What does my animal family know about my life?
It may be a lot more than you realize.
Meet Mylo. He's now in spirit. That doesn't stop him from communicating with his person Kerry.
Why are animal family members such good judges of character?
I'm often asked this question. Followed by, "Is it body language?"
It's deeper than that.
When the time comes, and we can clearly see that an animal is not living its best life anymore, do we have the right to help them transition? Is it what they want, and will they forgive us (or is forgiveness not required because it's what they want).
People are really good at humanizing animals and their behaviour. The truth? Each animal species has its' own needs and priorities. When we misunderstand our animals (even with the best of intentions), they're confused and can even lose trust in us. Animals work very hard to communicate. Humans are not always so good at understanding. We ask our animals to live in a human world with human rules. This can be very confusing for them. Behaviour that is completely normal for them may seem odd (or even gross) to us. Problems happen when people mistakenly believe their animals are acting out of anger or spite. When you understand your animal, their behaviour, their point of view everything shifts. including your perspective. Better communication leads to a stronger connection.
The animals want you to know.... that the depth of your bond, of your connection is not determined by time...
Many communications I support, are for animals who've had multiple families, lived a life of trauma and/ or neglect, and find themselves in a loving family home for the first time in their lives (sometimes near the end of their lives).
Finnigan's plush hedgehog
Never underestimate what an animal knows or understands.
Recently, a friend posted a video of a wild, native hedgehog walking the grounds of a cemetery in England. I smiled seeing the hedgehog. A happy memory came to mind.
Six years ago, (my dog) Finnigan and I went on a week-long animal companion training (out of province) in Quebec. Several other participants brought their dogs, and one participant brought their companion hedgehog Tink. It was the first time Finnigan had ever met a hedgehog.
Yesterday's daily morning walk gave me more than exercise.
Finn was recently diagnosed with the first signs of osteo-arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Within weeks (even with treatment) his mobility has been dramatically affected.
For years we have walked together every Monday to Friday morning with our dog friends. On this morning, I suspected that we would be unable to stay with the group for the first time.
Within minutes we were trailing the group. They kept pausing to allow us to catch up. I felt the juxtaposed need of the group to move forward and Finn's need to slow down. A firm believer that nature walks are Finn's time, I checked in with him. He was willing and ready to do his own thing. I texted the group, now far ahead, to let them know of his decision.
The walk unfolded and as it did so did my lessons and understanding.
Animals, with dogs especially coming to mind, excel at "beginner's mind." The concept that each time is like the first time: the repetition of an event, situation, or experience never gets old, tired, boring or dull, yet brings the same exquisite delight of joyful discovery as the initial experience.
Dogs display a beginner's mind approach greeting their animal guardians. Whether you've been away all day at work, on vacation for seven days, or outside taking out the trash for seven minutes, dogs greet you with exuberance, enthusiasm, joy, excitement, and appreciation. Young children, like animals, are also expert's of beginner's mind, able to express playful delight at each new experience.
Perhaps beginner's mind is the most powerful example of being present, of being in the now? Today, let's greet our animal family with equal attention, of presence, with a beginner's mind.
Many people enjoy having animal companions. Some people adopt animals because they like the way an animal looks. An important consideration in adopting any animal is species influence. What is species influence? It means that a breed has distinctive traits which it cannot ignore. Another way of saying this? Breed temperament. For example a Border Collie is a highly energetic working dog. A Bernese Mountain dog may enjoy work but does not require as much exercise. Before adopting an animal companion it is important to research the breed for compatibility with your lifestyle. If you want a quiet cat, you would be best to avoid a Siamese! If you want a relaxed dog, you would be best to avoid a Husky! When people adopt an animal companion based on considerations other than species influence then a lifestyle conflict might be the result. Do your homework and your animals will thank you!
This week I talked with a tree.
Trees are master healers. Any time you'd like some help, approach a tree that attracts you.
Stand (or sit) with your back against the tree, ask for support, and thank the tree when you leave.
This time, I was guided to ask for a message from the tree.
I stand with my back to the tree, looking out on the snow-capped landscape.
The tree showed me that while on the surface it looked lifeless that underneath (hidden from view) tremendous growth was occurring. I couldn't see visibly see it, yet it was happening.
The tree showed me an image of her roots, the soil, the inhabitants in the ground (under the snow) and I felt the energy of this growth coming from the underground.
There was a flash...