Scuba Diving Taught Me How to Help Fearful Dogs

Dreaming of Scuba Diving

Nemo’s Friend

Little did I know the winter of 2015 would remind me of how to help fearful dogs.

Remember the winter of 2015 — it was cold, long, and some places dug out of lots of snow. Fortunately I could focused on warm Caribbean breezes. I was excited to scuba dive again. Time to swim with Nemo’s friend!

So get comfortable as I tell you about my adventure. It does all tie back to your wonderful pets and what I learned.

 Fifteen years ago I scuba dived in the ocean. It is very different from snorkeling, because I can go down 60 feet in the ocean. Yes, I am a certified open water diver. Last year I refreshed my skills in a Minnesota pool in the dead of winter and was ready to go. Unfortunately last year my sinuses didn’t cooperate with me.

I was determined to dive this year! We dove two days in the beautiful Caribbean.

First day was a perfect day in St. Johns.  In a wetsuit and full scuba gear, I walked across the beach and into the water. Slowly I swam following the slope of the ocean floor. I was relaxed and my breathing was slow. All I could hear was the sound of my breathing – think of Darth Vader being with you.

I was so excited because it was the first time I was totally relaxed diving. In the past I used up air quickly because of shallow, fast breathing.

I realized the years of working with your pets helped me get to this wonderful day — especially help fearful dogs.  Why you ask? I was:

·         Slowly exhaling and inhaling.

·         In the present moment.

·         Focused on the underwater world around me.

·         Observing a world that is beautiful and amazing.

The second day’s dives were very different. We boarded a small boat in Bonaire, the premiere scuba diving island in the Caribbean. Years ago the island was declared a marine preserve. The water is clear and the coral is healthy.

Imagine looking across an ocean beach or from the sky. The water is a pale, turquoise color close to shore. Then it gets dark because the ocean floor is hundreds or thousands of feet below. Okay it looks pretty from above.

The dives at Bonaire were wall dives. Imagine walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon and then you were jumping over the edge. That is what the first dive of the day felt like to me. I couldn’t even focus on the beautiful sea life on the wall.

I swam over the ocean floor and over the “wall.” It was deep blue in front of me and nothing below me except water!

I was swimming at 15 to 20 feet below the surface. Suddenly I was at the surface. John, my husband and dive buddy, was at the surface asking “Why are you here?” I said, “My fear of heights kicked in. I am not diving!” I swam to the boat.

Quickly the dive master came up from under water and asked what was going on. I repeated “My fear of heights kicked in.” He said, “Come swim with me.” And we were off.

As we approached the vertical wall, he kept me next to the wall and he swam on the other side of me. Slowly we went down to 40 feet. As we looked across the very dark blue water, we saw a huge ray in the distance. I swear the ray’s wings span was greater than my arms span. It just was gliding through the deep blue ocean.

Within 5 to 10 minutes I gave the dive master the okay sign and I joined up with John. I was calm and relaxed the rest of the dive.

Later looking back, I realized I was like a frightened dog and the dive master helped me with my fear. After all the years of working with Tellington TTouch®, I experienced the unbelievable fear and panic.  And I was helped! The tables were turned on me. The dive master reminded me how to help fearful dogs.

The dive master:

·         Kept me in an area that felt safe — next to the wall.

·         Visually made me feel safe being between the scary deep, blue ocean and me.

·         Let me adjust and relax to the situation at my speed.

·         Gradually created more space between us and moved me away from the wall.

·         Asked me with hand signals how I was doing.

·         When I signaled “okay,” he went to be with another diver.

The rest of the dive I was great. The next dive of the day I had no problems. I had gone 60 feet deep in the in the deep, blue ocean!

I want to share the feeling of diving and the beautiful world I experienced. This 5 ½ minute video (thank Mark Marriott and YouTube) shows the feeling of diving and the deep blue water.

During our dives in Bonaire, I saw a flounder in the sand – an amazing experience. Mike Endrizzi’s 2 ½ minute YouTube video shows a flounder in the first 30 seconds.  I saw many of the same fish, coral, and sea life.

Now I really understand the fear any animal experiences. I understand how working with the dog or cat where it is emotionally makes a huge difference. In less than 10 minutes my fear was put to rest.

Concerned about your fearful pet? Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with Elaine of Animal Bridges.


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