There are special challenges when introducing a puppy, kitten, or any young animal into an existing animal family. Every circumstance is unique and requires individualized solutions, and there are two recent client consultations which we can use as general examples.
A cat family is ready for a new kitty companion. The existing cats have been consulted before and during each foster experience which has helped the human to know what characteristics are most likely to work for all. Both existing cats have preferences: the younger of the two wants to be adored and in charge of the new addition; the elder prefers a female and needs his space. So now the human knows to focus more on female kittens, but how to assess if the kitten is capable of adoration of one and respect of the other? One of the existing cats has agreed to give a signal to his human when she returns from a kitten meet-and-greet. He’ll be able to pick up on scent and assess the kitten’s energy through his human. The human trusts her adult kitty and is grateful for his assistance.
A dog family has introduced a puppy to their two existing adult dogs with mixed results. The now “middle child” wants to get along with both, but seems to believe this will offend his existing companion. The other existing dog is feeling a bit put out and not appreciative of all the time the humans need to spend with the puppy. The family dynamic has shifted and this simply is not okay with her! After explanation and reassurance to both existing dogs that their place in the family has not changed, the family will be more conscious of spending individualized time with each dog in turn. Additionally, they will give supervised play time to the puppy and the middle child-dog separately when the offended one is out for a walk.
Whether the existing animals are feeling left out with less attention from their humans, are overwhelmed with all that never-ending youngster energy, and even for those who are thrilled with a new playmate/companion – reassurance of the existing animal’s place in the family is always helpful. Follow that up with the expectation that the routine and family dynamic WILL stabilize and become more predictable in time, and you are well on your way to a harmonious and happy animal family!
Whether you communicate with your pets yourself or communicate through a professional animal communicator, there are few things we can keep in mind for a smooth communication and the best results. These tips will be helpful for any communications – behavioral, well-being, physical symptoms, aging or end-stage communications.
Preparation – know what you want to discuss. A written list of questions and/or topics is very useful to keep the communications flowing smoothly. A professional animal communicator will appreciate your preparations. When the conversation begins it can easily “take on a life of its own” and key questions may be skipped over without a written roadmap of priority topics.
Clarity – is your request or expectation realistic? For example, are you asking your 20 year old cat to continue to jump up on the clothes dryer to eat her food? Tailor your solutions to your specific pet by taking their needs and current abilities into consideration. Circumstances do change over time, and so should our expectations.
Reality – have a range of possibilities or options in mind. Not all solutions fit every pet or circumstance and compromise may be the best solution. Once you understand what is going on with your pet, identify a few possible solutions and try them on for size. One or two of these solutions may work okay while another will be the best fit.
Keep it positive – phrase in terms of the successful outcome. Whenever we communicate with our pets, whether in an official communication session or just a quick communication in the flow or your day, be clear with what you are asking and phrase it in terms of the solution. A “stay calm” or “quiet” command when the doorbell rings lets your dog know what is expected in that moment.
These tips will help you communicate with your pets and will assist your professional animal communicator to stay on track and get the most from your communication session.
These days it is so simple to snap a photo with our cell phone or iPad. It’s quick, easy, and fun to capture a special moment here or there. It’s becoming easier to capture memories via video, too, but do we take advantage of the technology as much as we should?
When we flip through our phone’s photo gallery the memories of our adventures with our pets come flooding back. These photos are priceless and even more so when our pets pass on. But what about capturing the moment in video? Most phones have quick and easy video capabilities now. Are you diligent about capturing the silly moments, the precious moments, the unforgettable moments on video?
My video gallery in general is pretty sparse. I have awesome photos of all my pets and these remind me of wonderful moments in our lives together. Videos, however, bring our beloved pets back to life, even if just for a moment. Their unique noises, facial expressions, the way they walk, talk, eat, play, snore, stalk and hunt are captured forever. Videos capture the essence of who they are – their purity, love, and character.
The next time your animal companion is doing something goofy, sweet, or simply just being themselves, pull out your device and capture the moment in video. I promise it will be a cherished keepsake for you and your family for years to come.
Let’s get right to the fact of it: moving from one home to another is stressful, exciting, and a lot of hard work. Moving is pretty challenging for humans too!
Stressful – Our pets pick up on our energy and while they may not know exactly the details of what is about to change, they know something is changing. Talking with your animals when you start to pack boxes is fine, however, a quick and simple conversation even earlier may be helpful. Whether you communicate through your animal communicator or you have a heart-to-heart directly with them, let them know in simple terms that you are looking for a new home for the whole family. Emphasize that of course they are going with you and you are taking the entire family’s needs (including theirs!) into consideration. This will help them remain calmer, and calmer pets keep the whole family more relaxed during this uncertain time.
Exciting – The prospect of new beginnings can be very exciting for our animals. I talked with a family of four animals recently, two of which were very much looking forward to the upcoming move. The dog saw the move as a new beginning with his relatively new family and an equalizer for the environment to be new to all the dogs, not just him. The cat was looking forward to new places to explore and hide. Communicating before the move can be especially helpful for cats, giving them advance warning to allow them time for closure in the home they know and love.
Hard work – many of our animals take on the job of helping us, their humans, in our day-to-day living. Whether their specific role relates to nurturing and caring for our emotional well-being, keeping us entertained and laughing for our good health, or reminding us in their not so subtle way that we’ve strayed from our routine and need to get back on the proper (according to them!) path, they are taking care of us. When we are planning then executing a move to a new home our energy, stress level, and routines are different which cause our pets to work even harder in taking care of us. This can really throw a deeply empathic pet out of balance. Explanation and support during this time, as well as your attention in keeping their routine as familiar as possible, can help the pets and the humans. A request to the pet to help their beloved humans to settle in the new home gives them a purpose and can help them settle more quickly too.
If you are contemplating moving your family to a new home, keep your pet in the loop from the beginning and let them participate in their own special way. The whole family will be happier for it!
- don’t delay in updating your pet’s contact information for their microchip
- update your contact information with your vet or take time to interview and select a new veterinarian in your new state/country right away. Provide the new vet with health and vaccination records. Don’t wait for an emergency to do this!
- get a new tag for your pet’s collar with their new address and updated phone numbers ASAP! Outside pets will enjoy getting to know the neighborhood and may be just around the corner but uncertain which new home is theirs!
A large part of my animal communication practice is dedicated to animals who have been rescued by loving families. Many rescue animals come into their new families emotionally healthy; however some rescued animals have a past experience which requires time for healing.
Every animal has different emotional needs which can be worked with. Some rescue animals have fears or separation anxiety to overcome. Some have more complex difficulties due to the treatment they received in their past. Generally a little time, patience, and lots of love will make a huge difference in this special being’s quality of life.
It’s important to address the individual topics for the individual animals and meet them where they are. There’s no one-size-fits-all communication when it comes to rescues, however there is one communication that all rescue animals benefit from hearing and understanding. When you know that it is a true statement, simply conveying to your newly rescued animal that they are now in their forever home is an excellent first step in continued bonding and growth in your relationship. Holding that concept as soon as you know in your heart that they ARE in their forever home will go a long way in helping your new animal companion to feel at home, safe, and ready for this phase of their life. This doesn’t mean spoiling them and giving them everything they want! But there is safety and security in hearing and understanding that they are now in a home filled with unconditional love.
Rescue animals generally need and deserve an abundance of patience, especially in the first few weeks and months of coming to live with you. Sometimes there are behaviors that simply need guidance and consistent, gentle correction. Often, however, these behaviors can be more effectively managed by understanding at least a portion of what the animal has been through which quite possibly leads to the behavior.
There are many topics or issues that may accompany a rescue animal, and they are not all difficult! One topic routinely stands out for me when working with animals who have been rescued: their deep appreciation and gratitude for their safe and loving new home.
Have you hugged a rescue animal lately?
With permission from my animal communication client, following is an email I received earlier this month. It contains an important reminder for animal guardians regarding medications which are extremely toxic to pets. I encourage us all to remain diligent in keeping any medications out of the reach of pets.
Thankfully, due to the quick reaction of these guardians and appropriate care at the ER, these pups are good as new.
I want to share a lesson we painfully learned this week. Thursday evening we noticed [our 2 year old puppy] falling and acting a bit lethargic. We had no idea why this would be going on. We searched the house and found an empty small bottle of Naprosin. Naprosin is highly toxic to dogs and can cause perforating gastric ulcers and kidney FAILURE. We called the poison hotline and immediately took both our dogs to the emergency vet. They spent 48 hours on IV fluid therapy and stomach coating medication in ICU. They had excellent care and I am so relieved to say they came home last night. They will have one more kidney function blood test tomorrow morning and they have a clean bill of health! It is so easy to leave a bottle of everyday medication within reach. I just want you all to learn from our stupidity and I hope this never happens to any of our or your pets. Take care and give your furry friends a hug!
What does it mean to “hold the energy” when we are with our pets? It’s selecting a concept and feeling it, breathing it, believing it deeply in our core. It takes some focus because out in the world there are distractions. When we can remain conscious and consistently directed at our chosen end-result, however, the results follow.
Let’s practice: Fluffy has had some litter box mistakes. Her vet has given her a clean bill of health and a professional animal communicator has identified Fluffy’s reasons for the occasional mistake. You can help her remember to always use her litter box by “holding the energy.” Visualize Fluffy walking toward, then into her litter box. Feel what you believe a cat would feel stepping over the edge of the box, into the litter, relieving herself, then leaving the box feeling comfortable and satisfied, knowing her humans are pleased that the family home is remaining clean and fresh-smelling.
If Poco the horse is exhibiting behaviors which, through your vet or an animal communicator, you understand as boredom, you can “hold the vision” or energy to direct Poco to a job to keep him interested and out of trouble. Know first in your mind what activity you believe will work for Poco, then hold the energy – envision the activity and imagine how it feels for him to engage in that activity – to reinforce your desire for a healthy and balanced and happy horse.
After a communication consultation in which your dog Rufus has agreed to work on remaining calm and quiet when the doorbell rings, you can reinforce this new way of being by “holding the vision” of a calm and quiet pooch when you know someone is about to arrive. Imagine the doorbell ringing, Rufus hearing that, and perhaps looking toward the door, waiting for you then accompanying you to the door with a calm and quiet demeanor. Envision your guest walking in and Rufus getting big pets and praise for being such a good, quiet, calm boy.
Notice in these examples a common thread – no matter what we are reinforcing, we “hold the energy” of the end result we desire. It is important in this exercise of holding energy to let go of the past mistakes, demeanor, and behaviors and stay completely focused on what you know to be possible. One successful result gives you a perfect example to use in your next reinforcement exercise, then you have two successes to build on, then three, and so on.
It can be challenging at times to find a way to hold the energy positively without consideration of past behaviors, but you’ll get the hang of it. Do be sure your desire to “hold the energy” isn’t overshadowing the need for a trip to the vet or to understand the deep-rooted rationales your pet may have for a certain way of being, but if all systems are go, then enjoy your practicing!
Do you remember that television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter back in the 1960s? It’s true, they do. Kids are uncensored and honest and sincere. I love that about them. That’s probably why I love communicating with animals so much – they are also uncensored, honest, and sincere. And boy do they say some hilarious things! Indulge me as I reminisce.
I remember years ago working with Milo for the first time. He had been licking his foreleg for months and his human hoped we could understand why. This was a unique one for me and continues to be the only time an animal has explained that the lick sore is “his friend” and this is his way of showing affection. And yes, we were able to convince Milo to greet his friend in other ways and we haven’t had to talk to him about this topic since.
Sometimes animals convey funny things with no words at all. Ferguson was asked what he thinks of his companion Billy? Eye roll. That’s all.
There are several animals when asked to consider a different behavior who give me the proverbial arms-crossed-in-front-of-the chest demeanor. How can I not chuckle at that attitude?
A puppy in training to be a service-dog was asked by her guardian if she knew what she was training for and if she wanted to be a service companion? “I love it; I’m going to be star!” she replied with no apology for her confidence. Indeed she did graduate from service-dog training and it is clear that she is a star and loves every minute of her job.
It shouldn’t take me by surprise anymore, but I still laugh when a pet answers a request such as “could you consider changing this behavior?” with a simple and definitive “nope, I can’t.” Usually there is no accompanying attitude. It’s just their answer. Okay, we can work with that!
It is my desire and style to be very respectful of the animals I work with, and yet sometimes I just can’t help it and little chuckle comes out. They don’t mind; some tell me they chuckle at us humans too!