Lizanne easily connected with both Bear and Betsy during our first session. Right away, we were able to learn about their tumultuous past. Betsy communicated that she had initially come from a puppy mill and once had a litter of puppies. Since she too had been a mother, she was very much looking forward to the arrival of our baby girl. Bear, on the other hand, was very skeptical. He communicated that he had experienced abuse from children in his past. Betsy had witnessed this abuse, and it hurt her deeply to have seen it and not been able to help Bear. They also shared with us that they have been together a very long time and a very deep connection with one another. Lizanne shared with Bear and Betsy our goal of maintaining their roles as part of our family. When we asked what would make them feel included as part of the family once the baby arrived, they indicated they would like the daily walks to continue after the arrival of the baby. We can do that! At the end of that first session, Bear and Betsy let out a “sigh of relief,” knowing they would not be abandoned once again.
Prior to the baby’s arrival, we invited Lizanne to perform Reiki with Bear and Betsy in our home to encourage comfort and to provide healing for previous injuries. We were amazed by their acceptance of Lizanne! Bear is the guardian of the house, and he quickly greeted her at the door, welcoming her into our home. Betsy tends to be skeptical of most people outside of the family, but she too warmed up to Lizanne.
Our baby girl, Callie, arrived and we were eager to introduce her to Bear and Betsy. Within minutes of coming home, Bear became intense and showed aggression towards Callie. We immediately sent him off to stay with the grandparents. Betsy demonstrated fear of abandonment when grandpa came to pick up the dogs that day. Rather than send her along with Bear, we kept her in the home to be with us. It was the first time Bear and Betsy had been separated in years, which was heartbreaking. We immediately contacted Lizanne. We learned that while Bear had communicated his readiness for Callie prior to her arrival, Callie was not quite what he expected. Lizanne helped us communicate to Bear what behaviors would be acceptable around Callie, as well as what behaviors would be unacceptable. Bear demonstrated willingness to adhere to these boundaries in order to remain in the family.
After a couple of weeks of limited interactions with us and Callie, we invited Bear to come home. Roughly three months later, we invited Lizanne to our home for another visit with the dogs. Bear ran to the front door to greet Lizanne, as if he was greeting a lifelong friend. She was amazed by Bear’s progress! He had grown into a more mature dog and had become accepting of Callie. During Lizanne’s visit, we learned that the dogs, especially Betsy, felt our follow-through on the walks was getting to be overkill. Perhaps we follow directions a little too closely! We are ever grateful to Lizanne for helping Bear and Betsy manage this change in our family structure.