“Dog cuddling again?” enquired the goat guardian.
“Yup.” I replied, just as excited as last time.
“Well, you know the way.” it replied and continued chomping some grass.
I passed the Sheep Supervisors, and the Donkey Directors, and finally made my way to the cuddle lounge where Anke and two little excited dogs were waiting.
“They’ve been expecting you.” Anke told me, as Pompom danced around her feet, waiting for me to open the gate at the top of the stairs.
“I’m so looking forward to spending time with them. And how’s Kim doing?” I asked.
It’s no secret that my heart has always been drawn to Kim. There’s something behind that gaze of hers which makes me think there’s a ton of wisdom, resilience, and untapped potential hiding, even if only on an emotional level.
Anke had taken me into Kim’s enclosure yesterday to introduce me to her and to explain how to behave with her (Kim that is, not Anke. Anke is fine). Because Kim’s skull is damaged on one side, her visibility on that side is restricted so she can get jumpy if something happens and she doesn’t see it coming. I’m to be gentle, always try to approach her from her ‘good eye’ side, no stroking as she hasn’t got used to that yet, and just to let her approach me.
Anke left me with my two miniature companions and I settled onto one of the couches and started to relax.
There’s something about sitting in this room with the gentle breeze and the distant sounds of animals outside, that I find so soothing.
If you’ve read my recent article up in the news section, you’ll know that I am a Reiki practitioner. Animals are incredible to experience Reiki with, their extra-sensitive nature often feeling it on a much deeper level than us humans. I decide to offer it to both Pompom and Titi who are relaxing in the cuddle lounge with me. I remain where I am as my approach with Reiki for animals is to ‘be in a Reiki state’ and allow the animal to approach me, rather then try and chase after the animal with my hands in the air.
Almost as soon as I start, Pompom sits bolt upright and looks directly at me. I tell him calmly that he’s welcome to it, but there’s no pressure to accept it. He lies back down.
Titi at this point, jumps up on to the sofa with me. I ask her if she fancies joining me and she settles down next to me so I place my hands gently on her back. Almost instantly, I feel the heat in my hands. I take this as a positive sign, relax and close my eyes. After a few minutes, she flops over and shows me her tummy. I adjust my hands accordingly, and we spend around 15 minutes blissing out. That would have been a sight for Anke had she come in then – dog cuddler and two dogs fast asleep in the lounge!
After a time, Titi sits up suddenly, and gives herself a good shake. Pompom too sits up and heads outside. That’s my signal that we’re done, so I use this opportunity to visit Kim. Remembering what Anke told me, I enter the enclosure and find Kim sheltering under a tree in some shade. She sits up as she sees me and I crouch down, say hello gently, and look at the ground so I don’t appear confrontational. She trots over and sniffs me, then heads off to her ORIGINAL enclosure up the slope. Clearly, I’m meant to follow, so off I go.
Inside this enclosure, which was her original home when she arrived, I find load of toys scattered around. I ask her which one is her favourite and she looks at me with a tilted head and quizzical expression. I make a note to work on my animal communication…
I crouch down in the shady corner and roll a ball up the slope a few metres to her. I don’t want to do anything too energetic, it’s way too hot to be running around today. Suddenly the ball is back with me – did I miss something? I roll it back up and am overjoyed to see Kim nudge it with her nose back down to me. This is all we can manage for a few minutes before we both plonk ourselves down here in the shade and enjoy being out of the sun. I talk to her, tell her about the other dogs, ask her questions, tell her about my cats, tell her I’ll be back regularly to visit her, and much more.
We walk back to the spot in the shade where she was when I entered and I see her plate of food piled high. I have no idea what possesses me, but I sit myself down, grab a piece of the sausage and place it in my flat, outstretched hand which I put in front of her. She sniffs and then ever so gently, takes the sausage and eats it. I do the same again, and again, so gently, she takes the sausage and eats it. I repeat this until all the chunks of sausage are gone, I’m over the moon she has eaten but I look at the plate and decide not to continue with the peas and carrots or I’ll be here all night. She seems happy and returns to her shady spot. I say my goodbyes, tell her I’ll see her again, and head back to the cuddle lounge.
I spend the remainder of my time, chatting to PomPom and Titi, and relaxing on the sofa. I also have a crazy burst of creativity when I spot some chalk and the blackboard in the lounge – sorry, Anke!
Before I leave, I sweep the steps and check if there is any rubbish I can take with me on my way out. I think Anke and Ali have enough to do already…
I manage to catch Anke before I go and I thank her and promise to be back. I am also over the moon to discover that there is a possibility that I might be able to cuddle sheep (if you remember my previous post) so I shall report back on that at some point.
I’m always sad when I leave, not because the dogs aren’t happy, but because I can’t stay longer, do more, contribute more. But that’s why there’s a team of volunteers. The volunteers fill in the gaps, to help with the little bits that make lives for these precious souls enjoyable, comfortable, safe, healthy and clean, for the rest of their days.
Until next time…