Fight or Flight, Pt. 2
It is only my touch that can garner his attention, and sever the strong link between external stimuli and instinctive response.
Sometimes I get it wrong. What may have worked last time, might not work the next. A touch that is soothing today may be frightening tomorrow, despite similar circumstances from one day to the next.
All I can do is take an educated guess, be as non-threatening and gentle as possible, and keep trying until I get it right. I will get it right, eventually. I always do. Eventually, his focus is redirected and that link is broken. He becomes more aware of my presence and the security that accompanies it as he slowly begins to move away.
As we continue on our walk (his leash in my hand) his posture remains unchanged, still holding itself in an unnatural isometric until the glorious moment when he shape-shifts once more.
It is in that moment, when he thrashes, twists and turns fervently while uncoiling and seemingly bringing each muscle throughout his length to its isotonic potential, that I wonder if he feels warmth too.
Regardless, it is my touch starts him on a path of kinesthetic fulfillment; his own instinctive movement is what makes him smile and prance down the sidewalk afterward.