconds what she had accomplished in 30 minutes we would probably be wasting her time.
It was interesting, however, to watch her work and listen to her talk about working with large animals such a horses. She has an engaging manner, illustrating her empathy and serious application of an ability she has difficulty explaining, but in which she believes implicitly.