Pet therapy

Linden Hills resident Elaine Garley works to relieve pet fears and anxiety

July is all about fireworks, thunderstorms and road trips, which can make it a terrifying month for pets.

Whether your dog cowers under the kitchen table at the sound of a bottle rocket or leaps into the bathtub at the first sign of a storm, Linden Hills resident Elaine Garley runs a home-based business that might be able to help.

Using an increasingly popular form of pet therapy called Tellington TTouch, Garley performs a series of circular movements on pets to reduce fear and anxiety.

“(TTouch) is a combination of touch and also groundwork, which means walking the dogs through a labyrinth. Walking them through cones is another thing,” Garley said. “It’s primarily to get the animals to think.”

TTouch uses a gentle method rather than using force to train the animals, Garley said.

“I can work on all different types of animals, but (the animals) have a choice,” Garley said. “They’re never forced to do anything.”

TTouch is a method used in veterinarian offices as well. Jim Sinning, of Lake Harriet Veterinary in East Harriet, said his clinic uses Tellington TTouch on animals.

“It is pretty established. I don’t know if you’d quite call it a massage. It’s more like energy work,” Sinning said. “TTouch is definitely something to help train animals.”

Garley said she is one of about 1,400 practitioners in 26 countries around the world. The technique was started on horses more than 30 years ago.

Garley said some dogs are given the label of aggressive or reactive, when it is actually fear driving their behavior. Because of this, she uses different forms of the 20 touches involved with TTouch as well as using other tools, such as a body wrap, to help reduce their fear and anxiety.

“If you were fearful and had your elbows in and your shoulders crouched, somebody could knock you over when you just feel really tense, but when you are upright and stand up straight and are more relaxed, you can’t be knocked down as easily,” Garley said. “And so that’s what we’re doing with the dogs, helping them find their balance.”

Garley’s customers have responded with support for her work.

“I really notice a difference,” said Janelle Ranek, a resident of the CARAG neighborhood. “Just from the techniques she’s done with (my dog) and the techniques she’s given me to do.”

Garley has used the body wrap as a tool to help Ranek’s dog overcome anxiety.

“Mostly we’ve just been working on TTouch,” Ranek said. “I’ve actually been video taping some of the progress from before and how she is progressing along. It’s huge.”

But TTouch isn’t the only practice Garley is involved in. Whether you believe it or not, she said she can communicate with pets — telepathically.

“I usually sit very quietly, get myself grounded, and people send me photographs of their pets, or if they don’t have a photograph, a description like ‘it’s a German Shepherd’ with what type of markings on the face, how old it is, what sex, that type of information,” Garley said. “Then I just sit there and mentally call out to the animals and they start talking to me.”

Garley, who claims she has always been psychic, will also ask pets questions from their owners.

“It’s more just focusing in on yourself and getting calm and shutting out all distractions, she said. “And then focusing in on the animal.”

Another of Garley’s customers, Julie Roth, has a dog that panics during thunderstorms. Garley has communicated with the dog, Rosie, about the episodes, Roth said.

“With Elaine’s telepathic skills, she was able to ask Rosie about (her panicking), and at the same time, ask her if there was anything else she would like us to know,” Roth said in an e-mail interview. “Rosie explained that she would love an additional soft bed downstairs (among a few other small requests) and she also told us how much she loved being a part of our family.”

Roth said Garley translates the “feelingness” of Rosie’s communication into words for Roth’s family to understand.

“Elaine is a gentle, kind person and clearly has enormous passion for animals,” Roth said. “Our Rosie adored her immediately, sensing her good energy and compassion.”

For more information on Garley’s business Animal Bridges, go to www.animalbridges.com.