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Call Me Coinín



“Little Wolf”









Sandy Prantl

Call Me Coinín

Copyright © 2017 by Sandy Prantl

All Rights Reserved

No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any electronic system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. Brief quotations may be used in literary reviews.

Cover photo: Monty Sloan

Published by Sandra Prantl OTR/L, CST-D, LLC 

5137 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45212

513-351-0775

Dedication

To Orca: the wolf that changed everything for me. Orca called. I answered. He asked me to do things that I did not know I was capable of.

To Dr. John E. Upledger: craniosacral therapy is the cornerstone of my healing and my life’s work. I give thanks for your teachings every day. Many thousands of beings, of all walks of human and animal life owe you a debt that cannot be repaid.

To Dr. Klinghammer: Thank you for your dedication to wolves, and for the role you played in wolf research and education, and for sharing wolves with the public. Thank you for saying “yes” and allowing me to come work with “your” wolves. Thank you for your kind words during our last visit. Dr. Klinghammer could be described as a “character”. He was a professor at Purdue University, a wolf biologist and retired military man. He is known for his contributions to the fields of canid ethology and behavior. Though there is science that backs up the theory of craniosacral therapy, understanding the efficacy of the work can be a challenge to a scientific mind. On one hand, it looks like the practitioner “isn’t doing anything,” and on the other, wolves demonstrated healing and improved functioning as a result of the interventions. Dr. Klinghammer typically made some sort of disparaging remark about my work when we saw each other. He allowed me to work with the wolves because they liked it, and if nothing else it was “environmental enrichment.” Dr. Klinghammer had health challenges and experienced chronic pain. He periodically requested a treatment session. I of course, obliged. At the end of every session except for the last one he commented, “Well, I am not cured.” (Hear this in your head with a thick German accent to get the full effect.) I was packing up to leave the park one weekend, when Pat Goodman received a phone call from Dr. Klinghammer requesting that I give him a treatment. I stopped by his house, bracing myself for his usual “crusty” way of greeting me. I was taken aback when he began his session by saying “I want to tell you something. I think you are beautiful. You have a beautiful heart and a beautiful soul. I thank you for what you are doing for the wolves, and for me. I thank you.”

Table of Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Foreword

Part 1

First Things First- Introduction

Preface

January’s Promise

A Wolf Named Orca

One Thing Leads to Another

Libraries Are Dangerous Places

A Little Slow On The Uptake

Coming Home?

Orca

Part 2

Deneb

Ursa

Alyeska

Echo

Eclipse

Ylva

Fiona

Ayla

Wotan

Bicho

Dharma

Renki

Norway

Puppies!

Part 3

PTSD and Recovery

Molly

Layla

Afterword

Bibliography



Acknowledgments

There are dozens of people and animals who have in one way or another supported the wolf work and the writing of this book. I first wish to thank Orca for calling me and Dr. John E. Upledger for developing craniosacral therapy. Thanks also go to Dr.Erich Klinghammer for his role in wolf education and research, Kate Bast for encouraging me to visit a wolf sanctuary, and to Amy Beaupre, Pat Goodman, Monty Sloan, Gale Motter, Dana Dreznek, Karen Davis, Ryan Talbot and Peggy Klinghammer for your partnership in the work. A special thank you goes to Jeanette Ryman, as you have always been one of my greatest supporters from the beginning. Tom O’Dowd has contributed hundreds of hours of video tape of the treatment sessions. These videos are invaluable in the work that has evolved into teaching materials for wolves in other facilities. Additionally, there have been numerous volunteers and interns that have participated in treatment sessions over the years. I’m sorry that I don’t know your names. Laura Frank Hale connected Dorthe Rasmussen and me. In addition to being a kindred spirit and friend, Dorthe has served as my “marketing director.” Dorthe is responsible for bringing me to Norway to work with wolves there, and for connecting me with another wolf facility that led to a workshop and treatment there. I appreciate Alicia Panisiak and Monty Sloan for allowing me to stay at their home when I traveled to Wolf Park and for the wonderful meals they have shared with me. Chad Reichle has provided friendship and company on our trips to Wolf Park. Gratitude goes to Monty Sloan, Jessica Addams and Shari Jardina for photographs. Many thanks to Janelle McCord, Cynthia Allen, Blaire Richter, and Nancy Westphal for their continuous support of me, my work and for encouraging me to write this book. I thank Chris Shriver for allowing me to adopt Layla. Although this book is dedicated to the wolf work, I appreciate Kimber Hendrix for her partnership in working with the foxes. I am grateful for Terri Noftsger’s communication with Molly. Ramona Sierra and Mary Lee Brighton provided the opportunity to work with mustangs in 2001. Learning about the finely tuned reticular activating systems in the wild horses was a fundamental foundational piece of information that contributed to the success of the wolf work.

Last, but not least, I think Karen Novak, my consultant for this book. Her input and encouragement assisted me in bringing this book to fruition.

I extend a special thank you to Monty Sloan for the pictures. Thanks to him, I have thousands of photographs that capture the essence of this incredible journey, which I can now, share with you. The photos, unless otherwise noted are courtesy of Monty Sloan.



The photo of Monty with Reudi is courtesy of Shari Jardina www.wolfmountainingages.com

Foreword

In the summer of 2003, my beloved canine and Spirit companion, Reno P.A.W.S. (Peace, Adventure, Wisdom, and Spirit), transitioned from his physical time with me. Reno was a husky-wolf mix with “just enough wolf to make him interesting,” per Pat Goodman, primary animal caretaker at Wolf Park. My Great Uncle Walt shared my affinity for animals, nature, and love of the outdoors. He took me to my first visit to Wolf Park. He knew my love of wolves and wanted to cheer me. Between Reno’s passing and our visit to Wolf Park, I had a very clear dream: Reno and I were hiking in the woods. We had arrived at a very clear spot on the horizon. As we stopped for a rest, Reno’s ears were in full perk as if he heard something of significance. I turned to scan the woods and saw a wolf. The wolf’s appearance was bold and unforgettable, a memory deep in my brain.

Wolf Park, located in Battle Ground, Indiana, is open to the public. Educational programs and tours of the park are given throughout their open hours.

Uncle Walt and I watched a demonstration in the main enclosure. I wondered what it would take to be a volunteer like those on the other side of the fence. I knew it would be something I would have to earn and I knew there was something I could offer. Was it my experience with children that could bring gifts to programs at the park? My heart felt healing in this place. After the demonstration, we continued with a tour of the park. As we approached one of the smaller enclosures, I recognized this wolf, Tristan, as the one in the aforementioned dream, the memory ran to the core of my soul. The call had been heard.

I contacted Wolf Park to further inquire about volunteering. My heart felt called to be of service to this facility and recognized in giving, my grief would lift. Mind you, my intention was solely to assist with the children’s programs, and perhaps help in the gift shop. Tours were definitely not my thing. When I showed up for my orientation, I was asked by the volunteer coordinator, Dana Drenzek, now Manager of Wolf Park, “What do you do for work?” I modestly said, “I am a craniosacral therapy Practitioner, are you familiar with the work?” At that moment, I felt like a celebrity. This individual, me, who wanted to slip behind the scenes in service to others as she muddled through the grief her heart felt, was suddenly thrust into a series of questions she never expected. “Do you know Sandy?” “We have a wolf that gets craniosacral Therapy.” “Do you work with animals?” My head was spinning….little did I know that Sandy Prantl had answered a call and was working with Orca at Wolf Park. Suddenly, I sensed my reasons for being at the park were very different from what I initially imagined. No, I had never met Sandy, and she was clearly a presence important to the animals and staff. No, I didn’t know the wolves received craniosacral therapy, how blessed were they and as equally blessed the one offering it to them.

What came to unfold of my time at Wolf Park was beyond what I ever could imagine. I served as a volunteer in the gift shop. I served as a volunteer in the children’s programs. I worked alongside Sandy Prantl with the wolves utilizing our gift of craniosacral therapy, and, eventually worked as part time staff at the park in an interim position until it could be filled. My life became up close and personal with the staff, wolves, and craniosacral therapy in a realm I was honored to serve. I assisted Sandy in classes that she taught to fellow practitioners at the park and travelled to support her in her presentation at the 2005 Beyond the Dura conference where she presented to hundreds of people, the efficacy of our work. My adventures then took me to Virginia to work at Perelandra before being recruited to join the clinical staff at the world renowned Upledger Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. I continued to stay in touch with Sandy and staff members at Wolf Park and visit as time allowed.

Through the years I spent with Sandy at Wolf Park, I watched an amazing transformation of a woman living her healing story while serving her fellow kin. I am an observer. I listen. I watch. My heart knows the essence of Spirit at work. Sandy’s story is beyond a shadow of a doubt worth the read. As a fellow craniosacral therapy practitioner, I have stood witness to the stories that each individual on my table has shared. We relate, learn, grow and heal through our stories. As a close cohort of canines I know the trust and honor the wolves placed in us offering the Craniosacral work. One of my favorite authors, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., says in her book, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, “I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories…water them with your blood and tears, and your laughter till you yourself burst into bloom.” (464) Sandy Prantl has burst into bloom. Her memoirs take us on a journey of a call, a service, and a personal healing that inspires, encourages, and solidifies that there is a Divine Plan we can honor. There is healing that can take place. And, because we are all connected, our personal healing radiates into the energy field and affects others. I am honored to be a part of Sandy’ s journey. She has been a teacher, healer, and friend. I hope you find the same joy and inspiration in reading her Memoirs and pay it forward to another fellow traveler. Or, in Wolf Language, communicate the importance of it to another pack member.

~Amy M. Beaupre, MS, OTR

Occupational Therapist

Advanced Craniosacral Therapy Practitioner

Certified Laughter Leader

Canine Advocate



Part 1

First Things First- Introduction

About the title: I did a quiz on Facebook. The quiz was called “What is your Celtic name?” When I plugged in “Sandy,” Coinín is what came up. The definition listed there said “Young Wolf”. The other definitions I found were “Little Wolf” and “Little Wolf Old” when I further investigated it. Though “Little Wolf Old” is more fitting, “Little Wolf” is the one that resonated for me.

This book is rooted in my experience of being an unmothered, brutally abused child. It covers my process of being called by a wolf for assistance in healing his spinal cord injury, case studies of wolves I have worked with, interspecies healing experiences, treatment programs that evolved from the original calling, my recovery from PTSD and sharing what I have learned with others, both human and animal.

Preface

“A healthy woman is much like a wolf :robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.”(12)The experience of being called by a wolf, and answering the call challenged every aspect of myself, including my identity and knowledge of my genetic lineage . My maiden name is Driskell. I had been told my whole life that Driskell is a German name that means “three skills.” My full first name is Sandra. I’ve read that it is a derivative of Alexandra, which means “helper of mankind.”

I had my DNA analyzed for health reasons. I was surprised to learn that I am 42% Irish/English, a small percentage of Scandinavian and a “higher than usual” amount of Neanderthal. There is French and German further back in time. I have always been curious that I felt drawn to attend locally held Celtic festivals, and felt “at home” in Norway. I have no such connection with the Germanic festivities that happen in my home town of Cincinnati. Once I started looking a little more deeply into my lineage and my name, some things began to make more sense.

Driskell is a variation of Driscoll, and is Irish, not German. It means, “descendant of the messenger”. I don’t know who “the messenger” is but it sounds important. With Sandra meaning “helper of mankind” and Sandy meaning “little wolf”, it seems that I incarnated with a job to do.

Was working with wolves fate, or destiny? I don’t know. I believe that we have a Divine Purpose and are offered opportunities to grow and mature on all levels of our soul’s journey. I also believe that we have free will. I could have said “no”, when wolf called. It does seem that the cards were stacked in the favor of saying “yes” to wolf. In addition to my DNA and meaning of my names, I felt called to Norway. Norway is home to the great wolf “Fenris” of Norse mythology.

I have longed for a mate and a family for as long as I can remember. I have living relatives, but it’s a though we are different species. Regeane, the protagonist in the book, The Silver Wolf, started this whole wolf adventure. She was half human half wolf. Maybe I am too. She eventually found her “own kind” and her mate. I hope that will be true for me as well. In the meantime, I call for him and my pack. January is breeding season for wolves in our part of the world. This call is what inspired the poem that follows: January’s Promise.



January’s Promise

The howl of the wolf

reverberates in my marrow,

and loosens the cords

that hold the chalk of my bones

in a bipedal skeletal arrangement.


Now disjointed,

I drop into quadruped form,

and my view of the horizon

changes

from a portrait to landscape orientation.


The artic oxygen atmosphere

pricks and burns the suede

lining of my nasal conchae.

My mate raises his muzzle and snuffles the air.

His olfactory bulbs sift the gaseous mixture,

Seeking the estrus molecules

that signal receptivity.


Unseen, he calls to me in the

hope that comes in January.


I am so hungry for him

and my pack.

The myth of a lone wolf is

just that-a myth, and nonsense.


Alone we die of starvation.

I am barely sustained on the scraps

left from other successful hunts.


Carmine mucoid fluid

fills the vulvar vault.

Rich, viscous and ripe

it trickles past the engorged

gates of the labial cleft.

Spilled blood almost always

means life for someone.

A life conceived, or a life nourished

from the blood of another.


Sparkling snow dust motes

carry the volatile

organic esters

in a punctuated Morse code message

to the one who is waiting.


An ember, long dormant

flares in response

to the brush of a winter’s thermal breeze

that carries the call

and asks for an answer.


Call>>>>>>>>>>------------------------------<no answer


No answer>--------------------<<<<<<<<<<<Call


Call>>>>>>>>>>---------------------<no answer


No answer>--------------------<<<<<<<<<<<<<Call


CALL!>>>>-----<NO ANSWER

NO ANSWER!>--------<<CALL!



January becomes February

Though the light is seen a

few more minutes each day,

the earth is unwarmed as the winter deepens.

The call remains unanswered.

The fluids recede and the male drops his head.

January’s promise, is again unfulfilled.



A Wolf Named Orca

This book is about healing, finding my pack, and my pilgrimage to find peace. It begins with hearing the call of a wolf named Orca, and our journey of healing together.

An excerpt from Ken Cohen’s book, Honoring the Medicine, is of particular significance to this story. “Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest say that, of the various whales, orca (“killer”) whales have the closest connection with wolves. They both hunt in packs or pods and use acoustical signals to stay in touch; their herd is a “heard”. A person who has a close spiritual affinity with the wolf or orca has the power to telepathically contact people who are very far away, even in other continents. The wolf carries a person’s thoughts through the forest, becomes an orca in the sea, and then again wolf on land. Wolf and orca transform one into the other, they are in Jay Miller’s words, ‘dual aspects of the same supernatural being.’” (86-87)

Orca was a resident at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Founded by Dr. Erich Klinghammer in 1972, its’ mission statement, as shown on the website is : “Wolf Park is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to behavioral research, education and conservation, with the objective of improving the public’s understanding of wolves and the value they provide to our environment.”

Orca touched the lives of many with his spirit, his determination and his magnificence. I am honored to have been called by him to assist in his healing from a spinal cord injury, and to bring the healing work I do into the world of wolves, and other wild creatures. I was given the opportunity to relate the account of this opportunity to 300+ people from 22 countries at Dr. Upledger’s “Beyond the Dura Conference” in 2005. His story has contacted people who are “very far away, even in other continents.”(87)

Orca and his sister, Karin were born at the Wildlife Science Center in Minnesota in April of 1994. Orca and Karin were second generation from wild wolves. It’s my understanding that their grandparents were captured for depredation on cattle. This is likely the closest I will ever get to a wild wolf. The wolves I have encountered are captive bred, born and hand raised to socialize them to humans. This process of hand raising and socialization makes my work possible.

Orca, Karin and an unrelated wolf named Aleyska came to live at Wolf Park as pups. Orca worked his way up the ranks of his pack and rose to the position of alpha. He sustained a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed in his hind legs in 1997. He recovered his ability to walk through his determination and the dedication of the Wolf Park staff. He received chiropractic treatment, massage, acupressure, exercise, and eventually craniosacral therapy and myofascial release. Over the course of the next several years, he could sometimes walk as a quadruped, sometimes not. He carried on whether or not his back end was working.

I admit that I am puzzled and a bit embarrassed about being called by a wolf. Prior to this life changing chain of events, I hadn’t given wolves much thought other than seeing pictures of them and thinking that they are magnificent. I have met many people who have loved wolves their whole lives, dreamed of getting to see or meet one, or have spent their lives advocating for them. I have no idea why I was called.

I never found out why Orca was named Orca. I do know that he was named by Dr. Klinghammer. I vaguely recall one of my friends asking Dr. Klinghammer about the legend of the orca. I think he dismissed that, but someone told me that he began his career researching orcas.

One Thing Leads to Another

I’ve always been a searcher and a dreamer. Mostly I had been looking for relief from great suffering. I have suffered more than most, not as much as some, but won’t go into much of that here. The condensed version is that I was subjected to brutal, soul murdering child abuse that left me feeling that I was unworthy of life itself. I was told that I am stupid and worthless on a daily basis. In addition to beatings nearly every day, my dad strung together derogatory phrases of verbal abuse and name calling. One of the most damaging phrases was calling me a “selfish, self- centered, lout headed lunk.” The abuse left an imprint on the survival structures of my nervous system, and generated post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD.)


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