Practitioners and Instructors Share Their Thoughts on Our Visit to the Zurich Zoo

Hello my friends,
I know that many of you love to hear/read what’s been happening, so let me tell you about last week’s meeting with Linda at the Zurich zoo.
The wonderful Teresa and Lisa from Switzerland planned and organized this amazing event. It was breathtakingly wonderful.

We met Prof. Dr. Ewald Isenbügel who is the retired director, but he is still very active there and a very charming and clever man. You can feel his passion for the animals and for being a brilliant zoo director in every action. He proudly showed us his incredible creation.

Linda was in her element and glowed, war fired up with energy and seemed even younger than she usually does.

The snow leopards have an incredible enclosure and you have to struggle to see them. During my doctorate I visited many zoos but this one is one of a kind. The animals have so much space and it is a great home for them. Every animal we saw was well cared for. The wolves were right across from the snow leopards. When we went to the apes, the gorillas who have a special spot in Linda’s heart, came to greet us. We were happy to be able to donate some money for the new gigantic outbuilding for the apes.

The gorillas know and love their zoo director and greeted him through the glass. It was touching to see this. Linda and Dr Isenbuegel took turns telling stories and you could tell that they are a well connected team. They have known each other for many years and Linda has taught TTouch at the University in Zurich. The young veterinarians there were sceptical and put her method down. They brought the wildest horse they could find to show Linda of ….. but you all know our darling Linda, she was excited by the challenge and in no time the horse was quiet and balanced and she earned the respect she deserves. Dr Isebuegel showed us pictures as prove, it was very exciting.

He also told us that he was smirked at that when he first met Linda at age 50 being a classically trained veterinarian and realized that there is more between heaven and earth than you can prove scientifically. He share with us the story of an organg-utan mom. He needed to x-ray her baby, and typically for all good mothers, she did not want to hand her baby over. Dr Isenbuegel talked to her and was able to convince her to trade the baby for some special french grapes. He x-rayed the baby and was delighted to see that nothing was broken. He returned the baby to its mom and showed the orang-utan the x-rays through the glass. The animal was very interested in the x-rays and he explained the concerned mom that the baby was fine and she did not have to worry.

A journalist followed the story and wrote that “this strange zoo director really believes that the animals understand him.”

Dr Isenbuegel smiled and briefly paused before continuing with his story. ” You see”, he said “this reporter understood nothing, you have to talk to the people and the animals as well!!!!” I was so fascinated with this incredible man who is so full of knowledge and even though he is traditionally educated he stays connected to the animals and is enthusiastic about TTouch. I hope to be able to stay in contact with him for my own doctorate.

At dinner Linda and Dr Isenbuegel shared their stories, each with their own pictures and their own point of view. It was wonderful. Of course we also honored Roland and his special birthday.

To finish the trip we were treated to a demonstration on Marie-Jeann’s dog, “Buddy“, who loved Linda’s TTouching hands.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces, it was like a family reunion. It was a successful meeting and a dream come true for me, to see Linda at the Zurich zoo. We need to do it again.


Thank you, Karin, for your report.

There is nothing I can add. I was very impressed about the changes they have made to the zoo. The last time I was there was 30 years ago and I can still remember animals suffering from cage-syndrome. I loved the story about the gorillas. Each night they are given freshly laundered canvas bags and make their own hammocks to sleep in. The male gorilla, who is also the leader, goes grey every night and become the legendary silverback. I found it interesting when Dr Isenbuegel said that he does not support the policies of US zoos to keep the animals as wild as possible. To him it is very important that the animals have as close a connection with their handler as possible. He used the elephants as an example who have the be chained for a hour every morning to be washed and examined.

I loved the themes at the zoo. For example animals from Tibet live in an area that also shows Tibetan houses. To see the wolves and other animals like them you have to search them out in hidden places, just like the national parks in Africa. The goals of the zoo is to give the animals some privacy and give them the chance to hide from people if they want to.

Another comment about Linda and Dr. Isenbuegel. Both love Icelandic horses and spent time together bringing Icelandics to the US that were ridden across the continent and received awards for their conditioning. The ride was well documented in the Freizeit im Sattel magazine.
Thanks you Theresa and Lisa for a wonderful afternoon.

Hearthugs Marina

Dear Marina and everyone else
Thank you so much for the explanations which, combined with Karin’s visit, lets me relive the visit to the zoo. I would treasure if all these memories could be collected and written down for the newsletter. As soon as I get a chance I will send pictures and of course all of you are more than welcome to send yours as well.
The management of the zoo has asked for feedback. This was a once in a lifetime event and it would be great to have our comments. Here is Prof.E Isenbuegel’s very insightful comment:

The animals are here as our employees. In a way they receive a salary and as their employers we try to make their life as pleasant as we can. The animals are here to teach us what makes them special and they teach us to become curious about the interspecies connection. They help us to eliminate stress and find our inner balance.

Greetings from Tessin,

Teresa Cottarelli-Guenther
Tellington-TTouch Practitioner III
Tellington-TTouch for You Practitioner

© 2010 – 2011, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.

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