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Our answering machine is packed with messages. Our end table overflows with cards. Our computer holds dozens of e-mails.
Friends and family, and even some strangers, sent condolences after the death of our dog.
The man who loved to see Dixie riding shotgun in the minivan. The woman who enjoyed watching us run by her house. The people who knew what joy she brought to our family each day.
The healing ability of one person reaching out to another is quite powerful.
Another powerful healing experience Ive had since Dixies death has been a therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR.
Its acclaimed. Its controversial. By some, its even scorned. For me, it was extraordinary.
People with traumatic memories can have dramatic improvement after only one session. I did.
Dixie died violently in the middle of South Main Street, chasing a squirrel that ran into the road. No dog should die like that. It was one of the worst days of my life.
The memory of her death played in my head like a broken movie reel. I could not escape. It was so overwhelming, I couldnt call up a single happy memory of Dixie. I couldnt eat, I couldnt sleep.
This seemingly simple therapy enabled me to remember Dixies death in an entirely new way.
Best known for success in treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, EMDR reduces the intensity of disturbing thoughts. No therapy can erase a memory, but EMDR allows you to experience it with less pain.
The key, and the controversy, is stimulating both sides of the brain. Clients must do something in an alternating pattern while they bring up the traumatic memory.
They may follow a light bar waved back and forth. They may receive a light tapping sensation on their hands, right and left. I listened to alternating tones from a speaker placed by each ear.
Advocates say this bilateral sensation mimics therapeutic REM sleep, when our eyes move from left to right. People with traumatic memories often cant sleep, missing that emotional healing.
Detractors say this alternating business is a sham, not some new miracle cure.
I say, it was pretty miraculous.
The therapy helps you replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Reliving Dixies death during the 60-minute session with therapist Jay Boulter was excruciating, but by the end I felt significantly less pain. I realized over the next two days just how much it helped.
Instead of remembering myself as helpless and frantic as I kneeled over her in the street, I saw myself as comforting her. Instead of feeling wracked with guilt, I felt thankful that I could be with her in those final moments, that she didnt die alone.
Instead of remembering desperation, I thought about our spirits connecting as she left.
These were incredible revelations to me.
Im one of more than 2 million people who have been helped by reprocessing therapy.
While lots of anecdotal evidence supports its success, researchers have different hypotheses about why EMDR can be so effective. In other words, no one really knows how it works.
I dont really care.
Patti Lyerly, a local therapist certified in EMDR, has used it to help everyone from victims of the Charlotte Motor Speedway collapse to cancer patients.
She treated a Vietnam veteran who had suffered from a recurring nightmare for 30 years.
They cleaned it out within 30 minutes.
Now used for panic attacks, depression, addiction and more, EMDR isnt the only answer for these problems. And it isnt for everyone. But it worked for me.
I will never forget Dixies death. Now I can remember her life.
Emily Ford is a freelance writer living in Salisbury.

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