I watched Moose mingle among the guests then allow children to pet him. He bore little resemblance to the quiet, watchful cat who was often found on the stairs, ready to run away if necessary. “He’s an entirely different cat! His personality has totally changed,” his family exclaimed. Moose was certainly more confident and charismatic since embracing the role of top cat.
My dog was clearly depressed and experiencing separation anxiety after losing our spaniel. We struggled to find a new norm and rhythm after many years together. I purchased the Bach Flower Essence, Star of Bethlehem, “the comforter and soother of pain and sorrows,” to help process our grief. Mimulus eased her anxiety when home alone, and Larch instilled confidence.
When we experience stress, loss, or change, it impacts our animals. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, human or animal, conflicts in a relationship, a move, or a job change if we’re affected, so are they. Our stress is their stress to various degrees. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad and exhausted, Bach Flowers Elm is useful, add walnut to move forward and make necessary changes.
Many people have expressed sadness or remorse after discovering their situation or actions caused distress to their animal. A woman spoke of her frustration that joint pain was preventing her from participating in the activities she loved. It was obvious to me why her cat was experiencing pain in these same joints. Animals will take on our physical issues, pains, worries and even medical conditions. Once we understand this, we have an opportunity to make a change. As we strive for better health, relationships, and happiness, we are helping ourselves and our selfless animals.
If you are a worrier, your dog may suffer from digestion issues, foot problems or lick himself to calm his emotions. Cats will often become fearful and hide. Bach Flowers White Chestnut is for the worrier, the OCD animal that can’t stop licking; it quiets busy minds and helps with sleep. Olive is for exhaustion and regaining energy. When selecting a remedy, look for the underlining cause and emotions, then give some to your animal and take some yourself.
Some animals go into “fight or flight” and become aggressive or run away when under stress. Fearful or frustrated dogs often bark. Heather is recommended for loneliness and barking. An animal’s reaction to stress depends on his temperament, environment, and life experience. When you witness stress in your animal, ask yourself, is this mine? If so, thank him for his help, then tell him you will take care it and to let it go. Give your companion a new focus, assign a new job with frequent reminders and lots of praise.
Movement or a change of environment instills calm and relaxation when dealing with mental stress. Walk a labyrinth with your dog to relax, increase your bond and provide a “brain challenge” for him.
If your dog poops in the house and there are no obvious physical reasons, you can be quite certain he is angry with you. Ask yourself what has changed, what is new or different? When I discovered a surprise in front of my patio door, my answer came easily. I had been busy working on a project and hadn’t adequately explained why my schedule changed nor did I tell her when she could expect things to return to normal.
If you have visitors with small children, pick a quiet time to talk to your animals out loud, show images in your mind of the children being careful and supervised around them. If you are expecting a baby, allow your animal to smell the baby’s blankets and furniture and show images of you being a happy, loving family. You can ask your cat or dog to help care for the baby by alerting you when they cry.
Many people understand the importance of preparing your animals for a trip, explaining why they can’t go with them, and who will care for them. Be sure to also inform your companion when you will return. A friend extended her trip and forgot to send her cat a message; she came home to shredded wallpaper ripped from her dining room walls. Keep in touch and update them with any changes. Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy is always appropriate for times of high stress and anxiety.
Before bringing another animal into your home or fostering an animal, ask if your animals are open to the idea. Would they enjoy helping a new animal temporarily? Does this role fit their personality? Are they willing to try it? Including your animals in decisions and preparations helps alleviate problems and provides a smoother transition.
How do you deal with stress and how does your animal? Check in with yourself. What’s obvious to others is not always obvious to ourselves. If your animal seems stressed, ask is it physical, mental or emotional, i.e., barking or separation anxiety?
Planning for and communicating any changes to your animals ensures the best possible outcome and they will thank you for it. if we’re affected, so are they. Whether it’s showing them boxes for a move, images of a new home and new friends or something else, you are their glimpse into the future. Knowing what to expect reduces stress. Science has validated what we as animal parents already know; animals do understand our language.
Find out more about Bach Flower Essences here.