Since I have had limited access tothe internet, I am going to post my entries from the last few days all in one beginning from 3-4-09 just before we left on our trip and big adventure. Enjoy the journey!
Well we are on our way to California! I am traveling with my good friends and colleagues, Robin Bernhard and Jessica Eure of the Virginia Neurofeedback, Trauma and Attachment Center. Tonight we will meet with Linda Tellington-Jones, Founder of Tellington-TTouch Training and a group we are collaborating with for our special project at the Oakland Zoo.
Am I excited? You bet!
10:30 pm 3-4-09
Tonight we met with an extraordinary group of 14 people for dinner. Linda Tellington-Jones spoke about her meeting with Anna Wise 30 years ago to measure Brain Wave patterns using Anna’s Mind Mirror Program to assess what was happening in Linda’s brain while she was using TTouch. (www.annawise.com) They also measured the horse’s brain and various handlers. The results were profound and showed that with the use of TTouch the brain came into ‘An Awakened Mind State’ where both hemispheres of the brain became more balanced.
One of the many highlights for me was to hear Amy Phelps speak about “Team Tiki.” Amy is the primary Giraffe keeper at the Oakland Zoo in California. And Tiki is one of the 10 giraffes at this zoo. She is a very special 20 year old giraffe. The work Amy is doing is extraordinary from my perspective. She has gathered a team of incredible people to help give Tiki a very comprehensive support system for optimal health. They have a brilliant lead trainer who is using extremely refined operant conditioning with many. Tiki has a Homeopath, an Acupuncturist, and another TTouch Horse Practitioner who has done several Cranial Sacral sessions with Tiki. You can google Oakland Zoo Tiki for info and pictures about them. Tiki is well known around the area!
Amy first came to TTouch after a young Giraffe got injured and had to have multiple surgeries. Amy was at first very skeptical of TTouch. But as soon as she watched the giraffe’s pain diminish and watch Linda work, she said she was hooked.
Amy relayed a story about this young giraffe having had a cast on his leg. It was difficult to touch him and they had to take extremely small amounts of the cast off at a time over a period of many days. As soon as TTouch was introduced, they were able to take the cast off with him being so much easier to handle. Now, years later, the giraffes are fortunate to have TTouch integrated into their regular care. Amy spoke passionately about TTouch helping the giraffes to be much easier to handle and how it helps to decrease their stress levels. With the inclusion of TTouch Amy said that the Giraffes learn more easily and are able to deal with the day-to-day care and routine medical procedures with less stress and more comfort.
Also on ‘Team Tiki,’ is a brilliant Lead Trainer, an Acupuncturist, a Homeopath, and a Cranio-Sacral Practitioner who also happens to be a TTEAM Horse practitioner. I think this qualifies for the Holistic Animal!!!!!!!!! WOW. Isn’t that impressive? The trainer uses operant conditioning that is extremely refined. She watches not just for overt behavior and body signals, but also for muscle contractions! I asked her if we would be able to talk and learn more – she will be joining us daily. Hooray! I am incredibly curious about how she works and to learn more about what she is doing. There is so much we can learn from her that will translate to better training with the dogs and horses!
We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow. We will be meeting at the Zoo in the morning. Our first tasks will be to begin measuring the brain wave patterns of Linda at a resting state, and then while she is administering Clouded Leopard TTouches with Tiki. At the same time, we will be attempting to measure the brainwave patterns of Tiki. This is a very gentle method we will be using.
Since I don’t have direct Internet access all the time, I will most likely be posting at night.
Good Night all! Much more will follow! Keep coming back.
Well, it is in the wee hours of the morning and we are just now finishing up our work for the day! We had the MOST exciting and incredible time today at the zoo. Wow. I am in awe, wonder and am spellbound by these majestic Giraffes. They are of course SO TALL. With their loooong and beautiful necks upright, they stand 15-18 feet high. Did you know that the heart of a Giraffe weighs 25 pounds?
I am so very impressed with ‘Team Tiki” and everyone we have met today. These people truly know the meaning of teamwork. They move around like a well-oiled group who knows seems to really know ad respect one another. I commented on this to Lisa, the lead trainer and she proudly said they spend a lot of time clarifying their communication. And after we finished for the day, Amy exclaimed, We have the BEST volunteers! Initially I thought that surely these people I were all staff. They were so completely committed, clear and cohesive together.
Today we all met to discuss brainwaves and to discuss the plan in some detail of working with Tiki. We then head the opportunity to go back into the giraffe area!!!! There is a feeding platform where we were able to go visit in a manner that was very safe and protected yet still allowed us access to meet, visit and feed the Giraffes. I am still in wonder and spellbound.
At this point, Amy the primary giraffe keeper Robin, Jessica and Linda went into the back area accompanied by Amy and Lisa. There is a safe protected area where they were able to set up their equipment and work with Tiki. Meanwhile, I was able to head back to the feeding platform to spend additional time with the rest of our group and the Giraffes!
Once Robin and Jessica got everything set up and Lisa and Amy had worked with Tiki, We were able to go the back area to safely observe and take pictures. Linda was hooked up with electrodes so we could measure her EEG brainwave patterns while TTouching Tiki. She did this on one side a fence where she was protected but could reach through the enclosure to do the TTouches on her shoulder. With Tiki towering above, Zach was up on a ladder feeding. Tiki knows directives to step up and move to the side among others. It is really quite impressive to see a wild Giraffe choose to work together with Amy in this manner. Actually, before Linda did some TTouches, Amy reached up and praised Tiki, stroked her shoulder with such care it was palpable. She followed with some Coiled Python Lifts along her shoulder region. Tiki moved into her hand. She stood calmly, occasionally looking at us with curiosity, and then went back to munching her food.
Once all this was complete, we had a wonderful lunch, followed by some additional zoo activities afterwards. Then for us it was off to the hotel. Robin and Jessica to reviewed all the data. And I was able to review and edit all the video and pictures.
I will be posting pictures and video clips after I have Amy review them for posting. I will have some as soon as I am able to!
I have very limited times that I can have access to post on the Internet, but I hope to have another post tomorrow night or by early Saturday morning.
Have a great day!