By many accounts, it seems among my strongest attributes in working with animals, particularly the ones we have in our family circle, is in validating another view of how they see themselves in relationship to us.
Some may say I am “personalizing” the animals a bit, but from the following stories you will see why I have come to this conclusion.
The take-away is ... No, seriously, pull up a chair and talk to your animals.
Dog Whispering: Story # 1 - Clinginess
A client of mine had found a young dog in their neighborhood. Not knowing who it belonged to, she and her husband took it upon themselves to care for the dog until its home could be found. A couple of days later, after much upheaval to their normally placid routine, the dog’s owners were found and the puppy dog happily returned.
Right after this happening, the family’s own dog began to exhibit clingy behaviors, following my client room to room. This went on for a few days before my client called to asked what was up. Was he ok? Did she need to bring him in for some energy work, something?
I felt there could be an easy remedy so we set up a phone time to talk. I asked her to give this a try to see if it would settle her doggy. “Imagine, from your perspective, the kinds of questions you would be asking if your husband or kids brought home another animal. Your dog sees you as a member of his pack, his family; and you’ve included him as a member of your family. Whether or not you are bringing another animal into the family, something has just happened that begs explanation. What’s up? Will that other dog be back? What do you want me to do with it? Are you replacing me?”
Sure enough, after speaking with her dog, the clinginess subsided and everything went back to normal.
Dog Whispering - Story # 2: Pooping In The House
A good friend with two beautiful and well-trained Rhodesian Ridgebacks - a male and female - called one day to say one of them was pooping in the house, and had been doing this behavior for about a week. Gradually she had been closing off rooms they were allowed in until it was down to only one.
They both seemed and looked healthy, so what the heck were they trying to tell her?
As soon as I arrived and looked into her male dog’s eyes, I saw sadness. I was perplexed by this and even asked out loud why he was so sad.
After a few minutes of intuitively checking in on him, I asked my friend what was up with her. It didn’t feel like this sadness was his, but an energy my friend was experiencing.
Tears began to flow as she explained two separate incidences involving grief and loss for her in the past few weeks.
This sad energy was very upsetting to her male dog. He knew something wasn’t right with her, but didn’t have a frame of reference of how to be with it. So I asked her to speak to them, while I was sitting there, and share what had her heart so heavy. “Let them know,” I added, “that you’ll be ok, it will just take time for you to heal. And, how they can help you with this sadness. One thing might be for them to play with each other in your presence. That always brings you joy. And anything else you can think of that gives them something to do for you.”
As I was leaving that day, my friend asked if I thought it was ok now to let them loose in the whole house. Had we resolved the problem? I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I can’t answer for them, but give it a try.”
Within the next few days, my friend was quick to let me know that there were no more pooping displays from the dogs. All was good.