Animal Ambassadors

The Early Days of Animal Ambassadors International®

In July, 1984 I was inspired to visit the Soviet Union to see if I could make connections directly with Soviet citizens by sharing the Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method. When doors began opening through the horse and zoo connections, I realized the unique value of the animals as connectors. The Animal Ambassadors International® project was conceived as a result of this bridging.

In the TTEAM newsletter that year I suggested to TTEAM club members who were interested in world peace that they write letters to horse people in Moscow. These letters should include a photo of a favorite “animal ambassador.” In North America and Europe the idea was greeted with enthusiasm and, wonder of wonders, it was actually possible to make contact with Soviet citizens. These connections were created by the animal kingdom.

In subsequent trips to Moscow our contacts expanded and strengthened. I demonstrated the work to several hundred riders at the Hippodrome in December of 1984. I also taught eight Soviet veterinarians who then became members of the TTEAM club and now use TTEAM & TTouch in their practices! In April 1985, two American TTEAM teachers accompanied me on another trip to Moscow and assisted teaching veterinarians and the Soviet Olympic jumping TTEAM. I was later invited by the director of the Moscow Bitsa Olympic Sports Complex to teach courses in July and December of 1985, and April of 1986.

Not only horses have been successful as animal ambassadors. In Moscow’s Gorky Park on Sunday April 14, 150 children and adults joined Animal Ambassadors International® after I spoke of my work with zoo animals, cats and dogs. Freelance journalist Andre Orlov had organized the meeting in March when he spoke to the Gorky Park Family Club about the animal ambassadors concept. He related the American Indian custom of choosing an animal totem as a personal protector, and suggested that humans now needed to protect the animals. Humans would then become ambassadors for the animal kingdom.

Part of my presentation in Gorky Park was a “dolphin breathing” session. With eyes closed, each person envisioned which animal would be theirs to protect. The group then shared their experiences. One six-year old asked if I thought a snail was important enough and if so, how could he do the TTouch on it. I told him,

“Small beings are as important as large ones. You can TTouch these snails with your mind.”


Through this mutual sharing, Animal Ambassadors International® took on new form, as these 150 people of all ages joined the hundreds in other parts of the world who share this growing concept.

In April of that year, Alexander and Nana Zguridy, the “Disneys among film producers of the Soviet Union,” became inspired by the Animal Ambassador concept and proposed that it be officially recognized in the USSR. Alexander planned to present the idea in his UNICEF speech in Italy in July of 1985.

My ever-expanding vision of TTouch work with animals has inspired TTEAM Practitioners who are also school teachers to adapt the Animal Ambassador concept for school children. They have a very solid start.

The next step of my vision was to teach TTouch for humans in the USSR. To that end, I demonstrated TTouch on various humans in Moscow, both in the diplomatic corps and private Soviet citizens with untreatable illnesses. My intention was to make the work available as a means for self-help, and possibly as a part of massage training. Many years later, this seed grew into my newest book, TTouch for Healthcare: The Health Professional’s Guide to Tellington TTouch, co-authored with M. Cecilia Wendler, RN, PhD, CCRN.

I believe that the bridging work with the Soviet Union was a most important achievement. Being a “citizen and animal ambassador” and bringing new connections between peoples is a contribution to planetary peace. Recognizing the role and importance of the animal kingdom is also essential to our survival on the planet.

There are ongoing projects which have been evolving over the past years and now are in a stage of blossoming. This work brings people together with a new way of understanding and relating to the animal kingdom.

Watch this page for more news of these projects, and photos, too.

© Linda Tellington-Jones