Reprinted with permission from the December 2002 issue of Dr. Bob and Susan Goldsteins' Love of Animals newsletter, 606 Post Rd. East, Westport, CT 06880; for subscription information, call 800/211-6365
By Sharon Callahan
Editor’s note: We are, as always, delighted to share this space with our friend, advisor and colleague Sharon Callahan. As you may know, Sharon is the creator of wonderful and effective flower essences for animals, which she grows, harvests and creates at her place in Mt. Shasta, Calif. We never fail to be moved, uplifted and inspired in the presence of this true animal healer. Recently we asked Sharon to share her wisdom in supporting the emotional health of our animal companions. Surprise! Her sage advice resonates equally with humans. The result is a happier, healthier and more joyous human/animal bond. Enjoy!
Dr Bob and Susan Goldstein
• MAKE YOUR HOME AND LIFE A SANCTUARY. Sanctuary is both an inner and outer environment of peace, peacefulness and nurturance. When your home and your heart are peaceful and calm, both you and your animal companions will be happier and healthier. In a state of peacefulness, fewer difficulties will arise and when they do their cause and solution will be more apparent. We now know that many physical illnesses begin when we or our animal friend become emotionally upset or unbalanced. This can lead to a depletion of the vital force and immune response which then leads to illness. When our home and heart are peaceful, this depletion is much less likely to appear and the whole family will be healthier.
• EXERCISE. Make sure and get exercise each day. If you have a dog, take her with you if you can. Exercise has been proven not only to make us healthier but to relieve stress, anxiety and depression for people and animals.
• SPEND TIME OUT OF DOORS EACH DAY. Contact with nature is a natural anti-depressant in and of itself. Even if you exercise outdoors, you might consider just a few minutes out of doors when you do nothing but simply take in the beauty of nature itself. Step out into your yard more often. Take your animals with you. Even if you keep your animals indoors, carry them out once in a while. This will enliven their spirits and bodies and give them joy.
• BE MINDFUL of the amount of time your animal companion spends alone. Too much alone time can be tremendously stressful on animals and can result in inappropriate behavior, depression, anxiety and illness. If you must be away from home all day please consider an animal sitter, dog walker or call upon a neighbor to check in on your animals. Sometimes we hesitate to “bother” our neighbors. There is always the possibility that your neighbor could use your help in some way and an exchange can be arranged that would benefit everyone. You might have a lonely elderly neighbor who would love to visit your animals and would benefit greatly from such an exchange.
• EAT WELL, TAKE YOUR VITAMINS AND KEEP YOURSELF LOOKING NICE. Your body and the body of your animal are the temples of your souls. Tend them inwardly and outwardly as you would a temple. Keep your body and the body of your animal clean and well groomed on the outside and keep the inside in good form by eating and feeding wholesome foods and taking natural supplements. When we treat our bodies and the bodies of our animals respectfully, we make them temples for the reception of the Divine Spirit. A well-tended body feels good and can more easily handle the stresses of everyday life.
• SING AND DANCE. Singing and dancing release energy and create peace and joy for the body and soul. Animals love good music and many of them love to dance. I often put on a particularly beautiful, peaceful piece of music, pick up my cat Lily and do a dance all around the house holding her in my arms. We both feel good for hours afterwards.
• PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS. Give a gift to a stranger. Help a neighbor. Feed a feral cat. Take the focus off yourself and focus on the well being of others and your life will become beautiful. Much of our suffering comes from an over-focus on the self which can lead to anxiety, depression, neurosis and illness which will reflect in the behavior and health of our animals as well. Take lessons in giving from your beloved animal friends. Animals are naturally giving.
• MAKE YOUR WORKPLACE AS PEACEFUL AS YOU CAN. Even though your animal companions probably do not go to work with you, any stress you bring home at the end of the day will affect them greatly. Take photos of your animals to work. Just looking at them will keep you connected to them and bring you peace and comfort. If you do find yourself stressed at the end of the workday, try and de-stress before you get home. This is a good time to exercise, take a walk or perform an act of kindness for another. All of these will shift your energy.
• CHECK YOUR OWN EMOTIONAL STATE SEVERAL TIMES EACH DAY. Your emotional states greatly affect the well being of your animals. Check yourself several times a day. Are you overstressed, worried, preoccupied, depressed, anxious? If so, implement one of the suggestions above. Take a walk, sing, dance, help someone, have a cup of tea and by so doing you will bring yourself back into balance and all will benefit.
• PRAY AND MEDITATE To pray is to ask, to meditate is to listen. Do them both. Pray for assistance with those life challenges you cannot seem to remedy on your own. Listen for the still small voice within yourself and the voice of your beloved animal companion. In the still quiet center of your own being you will receive guidance, will hear the voice of your beloved animal companion.
• GIVE YOUR DOG OR CAT A BODY SCAN TWICE A WEEK. Sit peacefully with the animal lying or standing in front of you. Center yourself and take a deep breath, exhale and resume normal breathing. With your hand a few inches above the animal’s body, slowly move your hand from the tip of the animal’s nose over the head down each front leg, up to the shoulders again and then down one side all the way to the tip of the tail and down each back leg. Check the pads of the feet by pressing gently to spread the toes, noticing any tender areas. Look in the eyes and ears. Do the same procedure on the other side of the animal’s body. Feel for any “cold” or “hot” spots in the animal’s energy field or for any other sensation that feels “off.” Make a mental note of this.
Now do the same procedure while actually touching the animal. As a woman would when doing a breast exam, feel for any lumps, bumps or sore places. Pay particular attention to the joints in older animals. Check the abdomen with a gentle pressure. Make a mental note of any tender areas. Look in your animal’s mouth the same way, paying attention to gum color, the level of tooth tartar and any areas that might be inflamed-looking. Check the inside of the ears to make sure they are pink and clean looking; look carefully in your animal’s eyes, gently pulling the eyelids away from the eyes. Don’t worry if you detect something abnormal, just continue with twice weekly body scans. If over a period of weeks, a particular area of the animal’s body remains sore or if you detect a lump, have a veterinarian check her.
Thank you, Sharon!
Support the Emotions—Dispense Joy Daily
By now we hope that you recognize the importance of nurturing your dog or cat’s emotions, as they are intricately involved not only in daily quality of life, but long-term longevity as well. Your animal is made up of complex emotions just as you are, and feels and reacts to your issues in much the same way. There are countless ways to nurture the emotions. The greatest enemy to your animal’s emotional balance is stress—yours and your animal’s. “Stress” can spring from many sources, including past neglect, lack of communication and deprivation of fresh air and exercise.
If you suspect that your animal’s emotions are out of balance or if he or she has a history of traumatic issues with abuse, as in the case of a shelter animal, administer Anaflora’s Return to Joy. Give daily in your animal’s drinking water for one month.
After that period of time and especially if you or your animal are enduring a stressful situation in your life, continue with Anaflora’s Special Stress or consider conferring with an animal communicator so that clarity may be brought into your friend’s emotional world.