“So what’s up with her then?” I asked, after I’d settled onto a comfy chair by the fire. It was nice to settle in with old frinds – I’d been seeing their dogs for years now…
“She’s driving us crazy, barking and barking – we were up five times last night, and she’s crapping on the floor as well most nights. And she’s been funny with kids staying at the units too, she seems really, really grumpy, and hyper protective and territorial. She even snapped at her dad the other night when he was in her bed space.” They both looked at me, faces subtly creased with worry.
“Maremmas, hey?” I said with a knowing smile. “They just aren’t really genetically suited to be pets!”
“Tell me about it!” her mum said, with feeling.
“So I know she belongs to your son, and he’s moved out? What’s been happening over the last few months, and when did she get worse?”
“Well – the new baby came along a while back now, and I think she got a bit worse after that, didn’t she?” Her hubby gave a quiet nod in agreement… “Then it’s about 3-4 weeks since the three of them all moved out, and I think she’s gotten a lot worse since then. I think she was very protective of the little one, the new baby.”
“And what’s happening?”
“She’s barking in the night, going off as many as 5 or 6 times we have to come down and tell her to be quiet. And she seems very territorial – as you know we are dog-friendly here, so we have people with their dogs, and she’s been a bit funny about some of the other dogs. Not to mention growling at little kids, which is a worry. And she seems to be worse with pooing inside at night as well.”
“Yes!” her husband leapt in. “I’ve noticed that she makes a mess inside maybe half the time normally, but when her ‘owner’ is staying here she does it every night!”
“Well, for one thing, you’ve got your son’s problem here, so you need to have a good talk to him about the situation. I’ll make a few suggestions, and then I’ll do a Whole Energy Body Balance session with her. I hope that will help, but if it doesn’t, you’ll really need to consider either rehoming her into a situation that suits her better, or taking steps to ask your son to take her and deal with the problem. Maremmas are hard work, they are so deeply, genetically territorial and protective.”
“Yes, we know,” they said with a long-suffering yet fond look at the big, white, shaggy dog.
I went over and caught her. She was always a bit of a handful, she’d tried to bite me before when I had to remove ticks from her – they’d got her as an adult dog, not well trained. We had to have a bit of a discussion about life in general before I could gently persuade her to come over and stand where I was sitting. In fact it took a bit of a good-natured wrestling act from all three of us for a while before she settled (on a knife edge, instantly ready to escape if my focus slipped the tiniest bit). I held her firmly, and placed a hand over her sacrum, connecting with and channeling healing energy through my hand and into her body. After a while the tension started to ease out of her, and eventually she sat down.
“I can feel a lot of deep sadness and anger coming up to release as I’m holding space for her here,” I explained. “I think all these changes, and her main owner deserting her after the stress and displacement of having the bubba come into the family have really upset her profoundly.”
I held space with her for a long time, clearing, balancing, tuning into her emotional body, helping that come back and ground, settle, smoothing the chaos back into a more balanced state.
“Ok,” I said. “I’m hoping you’ll see a good change in her, but if you don’t you’ll need to consider taking other steps. Let me know how she goes…”
We chatted away for a while about our community, life, the cold and crispy mornings we’ve been enjoying lately, and finally I said my goodbyes and rolled off down the hill in my van.
I ran into them at the markets a week later…
“Shes’ a different dog,” I was informed. “Straight after that session, she totally changed. She’s only barked once on one night since then, and she’s stopped pooing inside, and we had a family with three little kids in this week, and she was fine with them. It’s mazing the difference in her…”