Cats Who Cache!

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Hello Friends, and happy weekend!  I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways as we are in full swing of winter.  Here in the northeast we are preparing for a major winter storm, so this will be a (relatively) short post.

🎙For those who prefer to listen to this blog post, you can access the audio version here.🎙 

Let’s get to it!  It’s Caturday! So let’s talk cats.


If you are fortunate to be the guardian of a feline, then you are blessed beyond measure.  Being “owned” by a cat does have its benefits; albeit frustrations and confusions, too. But any confusion and frustrations are easily mitigated when we understand the WHY behind behaviors.

If you have been flowing with this blog for a while now, you know that house cats are:

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If you have been paying attention, then you now know that all house cats need:

  • Proper, positive socialization to a variety of sights, sounds, and scents
  • Vertical space
  • Daily exercise
  • Daily mental stimulation
  • Ability to exercise their natural instinct to hunt
  • Acceptable outlets for their natural behaviors
  • To feel safe in and around your home
  • Litter boxes that are spacious, clean, and the right fit for each feline’s lifestage
  • Appropriate and species-specific nutrition
  • Regular, species-specific veterinary care
  • Basic positive (fun) training time
  • Choices

Knowing all of this is only part of the pussycat puzzle.  Innate Behaviors are often at the heart of these needs.

‘People have forgotten this truth,’ the fox said. ‘But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.’  ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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All in the Instincts!

 Many of the behaviors we observe our feline family members displaying are closely controlled by genes. These behaviors are called innate behaviors.  They are behaviors that are inborn; naturally occurring in all members of a species.  Within each species, Innate behaviors are predictable. These behaviors can be performed in response to a cue (changing of the seasons, daylight, etc.) without prior experience /exposure to a particular cue. 

Think of them as reflex responses/actions.  Unlike behaviors such as learning to ride a bike, tie your shoe, or brush your teeth, Innate behaviors do not have to be learned or practiced.  

  • Innate behaviors are instinctive.
  • They are controlled by genes and always occur in the same way.
  • Innate behaviors do not have to be learned or practiced.
  • Innate behaviors generally involve basic life functions, so it’s important that they be performed correctly.

These kinds of behaviors are also called instinctive behaviors.  An instinct is the ability of an animal to perform a behavior the first time it is exposed to something that causes a response, within their body.  

 Examples:

  • courtship
  • mating
  • mothering
  • escape
  • defensive maneuvers

Our cat committee is currently creating a book for families that will discuss more of this in detail. But that’s the basics of what you need to now about today’s topic.

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Hard-Wired Needs

There is one innate behavior I would like to talk about today that really fascinates me about felines. And I really think you’ll enjoy it.  It’s called Caching. 

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Have you ever noticed your cat trying to cover his/her food? All of our cats do it after they have finished eating if there is leftover food.  Well, let’s be honest: Knox never leaves any food. -Pretty sure he’s a direct descent of Garfield.

 

Cats who cover their food are not unusual critters.  Many more species do this behavior than most realize!

Critters Who Cache

Many animals practice the behavior of caching. Here are a few examples:

  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Foxes
  • Hamsters
  • Rooks
  • Woodpeckers
  • Scrub Jays
  • Mountain Lions

Caching behavior is the storage of food in locations hidden from the sight of both conspecifics (animals of the same or closely related species) and members of other species.  For some species, the function of caching is to store food in times of surplus for times when food is less plentiful. However, there is evidence that some caching behavior is done to ripen the food.  Foxes and squirrels tend to spread out their food in small caches (“scatter hoard”) so that, although one may be discovered by another animal, enough will remain.

Scrub Jay Chaching

Why Cats Cache

Cats are predators and prey.  Cats who live in the wild, (feral cats, cougars, panthers, etc.) often attempt to bury uneaten food or cover a recently killed carcass.  It’s believed wildcats do this to:

  • avoid attracting any predators to the area
  • attempt to not alert potential prey that a feline hunter is in the vicinity

Once the wildcat has eaten his/her fill of their prey, the cougar will cover their prey with substrate (grass, leaves, or other ground material) to protect it from spoiling or from being eaten by other animals. The cougar will usually remain in the area near his/her cache for several days, occasionally returning to feed on the carcass.

Caching behavior is also quite common in house cats. A lot of folks think this is because their cat doesn’t like the food, but in fact, it’s an innate behavior inherited from their ancestors. Check out these fascinating felines caching their food in the wild!

F99, an orphaned cougar kitten, caching an elk carcass she discovered. Photograph by Mark Elbroch / Panthera nationalgeographic.org/author/melbroch/

A Caching Cougar In Action!

Below is a time-lapse video an adult female mountain lion who has been followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project. This cougar is in northwest Wyoming, caching a mule deer she killed:

In winter, it’s common for cougars to lose access to at least half of every elk they kill. Cougars tend to feed on one side of an elk at a time, and by the time they are finished with one side, the other can be wedged beneath a solid layer of compressed snow and ice, and completely inaccessible. 
-Mark Elbroch, Teton Cougar Project

This is important to realize because it helps us understand the foraging ecology of cougars. Cougars need to kill a specific amount of meat to meet their energetic demands for living, but they kill much more than this. In summer, bears steal their kills, and in winter, cold weather and snow steal their food. Thus, cougars are often unable to consume all of what they kill, and so they must kill again more quickly. -Mark Elbroch



On Nov 2, 2015 a hunter spotted a cougar caching her prey:


The hunter states, “Came face to face with a mountain lion while out hunting in the Swan Valley (Montana). After some investigation, I found a deer cached under a large amount of debris. Instead of hunting, I went back home and grabbed a game camera and set it up on the cache site.” – Adam Lieberg


A mountain lion burying a deer carcass. The new study shows that such caches provide important habitat and food for hundreds of species.
CREDIT FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS/JON NELSON

Mountain lions typically cache their kills beneath a mound of snow but when temperatures drop precipitously at night, this behavior frequently backfires.  Unlike foxes, coyotes, and wolves, cougars lack the strong feet and stout claws for intensive excavation. Thus, when snows become thick ice that hinders their ability to feed, cougars abandon their kills to hunt again.


Habitats Created from Caching!

Most people think of beavers as ecological engineers, building dams, and creating new habitats from their creations, but a new study shows mountain lions modify their environments in a similar way.

Unlike wolves, mountain lions leave large intact pieces of dead meat on the landscape that draw lots of species that then distribute those nutrients far and wide. It is so important to ecosystem health to maintain carrion on the landscape which supports a huge diversity of wildlife through supplemental feeding, through maintenance of invertebrate community. It just goes on and on. – Mark Elbroch, the Director of the Puma Project

Napping & Caching!

I love this video below.  It’s rare footage of a subadult female cougar.  In the video she’s just waking from a long nap, and is slightly disoriented …  A bit later she is caching the elk carcass she discovered and claimed as her own.

House Cats Who Cache

Even the comfy couch cats who have never set paw outside retains this feline instinct.  But because all cats are individuals within the species, the degree to which the cat attempts to hide/bury the food depends on the individual cat’s comfort level and concern for exposed uneaten food.

What Caching Behavior Looks Like In House Cats:  The cat is burying something.  The cat is pawing at the carpet, kitchen tile, or dragging her front paw on the floor around their food mat, puzzle feeder, or bowl.  The cat may become so focused on burying the food that he/she pushes the food mat/plate around. Some cats may pull a blanket, tissue paper, or food mat over their leftovers, if these items are nearby.



Become the Observer of Behavior.

Frustrating felines, puzzling pussycats, and bewildering behaviors common in homes with house cats. But all behavior has roots. Either it’s learned or innate. Caching is just one example of how we so often misunderstand cats and mislabel cat behavior. We label the behavior, make it wrong, or make fun of it. But this particular caching behavior works for cats; it serves an important purpose. Once we begin to understand that all behavior serves a purpose, we gain a new perspective.

We gain compassion.

We know that wildcats and house cats are learning all the time. We can choose to learn as well. It’s up to us as stewards of Mother Earth, and guardians of house cats to learn how to show respect, better communicate with them, listen better to them, and to learn something new from them every day.

“Reality is always kinder than the stories we tell about it.” – Byron Katie

Now when you see your cat at home doing this behavior, you’ll have a greater appreciation and understanding of WHY!

Cougars, like house cats, are often misunderstood. The video below is a rare and intimate glimpse into the family lives of America’s second-largest cats. The film debunks long-held perceptions of cougars as solitary, anti-social animals and reveals their social and caring side: This footage was gathered by the conservation group Teton Cougar Project, revealing a family who is playful, affectionate, and interdependent.
The footage also shows that sometimes, adult female cougars adopt orphaned kittens that would otherwise perish.

It shows how behaviors are passed down from one generation to the next, how young kittens learn from interactions with their mother and siblings, exhibiting behaviors such as stalking, caching and sharing meals.

I invite you to watch this short film, “The Secret Life of Mountain Lions”:

Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.


Recommended Related Reading


This blog post is intended for educational purposes only. Please visit Panthera’s Teton Cougar and Panthera’s Puma program sites for more info!


Learn more about the fascinating felines with whom you share a home, at our Website! 

A Fear-Free 4th?

“Fear is a stranger to the ways of love.

 – A Course In Miracles

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A Peaceful Sunset Near Our Home

Happy July!

Wow.  How are we already past the midway point of 2017!?

Hello Summer! And hello to you!

It’s been 3 months since I shared here.  So much has happened since the last post .  After our beloved King Albert transitioned into Spirit, life has been a roller coaster of sorts.  Saying goodbye to him was a heartbreaking and familiar path, but this time the path was paved with life-changing insights and experiences.  So much love, learning, healing, and growth has happened in the process.

But that’s not what I am sharing with you today.

As I discussed in an earlier post, my life and work is now a blend of science, metaphysics, and spirituality.  My last post was a bit of both, and rather lengthy.  Today’s post is science-based and short-n-sweet to save us all time. 😉

Let’s get to it!

The fourth of July (and Canada Day) are almost here.  If you have been following this blog since the get-go ,  you know that I write about this dreaded day at great length.  The 4th of July is a favorite day of celebration for many people, but let’s be honest:  It’s a day of terror for many animals.  The Fourth of July might as well be renamed “4th of July Fright Night”.

If your cat is cool with the cacophony of clangs, I commend him.  If your dog digs having strangers over with a symphony of explosions, and scary sights and scents, I bow down to her.  If your parrot, ferret, pig, or horse is unphased by the big bad booms around their dojo, they are the minority.

Most animal companions are not cool with the Fourth of July.

If you have worked with or lived with an animal, you know that most are frightened of loud or startling noises.  Even the ones who enjoy being around new people can be pushed to their limit.  Strangers in your home during the holiday can stress out even the most subdued souls.

Even if your animal companion has not displayed fear around these family events before, the sights, scents, and sounds on The Fourth of July could easily bring out their most intense fears.  And these fears don’t pass after the festivities are over; they can manifest as physical issues well after the event.

It can be a living nightmare for many.

💥 So, what’s a devoted animal guardian to do?!?
–> BE AWARE.
–> PLAN.
–> PREPARE.
💥


Here’s the Good News: Family festivities on the 4th of July don’t have to become Fright Night to our animal companions!  There are many things that you can do to help your animal family members successfully cope with the Big Bad Booms and Bangs!💥

Let’s Get to Sharing!

Below are resources that I have been sharing like wildfire for weeks on our Instagram Twitter, and Facebook pages. Check em out!  And if you have friends, family, or colleagues that would benefit from this information, by all means, share it!

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ― Francis of Assisi

Last weekend,  a gifted colleague and I gathered forces to create a live call-in event for families.  The intent was to empower people and their pets by sharing tools, tips, and techniques, and also to dispel myths.  This event was created to help animal guardians across the country to prepare for the Night of Assault on the Senses.

It was a huge success.

Countless people had NO CLUE that it’s really OK to comfort the animal when they are afraid; how and why food can and should be used as a tool to modify fear;  why medication is often very helpful;  holistic tools that actually work; how to identify and create safe hide outs; why play is powerful.

All of these topics were new to many.

People were so relieved to learn that they do have the power to help their pets!  People learned how and why these tools are vital to having a night that’s fear-free on the 4th of July.  During the live event we discussed:

  • Sight, Scent, Sound, and Tactile senses 101
  • How & Why we should desensitize them to loud noises NOW
  • Signs of Stress in parrots, cats, and dogs
  • How to properly use FOOD to modify fear 🥓
  • Why cats behave certain ways when they feel threatened
  • What you can provide to help them feel safe and secure
  • Why “bolt holes” are critical for dogs and cats
  • Holistic Tools to use
  • Why you might want to consider contacting your vet now
  • How your energy affects your animal companions
  • Why Acepromazine should NOT be used
  • Why we SHOULD comfort the animal when they are afraid
  • How enrichment activities calm the mind
  • Why we want to Dial UP the Dopamine
  • How to prepare your home for safety & security
  • Why we need to create an “Energy Hangover” environment  after the 4th to prevent trigger stacking

 

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Identifying AND providing “safe places” and “bolt holes” is essential!

If you missed the live event, you can listen to the replay:

✳  via Dropbox
✳ via Free Conference call

 

 

After the call,  I complied a list of Positive Resources for Animal Guardians.  The intent was to provide free resources to help families across the country to have a Fear-Free 4th. If you are interested, you are welcome to  download the PDF and share it with others.

Conscious_Companion_Giving quotes_parrot Training_parrot behavior_Giving tuesday


So that’s some of what’s been on my mind the past couple of weeks, which is why I was motivated to share with you today.   I hope this is helpful.   And I hope you know that it is possible to have a Fear-Free Fourth of July.

You can do this!

If you have questions or concerns, shoot me an email, or comment below. 🙂

Good Vibes Only_Conscious Companion


For those of you who are new to this blog, welcome! I am so grateful you are here! For those of you who have been here since the beginning, and for those who are interested, here are some other exciting projects in the works:

  • I am closer to completing my first children’s book (gah!)
  • A video series on how to positively leash train cats of all ages & stages via force-free techniques (with an emphasis on senior and geriatric cats!)
  • Kids-In-Cali Animal Communication workshops
  • Dog and Kid Safety workshops for our Marines at Camp Pendelton
  • A video series on assisting aging cats with force-free medical care at home
  • Connecting with Animals on the Other Side – a complimentary program for pet parents who are struggling with death, loss, and grief
  • Empaths with Pets: how highly sensitive people can learn from their animal companions

As I am guided I will be sharing more about each of these with you here in the future.  In the meantime, check out these free resources so you and your beloveds can have a Fear-Free 4th of July together! 🎉

With infinite Love and Gratitude,

Amy and the animal menagerie🐾


Knowledge is power.  Information is liberating.  Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. -Kofi Annan

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Carlsbad Beach

Their World of Gratitude

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There is always Light behind the darkness.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

 

Hello.  I hope this finds you and yours doing very well and at peace.  I hope wherever you are in the world you are enjoying the holidays and the changing seasons of life.

You may have noticed that I have been absent in sharing with you for many weeks.  Things on our end have been nonstop and challenging, to say the least.  I haven’t had time to share here, continue writing my books, or working with clients.  I have made a few videos, but in general, all professional work has been on hold.

Since I last shared with you we have had many successes and a few scares.  We’ve had three birthdays in the house (woot!), four surgeries, one near-death experience (on a birthday), one reactive rover who trusts again (hallelujah!), funerals for fallen Marines, family and friends visiting, awards ceremonies, best friends battling cancer, and a multitude of other experiences.

But today I am allowing myself to take a break. Today I am choosing to channel my energy into this post in hopes that it will inspire and uplift you. Today I am focusing on something we often forget to focus on: gratitude.


Ever since we moved to California there has been one challenge after another. One struggle after the next. One illness after another. Pain. Heartache. Frustration. Exhaustion.

But that’s not the full story. That’s only part of the picture. There has been much more at play. There is another side to all the stress and strife.  The other side of the struggles are at the heart of this post.

Between the physical and emotional struggles there have been miracles and wonder.  There’s been growth, expansion, hope, strength, endurance, and bonding.  There have been life lessons learned, friendships forged, soul contracts at play, inspiration gained, and new horizons seen.  There have been unimaginable success, hard-fought healings, and life-changing growth on every level possible.

And through it all, somehow we have remained in gratitude. We come back to gratitude. And we remain there. Looking above it all, I am in awe.


Each one of the struggles and successes deserve a post in itself.  In fact, there will be several chapters dedicated to each of them in the books I am writing.  But for now, I will summarize a few of them because not only is there too much to cover in one post, but some stories are not ready to be shared with the world just yet. But they will be one day. I look forward to sharing that with you when the time is right.

Today I want to keep it simple.  I want to uplift and inspire.  My goal is to redirect our focus. And to see life from a new perspective. Even if it’s merely a glimpse.

Today I will be sharing something from the animal’s perspective.

I took the liberty to share not only what they have shared with me over the years, and what I have learned from them lately, but also what I perceive their truths to be.  All of this is centered on their idea of “Gratitude.”


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


 

Thanks and Giving Beyond November

I have discussed the idea of making room for gratitude before.  I have discussed why it’s so powerful, why we need it now, and why you deserve thanks.   But this post takes a new spin on a familiar topic.  And it curtails the many thanks and giving that some have been enjoying lately.

Here in the United States we just wrapped up Thanksgiving.  It’s a lovely time of year if you create the time to slow down and enjoy it.  I love seeing people smiling, sharing, and caring more this time of year.  I love seeing and hearing the words, “grateful”, “gratitude” and “thankful” tossed around like autumn leaves on the breeze.  An attitude of gratitude seems to permeate people.  It’s really quite beautiful.

But then it leaves.

Just as the vibrantly colored leaves float to the ground, briefly rest on the Earth and quickly dance off into the horizon, so too goes our gratitude.

leaves-in-the-wind

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Gratitude can be an attitude that we embody during the most challenging times. Gratitude can be a cloak in which we cover a tired body.  Gratitude can be the breeze we choose to ride.  It can be the wind we set our sails to while riding the rocky seas.  Gratitude can sooth the most exhausted mind.  It can heal a broken heart.  It can change your world.  And it can radically change the world of our animal family members.

But we have to choose it.

Gratitude is not a gift. It is not reserved for the elite, the special, or the few.  It is who we are.  It is who you are without all of the other thoughts, beliefs and judgments.  Gratitude, like Love is always only a thought away.

I am reminded of this during every struggle.  In fact, I am reminded of Gratitude when I look at how the animals move through their lives.  I am reminded of the power of gratitude when I see them shine; when their light is brightest even when there is a dark cloud above them.  I am reminded of gratitude when they outshine me.

It’s as if all the world could be falling apart, but they somehow remain grateful in their heart.  They rise above it.  They see beyond temporary, fleeting circumstances. They know that this too, shall pass.  They know more than we realize and gratitude is their guide.


“Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


Gratitude as a Gift

I started thinking about how gratitude has pulled me out of my darkest depressions and my most intense anxieties over the years.  Gratitude has transformed boredom, frustration, fear, and anger into hope, trust, and joy.  I thought about how much there is to be grateful for, even during the darkest hour.  I thought about how gratitude has been a driving force pushing me through the past few months.

Then I thought about our animal family members.  I wondered what they might be grateful for this year.  I wondered how gratitude played into their perspective.  I wanted to really look into what they were thankful for, without stepping into the quicksand of anthropomorphism.  I wondered what they would say “Thank you” for every day.

What I discovered wasn’t a surprise; these aspects are all part of their journey and the story of their lives.  If the animals were to say “thanks” for the circumstances and gifts in their lives, their lists might include these:

  • Unconditional Love
  • The ability to let go
  • Hide and seek games
  • Seeing the world through innocence
  • Fireside snuggles
  • Seeing our people become stronger and fearless
  • Meals tailored to our individual needs
  • Foraging and hunting opportunities
  • Being unattached
  • Sharing our people’s bed
  • Play time
  • Knowing this world is temporary; a place away from our real Home.
  • Being unapologetic
  • Energy healing sessions
  • Holistic care
  • Animal communication
  • Living a force-free way of life
  • Being silly and goofy
  • Food used as a tool
  • Soul contracts being honored
  • Unexpected car rides in the Adventure Box
  • The ability to choose
  • Meeting nice people out and about
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Seeing my people happy and healthy
  • Getting permission to roll in smelly goodness
  • Overcoming illness
  • Watching our person learning to let go
  • Warm beds
  • Communicating on a new level
  • Smelling the scents on the breeze
  • Our person learning how hidden emotions affect us
  • Excellent boxes
  • Teaching our people new life lessons
  • Meditation moments
  • Knowing that our people are doing the best they can
  • Watching each other grow
  • Feeling the sun on our fur and face
  • Aging with dignity and grace
  • Soul mates
  • Unlikely friendships forged through trust
  • Just Being
  • Force-free medical care at home
  • Bonds that never break
  • Being seen as an individual
  • Polite play dates
  • Being listened to and heard
  • A loving home
  • Being near the one you love
  • Adventures
  • Being loved for who I Am

 

…Those were just a few of their “thanks” that came to mind.  These are a merely a snippet of what I have been honored to learn from them.  I am grateful.  I am humbled. I am honored.  And I am grateful for each of them.

Teachers. Gifts. Angels. Lights in the dark.  That is what they are to me.  This is some of what I am grateful for each day.  This is what I will focus on as we move through this life together. This is what I will remember when things get hard. When life is rough. I will remember these things and I will share their gratitude.

Our gratitude won’t end now that Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Our gratitude will last.  It will be within us 365 days a year.  And as we grow gratitude, we will pass it on to others. If you’re interested I made a quick video about this. You can view it here.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/193259849″>An Attitude of Gratitude 365</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user31689127″>Conscious Companion</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



 

What do you believe your animal companions are grateful for? What are the gifts in their lives? What supports their attitude of gratitude? What would be on their “thankful for” list?



Before I go, I would also like to share that I am grateful for you.  Thank you for being here. Thank you being a part of this community.  Thank you for reading, staying inspired, and for being willing to stay in an attitude of gratitude every moment of the day.

From our family to yours,

Much love and light


“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
― Meister Eckhart

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Sunset at our home


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Making Room for Gratitude

ocean waves
Carlsbad, California

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward

Happy Tuesday!  Hello Summer!  And how the heck are we in August already?!? Gah!

I have not had the opportunity to sit down and write to you about the tools, tips, and transformation from before, during, and after our Big Move out West because we have been going nonstop since I last wrote you.  And we have had some major life challenges as well.  But I promise, those posts will come.  It takes a lot of time and effort to share in detail with you when it comes to behavior modification, energy work, and inter-species communication.  When I have the time, you will hear all about it!

But when it comes to quickly sharing good news with the world, I cannot contain myself!  Which brings me to the point of this post: Gratitude.

(I will give myself 20 min to write this … And the clock starts NOW!)


Growing Gratitude

Last week on Conscious Companion’s Facebook page I was inspired to start a practice of recognizing all of the Good Things happening in life, specifically in regards to our animal companions, and how we are managing life with them.  The world has conditioned us to live in fear. And this carries over into our homes with our animal companions. 

We can get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget to see the good.  When we encounter minor and major frustrations we can easily overlook the miracles and magic, and small successes that are happening right in front of us.

It’s easy to overlook the positive side of every challenge and frustration.  It’s easy to focus on the negative.  So much crud and crap is being shared, talked about, and focused on. There is so much negativity in the news. And too many crazy people are receiving the spotlight.  Focus around the world is focused on fear and negativity. 

Where’s the Good Stuff?

There are GREAT things happening everywhere!  There are amazing things happening in our homes!  But we often don’t see them. We are focusing on the fearful, scary, or frustrating parts.

Where are we focused when things get a bit challenging in our homes?  Where does our mind wander when we (or our animal companions) are having a hard time? Are we exploring all of the options available?  Are we practicing patience? Are we staying in gratitude?  Are we anticipating a positive outcome? Are we recognizing small successes?

Most of the time we are not.

But we can change that!  We can condition ourselves to see small successes. We can learn to look at the highlights, instead of the low points. It takes practice and a little willingness to see things from a higher perspective, and to view the Big Picture. Once we start this practice, our lives with our animal companions will change dramatically, for the better. 


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Be In Gratitude

Even in the lowest moments in life I can find something to be grateful for.  I can even find a way to laugh.  I have learned to do this through practice.

This tool has changed my life in more ways than I can explain. I am now keenly aware of how deeply my moods and attitude directly affect everyone around me, especially my animal companions.  Whether it’s during a training session, grooming them, cleaning around them, or hanging out as a family, they are very in tune with what I am going through.

We may not see it on the surface, but our animal companions are sponges for our emotions and moods.  They are literally soaking up all that we are sending out.  And many animals will reflect back whatever we are sending out. It’s taken me many years to recognize this.

These days I am very aware of what I am transmitting.

Now I catch myself when I start to fall into a downward spiral of frustration or fear.  If I am feeling angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, or afraid, I will find one thing that I am grateful for.  I say it out loud.  When I do this I can literally feel a shift.  I can feel myself lighten up and feel better.  Then I am able to focus on more things that I am grateful for.

Once I am in gratitude I am able to look for solutions.  I am more willing to look at the circumstance from another perspective.  I am able to stay grounded. This helps me to steer clear of fear, frustration, or even reactivity.  Sometimes I am able to even laugh!

Once I do this, whatever I was so upset about starts to fade from fear or frustration and transform into trust and clarity.  Gratitude overtakes the monster mental scene I have created.  I can see more clearly.  Then I am ready to move forward and face the challenge with (a little more) grace and ease.  

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 Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see. ― Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal


 

There have been a lot of challenges recently for our family, and for our animal companions, but there were so many Good Things that have come out of every challenge. For example, Hocus’s reactivity issues seem to be fading fast.  Mr. Beaux, our 17 year young feline, continues to amaze me in every way.  We are all embracing health and happiness, and setting aside all kinds of fears.

Life is Good (because we continue to see it that way.)

If you are interested, here are a few other tidbits and challenges that I am grateful for this week:

  • We found an incredible all feline (cats only) veterinary specialist near our new home.
  • After Mr. Beaux had 3 teeth removed and jaw surgery, I became wholly aware of how much pain he had been in (and hiding) for a long time. This pain contributed to his lack of interest in food, and subsequent weight loss. (And NOT because “he is a picky eater!”) He is eating like a champ now! … More to come on this important cat misconception later.
  • Someone near and dear to me was diagnosed with Cancer, but all we are focusing on is perfect health and a complete healing. All we can see is someone who is free of cancer.
  • I was reminded how important and healing laughter is when I found this Instagram account and couldn’t stop laughing at the pet & wildlife ones.
  • Mr. Beaux reminded us all, once again, of two things: 1.Animals are never doing things out of spite; all behavior serves a purpose. It’s our job as their guardian to help them by becoming a “pet detective”. 2.  Litter boxes must be adjusted carefully for cats, post surgery.
  • Hocus did not react to Knox when he entered her sleepy space (multiple times this week).  They are now sleeping together in our bed, with zero sass.
  • I got back into meditation AND stopped feeling guilty about how much I procrastinate after I discovered this amazing video.

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What are you grateful for this week?? I would truly love to hear!

What will you focus on this coming week? Will you stay in Gratitude?


“Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past; Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You… Be Free … Share.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Thank you.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” –Dalai Lama

thank you

This is a shout-out to you.  A huge, sincere thank you to you.

Today is all about you.

It’s National Pet Parent Day!  Yep.  I have to admit that I laughed when I realized this and thought, “Every day is pet parent day in our home! I don’t take a day off.”

There seems to be a worldwide or national day for everything these days, but today is a good day to celebrate.  Today is a worthwhile day to recognize because it’s all about honoring everything that we do as devoted animal guardians.   Whether you are a pet parent at home, an animal care taker at a shelter, zoo, or aquarium, or whether you are a trainer, behaviorist, veterinarian, or energy healer, you deserve thanks.  No matter what our exact role is, we all need to hear thanks.  No matter how we serve them, we all need to feel appreciated for all that we do for them.


How This Day Was Created

National Pet Parents Day was created to “honor all dedicated pet parents across the nation with a special day of their own.”  This date was founded by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) in 2007. And although National Pet Parents Day is an unofficial holiday, it was created out of the inspiration of realizing that the majority of their insurance policyholders consider their pets to be part of their true family.     If you are following this blog, then you (like our family) see your “pets” as animal family members.  They may not be related to us by blood, but they are f a m i l y.



“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” -Cicero


We Aren’t Always Living On Easy Street.

If you are a professional animal caretaker, or a professional pet consultant, people may see you and think you have the coolest job in the world.  If you have beautiful pets people may envy you.  They may assume your life is perfect with them.   If their rescue story melts their hearts they may want to rescue one, too.  And they assume that your animal companion’s rescue story ended when you invited them into your home.

If you are an animal behavior consultant, an animal trainer, an animal communicator, or an animal healer, people might assume you have “perfect pets.”  They assume that these pets are never sick, never wild and crazy, they never backslide, and they are all perfectly trained, and never misbehave.  You must be the envy of the world if you are one of these people with one of these pets!

Ah, but we know the truth.

We all know that life is not always easy-going with the animals we care for and share our homes with.  We know that some days there seem to be constant challenges.  We know what it feels like to want to cry or scream when we are at our wit’s end.  We know all too well how hard it can be to juggle a busy work and a family life with a pet-family lifestyle.

We know what it means to have our own physical challenges while living and working with animals who have their own challenges.  We know what it’s like to be a new parent struggling with a new baby while trying to manage your pet “kids” as well.  We know what it means to have a crawling toddler and a conflicted canine.  We know that a rescued animal’s rescue story really only begins the moment that we bring them into our human environment.  We know that there is never a “cure” for every behavioral issue.  We know the real meaning of patience.  We understand what it means to rearrange our lifestyle to ensure that our animal companions feel safe and secure.  We know the meaning of selflessness and sacrifice.  We know and understand that there are a myriad of challenges that we encounter with every animal that we care for.  We know that we have invited these animals into our lives and we are bound to them for the rest of their life.  We know that life with animal companions can be a blessing beyond words, but it can also be wrought with unexpected trials and circumstances.

But we also know that we never give up. Ever.

We are dedicated to them all.  We believe in what can happen when we are armed with knowledge.  We know how far we can go together with love and compassion.  We know that healing is possible.  We know that there are solutions that can be found.  We know that together we can create miracles.  We know that we will find a way to succeed with them. We know that they might never know all that we have done and will continue to do for them. But we do it all anyway. We do it with love and devotion.

And our lives will never be the same.

We know this truth.

We live it every day.


A Thousand Thanks

I have taken a break from writing blog posts to continue my focus on writing a few books in the works, and to prepare for an upcoming move to the west coast.  But when I felt into what today represented, I was inspired and really wanted to take a moment to write to you.

Thank YOU for being a true and loyal Conscious Companion. I know it’s not always easy.

★Thank you for never giving up on them.
★Thank you for allowing them teach you.
★Thank you for being open to new ideas.

★Thank you for being willing to implement something new every day.

★Thank you for learning how to speak their language.
★Thank you for learning how to listen to them.
★Thank you for accepting challenges as they arise.
★Thank you for helping them to become well-adjusted to your human world.
★Thank you for helping them to age with grace and ease.
★Thank you for knowing when it’s time to let them go.
★Thank you for loving them with all of your heart.

Thank you ALL for being dedicated, determined, and downright amazing!

I am graciously sending you and yours my love and gratitude.


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“Bᴇɪɴɢ ᴀ ᴘᴇᴛ ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ʙᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏsᴛ ᴄʜᴀʟʟᴇɴɢɪɴɢ ʀᴏʟᴇs ᴡᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴄʜᴏᴏsᴇ, ʙᴜᴛ ɪɴ ᴇxᴄʜᴀɴɢᴇ ᴡᴇ ʟᴇᴀʀɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴀʟ ᴍᴇᴀɴɪnɴɢ ᴏғ sᴇʟғʟᴇssɴᴇss, ᴀᴄᴄᴇᴘᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴜɴᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ʟᴏᴠᴇ.” – Amy Martin