Some of you personally know HiHo a little. Others might remember reading about him.
HiHo is about two and a half years old as of this writing. He's a smallish bull camel, a little quirky, very intelligent and chronically lacking good boundaries and social skills. He's the kind of camel who, anywhere else, might be sold and re-sold, and sooner or later put down. He can be difficult, and we have to be careful with him. With no bad intent, he simply has very little in the way of "brakes" and can't be counted on to respect boundaries, whether human or camel... He's our very own little mad-man! and a great teacher....
In a wild herd a camel like HiHo would probably be ostracized by the herd because of his inability to fit in and be a viable member. His aberrant behaviors would be a disturbance to the herd's equanimity and a lure for potential predators. If he didn't come around somewhat they'd sooner or later send him off.
Ever since HiHo came to live in the Sacred Camel Gardens we've served him in a variety of ways, employing various training approaches and remedial practices, all of which have been beneficial. He nevertheless remains somewhat aberrant, and maybe always will. My promise to him is that he will have a life here, and will never be sold. We will take care of him.
Some months ago I found that if I worked his soft upper and lower palates he would quickly calm down and connect with me. This was progressing well for a while, until his tendencies found a way "around" the good effects that the palate work was having. I was a bit disappointed by this as his mouth had become a good place to warm up cold fingers! HiHo always manages to find a way around all the training approaches I introduce. He keeps developing new ways to reassert his "uniqueness". His wild sense of humor and his will to stand as he is, are irrepressible!
Techniques and methods fly in the wind with him, and he has drawn me to the simplicity of "only relationship". And this is proving to be increasingly effective, something he doesn't push against or try to get around.
All I do now is stand with him and say out loud, with real feeling, "I love you. I love and appreciate you. I love and respect you. You are perfect the way you are. No need to change, ever. I love you. I love you. I love you." And as I stroke him all over he just soaks it up, becoming still and respectful of me in a way no other approach has brought forward. He can still get up to some tricks, but with the respect and love being expressed and appreciated in both directions we can communicate. It's a fine line. If my attention wanders the connection gets broken and the old HiHo reappears, reminding me to mind myself and be present with him in love. This process is serving me too, teaching me to let go and be in the moment, and more and more in feeling...
When we connect I feel his massive energy informing my own experience of being human and alive. What I'm coming to value most about HiHo is his level of unconcern. He's just not worried about very much at all. He doesn't even put much stock in food or water. The only fundamental thing I need him to learn is this matter of respecting the personal space of others, which he is only willing to do when he feels that I am completely respecting him... and he knows the difference.
As soon as put my hand on him, with real feeling, and say, "I love you and respect you," he becomes respectful. It's a moment to moment thing, alive and fresh every time, and not something I can control with my mind or body, or with equipment. It's 100% in the feeling.