Animal Ambassadors International® —
TTEAM® & TTouch®
The concept of Animal Ambassadors International has been realized in a variety of forms. The following excerpts from the TTEAM International and the Animal Ambassadors International newsletters tell about TTEAM & TTouch in schools and with youth programs and of the early days of Animal Ambassadors International® with Moscow children and with the Moscow Healthy Family Club.
Teens Learn a Better Way to "TTouch"
By Tina Hutton, TTouch Practitioner Level 3
In Grass Valley, California, there is a unique school for teenagers called the Charis Youth Center. It serves troubled youth, ages 14 to 17, in a residential foster care and High School program. As part of their educational experiences, this program provides classes in dog handling, based on the Linda Tellington-Jones "TTouch Method".
2005 Animal Ambassador Program in Germany
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of TTEAM Instructor Bibi Degn, our Animal Ambassador Program thrives in Germany. Bibi developed the “Angie Program.” after the horse angel in my Let’s Ride book, so that children and youth can learn TTouch and TTEAM in a setting designed to awaken their appreciation for nature. Bibi has the vision of making the TTEAM philosophy and attitude of love and respect of animals officially accepted in the German style of teaching children to ride and relate to horses.
The vision keeps expanding! In 2004, Bibi began collaborating with Relana Meülhausen, who completed her study on the “Effects of TTEAM and TTouch on the Socialization of Teen-age Girls.” To date, their program for youth, under the non-profit umbrella of Animal Ambassadors International®, continues to develop.
2004 Visit to the Oakland Zoo Goat Rangers and Giraffes
By Linda Tellington-Jones
In October, 2004 I joined Practitioner Jaynellen Kovacevich and her Oakland Zoo "Goat Rangers" for a presentation to the youth and their parents. Jaynellen's program won the Oakland Zoo "Volunteer of the Year" award for 2003.
Jaynellen arranged this presentation and potluck lunch with me as a reward for the Goat Rangers.
Their parents were invited to spend the day at the zoo with their rangers, the youngest volunteers at the zoo, to learn more about the program and the benefits of TTouch. This was also an opportunity for the parents to hear about the special contribution the Goat Rangers have made to the zoo and to show pride in them for their accomplishments.
It was especially wonderful to have this chance to honor the work of Jaynellen. She is both a Companion Animal and a TTEAM Practitioner in addition to being a special education teacher. Jaynellen has been teaching TTouch in her school classes for almost 20 years, since the beginning of the Animal Ambassador program.
I talked about the history of Animal Ambassadors International® and how I was inspired with the idea of Animal Ambassadors International® from my work in Russia with children and animals beginning in 1985. That was the year that I organized a telephone exchange between a school in Moscow and a school in Utah. In both schools the kids could hear each other (through the interpreters) over loudspeakers that could be heard ri all the classrooms. How rewarding it is to see this concept of animals being our ambassadors for promoting understanding between people and animals these 19 years later.
I presented the Goat Rangers with Animal Ambassador certificates that state, "I hereby vow to use my hands, my heart and my voice to speak for and protect all . . . . . (This space is then filled in with the name of the animal or animals the recipient chose. Many of the youth wrote in "all animals.”)
After lunch we spent an hour with the goats and sheep in the petting zoo, where the rangers introduced me to their favorites, including Pygmy goats, an Alpine, a Nubian, a La Mancha goat and a flock of Barbados sheep. It was exciting and impressive to watch the Goat Rangers as they TTouched several of the senior goats who are being treated by the zoo veterinary staff and zookeepers for arthritis. Educational staff members and keepers have noted that the Goat Ranger program and TTouch have been beneficial to these older goats as well as the other goats and sheep.
Jaynellen has been teaching this class twice a month for almost four years at the Oakland Zoo and has shared the benefits of TTouch with many educational staff members, zookeepers and docents. When she began the program, many of the sheep and goats shied away from being touched. They were used to the public feeding them, but often they were approached by young children pulling on their horns, face or legs. In return, the goats often tried to escape by butting the children. Sometimes parents pushed or hit the goats and sheep to keep them away when they were aggressive about getting food. Not exactly ideal for a petting zoo.
Jaynellen taught her Rangers how to teach visiting children to quietly and respectfully groom the goats and sheep with a soft brush and to do some TTouches on them. Every two weeks for the past four years the Goat Rangers have been handling the goats and sheep in this way.
I just could not get over how gentle and relaxed the animals are. Normally one has to be careful around goats with horns because they can make abrupt moves with their heads and hurt you unintentionally. These goats are so quiet and careful with their heads and will lie still for ages to be groomed gently and TTouched. This gives visiting children and their parents a new way to be around animals with gentleness and respect.
Jaynellen and Avril Keimey, one of the first Goat Rangers, commented that the behavior of the goats and sheep changed dramatically with the use of TTouch and brushing. Avril had this to say about the program: "I used to go to the Zoo when I was younger, and I was one of those kids who was afraid to go into the petting zoo because there were goats jumping on people. About four years ago, I became a Goat Ranger, and started doing TTouch on the goats and sheep, and showing little kids how to pet them nicely. In the time I've been a Goat Ranger, I have seen a huge improvement in the animals' behavior. They approach people instead of running away. I now see very few kids who are afraid to go up to the goats."
Later in the day, Roland and I were shown video footage of the Goat Rangers teaching visiting kids of all ages, including parents, how to gently brush and TTouch the goats and sheep. It is fascinating and inspiring to watch kids enter the area with rambunctious behavior, and within five minutes be relating quietly to the animals. It's totally intriguing to listen to these young Goat Rangers demonstrate and explain exactly how to gently brush the goats. On the video you see goats lying perfectly still, often with eyes half closed, or sometimes lying flat on their sides, enjoying every minute of the interaction. These Rangers are awesome Animal Ambassadors and articulate, patient teachers.
Gail Ellis, School Programs Manager, The Oakland Zoo, said: "There has been an obvious and dramatic change in the behavior and temperament of both the animals and the youth involved. It has been amazing to see."
The "Goat Rangers" are volunteer kids between the ages of 12 to 17. The youth have to commit to six months of volunteer work to be accepted in the program and Jaynellen puts them through a rigorous interviewing process before they are accepted.
1995 Animal Ambassadors Presentation to Arab and Jewish Children
By Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International Spring, 1995 Vol 15 No 1 Pp. 1-2
My Israel trip was a miraculous happening, the primary purpose of the trip being an Animal Ambassador presentation to 40 Arab and Jewish children through a program sponsored by the Tel Aviv SPCA and sanctioned by the Department of Education. While I was there I did a fund-raising demonstration for the ILPH - the International League of Protection of Horses; gave a morning demo to the Therapeutic Riding group on a kibbutz south of Tel Aviv and a demo to 50+ horse enthusiasts at Galilee; worked on an orphaned elephant and chimp at the Jerusalem Zoo; and met with Avi Lourie, a senior zoologist raising and releasing endangered species into the desert of Israel.
I had a wonderful time meeting so many special animal loving people, but the highlight was the work with the children because it was expected to be difficult and the teachers were not sure of the outcome.
I taught the TTouch to 40 Jewish and Arab ten year olds at the SPCA on Sunday afternoon on January 29. The program is inspired by the work of Nina Natelson, director of a Washington, D.C. organization called Concern For Animals in Israel. The teachers were thrilled at the outcome. These kids were from two separate schools and had not interacted much at all in their first gathering a week prior. After I demonstrated on a dog, I had them work on each other - first within their own group and then interacting between the two groups. They loved it. Many came up to me to be TTouched for assurance they had it "right." Several Arab boys refused lathe beginning but ended up all lining up for their turn under my fingers. The kids got really quiet and concentrated while practicing the TTouch on each other.
After a break and work on a cat it was back to working on each other with the ear strokes. Several of the boys spontaneously lined up one behind the other and started working on the ears of the child ahead of him. Like a grass fire igniting, the entire group of kids fell into line in a circle around the room working on the ears of the child ahead and then started a snake dance -through the chairs - around and around - yelling and screaming and laughing in a Congo line as though they had known each other for ages.
The afternoon was a great success and I'm looking forward to returning. I ran into an intriguing story while on a two day break in the south of Israel at Eilat. I was told about a lone dolphin who hangs out at a beach by a Bedouin village on the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea about 90 kilometers south of Eilat. Her mate was killed several years ago and she became very friendly with a young Bedouin fisherman who is deaf and mute. They began playing in the water together and one day she followed him to shore. Now she swims back and forth - back and forth - on the same path - waiting for him to be with her on the shore of die village. Her movement is not healthy and the feeling I got was one of intense loneliness. I spoke with Maya Zilver, a trainer at the Dolphin Reef research park in Eilat about her. Maya has spent 5 days in this village on two different occasions observing her. Apparently the villagers are very protective of the dolphin, believing her to be a messenger from Allah. The Bedouins also believe that people who are handicapped are special and are honored - so it is a very powerful combination and very touching. The interspecies bond is fascinating. Those who think dolphins respond only to food reward need to take note of this story.
When three years ago I attended a WOMAN'S PRAYERS FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE I followed it with a trip to Egypt. I put out a question on my trusty computer musing about what I was really doing there. The response was to bring together Arabs and Jews around horses. I felt a little like John Denver in the movie "Oh, God" and I thought "Right. GIVE ME ANOTHER ASSIGNMENT". However, I persisted step by step and made two trips to Jordan and Syria teaching that year with a very successful connection to Princess Alia el Hussein in April. She brought me back to Jordan a second time in September to teach veterinarians. Now the Israel Equestrian Federation is inviting this same veterinary school to my demonstration in March in Galilee at the Vared Hagalil (Rose of Sharon) guest ranch owned by Yahuda Avni. I visited this ranch in 1979 on a trip around the world and was amazed that they remembered me.
It's fascinating to see how once again the animals open doors. During my visit with Avi Louri I was able to work on a hyena (one of the most responsive, heart-warming animals I ever TTouched) ; a member of the world's smallest desert fox whose ears are almost as big as his shoulders, and a very depressed mountain goat who is a member of the original species of die domestic goat. The goat is part of an extensive menagerie living on a Kibbutz near Haifa. After an injury, he had a section of bone removed from a leg and had not recovered. His hooves were too long, his thigh muscles atrophied and he was very reluctant to move. I worked on him for quite some time, establishing a connection to him, and suggesting the hoof trimming for a start with lots of TTouch to give hint a new lease on life. I'm hoping to bring him to my horse clinic in Galilee when! return so we can give him some real attention.
I also did two sessions on an African grey parrot belonging to a veterinarian who had come to blows (bites) with each other. "Max had been raised from a chick by Gaddy Follweiler and they had been bosom buddies until Gaddy went to Europe for an extended stay. Upon his return Max was very aggressive and bit badly and refused to be handled. The two had never resumed their friendship.
I recognized this behavior as Max being ticked off that Gaddy had left him and he wanted to express his anger. That is exactly what my cat Sybil used to do after I would return from a trip. First she would ignore me and when she would come she would roll on her back and bite and scratch my hand and arm until she was satisfied that I got the message of her disapproval Then we would become best buddies again.
As I did with Sybil, I suggested Gaddy wear gloves and push his finger into Max's open beak - gently - when he bit I put on gloves and wrapped him in a towel leaving only his head out. After working for 20 minutes he relaxed, stopped attempting to bite and closed his eyes. The second session he thoroughly enjoyed being once again in the towel with several of us visiting in the living room while he reveled in the TTouch.
I hope this renewal of lost friendship between the Gaddy and Max will mirror improved relationships between Arabs and Jews that will develop through the Animal Ambassador TTouch program in Israel.
The work with the chimp and elephant was intriguing. Zoologist Tamar Or was given a copy of my book, read it overnight, and called me to say she had to meet with me. Ihad not a minutes time, I replied, but when she insisted that an elephant calf and a orphaned chimp "needed me" of course I couldn't resist. So I shortened my demo at a Kibbutz which is the home of Therapeutic Riding in Israel, promised I would come back again, and headed for Jerusalem. The primary keeper for the elephant was in Thailand so all I could do was make some suggestions of the necessity of providing some company for this very disturbed and lonely elephant calf. The chimp, however, was a cinch. His problem was a lack of grasping reflex. If he wasn't held firmly by his human he would fail to hang on and fall. It looked to me as though he had been held like a baby under the buttocks and not been taught to grasp. It took only 20 minutes of Raccoon TTouches and Python Lifts up his back - over the arms - and on every centimeter of his hands and fingers until he "got the hang of hanging on". Tamar and his keeper were delighted.
There was the same feeling of magical and Divine Intervention on this trip that I experienced in Moscow when I was told the American! Russian interaction could never happen as it did. I'm looking forward to returning to Israel. The Israeli Equestrian Federation is organizing a demo for me near Galilee inviting veterinarians and horse people from Jordan and Egypt. Dr. Geora Avni, representative of the Israeli Equestrian Federation and a teacher at the school for veterinarians is organizing the trainings. He is delighted at my interest in the Arab/Jewish connection for peace and communication through the medium of horses and other animals.
I've also been invited to teach a two-day TTouch training to a group of Palestinian women in Gaza who wish to help children and adults who are traumatized by the current level of tension and fear. I was planning to return in March and teach with the assistance of Alia Gurevich and several Jewish women I worked with in Moscow and "TTEAMsters" Nena Norton and Jane Ellen Kovacevich. However, I have too much going on here in the U.S. so Jane Ellen and Nena will be working with the TTouch and the women and children's programs. Janet Kahn, who has been working in Israel with conflict resolution and Jewish/Arab interaction for many years, will be organizing the programs in Gaza and Jerusalem. We worked together on this trip and its thanks to her connections that the TTouch will be brought to Palestinian women. This is a big step as there is much fear and shutting down of communication at this point in Israel, and great fear of entering the Gaza territory.
I've also promised to do a fund raising demo for the Jerusalem SPCA who will bring together another group of Jewish and Arab children. As you can imagine I'm in a great state of gratefulness and looking forward to my return. You can make a difference by sending your prayers and holding a positive image that an improved and peaceful solution will be worked out in Jerusalem and through out Israel for an understanding and acceptance between the Jewish and Arab cultures.
1993 Animal Ambassadors International® in Syria
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International Summer, 1993 Vol 13 No 2 Pp. 1-3
What on earth were we doing in Syria in April?
Off on another Animal Ambassador journey: weaving the webs of friendship between lovers of animals. Some of you will remember that before the Iron Curtain fell, I was teaching and building bridges-of-understanding between horseman and horsewomen, working with veterinarians, zoo personnel, Olympic riders, and a very special group called the Club Healthy Family.
In 1984, upon the culmination of my first trip to Moscow, the birth of the phase ANIMAL AMBASSADORS, in recognition of the unique role animals were playing in opening so many impenetrable doors inside the then Soviet Union.
Then in 1985, the birth of the Animal Ambassador concept of taking an "inner journey" to find an animal as a personal teacher. In Gorky Park, that spring, I led a group of 165 Russians, ages five to about sixty-five, on an "inner journey" to find the animal who would be their inner teacher, using the Native American model of an animal's totem as protector. My friend, Andre Orlov, translated into Russian for me. It was Andre who added the unique idea that we, in turn, must reverse the role and become "protectors of the animals". We must become their "totems."
Now, that same concept leads me into the Middle East, looking for way, to bridge the cultural gaps in that ancient area of the world, which is currently the "hot spot".
In February, at the suggestion of my friend Joan Ocean, Carol Bentley and I journeyed to Israel to join an international conference: "Prayers for Peace in the Middle East". (Some of you may have read Joan's inspiring book describing her work with dolphins.) We spent several days with my Russian friend, Alya Gurevitch, founder of the Club Healthy Family, now immigrated to Israel to work with Israeli and Arab children.
After spending time in Israeli, we decided that we also needed to meet with the Arab peoples. Having been informed it would take days to get a visa to Egypt, and having been warned travel was somewhat dangerous, a lovely woman attending the conference informed us we could simply fly to Egypt and get a visa at the Cairo airport. Sure enough, we disembarked after a one hour comfortable flight from Tel Aviv, and spent a magical three days in Cairo which, in terms of richness, could have been three months. I was completely unprepared for the welcome, for the hospitality, the friendliness we encountered.
One of the most striking impressions in Cairo was the inordinate number of animals throughout the city. Donkeys, horses, camels and buffalo make up a surprising percent of the population. Most of the horse we saw looked to be in reasonable health, although the image of a 900 pound horse straining with every ounce of his energy to pull a wagon brutally overloaded with metal rods remains fixed in my head. Thanks to Princess Alia el Hussein's influence, the condition of the horses at the pyramids has apparently been considerably upgraded. Princess Alia's Egyptian mother also supports the remarkable Brooks Animal Hospital in Cairo. Injured, exhausted and worn out animals from the streets of Cairo are brought to this hospital: there is no charge for care, and the sympathetic veterinarians sometimes take in animals just for rest. They often buy donkeys or horses who are no longer in condition to continue, and need to be put down out of kindness. They are kept in special "yard" or paddock, where they are fed and loved for a few days before they are sent on to the "pastures in the sky".
Flying out of Cairo, I wondered why this magic carpet trip?
What was I really doing there? I pulled my trusty Macintosh Power Book out of its case at my feet, while forming in my mind the image of a circle of animals which I refer to as "The Animal Council". The screen lit up with this suggestion: I should plan an Animal Ambassador Celebration in honor of the role of which horses, camels and donkeys play in the Middle East with the aim of unifying Arabs and Jews beyond, and outside of politics. I simply began to write about the next steps in the Middle East.
At first, I was shocked by the seemingly impossible idealism of such a task. However, before my first trip to Moscow nine years ago, I was assured that I would never be able to meet the Russian populace, and would have to be content with only reaching government officials. Nevertheless, in complete trust, I decided to simply begin to take small steps: see where the path would lead, and let the animal ambassadors open the doors.
Because of the remarkable synchronicity which so often occurs in my life, sharing some of the steps with you is fun, and I think this synchronicity has a tendency to happen even more frequently when it is acknowledge and appreciate.
Christine Jurzykowski, founder of Fossil Rim Wild Life Center, and a dear friend, is on our Animal Ambassador Board of Directors. Whilst at Fossil Rim in February, working with two of their young and very wild cheetahs, I mentioned to Christine that I intended to go to Jordan and Syria and, hopefully back to Israel in April. So would she like to come? Christine was to speak at a conference in Denmark the day before my scheduled departure from Frankfurt, so it seemed natural to have her join me.
The next pieces of the puzzle were held by Gabriella Boiselle, one of Europe's very best photographers, known for her exquisite portrayals with a very special "feel" - a view which no other horse photographer has managed to capture. During Equitana, Gabriella asked me what I was doing. I told her I was hoping to visit Jordan over Easter, but all the seats were booked due to the holidays. She said, "Don't worry. Princess Alia El Hussein is a friend of mine and would be fascinated by your work. I'll call her".
Two days later, Gabrielle had managed to get the seats on Royal Jordanian Airlines, organized the trip to Jordan and Syria for us; and had contacted a Syrian friend, Basil Jadaan, whom she had met at a WAHO horse show in Cairo.
Basil Jordan was one of the kindest, most hospitable gentleman I have had the pleasure of encountering in a longtime. He is establishing a troupe of pure Arabs which, approved by WAHO (World Arabian Horse Organization), and they are beautifully maintained. He hosted us on the first afternoon, seated in a Bedouin tent on cushions laid upon carpets on the ground, with glasses of hot, sweet tea and the traditional welcoming sips of very black, Arab coffee served, thank goodness, in tiny cups. The horses were paraded one by one in front of the tent, where Gabrielle photographed from all angles; she also got some photos of me working.
Our second day there, Basil's friend loaded up four horses and trucked them out of the city into the desert where we galloped and whirled for Gabrielle's cameras. She is the most entertaining photographer and personality imaginable; a live wire, with beautiful blond often wild hair which charms every man who comes within 20 feet of her. We all had a marvelous time working with her.
We drove from Damascus to Amman, Jordan, crossing the border in the record time of one hour, to keep our first appointment with Princess Alia. Princess Alia is a warm, lovely, intelligent woman.
She was most interested in the TTEAM work. She greatly honored us with a Bedouin meal in a beautiful tent set out in spring-green barley fields near the royal racetrack. Horse after horse was paraded before us prior to sitting down to a traditional meal of boiled lamb on a bed of rice, eaten with the hands. It is a rare occasion to be treated to this ancient way of eating.
We had a long discussion about TTEAM work and some of the horses which I was to work on the following day. We were awakened bright and early by the 5 a.m. call to morning prayers which resonates over the hills of Amman, and we arrived at the Royal Stables in plenty of time to catch the early morning light which Gabriella so loves. I worked with Princess Alia's veterinarian, a young Iraqi woman who was very interested, very kind to the horses, and very intelligent.
Princess Alia has some favorite horses, one of which was a young stallion, a very bad stall walker. And one of the tensest horses I have worked with. He's the first horse whose ears I could not get to in the short time we had; which, to me, is a very good indication of a tense condition in the rest of the body. I left the veterinarian with suggestions for working him, and am invited back to teach a group of veterinarians and horse owners who are gathering for an annual Arabian Horse Show by invitation of King Jussein in September. We're working to see if we can put together a clinic in time to include it with the September show.
In 1969, Went and I organized the first North American Endurance Ride Conference at Badger, California. The Jordanians are interested in endurance riding, so I am working with Catelyn O'Reardon to see if we can get a conference together in time. Catelyn was the executive secretary for the Great American Horse Race from Syracuse, N.Y. to Sacramento, California in 1976, when I was the international coordinator. So, we are going to see what we can arrange in the Middle East with veterinarians and some top, experienced riders from the US and Europe, to join together, rather than competing. Each team of three to be composed of two Arabs from TWO different countries with an experienced endurance rider from either Europe, or the US
It's a great Animal Ambassador project which could result in opening many new doors towards understanding and cross-cultural pollination.
LindaTellington-Jones from Fayence, France
1991 Green Chimneys
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International Vol 11 No 3 Pp.6-7
For three years I have promised Dr. Sam Ross that I would make it to Green Chimneys to share the Animal Ambassadors International® and TTEAM work with his children. Dr. Ross and his wife, Myra, run the most wonderful organization just north of New York City which is a farm school for children with learning and behavioral disabilities who come mostly from the inner cities. They have a really large staff and about 130 acres on the farm that I visited plus other homes for adults.
This visit was organized thanks to TTEAM practitioner Marnie Reeder who met Myra Ross at the Delta Society co-sponsored Human/Animal Bond Conference in Saskatchewan this May. Since I was teaching the advanced training in Wyoming, I asked Marnie to represent Animal Ambassadors International®, which she did and really connected with Myra at the conference. Marnie had originally planned to come with me but at the last minute could not make it.
I began by working with about seventy children between the ages of seven and sixteen with their teachers out on the lawn. I first worked with a fifteen year old Scotty dog of Dr. Ross’s who is somehow managing to hang on in his little body. He looks almost as though someone winds him up in the morning and he stiffly goes on his rounds of inspection of all the children. I worked on his ears and did little python lifts on his legs which are quite stiff and arthritic and showed the children how they could gently work on him. Later I saw three of the children sitting very quietly with him doing tiny Raccoon circles all over his little body.
I also worked on their miniature pony foal up on a picnic table and asked if there were any volunteers among the children who would like to experience the various TTouches as I used them on the animals. We had a number of brave boys and girls who volunteered. Then we brought out two of the horses so that about ten children at a time could come up and practice the Clouded Leopard and Lick of the Cow's Tongue touches. Of course there were several breaks during the morning period because I kept sessions short but we finished the morning by having the children in small groups with their teachers in a circle practicing the Tarantula's Pulling the Plow and the Lick of the Cow's Tongue on each other. At lunch time in the community dining room a nine year old boy came dashing up to me and without a word reached out with a big smile on his face and did a quick circle on my arm and dashed off.
In the afternoon I worked with Dr. Ross' favorite horse who was the terror of the therapeutic riding program. He is a very strong bodied and strong minded Haflinger who had the unpleasant habit of simply taking his head away from the volunteer and marching off in the direction that interested him. He was not exactly cooperative in the riding program. I demonstrated the Elegant Elephant and some of the other ground exercises with him and then later rode him in the balance rein. He was completely different. The next day several of the children came to me and told me how proud they were that they had been able to lead him with the wand and chain without him dragging them around and he seemed very cooperative and happy.
Several Vietnamese pot bellied pigs reside at Green Chimneys. Due to lack of time they had not been handled and consistently squealed and screamed when approached to be moved from place to place. By working them with the wands from about a three foot distance I was able to quiet them and keep a contact. I am looking forward to hearing how their instructors manage to carry on with the pigs.
Another highlight of my visit was working with three young nine year old boys with a Scotch Highland yearling heifer, who is supposed to be show able but couldn't be led. She was described by the boys as being mean and wild. I first observed them working with her and then showed them how to quietly do the circles on her head and her horns and up and down her legs. When we went to lead her which I was told was impossible, I discovered that the calf halter they had on her was really uncomfortable. They had a chain under her chin and when she would pull it would hurt her and the halter would twist around and dig into her. I tied the halter under the chin with some twine and put the chain over the nose as we usually do with the horse and attached a second rope on the other side. Between the wands and the Homing Pigeon position we were able to lead her in and out several times without difficulty.
The boys were really pleased and empowered by their success and by the fact that the heifer was no longer afraid. I love the picture of the one little boy stroking her legs with the two wands. Normally she kicked and wouldn't allow them to touch her legs.
Martha Jordan, Sally Morgan and Carly Buckley came to observe and assist with the children. Martha got some really nice shots of the interaction. I had another small therapeutic riding group with four adolescent boys, one of whom does not like the pony he rides because she attempts to bite him on the foot every time he is in the saddle. I had the children work on her body and on her face and ears. For the first time she did not put her ears back and attempt to bite him when he rode her.
1990 TTouch for Developmentally Delayed Students
by TTEAM Practitioner Jan Snowden
TTEAM News International Back Issues, 1990 Pp. 91-92
TTEAM Practitioner and Educator Erika Hull works with a class of Developmentally Delayed students (12 -21) in Bracebridge, Ontario. She has taken a number of week-long TTEAM Trainings with Linda Tellington-Jones and Robyn Hood. She also owns and rides two horses and has a dog and two cats.
About 8 years ago, first used the Tellington TTouch on one student who was totally out of control - the student was screaming and could not sit or stand. In "self defense" Erika did a few light-pressured Clouded Leopard circles and the screaming eased while Erika was doing the circles. Since that time, the use of TTouch in her classroom has become, in her words, "a way of being" that is integrated into the rest of her teaching. However, with some students, she may spend a little more time to deal with specific problems.
In January, 1990 I visited Erika to observe, video, and write about some of these special cases, so that they could be shared at the first Tellington TTouch Workshop for Humans held at Esalen Institute in February 1990.
David (not his real name)
He came to Erika's class at the age of 12 years suffering from Cerebral Palsy. At that time, he was violent and disruptive. He had no friends, did not talk, did no work, and had to wear diapers. His head moved constantly, he could not see anything, and was unable to focus. Go could not straighten his arms, and they were always on his chest. He was unable to feel heat, cold or pain.
Erika told him that if he wanted to remain in her classroom, he had to be smart like everyone else, and that his brain was the boss. She began TTouch by working on his arms and hands with the Clouded Leopard, doing Noah's March down both arms, and telling him that he had a telephone connection from the brain to his fingers. This was the "beginning of a new life" as Erika puts it, "he began to get an idea of where his body was".
Two years ago, a hamstring operation was done and his legs were in full casts (from the hip to the toes). His mother was told by the doctors that he would never have sensation or movement in the toes. Erika did Clouded Leopard and Raccoon circles on his toes, working on him for about 20 minutes each day for six weeks while he was in the casts. After the casts were removed, she did circles over the feet and legs. To help him stand, she put his feet in high ski boots. She used the wand to direct the brain signal from the head to the foot, and he is now able to wiggle his toes. He is also able to stand without the ski boots and instead of 100% of his weight on the heels, it's now 60% on the heels and 40% on the toes. He is now able to walk without assistance. By doing TTouch down the outside of the leg David is beginning to be able to turn his feet straighter (instead of out), and is able to walk backwards.
To assist David with his writing and improve his eyesight, Erika did TTouch circles on David's temples. He has learned his letters and numbers, and is now able to write them. He has become very social, has many friends, and can have a sensible conversation with people. He can dress himself, is able to use a urinal, and doesn't wear diapers any more. During the TTouch work, a great deal of emphasis was placed on breathing - because the breathing helps to "unfreeze the neural impulses that direct the muscles". Erika says that David is now one of her host students.
She has been in Erika'a Class for 1 & 1/2 years. It the beginning she had no speech, and had so little strength or balance that she was unable to got on the school bus. Her speech problem was related to an inability to take air into the lungs. She was unable to rotate her spine, which interfered with her washroom activities . TTouch was done on her feet and legs to improve their strength and she is now able to get on a ladder.
When first TTouched on the back, 4 months ago, Tara gasped, due to extreme sensitivity probably caused by inflammation of nerve endings. Very light Python Lifts and Raccoon touches were done all over her back to help improve her breathing and enable her to rotate her spine. Tara can now be TTouched all over her back with the Abalone without feeling any discomfort and can use the washroom. Her parents are very pleased with the changes in her.
Bill was expelled from every school and every school bus due to violent behavior. (e.g. throwing a VCR through the window). His Ontario Student Record is 1" thick with incidents. He was placed in Erika's class in November 89. At the beginning, Erika did not use the TTouch on him, but she used the TTEAM Philosophy of offering alternatives instead of force, as she had learned in TTEAM horse clinic. Whenever force, (in the form of coercion) had been used with Bill, he had exploded (as some horses will). When offered alternatives, he began to be able to cope.
More recently (March, 90) Erika began doing the Python and Butterfly on his arms and hands (his hand would shake,, and he had difficulty writing. She also used Tarantulas Pulling the Plow and Lick of the Cow's Tongue on his back; sometimes she only does Noah's March. If Bill receives some TTouch twice a day, his behavior is acceptable, and he is beginning to be helpful with other students. It seems that Bill possibly suffers from the opposite of tactile defensiveness - he becomes sick if he is not TTouched. When he first came to the class, he could not use the computer with his hands, but would use his nose instead. In March, he began to use the computer with his hands. When the TTouch is done on his arm and hand, he will write. He was not able to do this six months ago.
Erika continues to integrate the TTEAM philosophy and TTouching her students. She has also maintained a delightful sense of humor as she works in situations which can be stressful.
1990 TTEAM and Special Education
by Bonnie Lieuwen
TTEAM News International October, 1989 Vol 9 No 3 Pp. 21-23
Bonnie Lieuwen of College Station, Texas attended a workshop with TTEAM Instructor, Copper Love who encouraged her to write about how she had been using TTEAM in her special education classroom.
FOCUS: As a special education teacher I am most concerned with my students increasing their focusing skills. As we all know, if a person can focus & concentrate their focusing skills then they can expand academically, emotionally, socially, and physically. Sort of like a snowball effect, expanding in their skills, independence, and self-esteem. In my thirteen years of experience, this was the first year that I taught at the elementary age level (ages six - ten). Due to the students' handicaps, young ages, and extreme amount of energy, focusing was not one of their strong qualities. I tried many different techniques to increase their focusing skills with very little growth for the effort that was expended. It was not until I began using some TTEAM techniques that I started to see notable growth.
Other areas that I saw results from using TTEAM with the students were: body-awareness/use/carriage, relaxation, and decrease in hyperactive behavior. Increase in socialization, increase in behavioral self-control, increased awareness of self, others, and the environment, increase of following directions skills, decrease in aggressive behaviors, increase of willingness and enjoyment of being touched and touching others, the skill of waiting, increased feelings of acceptance, increased feelings of bonding and trust between student and teacher, and more I'm sure.
In special education there are so many variables and different specialists that work with these children (speech, adaptive p.e., physical/occupational therapists, counselors) and everyone has good input into the growth of these children. It is always difficult to pinpoint the most effective techniques and many times it is a combinations of everyone's input. But I do know that when I began using TTEAM, I began seeing exciting changes and other people (plus parents) were reporting these changes too. I will not be working with these students next year so I will have no idea of the lasting effects in their growth. Please remember these are only my observations and feelings. It is my gut feeling that TTEAM had a crucial positive effect on these children.
In the following paragraphs I will briefly tell you about the TTEAM activities and adaptations I used and the five students that received the most TTEAM energy. The time span was about two months, but not on a daily basis. In fact I found myself becoming very frustrated that I did not have the time I wanted to spend doing TTEAM. I saw the benefits and ached with the thought "if I only had more time to spend individually with each student".
In a school setting I thought it might look odd to use my horse wand so I substituted the wand with a drum major's baton. I found it worked well because it has the two white rubber ends and I could remind the kids to look (focus) at the white tips (we called then marshmallows). There are many stick things that would work well (is conductor baton, a painted stick, etc.) I just happened to have the baton.
With the baton we did:
- open the gate
- walk, turns, backward walk, run
- wave to stop
* this was especially for "J" who I will tell you about later.
Obstacles: I used sticks that were about 6 ft. by 1 inch (they were light weight and easy to arrange).
- Labyrinth (varying the pattern)
- cavaletti (arranged at different heights/ distances)
- the "pick up sticks arrangement
- a tic-tac-toe design. I would use the baton to point to a square for the student to step into, this one worked very well for teaching them to focus on where the baton point, for increasing the awareness of space and feet placement, and for waiting in one place.
- Box Lids. (I'm sure you have seen when stores cut in half, all the way around, a case of canned soda and each box part is about 2 inches high, well that is what I used). I would arrange the boxes on the floor in varying patterns and again I used the wand to point to the box I wanted the student to step into.
* the boxes and tic-tac-toe were terrific for a group because I could direct one student and while the one student learned to wait in one space I could direct another, and so on. This really helped my students that were very compulsive in their movements, They had to think in order to control their bodies. It was a great exercise!
Labyrinth - when the students became skilled in these (in the beginning they would plow right through the sticks, absolutely no awareness of the sticks or that they were plowing through) I made the addition of two labyrinth patterns. We used chairs with wheels and without. It was really neat to see the students expand from plowing through, to thinking their own bodies through, to having enough control to push a chair through the pattern.
Flashlight - After they had learned to focus on the baton I would sometimes use a flashlight beam instead of a baton. I would turn down the lights and shine the flashlight to direct them in the obstacle patterns. This is interesting: I had used a flashlight all year hoping to increase their focusing skills, but it was not until they had learned to focus on the baton that they finally were able to truly focus on the flashlight beam.
I did not get a chance to use the following ideas but I thought they might be good.
- Rope: Take a long rope or several ropes to make varying obstacle designs.
- Tires: Substitute the large tires (used with the horses) with bicycle tires or tubes, hoola -hoops, or some other light weight circular shapes.
- Rag squares pattern.
- Pulling a wagon
- Varying the body movements through the labyrinth: while crawling, hopping and running.
And of course I used the wonderful "CIRCLES"!
Students: J., N. , K. , M. , C.
*J. (10 yrs, he has a mental retardation handicap, very hyperactive) - when J. came to
my class in late October he walked with his shoulders hunched over, head down towards the ground, and his hands hold in a wrapped position on top of his head. His body language told that he was hiding within a shell. He did not talk, he only made a very occasional vocal sound (but he had Used words occasionally throughout his life). He was shy and withdrawn socially, would not focus on anything or anyone. He would not follow directions and when he was corrected on behavior he would fall to the floor with tantruming, crying and screaming. He frequently hit peers or tried to play too aggressively. He would often, just out of the blue, take off running away from staff. He was very hyperactive and easily over excitable.
I tried many techniques to improve his posture, nothing had much effect. In the month of February I tried doing circles on his shoulders, neck, and back. These areas were extremely tight, by my feel and by his own reaction. It was interesting that while doing the circles he would lower his arms but they would return minutes after I stopped doing the circles. Daily I did circles on his shoulders, back, and neck and daily the length increased that he would leave his arms down. At the end of March, after I had attended a TTEAM clinic, I began increasing circle time/ body areas and incorporating TTEAM activities. With the increase of TTEAM I began to do, J. really improved in all areas. His major growths were truly observable by the end of May. He walked upright, hands down with only an occasional verbal reminder, he learned to walk and stop which greatly helped staff because it decreased the number of times they would have to run after him. He made great leaps in his ability to focus and attend to tasks, and he began using words to state his needs i.e. water, bathroom, ball, play, others' names, bus, etc. Socially he became more aware of those around him and he was interacting non-aggressively. At lunch time all my students had a regular education student for a lunch buddy. Each of my students would sit with their lunch buddy at the lunch buddy's class table. Daily I watched J's interactions with the lunch class/ buddy become more calm and appropriate. He became more calm/relaxed and he definitely increased his ability to follow directions and to accept correction calmly. I feel sure the TTEAM obstacle activities had a great effect on his self-control, focusing, increased awareness of' his environment, and the decrease in his compulsiveness. J. loved the circles so much that he would take my hand and show me where he wanted circles, he also would try to do circles on others. It was a total joy to watch the growth he was making.
*N. (6 yrs. mental handicap, slight degree of' cerebral palsy). M. had extreme baby behaviors: he refused to follow directions by excessive tantruming, hitting, spitting, crying, and throwing himself on the floor. He was extremely dependent on others to do things for him. Very low focusing abilities and very short attention span. When N. first came to my class in October I thought if this child learns to remain in his seat for five minutes it will be a miracle. Well N. passed that goal up by far. He made wonderful progress with a lot of physical guidance and verbal direction. He had already come a long way when I began doing TTEAM with him in the end of March. And once again I don't think it was coincidence that this student began to make progress more rapidly when I began the TTEAM. N. resisted the circles at first so I had to stick to the 'flick of the bear's paw" for the first week. After that he was very receptive to the circles and by the end of May he would ask for circles. I feel that N. made a lot of emotional progress in body awareness and use. It's as if he had discovered his body and its movements. N. also grew in independence and in following directions. I could see him improve and feel good about the TTEAM obstacles and learning these simple task directions seemed to carry over into following directions in other areas.
*K. (7 years. Learning Handicap, hyperactive). K. was my speed student. He sped through everything just to get it done. His focusing ability was very poor. K. was in my room only in the morning so the only TTEAM I did with him was the Circles and the baton, open gate, walk, stop. I feel this greatly improved his ability to slow down and to focus. I would also let K. run in a circle around me plus focus on the baton and verbal directions. This seemed to be effective in releasing his excess energy, increasing his focusing, and increasing his following direction skills. K. seemed to react to the circles very emotionally. Some days he was very resistive to the touch. He was a child that did not feel comfortable with touch. Several times after I began circles on him he would have crying episodes (not within the circle session, but at later times). I took the circles very slowly with K. in case they were causing the crying. In time he became more receptive to the circles and the crying episodes ceased.
*M. (10 yrs., Mental retardation handicap, very cerebral palsy, Used a walker to walk). M. came to my class the last month of school so he did not participate in a lot of' TTEAM. I observed some progress that I feel was a result of TTEAM. M. was not happy in our class when he first came. He had recently moved from another town where he was very happy in his class. I feel the circles helped him feel more trusting and bonded in our class at a more rapid speed than he would have without the circles.
*C. (9 yrs., regular education. student that was placed in my classroom due to severe emotional and aggressive outbursts within his regular classroom. C. is very intelligent, creative, and sensitive.) A teacher's aide worked with him in a partitioned off area of my classroom. I worked with him for 30 minutes a day. We worked on social/personal skills, breathing, guided imagery, and of course CIRCLES! C. loved the circles, especially on his face. He told me the circles made him feel relaxed and peaceful. We used the circles many times when he was feeling upset. Every time he would feel better and refrain from inappropriate or aggressive behavior.
I hope that I have at least been able to cover the highlights of what I feel TTEAM did for my students. I'm not sure who benefited the most from TTEAM - my students or me. I do know that now I have seen the benefits with my horses, with my students, with myself and I thank you for sharing TTEAM with the earth.
1988 A Phone Call from Moscow
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International August, 1988 Vol 8 No 3 Pp. 1-2
An Animal Ambassador connection made the front page news in Meridian, Idaho. In the last newsletter I reported that I had sent 30 letters from the school children to whom Ann Finley had taught an Animal Ambassador week-long program. The letters went to Moscow with Nancy Grahame, Assistant Director of the Institute for Soviet/American Relations, to be given to three different groups with whom I have worked in Moscow.
The problem was, however, that no answers to the letters could be sent back to the US before the end of the school year the last week of May. The Idaho children were excited about a connection with the Russians but many of them thought it improbable that they would hear anything back. Whoever would think it possible to have a Russian connection with a small town in Idaho? Ann felt it was important that we got some acknowledgment for the kids before they finished the school year. She was attending the advanced training program in Oregon with us and there were only four days left before the kids finished school for the summer.
I put on my thinking cap and called Andre Orlov in Moscow. Andre is the Russian free-lance journalist who has spent many hours showing me around Moscow and has assisted me so many times by translating for my TTEAM clinics that he often receives calls for help with horse problems when I'm not there although he has no other connection with horses. He is responsible for introducing me to the Club Healthy Family back in 1985 and interpreted for me the first time I conducted an Animal Ambassador program in Gorky Park. Andre also created the TTEAM logo - the flying horse with a hand for a wing.
Well, I called Andre and asked him if he could meet with the Club Healthy Family, or one of his other school clubs, in time to give them the letters from the Idaho school children and have them draft a telex to the American kids assuring them that their letters and drawings had been received and that replies would be waiting for them in September when they returned to school.
Andre said he would go one better. That he would meet with a group of children - tell them about the Animal Ambassador program and give them the letters and then telephone the Idaho class the day before school ended. We only had to set up an agreed upon time for them to receive his phone call. Ann called the Idaho school and we agreed upon 10:30 A.M., which was 8:30 P.M. in Moscow. The Idaho teachers were warned that it could take some time to get through by telephone, particularly since it was the week before the Soviet/American summit meeting with Reagan and Gorbechav in Moscow.
Ann and I were waiting on pins and needles on Thursday morning. Sure enough the call came through, and everyone in the whole school heard a 30 minute conversation with a Russian talking to several of the teachers and kids. The local phone company had wired all the classrooms so the kids could hear the conversation over loudspeakers. The local TV station televised the kids waiting excitedly for 45 minutes since the phone lines between the US and the USSR were so blocked with summit business.
The call was a great success and was reported on the front page of the local paper next to the summit news. It was great for me too, because when Ann started teaching the program in Idaho she felt great about the results of teaching the kids the TTEAM work but couldn't see how the Soviet/American exchange could ever work. It was too much of a dream. I had no idea when this phase would materialize but I just kept trusting that when the time was right it would. The following is a letter which Nancy Grahame brought back with her and translated for us.
To Adam Nimmo 1327 W. Carlton Meridian, Id. 83642
My dear friend Adam,
My came is Anya. I live in Moscow. I was very happy when I received your letter. I don't know English yet, so my papa translated your letter for me. I am very interested to find out about your life. I think that it will be interesting for you to learn about me. I am eight years old. I study in school. I finished second grade and can now read and write, and I am going into the third grade. What grade are you in? Like you, I also love animals very much. We don't have any pets at home yet, but mama and papa promised to buy me a kitten or a puppy. But I would also like to have a parrot. I love to draw, and in the fall will start attending art school. We are part of the "Healthy Family" club. In the winter we swim in an ice hole in the river, but in the summer just in the river. We go to the public steam baths and to the swimming pool.
Write me about yourself. I'll be waiting for your letter.
All the best! Anya
This letter is for me another step in the realization of the Animal Ambassador vision ? to connect children, and adults, from various countries for a better understanding between us, with the animals as a focal point.
I've had many school teachers, and TTEAM people, wanting to know bow they can teach the Animal Ambassador program in their schools. We're working on a brochure and I intend to eventually make a video. Patience, patience! The Animal Ambassador vision has been unfolding for years and has had its own rhythm since I got the first piece of the puzzle in 1969. It's fascinating to see how the parts manifest.
1988 TTEAM Gives Children Opportunities
Further Thoughts and Observations about the Opportunities that TTEAM Offers to School Children
by TTEAM Practitioner Anne Finley
TTEAM News International April, 1988 Vol 8 No 2 Pp. 1-6
When I began offering Animal Ambassadors International® educational programs in the schools, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that TTEAM was great for animals. Robyn's files burst with case histories of horses and other animals from all over the world that have been helped through TTEAM & TTouch. I also knew that many of these case histories had been submitted by people who had relatively little experience with TTEAM before they were called upon to use their skills on behalf of some animal in trouble. But these people were mature adults; often they were professionals in some field involving animals. The subtleties of TTEAM would not escape them.
It was different with children. I was confident that hands-on experience with live animals would provide motivation and self-esteem, and I hoped it would be a bridge to right-brain learning. But I was totally unprepared for what was to happen.
"Andy would carry the cat around upside down by the tail. I didn't like it, but I didn't know what to do about it. Then this week I noticed a big change in his attitude. He's more considerate. I'm very pleased."
This comment from Andy's father at an elementary school "Parents Night", after I had been doing a TTEAM-Animal Ambassadors International® educational program that had already run four days of a week-long unit, was one of the first hints I had that TTEAM for children is a two-way street. The benefits flow both ways. The feeling for animals that can come with actually doing the TTouch on a live animal opens up doors for some children. They begin to think in a new way that is more responsive and more caring. Many children have this natural ability within themselves, and it is wonderful to see it awakened in a child.
The key is that it happens without fuss, without preaching. The child just has a new awareness, an added element that changes the way in which he perceives the world. In some children, that is going to make a difference, as it did for Andy.
The first educational programs that I was invited to do were with children in Special Educations. As I understand it, these are children who are considered educable, but they do not learn up to their potential. Emotional and/or physical problems may be holding them back. They may be hyperactive and disruptive. Some are gifted, artistic and imaginative, but unresponsive to the left-brain learning approach favored in most schools. Some Special Ed children score high in I.Q. tests and some don't; but they are all lumped together bottom percentile and an enormous amount of effort is expended in trying to solve their problems.
If I'd had a choice, I probably would have chosen to work with mainstream classrooms or children in the Gifted and Talented programs in preference to Special Ed. However, as it turned out, that probably would have been a mistake. Each child in Special Ed is there because he or she has some kind of a problem - a problem that is considered solvable or the child wouldn't be there. So, working with 40 kids, you are going to have at least 40 problems to deal with, each one different. What an incredible laboratory for TTEAM.
Following are some examples. They are not pretentious enough to be called "Case histories" because teachers do not readily disclose a child's background unless something happens, and then they tell you as little as possible, i.e.. "He's hyperactive. He probably didn't get his pill today." The names have been changed in these examples, and anything else that might identify a particular child, as in Andy's case above. But everything else is real.
I would like to begin with an experiment in poetry writing that we did in one class. This came the day after we did an Introduction to TTEAM (with stuffed toy animals) and an imaginative journey throughout animal habitats looking for a special animal that each child could choose to befriend and protect.
Animals are now used as part of the treatment protocol in a growing number of programs, according to Carolyn Reuben, health editor of the "L.A. Weekly". She cites animals as therapy for abused children, delinquents, women in prison and the elderly. For example, animals helped abused children to relax and talk about their fears.
The last thing we were thinking about in our poetry writing class was therapy. I had read a program Mann Lowenfels does to teach creativity to gifted children and thought it would adapt well to our animal program. Simplified from Lowenfels' program, its objective was to enhance creative writing skills by giving children a simple. formula to produce a poem.
We began this lesson by asking the children if any of them had tried the TTEAM circles they had learned yesterday on their pets at home. Most of them had, and a lively discussion ensued as the children reported different reactions of their pets to the circles. The teacher then used this springboard to introduce the concept of "Feelings". She wrote several different feelings on the chalkboard: happiness, sadness, etc. Then we thought of colors, places and actions that were happy, sad, etc. You put them all together with your chosen animal and you had a poem.
And what poems did we get -- from these children who don't usually give?
an orange cat
In a pumpkin patch
This is from a child who was, right then, the subject of a bitter custody fight "with many tears". Within a couple days her mother, with whom the child wanted to be, would lose the battle.
Another child from a troubled home wrote:
a brown gorilla
Who is furious
On a volcano top.
A third child who was feared in his neigh borhood because he carried a tremendous chip on his shoulder. Yet this child comes from a wonderfully supportive family. He wrote:
A gray wolf
In a den
With her puppies.
I think it might have been an eye-opener to some of the teachers that this child could write such a "peaceful" poem. He was showing a new side of his character, but he as also telling that his home life is okay.
Obviously the kids were projecting their own feelings into the animals that they wrote about. It was a safe way to tell us something about themselves. That may be very important for this group.
I believe now that a TTEAM & TTouch lesson, followed by a lesson in creative writing, may help children express themselves. If something is bothering them. They may choose to express their loneliness or rage in a poem. Children who bristle at the idea of writing a poem are sometimes more willing to do so if the poem is on behalf of their chosen animal. Of course, they can also write stories for their animal, as they do after Alexandra Kurland's presentations. It is possible that the animals, imagery and art all tap the right-brain mode, making for a learning approach that can release stress as well as enhance creativity.
"Animals can be some of our best teachers," Alexandra Kurland tells her audience of school children. "Every time I do a live-animal program, I find a new reason to agree with the truth of this statement. The Tellington TTouch circles that the children do open the door."
For example, a horse must be a huge animal from the point of view of a child who may never have touched a horse before. My mare, Starlite, is actually on the small side, less than 15 hands. She is 26 years old, which means that she does not move around very much. She is very pretty, with dark glowing eyes set wide apart, and a white snip and star on her kindly face. Furthermore, she just loves having TTEAM done on her. At home she has been known to "wait in line" for her turn while I'm working on another horse.
When I take her to a school, I load a portable corral on one side of my stock trailer. Starlite goes into the other aide and Lad, a dog rides in the back of the pickup. The corral is to keep the children out rather than the horse in. Some children are fearless and eager to make contact with the horse. The corral helps teachers keep them in line by setting a boundary. It also frees Starlite's head while I am working.
The children enter the corral one at a time to work on the horse. I demonstrate a particular touch, such as Raccoon circles on the ears, first getting the horse to lower her head. Then a child is invited to come into the corral and do the same thing. Most of the children love it. Their eyes are shining and they try so hard to do the TTouch exactly right. I am usually at Starlite's neck, with my arm under her neck, and I can feel her response to the children's TTouch. It is fascinating, because she seems to feel some children's hands much more than others. She will lower her head into my arm in utmost bliss. None of the children has ever frightened her or made her unhappy. It is just that some seem to reach her more.
I think a horse is the most wonderful animal teacher. Maybe it's the size that commands respect. Perhaps it in because TTEAM was originally developed for horses. The good thing is that even if a child is a little bit afraid, using the TTEAM & TTouch the child has something definite to do rather than just pet the horse and thereby, a different type of learning situation is set up. Usually the fear soon vanishes and the child is elated, with a real sense of accomplishment. Starlite feels that she knows she has given the child that good feeling. Merely petting the horse would not get the same results.
Of course, I give the bolder children a little more challenging circles than I do the shy ones. And herein lies a tale.
Bobbie was good looking, disruptive and proud. He began my day making obscene circles on his stuffed toy animal; his next move was to beat on the kids next to him. He flatly refused to do anything I asked of him and spent his time trying to make the other kids laugh -- at my expense if he could. I felt that this was not hatred but a challenge. There is a difference. I learned that Bobbie was usually taught one-on-one (that is, by himself with no other children present) and that it was only on the occasion of my visit that it was thought he might join the others. I wanted to say, "thanks a lot".
Usually with a week-long program I try to bring the horse on the first or second day. But a snowstorm delayed the live animal-presentation until Thursday. By Wednesday, Bobbie was intolerable. I went to bed that night having visions of him jumping on Starlite's back, hurtling the corral and riding off into the sunset.
Actually, the next day he was pretty good. He hung on the corral with the other kids (they were allowed to stand on the first rail), raising his hand and shouting "Me" whenever someone was chosen to enter the corral. I had not worked the inside of a horse's mouth in demonstrations before, partly because Starlite doesn't like it that much, but today I did. I played the piano on her tongue. I could bear the deafening silence behind me, no "Me! Me! Me!" for this one. I did hear Bobbie say, "I'm not gonna do that!" I drew the suspense out as long as I dared and then called, "Bobbie!"
To his credit, he walked into the corral without a word. I let him suffer a moment longer and then asked him if he would like to do "Tarantula Pulling A Plow" on Starlite's back. He never said a word, and I have never seen a more focused kid. And boy, did that tarantula pull that plow! Starlite's neck sank happily into the crook of my arm.
The next day the teacher's aide who had been working with Bobbie popped out of the room, eyes wide. "He sat still for an hour! He even did his work!
Of course this was just one day in the life of this child. And we don't know quite why he was affected in this way. For some thing permanent to happen, a much more imaginative, ongoing program would have to be tried. Actually, Marie Luise van der Sode has done a six-month residential program in Europe at a Youth Farm for troubled teenage girls. She reported that some of the girls who were unpopular on account of being aggressive became easier to get along with (and more popular) after learning TTEAM. The work with the animals had taught them an alternative way of being.
Very few children have been too frightened to touch the horse and the dog. Of more than 200 children, I think only four or perhaps five hung back. One boy, Cody (the only boy who showed apprehension), conquered his fear and did very nice circles on both Starlite and Lad.
At the end of the week, the children spoke of their chosen animals in front of their classmates and other classes, and were awarded with Animal Ambassador certificates. Cody decided he couldn't do this. Cody was part of a group of mixed Special Ed and Gifted-and-Talented. The purpose of putting these two groups together was to raise the prestige and self-esteem of the slower group, to make it easier for them to leave their classrooms each day for Special Ed. Another purpose was to teach the advanced kids to share and care.
Cody agreed to let one of the advanced children read his speech for him while he stood next to the other child, holding a picture of his animal. So the advanced child practiced two speeches. Just as everyone got up to leave the room, Cody said, "I think I can do my own."
The teacher asked, "What do the rest of you kids think? Do you think Cody can do it?"
One of the advanced children started a cheer, and every child in the room took it up: "Go, Cody, Go!
Cody did give his speech, and he didn't do it too badly. As we left the other classroom, I told him, "You were brave."
He grinned one of those tooth-gaped eight-year-old grins. "Yeah, but I liked it a whole lot better being brave with the horse."
These speeches that the kids gave when they received their AAI Certificates were an exciting part of the program. One parent made the trip down to the school twice for her son's five-minute program. It was great that she was a devoted mother to do that for her son, and it also gives an indication of how much this program meant to the children. Non-readers started asking for more animal books to read. One gifted boy elected to memorize his speech, when he could have read it. Then others wanted to memorize. Another child (in Special Ed) elected to redo her project the week after I left. So there were just lots of indications that we were motivating these children.
I've found that dogs have different reasons to teach than horses. For example, Lad, Starlite's ambassador, treats each child as an individual. He'll offer a paw to one, try to lick another's face (just one lick per child), touch another's hand with his nose (one touch). Eddie, a smart, aggressive boy, was determined to make Lad shake hands with him. Before I could stop him he reached out and pumped Lad's paw. Immediately the magic left. Lad didn't exactly turn into a pumpkin, but he lost confidence for a little bit. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn myself and to explain to the children that one big part of communicating with animals is to watch and listen for the signals they give you. Of course this can be a step toward learning how to communicate more sensitively with people.
Incidentally, when I began these programs, I felt that learning care and consideration for animals could be a step toward learning care and consideration for other people. A psychologist pointed out that such was not always the case. Some people who relate well to animals do not always relate well to human beings. The animal in this type of situation are a social crutch.
Frank was a child like that. He had a brilliant mind, four pets at home, and he knew more about some kinds of wild animals than I did. He did a super job with the horse. He was wonderful with Lad. But his teacher said that be was verbally abusive to other children, with sexual connotations.
We tried to provide Frank with an alternative way of being by encouraging him to share his tremendous fund of knowledge of animals in the classroom. Understandably, the other children weren't really crazy about Frank, but by the end of the week he was providing other children with information about the animals they had chosen, and starting some interesting discussions. So in this way the animals he loves could be a bridge rather than a crutch.
When you do TTEAM it is like dropping a pebble in a pond. There is a saying that the ripples will eventually be felt on the farthest star. Lad was a dog I borrowed from a mountain man who was not known for his kindness to dogs. Since I have been using Lad for TTEAM work this man's natural kindness has surfaced. He just had never seen dogs as feeling, hurting beings before. They were curs to be yelled at and cowed into submissive obedience. Now he talks to them.
TTEAM is fascinating because you don't know what the results will be or how far they will carry. Its therapeutic value would be somewhat different that the proven stress-reduction that comes from petting an animal. My personal feeling is that TTEAM provides an ideal whole-brain learning situation. You have much more active, focused communication than when patting an animal because you are asking a great deal more of the animal. The animal is more focused because it doesn't know exactly what will come next. Some horses in particular become quite fascinated. They are so involved and politely interested in what you are doing sometimes it is almost comical.
But while you and the animal are focused, you are also very much aware of your surroundings. You have to be aware when working with a horse. An element of personal safety in involved and a sense of where you are in space is a necessity. Thoughts and movements become more precise and clear with experience.
Experiments have suggested that babies learn beat when they are relaxed, happy and alert. I see no reason to believe that animals don't learn the same way, and human beings of whatever age. TTEAM helps to promote this state where learning can happen.
This spring I am offering a follow-up program directed toward the intentional aspect of Animal Ambassadors International®. This program takes 1-2 hours. Children are introduced to the culture of a foreign country. They write letters about themselves and their pets, or stories about a favorite any species, to be shared with children in the other country.
Regards, Ann Finley
1988 The Animal Council
by Linda Tellington Jones
This report comes to you direct from the Animal Kingdom! What do I mean? Well, I had planned to write a detailed report of the Pt. Reyes week-long training, the fun, the "dolphin games" we play, the steps necessary with unusually difficult horses to make the transition from the ground exercises to riding. But I ran into blocks all day while I was writing the report. My computer disk was full. Then I couldn't find an empty disk. My printer started printing some strange computer language that not even my brilliant sister could have figured out. What was going on?
Well, I finally got it. You see, I have this funny connection to the animals. Often in my mind's eye - in bright daylight - not only in dream time - I get a picture of a circle of animals sitting together concentrating on sending me messages. Actually, they send them out to everyone who will listen. But I seem to have a mainline of communication to them. How lucky it's not on AT&T or the bill would be enormous!
They were telling me they wanted Animal Ambassador report printed. Ah, said I, as I finally got the message.
I've been getting this communication for many years. It was back in 1969 that it first began. I was giving a lecture on endurance riding at Prescott College to a very large audience one evening. Out of the blue, I had a feeling I should use the opportunity to begin with some inspirational words in appreciation of the gifts our horses bring to us - and of the gift of nature. I stepped out of the back door of the auditorium and spread my arms in greeting to the sinking sun, asking for some guidance.
A whole flood of information came to me but did not begin to sink into my consciousness until the drive back across the desert the following day.
What came to me was similar to a dream. I saw a whole plan similar to a blue print of my life - which would unfold over many years of my life and would include school programs and camps where animals would be the teachers to children.
There have been many steps along the way - the first one being to set off to Europe in 1974 to find out how I could create a program which would bring a special appreciation for the animals in our lives (all animals not just the horses I worked with all my life).
The second step was developing TTEAM. The third was returning from Europe in 1980 and meeting Peter Caddy from Findhorn. Peter said, "Linda, I know what your Mission is on this earth. You're here to explore the relationships between mankind and the animal kingdom."
Then came my trips to the Soviet Union and the magical, and at that time, unusual connections to grassroots citizen through the animals. The Animal Ambassador concept began to take form, and I saw the excitement it generated. Alexander Zguidy, a Russian film producer, immediately saw the possibilities and said he would like to take the idea to the U.N. Alexander and his wife, Nana, have produced over 20 award-winning motion pictures with animals as heroes. I know they also have a direct line to the council of animals who guide me.
The next steps are in process in the U.S. school systems. Alexandra Kurland in New York state and Ann Finley in Idaho are taking the program into schools. Alexandra likes to be known as the spokesperson for Kenyon, known to the world as a stuffed bear, but many of us know he's much more than that. He actually is one of the reps for the Animal Council. If you would like to get to know Kenyon better write to Bear Hollow Press, 110 Salisbury Rd., Delmar, N.T. 12054 for a copy of Teddy's To The Rescue by Alexandra Kurland - a lovely children's book.
Ann is coordinating the "Animal Ambassador research and development for schools" program. In January I organized an Animal Ambassador day for a group of 15 Russian school children who were invited to the US by Youth Ambassadors, headed by Linda and Ed Johnson. They were hosted in San Francisco by Henry Dakin of the Dakin Toy Company who makes many of the wonderful toys we use for teaching the TTouch with stuffed animals.
I invited Ann to join us for the day so she could get a connection to the Soviet Union to share with her children in Idaho. We spent the day with a 4-H group of children and their parents and teachers at Point Reyes Station, California,. The 4-H children demonstrated their animals and explained how they trained them and I gave a short demo of TTEAM. The Russian children were given honorary memberships to 4-H, and several of the Pt. Reyes 4-H'ers spoke the 4-H pledge in Russian.
I would like to share with you some of Anne's report.
1988 Animal Ambassadors International® - Pilot Program in Idaho Schools
by TTEAM Practitioner Anne Finley
I've just been through a remarkable experience. It actually began last fall, when I did a pilot program introducing Animal Ambassadors International® and TTEAM to elementary school children in my home state of Idaho. The TTEAM portion of the program was exciting and well received. We could see a wonderful thing happening -- children becoming more responsive, more caring. We did not so much teach the children as awaken something they already had within themselves, something that can be very beautiful in a child. I say "we" because it was the animals who were the teachers. The TTouch was the connection that made it possible, but I was as surprised as anyone at some of the "lessons" the animals taught us.
We also demonstrated how an Animal Ambassadors International® unit can be used to teach natural history and science. Each child chose an animal to befriend, protect, and learn more about. Many of the children also wrote a poem on behalf of their animal.
The content was rich, the program was successful -- and yet something was missing: the cross-cultural element Animal Ambassadors International® began as an international celebration of the importance or animals in our lives. Linda Tellington-Jones invited American children to send pictures of their pet to her to take to Russia. Many children responded. The pictures were displayed -- I believe in Gorky Park- and the Russians were deeply touched by this expression of friendship.
I tried to introduce an international awareness into my school program, but it just didn't have the energy of the other elements of the program. In trying to analyze it and discover what was blocking the flow I realized pretty quickly that it was myself. I could not project interest in what I knew so little about. I could not make it real for them.
Fortunately a chance came to remedy the situation a little bit. On January 5 Linda organized an Animal Ambassador day for 15 Russian children who made a whirlwind tour of the US with Youth Ambassadors. Out of this experience grew the past two days and some exciting suggestions from teachers that I can hardly wait to pass on. But first let me describe what we did and what happened.
Most of the children had had at least a brief introduction to TTEAM last fall. A few had earned Animal Ambassadors International® certificates. So it was a heartwarming reception I got from these children when I returned. The age range was 7 through 13, with most being 8 or 9. They were quite a bit younger than the Youth Ambassadors. But I was to find out they still responded to the Youth Ambassadors as one child to another.
I began by telling them about the Russian Youth Ambassadors in San Francisco. I told them everyday things, for example some of the comments the Russians had made about our food in the Youth Ambassador newspaper, "The Bridge". We looked at a globe to see what an immense country Russia is, and I talked about how the Soviet Union is actually many countries in one. We traced on the globe to find a Russian city exactly opposite us, only to find a city with a name we couldn't pronounce. After a few minutes' discussion I put on a record of Russian music -- explaining"balalaika" as best I could -- and then I taught the kids the dance the Russians had done the night of the concert at the Dakin home in San Francisco.
Fun? The teachers couldn't stand it. Soon teachers and aides -- everybody -- was whirling around. Nobody wanted to stop. The kids could do the difficult steps so easily it was amazing. We all had a grand time. This happened in class after class. In one class it was super because after we stopped the dancing one child said, "I wish we could write to some Russians. "What a lead-in. We left the Russian musician and they wrote their letters.
The next day was thrilling because the kids had been doing some thinking on their own. They wanted to know about the Russian alphabet -- why we spell their country U.S.S.R. and they write it C.C.C.P. One boy wanted to write his letter not about animals at all but about stopping nuclear warfare. I told him to give it a try if he wished, but he decided on his own that maybe his first letter should be about animals because he really had a super animal story to tell. Last fall he had adopted wolves as his totem animal and this winter he had had a chance to help a wolf. He would save nuclear disarmament for another letter.
It's important to remember that some of these letters are from kids who have never written a letter before. Many of these kids are what they used to call "under-achievers". They don't try. Well, today they tried. They tried so hard. I think they did a beautiful job. I hope it comes across how genuine and honest these letters are. The kids were not being creative, they were just being. They put their hearts into these letters and they did it in their own way, trying to be neat and readable, trying to spell the words correctly to make it easier for the Russian child who would read it. I'm not sure the Russians will understand what kind of dog a "cocker spaniel" is, but otherwise...
I wish I could put into words how important I feel this program is. These kids are not the privileged, some come to school in rags. They may never have another chance to make this connection. Yet in 10 years most of them will be voters. Will they still care about wolves and nuclear disarmament, and will they still be capable of signing "Your best friend" in a letter to an unknown Russian?
1987 The Value of TTouching Stuffed Animals
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International December, 1987 Vol 7 No 5 P. 6.
The following article appeared in Bear Tracks - The Journal of the Good Bears of the World. The article is charmingly written and presents a side of AAI which recognized animals as our friends and teachers. However the reporter failed to state why the children brought their stuffed animals to class to learn the TTouch on them. Including stuffed animals as a part of teaching the TTouch in the schools recognizes the importance of stuffed-animal-friends for children who don't have animals at home. Just because stuffed animals don't need to be fed doesn't mean they don't have individual personalities.
The idea of having a stuffed animal to demonstrate the TTouch came to me several years ago in Los Angeles when I was asked, at a social gathering, how the TTouch worked. There was no cat or dog in residence, but a lovely soft stuffed polar bear was lying on the couch. I demonstrated a few minutes of circles on him and someone said delightedly, and maybe kiddingly, "look his eyes are softening". Since that day we have had many stuffed animal volunteers. How many of you have teddies and other stuffed animals in your house?
by John Watson
In our last edition, Teddies to the Rescue by Alexandra Kurland was reviewed in the "Bears and Books" section. While it's a charming and beautiful book in and of itself, there is much more than meets the eye here! Author Alexandra Kurland has been using this book, along with her real life teddy Kenyon Bear, in a wonderful program that encourages understanding between people and animals around the world, the Animal Ambassadors International® Program.
Teddies to the Rescue tells the story of Kenyon Bear and his bear friends who live at the Shuttle Hill Herb Shop, (Alexandra notes that the bears and the herb shop are indeed, quite real.) The book, beautifully illustrated by Mark Kenyon, finds the teddies rescuing a fellow bear from a home where he is unloved. During the rescue mission real animals assist the bears in their efforts and friendships are formed.
We all know the importance of animals in our lives. Many of us find friends and teachers in our pets. From our childhood pets, we learn love, loyalty and responsibility. The Animal Ambassadors International® Program is an international cultural exchange organization whose primary goal is to celebrate the importance of animals in our lives while encouraging intercultural understanding.
Here's how it works -- school children bring their own stuffed toys to meet Kenyon Bear when he and Alexandra Kurland visit classrooms. Alexandra uses the book and the bears to guide the children through the story telling process. Kenyon takes the children to many lands where different animals are met through the children's own imaginations. The children ask each animal if they have any stories, words or songs for them. By the end of the session each child has his/her own special animal friend.
"I end by telling them that their animals would always be with them to tell them stories," says Alexandra. "All they had to do was listen." She adds that there is something the children can then do for their animal friends. "Many of the animals who come to us need our protection. They're having a tough time surviving, and one way we can help them is by learning more about them." She then asks each child to read a book about the animal who came to them.
Kenyon Bear acts as a story collector for the Animal Ambassadors International® Program. There are story collectors in other parts of the world. The all collect animal stories. So, Alexandra asks the children to send in the stories that their animal friends have shared with them to Kenyon at the herb shop. Kenyon then sends each child an Animal Ambassadors International® Certificate.
The stories are then sent on to Animal Ambassadors International® headquarters in San Francisco where they are compiled into newsletter form and sent to children participating in similar programs as far away as Australia and the Soviet Union! Stories from the children overseas are sent back to San Francisco to be shared with the American students. Thus, not only are stories and information exchanged, but an international goodwill link is made between children of many countries.
Alexandra adds that the program is not limited to school groups. "Anyone who loves animals can join in the sharing," she says. In fact, wouldn't our own Good Bear Dens be just the perfect type of folks to join in? "Bear Dens could spend a wonderful evening telling animal stories which could then be compiled and sent on the Animal Ambassadors International®," says Alexandra. We couldn't agree more, Alexandra and we'd love to hear from any of our dens or bears-at-large who decide to participate. We would love to have our Good Bear Dens associated with such a worthwhile project.
Toddies to the Rescue may be ordered from Bear Hollow Press, 110 Salisbury Road, Delmar, N.Y. 12051$. The cost is $11.95 hardcover plus $2.00 for handling and shipping.
Reprinted with permission.
1987 Animal Ambassadors International® Introduced to Elementary School Children
by Ann Finley
TTEAM News International December, 1987 Vol 7 No 5 Pp. 5-6
I want to share some of my experiences of the last few weeks: introducing TTEAM to elementary school children. So far I've given four presentations - ranging in length from one hour to a week - to students in Grades 1 through 6. Forty-four children have earned Animal Ambassador Certificates. An additional estimated 200 have had hands-on experience doing Raccoon or Clouded Leopard circles on a horse.
Animal Ambassadors International® and TTEAM were presented to the teachers as ends in themselves and as vehicles for learning empowerment. I wanted to demonstrate that TTEAM can be more than just an interesting sidelight to a school program. It can be a valuable adjunct to the program itself.
To that end the two week-long units that we did were by far the most productive. They gave us time to set specific goals and objectives that addressed both cognitive and effective modes. For example, last week I worked with Celeste Klmerico, who has charge of her school's Gifted-and-Talented and Remedial program. One of the really exciting things Celeste wanted to do was bring these two groups of kids together in a week-long Animal Ambassador unit. One purpose for doing this was to raise the prestige and confidence of the remedial group, to make it easier for them to leave their classrooms each day for "Special Ed". Meanwhile the kids at the other end of the spectrum would be gaining practice in sharing their skills and being supportive while everyone broadened their knowledge of animals and natural history through TTEAM and an imaginative search for a special animal to befriend, protect and learn more about.
Although with each program I realize how much I have to learn. I'm excited about the programs we are doing right now as well as possibilities and plans for the future. Out of the two week-long units a workable, flexible framework has evolved that include the following components.
- Introduction to TTEAM, Animal Ambassadors International® and the stuffed toy animals on which they will learn and practice the Tellington TTouch.
- Live animal demonstration with Tehya, a horse, and Bud, a dog ? both gentle, beautiful animals who are Ambassadors to the children from the whole vast Animal Kingdom.
- An imaginary, guided tour with Linda aboard a winged horse throughout the animal habitats of the world, looking for a special animal to befriend and protect.
This journey begins at Monkey Mia, in Australia, swimming with dolphins. The children make the sound of the dolphin- breathing which they love. They journey to the California coast, where sea otters spend almost their entire lives in the surf, rocking to the music of the waves.
On the beach they meet the winged horse, first as a toy animal with wings shaped like hands; with their TTouch it becomes the magical, gentle horse who carries them to Africa, to Australia and eventually back to North America.
The drawings from my coloring book are used to give framework and focus to the imagery. Last week I ended the journey with a recording of wolf howls.
Then everyone rises from their chairs and joins hands in a Friendship Circle while they choose an animal to befriend and protect.
- Back to the left-brain mode. Over- night I have drawn a picture of each child's animal. This is not as difficult as it may sound because many children choose the same animal. Last week we had four eagles. The children use library books to research their animal's color, plus several interesting facts about the animal, which they will write down. They'll also color the animal.
- Children who complete the research may wish to write a poem about or for their animal.
- Validation: Children read their presentations before their classmates and are awarded their Certificates.
It is necessary to remember that this program must be flexible in order to meet the needs of the children with a wide range of abilities. For example, last week we had a gifted first grader, at least one hyperactive older child who usually can best be reached only on a one-to-one basis and a gifted eighth grader who chose to design her own project based on the TTEAM newsletter.
In evaluating the children's responses it is important to point out that most of the children we've worked with so far have been in remedial programs. The hyperactive children are tremendously exciting and challenging. They'll wear you out, but when a hyperactive child sits still for an hour - working on his project - you know your program has got to have some strength.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about ways in which a TTEAM-Animal Ambassador program, with additional components of art and guided imagery, can be used in a whole-brain learning approach. A lot of credit Must be given to teachers and teachers' aids, who know how to make the most of a program like this. I have learned so such from the teachers!
Every program we've done so far has served as a springboard for further activity, some initiated by the children themselves. Anne Gahley's remedial classes began asking for more animal books to read, an indication that we provided incentive to nonreaders. One child elected to redo her project. Ms. McCathryn's 'Introduction to TTEAM' was the start of a month-long Animal Unit for Second Graders. Dorabeth Adams plans to use our poetry writing venture as a start to help the children develop vocabulary and imagination in creative writing. Some of Celeste Almerico's students may bring their pets to school to give a TTEAM demonstration for the other children. Her 8th grade is working on a special project to send to Linda.
I believe the program is powered, to a great extent, by the live animal demonstration. The children appear to be positively affected by the presence of the horse. Perhaps they are awed by the horse's size. They press close to the rails of the portable corral, watching the TTouch being done on the horse. They are quick to notice the horse's every reaction. When their turn comes to enter the corral, one at a time, their eyes are shining with pride and anticipation. I am amazed and delighted at how much they have learned working with the stuffed toy animals, and at how well they remember the names of the different TTouches.
When they got to the dog there is sudden laughter. They have invented a new name: Lick of the Dog's Tongue.
I would like to conclude with a poem written by an eight year old girl on behalf of' her animal, the elephant.
Is a gray elephant
Eating in the jungle.
is a burnt umber elephant
With her calf in the rain forest.
Is a brown elephant
Asleep In the zoo.
1986 Awarding the First Animal Ambassadors International® Certificates to Russian Ambassadors
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International December, 1986 Vol 6 No 5 Pp. 3-5
One of the highlights of my October trip to Moscow was awarding the first Animal Ambassador certificates. In Moscow a translation to Russian had been prepared so I took 100 blank certificates to have them printed in Russian, but the Club Healthy Family thought it would be nicer to receive them in English. Many of the same children who participated in the very first meeting for Animal Ambassadors International® attended the gathering. I had thought I would give certificates to all the children who had chosen their animals to protect, but the club adults felt they should have to earn them and are making a proposal for me to consider on my next trip.
We did agree, however, that two of the children there had earned them and the first certificate was given to the 10 year old boy who had chosen a type of tiny snail to protect. His sister received the second certificate, and interestingly enough had chosen horses as her animal.
I was so pleased to show the certificates to our American Ambassadors in Moscow, Arthur and Donne Hartman, who have followed the unfolding of the concept since the beginning. Ambassador Hartman was very pleased with the name Animal Ambassadors. He chose the fox as his animal (one of my totems, as those of you who have seen my fox ring know) and Donna Hartman chose the bear.
At the meeting I had with the Club Healthy Family one of the adults, who is a teacher, asked some important philosophical questions about animals. "What should a child do if they find a stray or injured animal on the street?" I was reluctant to give an answer without more thought so I answered that it was a question which needed consideration. On Friday afternoon I taped an answer to be translated for their club.
I find it always best for me to answer from a personal base of experience instead of from the theoretical. I often see stray animals on the streets and have no opportunity to them with me. To turn away and ignore them would be a way of protecting my feelings of helplessness or sorrow, but I do not think that is a good idea. That kind of reaction tends to harden our hearts. I like to take some minutes of my time and sit and visit with them. It may mean momentary pain, but then that is a part of the path to appreciation of joy.
I have been greatly influenced by the philosophy of The Little Prince who advises that it is much better to have a friend and leave him than to never have experienced that connection. Khahil Gibran's chapter on Sorrow and Joy has influenced the past 25 years of my Life. As I remember it, "The self-same well from which your sorrow flows, will also flow your joy." When I read these words during a very challenging time in my life I was exhilarated. "Come on tears," thought I. "The more sorrow I experience, the deeper this well will some day be filled with joy."
I have not been disappointed. Realizing that an experience that may hold sadness can also nurture appreciation of Joy is a gift worth receiving.
The image of a small dog on a cold night in Tblisi, Georgia in the southern part of the USSR, often finds its way into my mind. I saw her huddled up on a piece of newspaper late one night as I was returning by foot to my hotel. I squatted an the deserted, windy street and visited for a long while ? gently working on her ears, talking to her and doing the TTouch over her whole body to strengthen our connection and companionship. I wrestled with the possibility of taking her with me somehow ? considered the difficulties of getting her veterinary papers through friends in Moscow and realized it was impossible for me to keep her since I am on the road constantly. I mentally flipped through the names of friends who might be willing to adopt a Russian animal ambassador.
The difficulties finally became too obvious and I resigned myself to simply enjoying our camaraderie. I think of her frequently and send her my love through thought-form. I can be as strong a connection as a physical touch, with practice.
1985 Animal Ambassadors International® to UNICEF
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International May, 1985 Vol 5 No 2 Pp. 13-14
It's only been nine months since I conceived the idea of Animal Ambassadors International® sitting in the restaurant of the Intourist Hotel in Moscow. The idea has been received with delight and wonder in Europe and North America. Delight that the importance of our animal friends be acknowledged in their role of bridging communication and under standing with the people of the Soviet Union, and wonder that this communication is even possible.
I had dinner with Alexander and Nana Zguridy in Moscow. We had met on the last trip and had exchanged Christmas cards and postcards. They are film producers of major motion pictures with animals and could be called the "Disneys of the Soviet Union." We watched the San Diego Zoo video of me working on Louis, the two month old orangutan, and they read the Animal Ambassador proposal in the February newsletter. We were all so excited about the catalytic affect of our meeting and our common vision of the importance of animals in our lives that we didn't want to part at midnight and could hardly sleep. The next day Alexander called me to say that we must meet again to discuss the idea further and so that I view one of his films. The next afternoon I saw the film at the Soviet Film Makers' Union. It was a lovely film based on a true story of a famous trotting horse. The horses spoke to each other when there were no humans around.
Alexander is 82 years old and highly respected. He and Nana work together on the films, both sharing equal title credits on film titles. They are a wonderful TTEAM. Alexander said that he would like to present the idea of Animal Ambassadors International® in a speech to UNICEF which he is delivering in July in Italy. They are both excited about making Animal Ambassadors International® official in the Soviet Union and having the concept supported by some of their leading poets and others who realized the importance of animals in our lives as well as interested in the connections for peace.
So many other exciting things happened on my 18 days in Moscow, and my perceptions continue to change and expand. I worked two times at the old Moscow Circus with the veterinarian who participated in the TTEAM training each day. The two articles which Andre Orlov wrote about my work for Moscow newspapers, Izvestia and Moscow News, are posted on the bulletin board at the entrance to the National Horse Museum ? a nice connection to my grandfather's horse work in Moscow from 1902-1905. I met with a film maker who has dedicated his life to recording the sacred ceremonies of the native peoples of the northern USSR and was fascinated by how some of the stories about their communication with animals corresponded with my "messages" which I receive from the various kingdoms.
It has only been one year this month since I had the vision of taking the TTEAM work to the Soviet Union to share. The bridging which has occurred has opened doors to many new perceptions on both ends of the bridge. I have now been officially invited by the director of the Bitsa Olympic Horse Union Complex to continue teaching TTEAM work in programs planned for the next year. It gives me an indescribable feeling of appreciation and joy to see the vision expand and unfold ? and a great appreciation for all of the TTEAM members for support of the vision and for spreading the understanding between humans and our animal friends.
TTEAM work is now being used in 14 countries. Between the TTEAM work and Animal Ambassadors International®, I feel that TTEAM members spreading the work are indeed taking the word to the four corners of the world. And I feel a great appreciation and feeling of Oneness with you all.
1985 Animal Ambassadors International® in Gorky Park
by Linda Tellington-Jones
TTEAM News International May, 1985 Vol 5 No 2 P. 13
I had so many highlights in this trip, I can’t say which is the highest, but the thrill of the self initiation of 150 children and adults into the Animal Ambassadors International® concept is impressed most deeply in my mind. On Sunday, April 14th, 1 gave a three hour presentation of my interspecies work to members, of all ages, of the Gorky Park Family Club. They had been well prepared for my visit by freelance journalist Andre Orlov. The month before my visit, Andre had presented the dolphin legend to the group and had them accompany the flute of Paul Winter and the howling wolves which Andre had from a personal interview with Paul in Moscow. The universe works in amazing ways. The same week that I had written my vision of the second phase of Animal Ambassadors International® - that we humans should be ambassadors for the animal kingdom and speak for them - Andre had presented the same idea in a different way to this group. He told them that American Indians in the past had chosen various animals as protection for themselves. These were their totems. Andre suggested that now we become the totems for the animals. In junior high school Andre was an Indian as part of their school function. He had an American Indian name and his class had a private, locked room which was filled with Indian artifacts and officially recognized by the teachers. Only members of the Indian counsel could enter the room and the responsibility was passed along very seriously.
That custom still exists in his school today in the central part of the USSR and I intend to take some Indian artifacts back with me to send to the school. If any of you have any Indian books or other material you'd like to send with me to Moscow in July, it would make a wonderful connection.
In my presentation I led the group in doing the Touch on each other. Since this was not a horse group, each person being worked on decided what kind of an animal he or she would be. I also shared the idea of Animal Ambassadors International® and we all closed our eyes and did a dolphin breathing meditation together during which each person chose an animal that they would like to protect. We shared animals and one six-year old asked if I thought a type of minute snail was important enough and if so, how could he do the Touch on it. I said small beings are as important as the large ones. You can touch these snails with your mind'.
I wore my Indian ceremonial dress and of course shared with them that I am adopted Cherokee Indian, having felt the spirit of an Indian in me all my life. Andre translated the messages from Orca whales which I received last year. Because he has written so much about my work in the Soviet media, he knows the whale messages almost as well as I do. There was an easy feeling of flow as though the translation was almost a non-verbal communication with the group.
I finished my presentation by reading an Indian 'give-away' poem. During the reading everyone closed their eyes and I had them visualize that they were American Indians sitting on the central plains 100 years ago - feeling the whisper of the wind stirring the grass and their hair - feeling the rhythmical breathing of Mother Earth under their haunches as they say upon her - feeling the stirrings of memory in their beings of that American Indian connection to the forefathers who came across the Bering Strait from Siberia many generations ago. Our connections were very powerful and Andre is translating the poem to Russian.
1984 The Early Days of Animal Ambassadors International®
In July, 1984 Linda Tellington-Jones was inspired to visit the Soviet Union to see if she could make connections directly with Soviet citizens by sharing the Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method. When doors began opening through the horse and zoo connections, Linda realized the unique value of the animals as connectors. The Animal Ambassadors International® project was conceived as a result of this bridging.
In the TTEAM newsletter she suggested to TTEAM club members who were interested in world peace that they write letters. These would be taken to horse people in Moscow. The letters should include a photo of a favorite "animal ambassador." In North America and Europe the idea was greeted with enthusiasm and, wonder of wonders, it was actually possible to make contact with Soviet citizens and that the connections came because of the animal kingdom.
In subsequent trips to Moscow the contacts expanded and strengthened. Linda demonstrated the work to several hundred riders at the Hippodrome in December of 1984.. She also taught eight Soviet veterinarians became members of the TTEAM club and use TTEAM & TTouch in their practices. In April, 1985 two American TTEAM teachers accompanied her to Moscow and assisted teaching veterinarians and the Soviet Olympic jumping TTEAM. Linda was invited by the director of the Moscow Bitsa Olympic Sports Complex to teach courses in July and December of 1985, and April of 1986.
Not only horses have been successful as animal ambassadors. In Moscow's Gorky Park on Sunday April 14, 150 children and adults joined Animal Ambassadors International® after Linda spoke of her work with zoo animals and cats and dogs. Freelance journalist Andre Orlov had organized the meeting in March when he spoke to the Gorky Park Family Club about the animal ambassadors concept. He related the American Indian custom of choosing an animal totem as a personal protector, and suggested that humans now needed to protect the animals. Humans then become ambassadors for the animal kingdom.
Part of Linda's presentation was a "dolphin breathing" session. With eyes closed, each person listened to Linda and envisioned which animal would be theirs to protect. The group then shared their experiences. One six-year old asked if Linda thought a snail was important enough and if so, how could he do the TTouch on it. Linda answered: "Small beings are as important as the large one. You can TTouch these snails with your mind." Through this mutual sharing Animal Ambassadors International® took on new form, as these 150 people of all ages joined the hundreds in other parts of the world who share this growing concept.
In April Alexander and Nana Zguridy, the "Disneys among film producers of the Soviet Union," became inspired by the Animal Ambassador concept and proposed that it be officially recognized in the USSR. Alexander planned to present the idea in his UNICEF speech in Italy in July of 1985.
The TTEAM work has been internationally recognized for many years. LTJ has a TTEAM center in Canada and in Europe. There have been several television documentaries of the work. The TTEAM newsletter is printed in three languages and is mailed to 12 countries.
Linda's vision of the work with animals has inspired TTEAM Practitioners who are also school teacher to adapt the Animal Ambassador for school children. The Animal Ambassador concept has a very solid start.
The next step of LTJ's vision was to teach the TTouch for humans in the USSR. She did the TTouch with various humans in Moscow, both in the diplomatic corps and private Soviet citizens with untreatable illnesses. Her intention was to make the work available as a means for self-help, and possibly as a part of massage training.
Linda considers the bridging work with the Soviet Union to be a most important achievement. Being a "citizen and animal ambassador" and bringing new connections between peoples is a contribution to planetary peace. Recognizing the role and importance of the animal kingdom is also essential to our survival on the planet.
This is a telescopic view of the vision for TTEAM and Animal Ambassadors International®. There are ongoing projects which have been evolving over the past years and now are in a stage of blossoming. This work brings people together with a new way of understanding and relating to the animal kingdom.