Project Description

Applied Zoopharmacognosy - rescue dog Merlin on day 1-broken toe and pellet wounds (copyright Self Selection For Animals)Applied Zoopharmacognosy - Rescue dog Merlin - sleeping after Zoopharmacognosy session (copyright Self Selection For Animals)Merlin, a five year old English Pointer was found in a terrible state. He had been shot in the face, neck and hindquarters with a shotgun, which had peppered him with lead shot. He had then been abandoned to fend for himself. He was filthy, emaciated and in a state of shock when he was rescued by an agency in Ireland and then transported to England for re-homing. After operations to remove more than forty pellets he was able to join his new family, who were made aware that further health problems may follow, owing to pellets that could not be removed due to their close proximity to nerves and blood vessels. Ten pellets could still be felt in his ears and throat area.

When I first met Merlin, the evidence of his mistreatment was clearly visible. He was terribly thin and covered in little wounds. He also had a grossly swollen toe which had been broken by two pellets. The vet feared that the toe would need to be amputated for Merlin to be able to walk normally in the future, as the bone was badly damaged and infected. Merlin responded amazingly well to Applied Zoopharmacognosy and within minutes of being offered Valerian and Hops essential oils to inhale, to help him to relax, he had clambered onto my lap and it was from this position that he enjoyed many of his self-selections. He would choose to be on my lap or his new Mum’s lap during his Zoopharmacognosy sessions and this seemed to reinforce his feelings of security and comfort, as he chose his own natural medicines to help himself return to full health. This was fantastic for Merlin and his new owner, as it quickly deepened their bond with one another, as his owner learned to understand from Merlin’s reactions to the oils, what he needed most and was then able to give him what he needed. It showed very clearly how important healing for dogs can be.

Many of Merlin’s favourite essential oils and absolutes were the oils that are often self-selected by rescue animals and those that have suffered emotional trauma, loss, anxiety and a change of circumstances. These included Valerian, Neroli, Rose Otto, Yarrow, Linden Blossom and Violet Leaf. These oils seem to help an animal to overcome any traumas they have experienced, helping them to release both the memory and the emotions associated with it. Merlin expressed this with emotional releases, such as shuddering, whining and shaking, interspersed with periods of deep sleep and relaxation over several sessions.

Merlin was desperate to lick Violet Leaf absolute and also to have it applied topically to his chest and head where he had suffered some of his worst injuries. Violet Leaf is often selected by animals who have changed homes and those who suffer from anxiety. It has pain relieving properties and is also popular with animals who are anticipating pain, such as those that fear visits to the vet or that dislike being touched if they have suffered a past abuse. In Merlin’s case he may well have been associating close human contact and touch with being hurt. Self-selecting Violet Leaf helped him to overcome this fear and he began to really trust his new owner, becoming happier with being touched where his injuries had been sustained. One amazing moment during our second session came after Merlin had licked 2.5ml of Violet Leaf. I offered Linden Blossom absolute and Yarrow for Merlin to inhale and he inhaled both, shuddered, sighed and placed his wounded paw into his owner’s hand before going deeply to sleep. This was a turning point in their relationship, as Merlin showed his total trust in his new Mum.

Please see part 2 of Merlin’s Healing Story, to learn about Merlin’s amazing recovery.