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Acupuncturist displays the right touch with dogs


DUKE, A 2-year-old Boston terrier, goes nuts when owner Paula Deister brings out the cleaning supplies. He rips at dusting cloths and can't stand spray bottles.

Connie Gribbin of Hickory Ridge describes her 5-year-old collie, Tumble, as high-strung. Tumble barks a lot and pulls against his leash.

On Sunday, Deister and Gribbin brought their pets to Columbia Animal Hospital to learn about the Tellington-TTouch method for improving the mental, emotional and physical well-being of animals.

Sandy River, a licensed acupuncturist who is also certified to treat animals, has offered workshops teaching the Tellington method to pet owners since last year. River is a graduate of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute, now known as Tai Sophia Institute, in Town Center.

"Basically, it's a mishmash of techniques that enables people to be around animals with behavior problems, that respects the animals and makes it easier for humans and animals to interact," River said of the technique she teaches. "It really enhances the human-animal bond."

The Tellington-TTouch method, developed by Canadian Linda Tellington-Jones, has three basic components: body work, equipment use and an obstacle course called a "playground of higher learning," designed to build an animal's confidence. Sunday's workshop focused on body work and equipment use.

Participants were taught to gently massage their animals from the tips of their tails to their muzzles, using a circular motion. River said the technique is used to treat animals with a variety of problems, including aggressive behavior, arthritis, hip dysplasia, car sickness and even fear of loud noises such as thunder.

River also recommended yawning at a dog who is fearful of thunder during a storm. "If they see that you're not nervous, they won't be," she said.

River said she has known she wanted to work with animals since she was a little girl, even though she was bitten on the face by a dog when she was 8.

"I've come to love dogs and have a healthy respect for what they can do," she said.

Information on Tellington-TTouch workshops or animal acupuncture: Sandy River, 410-884- 9029.

Technology team

Children at Clemens Crossing Elementary School got a hands-on lesson in computer technology from students at Atholton High School this month. Atholton students James Blackwood, Trey Fales and Aamir Yousufzai taught third- and fifth-grade pupils about the inner workings of a computer and how to install memory.

Under the direction of Clemens Crossing Gifted and Talented Resource teachers Terry Via and Nancy Kapp, and Reg Hahne, manager of the Information Technology Academy for Atholton, the students met twice this month to share their interest in computers.

"Our kids had an interest in how the computer works," Via said. "Atholton High School students have that expertise. They work with hardware."

Via said the high school students brought motherboards, hard drives, cables and RAM to the workshops. "The kids actually learned how to install memory and a CPU [central processing unit]," she said. "It was cool."

The elementary school youths will use their knowledge to create a product using technology. Fifth-graders Toure Hinton, Mark Nellis, Sam Cole, Andy Baer, Scott Shuldiner, Natalie Muhlbock, Alex Kolodner and Tara Iyengar are making a film, using a digital video camera, to document their last year in elementary school. The film will be shown at the closing ceremony for the fifth grade, at the end of the school year.

Fifth-graders Jimmy Geiser, Hanna Christianson, Sean Hagaman, Evan Cataldi, Oren Lefkowits, Ashley Jones and Niranjan Murali are learning how to edit photos and add captions using a digital still camera. The photos are being displayed on bulletin boards at Clemens Crossing.

Third-graders Ben Gramling, Joe Kelly, Adam D'Amico, Cathy Park, Joshua Hengel, Adam Gabel, Lauren Goldschen, Kristen Quade, Adam Brown, Zach Little, Dennis Chen, Michael Peters and Aimee Hechler are learning about computer hardware, software and basic computer maintenance. These pupils make presentations to their peers, sharing what they have learned.

"The high school students were so patient with our kids," Via said. "They were very knowledgeable. It made a big impact with our students. They thought it was fabulous. I just hope they don't go home and take their computers apart."

Youth leadership

Dana Bradford-Melvin, 17, of Wilde Lake has been selected to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy that began this week in Washington. He joins more than 350 students from across the country who share an interest in careers related to national security.

Students will take part in seminars on international relations and participate in a national security simulation exercise to test their problem-solving skills. The students will also have the opportunity to meet with leaders from government agencies and other institutions.

Dana, a senior at Howard High School and member of the school's JROTC program, was recommended for inclusion in the leadership forum by his sophomore English teacher, Matthew Stump.

"I've always had an interest in going into the military," Dana said. "It will be exciting to talk with new people on issues related to defense and intelligence."

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