I think I was born holding a dog. My Mother, understandably enough, would object to this assertion (given the implications!) but nonetheless, in this mysterious world, I believe it to be true. Animals are my siblings, closer than some humans (who, at times, can seem less humane).
As far back as I can remember, I connected with animals, furred, finned or feathered. Indoors or outdoors, I had animal affairs with abandon, including with my first love, my grandmother’s brilliant parakeet, Birtsie. Later, an uncle who was a forest ranger (the Matt Dillon of his small town) would offer an invaluable gift: introduction to all creatures great and small in the wild. Without even knowing why I would always try to connect.
Later while in college, I struggled to find a degree amongst my many interests (my Mother would have killed me had I gone into music or theater as did my brother, I would have killed myself had I gone into science, having later decided that I had later gone into social work just to avoid math); I finally settled upon environmental studies, thinking it could do the most good for humans and animals, with a specialty in energy.
Little did I know that years later, and after a bout with mysterious illness (possibly caused following a lot of work on a new house in which I used a lot of toxic chemicals), I would discover energy work in an entirely new light, having to do with our subtle energies and healing.
Or that my dogs would help me recover from the stress of grad school and two jobs AND discover what life was about as I recovered from being ill and driven and learned the fine animal art of being, not just doing.
When I was ill and overwhelmed, my little Labrador Ariel would get me out of the house to walk by the lovely lake we lived on in idyllic Madison, Wisconsin. She got me to notice the grass, trees and sky, as well as the muskrats I had to reign her in from gobbling (she was not as much of an environmentalist as I).
In short, after a series of crises and learning things the hard way (my specialty), I nonetheless learned the fine art of living sustainably, harmoniously and, above all, in the moment.
Along the way, I discovered my sensitivity and the fact that I was a natural empath and medium. I found alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbs and other energy work; I was healed and found a new and far more satisfying life.
After learning reiki and other forms of energy work, I began more serious training with a Buddhist/Taoist master, even as I continued my “real life” work as a health educator with national agencies, testifying before state and national agencies and changing policies. It was satisfying but I felt divided between worlds. I left the crazy government advocacy scene to do individual case management with ill and endangered clients, which was more satisfying but still frustrating from an institutional perspective.
This ended when I moved to care for my elderly parents out in Oregon. There I noticed how my two wonderful dogs never failed to cheer and even heal whenever they would visit not only my folks but their assisted living center. Most popular was my latest edition, Samson (for all the fur) a Hurricane Katrina survivor shipped all the way to Oregon to find a home. People would walk, walker and wheelchair their way over just to get a touch of this adorable boy; the ability of animals to soothe our souls is enormous.
Even a dog like my Sam. Found stuck in a pond of toxic muck, put in a shelter with temperatures and humidity both over 100, shipped all the way to Oregon only to find he also had advanced heartworm… I later found he also had seizures. He was hyper and remote when I took him home. And he’s a chao chao mix, often regarded as a difficult breed.
Today Sam is calm, mellow and sweet… seizure free for years (with only the use of Chinese medicine) and great with everyone from cats to kids.
Never think you have to give up on an animal.
All of these experiences have woven together in a wonderful way. I utilize my many skills to work with both animals and humans in a variety of healing ways. And it is SO much easier to get a person to focus on themselves if they know it will help their pet (as honestly, so many pet problems are because we people are out of balance ourselves)!
I’m quite certain that your animals have had a profound effect upon you as well, or you wouldn’t be reading this page. And they are most likely also trying to reach you in the way mine attempted to reach me, in the way that I believe animals all over the earth are trying to awaken us not only to ourselves but to the state of the entire planet today. We are not living harmoniously, within the actual resources, both inner and outer, that we have available. We go past our boundaries, individually and collectively all the time. And while we all pay the price, it reaches animals, who have no say in the matter, first.
They are trying to help us learn how to return to peace and harmony in our lives, in our world.
It’s time for us all to connect again. Take the step today better understand and/or heal your pet. It comes with this bonus: it will help you too, perhaps help us all!