I once worked with a Great Dane who was a huge big black dog with a nervous disposition. His name was Gideon. He was a rescue dog and he was afraid of the world.
When I first met Gideon, he was shaking nervously from head to toe. He only had been with his new family for three weeks when he bit the veterinarian, the man who had placed Gideon with this family.
The bite was a total surprise. The veterinarian had just spent the evening with the family. He was heading out the door when Gideon came up behind him and bit his butt. Gideon didn’t break the skin, but he did rip the vet’s pants and he left a nasty bruise on his cheek. Everyone was worried that Gideon was too dangerous to keep.
The vet had suggested they may need to euthanize Gideon, he said this with so much sadness in his heart. Gideon was so shy and unpredictable. The vet was worried that Gideon could hurt someone without being provoked. Because the giant dog had bitten him, he felt sending him back to rescue could be dangerous. I was the giant black dog's last hope. Nobody wanted to put Gideon to sleep, but with two small children in his new family, he was a huge liability. Gideon had suffered so much, could this giant dog be saved?
When I got the call that Gideon’s life was hanging in the balance, I knew I had to try to help him. Something in my heart told me he just needed an understanding friend.
I suggested a muzzle for my first visit. If Gideon bit me, it would be a death sentence. When I arrived at the house, I could hear a big dog barking, my newest client. I knocked on the door and his owner/people nervously opened it. I could see that this dog was in the best home. There were toys everywhere. Outback in the yard I could see another Great Dane barking to come in. These people were experienced with Great Danes. When I looked at his new mom and dad in the eye I could see that they were committed to making this work. I could also feel they would do anything to save this dog’s life. Gideon was skinny and visibly very frightened. He was big and imposing, yet I could see through his vulnerability that he was crying for help. I realized I had been holding my breath. I took a deep breath and got to work.
First things first, Gideon had to be on a leash before I came in. Gideon was already muzzled as I had directed. As I walked in Gideon barked. His whole body was shaking with fear. My heart went out to him immediately. The leash was the lifeline from his new family’s heart to Gideon’s heart. It’s amazing how much a dog will feel less nervous when they are leashed. Gideon was no exception. He was still frightened and shaking, but his eyes softened. Gideon was frightened and I must admit, I was a little nervous too. I took a deep breath to calm myself and then quickly I got to work. Although Gideon was the size of a pony and he was unsettled, his soft eyes told me he was my friend. I stuffed my nerves back to where they belonged, knowing that they didn’t serve either one of us. As frightened as Gideon was, he able to look into my eyes. As we looked into each other’s eyes, I could see the comfort level was there between us. Gideon was able to talk with me right away. This was a very good sign. When I asked Gideon why he was so scared of everyone he shared with me a picture (a mental postcard) of him being locked in a kitchen. He said he was often left for many hours by himself. This new house was so different for him and he wasn’t used to being with people. In his mental postcard, Gideon showed me a wall of gates surrounding him, Gideon was afraid of baby gates. His new owners/people told me that Gideon developed an odd habit of looking at the ceiling as if it was going to fall in on him. When I asked Gideon why, he said his owner threw things at him over the gates when he barked. Gideon showed me pictures of shoes, magazines and other projectiles being launched over the gates, as the human yelled at him. He was always worried that bombs were incoming. I promised him that that nightmare was behind him. We went into the living room and I sat down on the floor. Gideon was curious about me. On leash, he was really starting to calm down. Gideon’s owners/people lovingly had him lie down. I lightly put my hands-on Gideon’s skinny rib cage. At first, Gideon winced with fear as my hand softly touched him. I told him that he was so brave. I promised I was there to help him. I could feel my hands getting warm as I shared Reiki with him. I worked carefully moving my hands across his body. I trusted my intuition to tell me where he needed to be helped energetically.
As my hands moved across his tight body I could see he was feeling better. Gideon laid his huge head on my lap and took a deep breath, then sighed. We all sighed with him. Gideon was for the first time since he joined his new family letting all the stress go and was relaxing.
When Gideon got up off the floor he gave a full-body shake. I could see years of stress being shaken off. I knew he had enough work with me for one day. I stood up. Gideon walked over to where I was standing and leaned on me. My heart was so happy! I was with Gideon for a little over an hour. I gave his family lots of homework helping Gideon to know he was safe and loved. They were to praise Gideon when he came to them. When Gideon was brave he was to receive treats. Gideon was also never to be off leash with new people in the house. The new people were also to throw Gideon treats. Most importantly his family was to help him by lightly massaging the places where Gideon was sore. I left Gideon’s family with a map of his body highlighting all the places he was hurting. After my visit to Gideon, he changed overnight. He became trusting and stopped staring at the ceiling. His face softened. His posture changed. He was able to go into a deep sleep without twitching and thrashing. Gideon also started to put weight on and he wasn’t shaking as much or as nervous. I saw Gideon three times and each time he was so much calmer. On the third visit, he got up. I thought he had had enough energy but, he circled and then curled up in my lap! I remind you he was huge! I adjusted myself to support his weight as long as I could. We all laughed, and he looked like he was in heaven. On the third and final visit, Gideon’s freckled boy who was six came up to me with a pinwheel. He looked me in the eyes and said, "Thank you for saving my dog." Then he handed me the pinwheel and hugged me with all his heart. Gideon then strolled past me and drank water out of the kitchen sink. My work was finished. ❤ Gideon fell deeply in love with his family and they fell even deeper in love with him. He lived out the rest of his life as a gentle giant embraced with love.