My Bull Terrier Cassini is about 9 years old and came to me via Bull Terrier Club Welfare Trust. She had been used as a breeding bitch in a Welsh puppy farm and was in a right state, covered in sores, welts and serious damage to her teats to the point where mastitis was suspected. Poor girl. Yet she watched me quietly while I was at the kennel and didn’t make a sound. It was love at first sight for us both; she came home with me that day and I’ve not regretted a single day since. She has taught me so much and is what you might call a mummy’s girl.
It took a long time to re-train her, not only how to live as a pet in a home with a family but also normal dog like behaviour. My mini Bull Terrier Koda played a big part in her training, with his determination after 6 months she picked up a ball and dropped it at his feet in an invitation to play. I literally cried with joy. She had been working with me from the first month but she never liked working with reactive dogs, always preferring to go home or point of safety; she was and still is a sweet, friendly and non-confrontational girl.
In my haste to train her though I made a rookie error and incorrectly trained her to be obsessed with balls in order to teach recalls with distractions. Cassini would crash through anything to the point of physically injuring herself in order to get and play with a ball. She would turn somersaults (a 29kg muscle-bound Bull Terrier turning somersaults!), skid, slide, go through fencing, thorn bushes, doors, furniture, dogs, people until she exhausted herself. At some point she must have hurt herself internally but never let on. Until now.
She always been tight in the hips, Cassini waddles like a goose when she walks but over the last 12-18 months especially the last few months it’s become obvious she is feeling sore in her hip area-if one of my other dogs or even one of us humans leans on her while she is lying down she barks, winces or growls in warning. This from a dog which rarely barks, seriously she only barks in her sleep! I began to think about prevention of old age infliction such as arthritis like using glucosamine and checking her into the creaky club at my vets. Then I met Maddy Casey a Canine and human Bowen Therapist at an event I hosted back in June 2011. Maddy invited me to bring a dog to her to see how she worked in more detail, I chose Cassini.
Cassini loved it! Initially she spent a long time relaxing and greeting Maddy and not letting Maddy do too much Bowen moves. Bowen is a holistic treatment, based in science, using specific hand movements on the skin and underlying tissue, the body shows you where it feels stress or pain and Bowen helps rebalance the body as a whole. Maddy allows the dog to dictate the flow of a session and over the next few sessions Cassini would offer different parts of her body for Maddy to work and for longer, except her left hip area.
Cassini’s self-confidence and ability to demonstrate what she likes and disapproves in her typical gentle way made my observations of these sessions so compelling, I am still learning from this dog which I have lived with for over 6 years; what an awesome tutor she is!
Maddy’s understanding of dogs is wonderfully respectful and I enjoy the sessions just as much as Cassini. During a recent session Cassini offered her sacred spot, the left hip which Maddy worked for just a few moments before calling the session to an end, to end on a good note and left us both feeling something powerful had just occurred. We will continue seeing Maddy, Cassini appears to be more energetic in the days after her Bowen treatment, life in my old girl yet! I’m sure once she has more Bowen treatment in her hip area she will feel less sore; it would be interesting to see a heat image of before and after sessions to see the difference that Maddy can feel while working her.
Have a look at Maddy’s website, she works on vet referral and also draws wonderful greetings cards for sale!