Sometimes having highly attuned senses has its challenges. When I’m working, it’s necessary to have the ability to compassionately detach so that I can be of service to the animal I’m working with, but when I’m walking down the street and encounter dogs in pain, it’s really hard to remain calm and centred.
As much as I want to, I can’t go up to every stranger I see with a dog in distress and say things like, ‘Hi there. So here’s the thing – your dog is really irritated with that shampoo you’re using on her. Might want to switch it to an unscented brand because what smells lovely to you is giving her a headache. ‘K, gotta go. Have a great day.’
Understandably, not everyone is open to that. Besides, I would look like a bit of a loony.
Lately I’ve been asking myself what I can do in response to the stress and pain that I witness. There are so many ways that we love our dogs and cats, and sometimes, without meaning to, we don’t listen to them or pay attention to their needs. Not because we’re unkind or uncaring, but because we miss the signals or don’t know how to help.
Whether we’re using prong collars, or bathing our dogs with smelly shampoos that irritate their powerful sense of smell, the truth is that we love our 4-legged family members. We would do anything for them. When something we’re doing bothers them, we usually aren’t aware; and on those few occasions when we are, we’re often not sure what the alternative is or what we can do about it.
Let’s change that. Let’s start a conversation.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but what I do have is a unique insight into the minds and hearts of animals. So rather than feeling helpless about the distressed dogs I pass by on the street or see on the subway, I want to share what I’ve come to know.
See, we’ve got the love part down pat. We’re pretty awesome at that. What we need – or rather, what they need from us – is more understanding of how we’re both different and similar so that we can offer them more of what they want and need as opposed to what we want and need.
So buckle up. Next month, I’m starting a mini blog-series so that we can explore and really get into some individual issues. In the meantime, let me know what you think. Anything you’ve always wondered about? Have a story you want to share? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.