Wednesday, August 29, 2012



I just read the post I wrote a little over 9 months ago, a piece written in a moment of intense exasperation and feelings of not knowing what to do with this abused and frightened corgi I  rescued and brought to live with me and Mac. At that point, I was 98% convinced that MerryBelle was NOT a fit for our pack at The Farm. My frustration had reached the point of returning her to Tri- State Corgi Rescue; I even wrote the woman I got her from to alert her to that fact.

But this morning as she slept at my feet, came to me her special loving, and ran circle after circle around the couch with Mac, her best friend, the MerryBelle of September, 2012, didn't seem at all like the dog I came close to surrendering back to her previous caretaker. Oh, it's been a journey, that's for sure, but I can say with confidence that this once severely abused creature is well on the road understanding love and trust - two things I was not sure I would ever be able to help her process and believe in.

After MerryBelle ran away on the absolute worst weekend of winter and had bitten me twice hard enough to draw blood , I found myself ready to "toss in the towel" with her. However, late in January, 2012, I cashed in on a Christmas gift from our beloved LoriBeth - a session with Anna Twinney, reiki master and animal intuitive. Lori and her friends have used Anna on several occasions to work through challenges with their animals, so I had total confidence in what a session with Anna would reveal. As a reiki practioner myself, I felt a resonance with Anna even before we spoke on the telephone. 

So, here's the "long story short" of what  has transpired since January 31, 2012, the day MerryBelle (via Anna) gave us some insight and understanding about how she perceived life, what she needed from us, and came to understand what Mac and I needed from her. I won't go into the minutiae of the conversation, but suffice to say, the 90 minutes MerryBelle (via Anna) shared with us began the amazing and magical turning point for the life we share today. 

My only contact with Anna, our intuitive, prior to our session was via email correspondence.  We scheduled our session, I answered some very general questions for her, and I sent her a photo of MerryBelle.

The afternoon of the call was one that I had waited for eagerly. Once we got through the initial greetings and basic information from Anna as to how the session would be structured, MerryBelle readily let Anna know that she (MerryBelle) accepted Anna's  invitation to "talk" with her. As I understand the process, dogs don't think in "words" but rather in images. Throughout the conversation, while I waited in silence on my end of the phone, Anna and MerryBelle connected via the images MerryBelle shared with Anna. The first information MerryBelle shared was that she was happy to be at the farm. She told Anna she trusted me, and she trusted Mac, her her true north she needed to guide her as she learned about life in a loving family setting. Not really inclined to fill us in on her past, MB shared the message with Anna that she wanted to talk about now, about her life at the farm. She shared that she liked her doggie beds and pillows here; she like the spaciousness of the farm, especially after spending the first 2 years of her life in cages. She was also willing to respond to my thoughts and questions, all of which were based upon her very difficult and peculiar behaviors: Could she let go of her nasty food aggression toward  Mac over food and toys? Was she willing to "trust" that she didn't need to worry about being beaten anymore? Could she believe me when I needed her to listen and obey? Why did she bite me? And, I passed her the message that Mac and I really wanted her to stay with us; however, if her behaviors didn't change, I was not going to be possible to keep her.

MerryBelle's responses via Anna: The food aggression was driven by instinct. Wherever she had lived before coming to us, she had to FIGHT for her food, and showing aggression over food was essential in the process of getting to eat. She had been taken from her mom before she was weaned and placed in a kennel with many other dogs, so if she didn't fight for her food, she didn't get to eat. Ultimately, when assured she'd always have food, MB was OK with backing off on the food, as well as toy agression. 

As for "guidelines" (her term), MerryBelle expressed she had not idea what they were and why they were important to her. She didn't understand why she had to wait while I "changed feet" (put on / changed my shoes) before we went out.She didn't catch on to the importance of walking on a leash (which she perceived as restraint / control on the human's part). No one had ever required her to live with restrictions on any behavior. Finally she asked me to remember she was a little girl and enjoyed girly things, like playing tug-of-war with clean ropes and socks rather than old, smelly, dirty ones. 

When it was our turn to "talk," Mac and I responded that we WANTED her to live with us, but also, we wanted life at The Farm to be fun, free of ugly and nasty attacks and disobedience issues . Her immediate response to those suggestions was an immediate and quite simple, "OK." To conclude, I asked MerryBelle what she wanted me to know and understand about her. She asked that I trust her. Yes, she liked to "meander" at bit in the cow field once I got home from work but she WOULD return. She did not want to be thrust into a new situation without some sort of preparation, etc.

At the next pause when Anna and I got to talk, Anna added that she sensed the "trust" issue was very important to MerryBelle, and she advised that when I got a "message" from MerryBelle, I should pay attention --close attention! Anna had come to understand that this little girl was an incredibly sensitive and intelligent, an intuitive being committed to her pack - MerryBelle was extremely loyal and would place her pack before herself when push came to shove. I asked Anna to let MerryBelle know that Mac and I were ready to go, ready to shift what we needed to shift and move on as our pack at The Farm - best friends, family, ones who loved and looked after each other unconditionally. I asked MerryBelle to understand that any decision I made would always be in our pack's best interest. Mac and I wanted her to be our friend, not our adversary, and I requested that she have trust in me as the leader of the pack. Tanya is alpha, in other words.  

Before our conversation with Anna ended, MerryBelle took her on a tour of the house and farm, showing Anna her favorite places and things. With accuracy and detail that blew me away, MerryBelle described Mac, me, her favorite doggie beds, the fireplace and our kitchen. Finally, she described two of our cats that she trusted and loved. (My insert here: Throughout our session, MerryBelle lay on her bed in front of the fireplace. When MerryBelle and Anna were "talking," MerryBelle looked to me as if she were dreaming - jerking her feet a bit, making whimperinig noises and twisting from time to time on the bed. When Anna was conveying to me what MerryBelle was "saying," MerryBelle drifted off in a deep sleep, snoring contentedly.)  
After a good hour and a half, Anna and I ended our session, but not before Anna reminded me again that it was important to listen to the messages MerryBelle sent me - whenever or wherever. I knew that piece was very essential for me to heed.    

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