The Secret Lives Of Pets
Over the years there have been many forms of media that have grown out of the idea that animals have “secret lives,” with oblivious family members surrounding them, ala Tom and Jerry and Lady and the Tramp.
But what is really going on in the lives of our furry, feathered and scaled friends? Is it possible that there internal thoughts and feelings are all that complex?
For Cheyenne’s birthday I took her on an “adventure.” This would be her first camping trip and although I’m saying it was for her, it was actually a much needed “un-plugging and re-connect with nature” trip for me. Cheyenne and I were to start this outing with a hike at the Delaware Water Gap on the borders of NJ and PA. The trail we were hiking should have been doggy paradise. And at first, all seemed good. There was a swimming area about 5 minutes in and she was loving it. Until about 25 minutes later when on our way up the mountain, she froze.
Cheyenne is a “sensitive” dog. And like all of my animals, part of her experience on this earth has been to teach me and to help me to teach others about what animals need on a deeper level. Chy was not moving and I was alone with my dog on a hike that started much later (in the early evening-even with GPS I can mange to get lost) than expected. I realized that no amount of using my “alpha voice” or use of leash to lead was getting her to budge more than a few feet at time. Even better, I had brought essential oils for outdoor comfort but nothing for supporting the nervous system and help her to moe through this was in my backpack. Why was she doing this? I realized I needed to go against my survival instinct that was starting to kick in (picturing myself having to carry this 35lb dog back down the mountain) and I had to stop and listen. She was scared. Frightened of the sounds of unfamiliar creatures, people’s voices in the distance and a nearby water fall. All of a sudden all of the sounds that had barely been registering with me were loud and clear and I could feel how intimidating this environment was for her.
I realized I had a problem on my hands that goes back to some more training work and my need to be more of a leader in her eyes. It didn’t matter that I stood there telling her it was OK, and there was nothing to be afraid of. She was IN fear. Let’s just say we have some things to work on to prepare for our next hike. But communicating with her, feeling what she was feeling in that moment, has helped me to know what we need to focus on. This “secret life” of an animal is often missed as we impose our own impressions and interpretations upon them which may be based upon our feelings and experiences. This is why we need to take the time to learn to listen and communicate with the animals. We obviously made it out of the “situation” with some energy work for calming as well as me starting to run which moved her brain out of “stuck” mode.
Oh, and this borrowed, very large 4 person fitting structure called a “tent,” in which we could hear people, other dogs, etc. (bears wander through the camp grounds frequently, the warning sign indicated). Cheyenne was fine with this, “it’s like my crate, only bigger.”
Learn the “Secret Lives Of Pets” with a fun and experiential animal communication class or private session!