Have you ever been somewhere – maybe a room in your house, a store, a public place, or at an event – and you became aware of something in your presence, but long after you arrived there? You thought you could sense (see, feel, know, touch, or taste) all that was in front of you. You were certain you were sensing everything that there was to sense, but then, either someone, something, or you brought your attention to something.
In an instant you saw, felt, or sensed something that you were unaware of.
You had no idea that person or object was there until it came into your awareness. You were so sure that it was not there before! It could not have been! You were so confident that you were aware of everything around you! But there it is. There it was. Right there beside you all along. It was there, but somehow out of your awareness.
This is where our beloveds are.
The ones that passed away. The ones who left without a trace. The ones who left suddenly, tragically, or peacefully. The ones who “left us behind.” The ones who we loved more than anything. The ones who we will always love. The ones who we miss. The ones to whom we said our last goodbye. The ones who love us unconditionally.
They are here with us, just out of our awareness.
Our beloveds have never really left us. And they certainly didn’t leave us behind. For who they are, and who we are can never really be separated from one another. Who they are is spirit eternal. They are Life in the truest sense of the word. Eternally connected to us in life, and after their body’s death. Eternal Light. Always and forever with us.
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. 😉
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 coolwith 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 InstagramTwitter, 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
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. 🙂
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
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
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.
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:
The ability to let go
Hide and seek games
Seeing the world through innocence
Seeing our people become stronger and fearless
Meals tailored to our individual needs
Foraging and hunting opportunities
Sharing our people’s bed
Knowing this world is temporary; a place away from our real Home.
Energy healing sessions
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
Seeing my people happy and healthy
Getting permission to roll in smelly goodness
Watching our person learning to let go
Communicating on a new level
Smelling the scents on the breeze
Our person learning how hidden emotions affect us
Teaching our people new life lessons
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
Unlikely friendships forged through trust
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
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.
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
Thanksgiving has come and gone. This American holiday is the one day of the year that people consciously choose to reflect on what they are grateful for in their lives. It is a time for reflection. Our hearts are open to giving thanks for the many blessings we have, the family and friends that we share our lives with, and the variety of gifts that life has provided for us. But this doesn’t have to be a once-a-year occurrence; we can live in gratitude every day.
As the world shows its more chaotic side these days, I have become infinitely grateful for gifts that I took for granted for most of my life. These gifts are my animal companions. Some are no longer with me, but thankfully, some are still by my side. Every day I make a point to thank them for being in my life. I have come to realize that many of my life lessons have come from them. Each animal – past and present – reptile, bird, mammal, and amphibian, each taught me valuable lessons over the years; I could not have learned some of my greatest lessons without them.
They show me how to be fully present. How to not fear or worry about the future, and how to not dwell on the past. The here-and-now is their only time zone. If I had the courage to live every moment as they do, I would enjoy and appreciate every second of this life.
From observing them, I have learned how to enjoy a sunset, a sunrise, a cool breeze, or a warm ray of sun on my face without having to discuss it, or capture it on film.
They taught me to take risks and be bold. They have shown me how to look ahead and see life as an adventure. They taught me to travel far and reach for what your heart desires.
They remind me that material things are meaningless. So what if a glass or dish breaks? So what if my favorite book was destroyed? It’s only stuff. It can be replaced. The ones we love cannot be replaced.
They have made me a better human. They have made me more understanding, and more compassionate. I may even be a better mother to a human one day because of them. They teach me patience. They teach me true forgiveness. They teach me to take time to grieve, then to move forward and not look back. They teach me how to celebrate the passing of a loved one, and to not mourn the loss. They teach me how to love unconditionally, and how to accept love.
They have taught me that being unapologetically myself is the only way to be. They taught me to never shrink or hide who I really am to make others feel comfortable. They teach me to love and accept everything about myself. They have shown me that guilt and suffering are wasted emotions.
They are never in a bad mood, even when they have every right to be. They are always ready to move on and seize the next adventure. When my life seems to be in a rough patch, I can shift my attention to my animal companions and see the joy, cheer and Light within them. They are continuous examples of how to forgive, how to move on, and how to shake it off. Their very nature is love. Their presence alone is reassuring and comforting. I am never truly alone with my animal companion by my side.
How can we repay someone who gives us these invaluable gifts every day? With gratitude. Every day.
I encourage you to take a few minutes each day and give your animal companion something meaningful. You can give your time, your undivided attention, or your affection. After everything they bring into our lives, shouldn’t we find a way to show our gratitude to them? They chose you. You may have “found” them but they were always meant to be with you. Just you.
They will always be there for you. Thank them for that.
The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.
~ Henry Beston
Take a moment to watch this touching short film to see how one man created a marvelous way to show gratitude for his feline buddy.
The year is 1979. The town is Wichita, Kansas. I am three years old. Playing outside is one of my favorite things, but playing with friends outside is even better.
Samson and Sheba are my favorite friends. They are beautiful. Samson’s hair is light blonde like mine. It’s wavy, but gets really curly when wet. Sheba’s hair is short, sleek, shiny, and black.
They are my very best friends in the whole wide world. We do everything together. We play. We laugh. We explore. We run. We nap. Sammy even lets me have piggybacks on him and Sheba offers me an endless supply of kisses. I love them. And I love my life.
Life seemed so simple at that age. Playing outside for hours on end and getting dirty with friends was it for me. I loved my best friends more than anything. And they loved me. They were mine. They were loyal.
They were dogs.
Sammy (that’s Samson’s nickname) was a golden retriever and shepherd mix. Sheba was a black lab. Sheba was calm, reserved, and regal. Sammy was goofy, happy, and always smiling. They both exuded love, and of course, slobber and kisses.
My mother rescued them when they were only a few weeks old. You could fit each one in the palm of your hand. They were part of our family, but strictly “outside” dogs – a concept that seems so strange and foreign to me now.
Sammy and Sheba ruled the back yard. I remember the path along the fence line of our yard that Sammy had created from casing the perimeter of the yard multiple times a day, wearing down the grass to what eventually looked like trails. Sammy was our protector. Sheba was our soulful girl.
Playing with my best friends in our backyard was heaven. We would play for hours. They were always one step in front of or behind me, always watching out for me. I would crawl into their simple but sturdy wooden dog houses that my father had built. Once I had squeezed my way into their house they would come in after me, excitedly licking my face then squishing me with their massive, warm, furry bodies. We would sit there until I was too hot or had enough and was ready to get out. Then we would run and chase, play and hug, and get dirty some more.
They were my family.
We communicated with each other as if they were my real brothers and sisters. I knew how they felt. I understood what they wanted, and they did the same for me. There was true peace and happiness being in the presence of those two animals.
That was bliss to me. Still today, when I am running, playing, or find myself covered in soil, hair, feathers, scales, or slobber I am happy and at peace. Being with animals is one of the greatest enjoyments on Earth for me. And yet, somehow, even at three years of age, I knew that I wanted to experience that happiness and connection with animals for the rest of my life.
Nearly 37 years later this is still true. Even looking at the picture of my two best furry friends from childhood brings me to tears. That was joy. That was bliss.
Animals of all shapes and sizes have been one of the greatest joys in my life from the moment I came into this world. As early as I can remember when I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was emphatically, “A veterinarian!” To me, a veterinarian was someone who helps and heals animals. I just knew that I wanted to be like that.
Well, three decades later I am still someone who helps and heals animals. Whether it’s an insect, a dog, or frog, animals have always been on the receiving end of my assistance. All species of life are near and dear to me; I have never seen them as lesser than me; they have always been my equal. But I have noticed that the roles have changed a bit nearly forty years later.
They are all helping and healing me.
The passion I had at three years of age has taken many forms throughout my life, from exploring vet school, completing a degree in Wildlife Management, working in nature centers, a highly accredited zoo, and beyond. I accomplished that little girl’s dream, but I still have many more dreams to fulfill with animals and nature.
I think back to being a little girl. I had no fears. I was filled with a sense of adventure, exploration, and complete adoration of the animals of the land, sea and sky. That fire was ignited as a child and it will always be in me.
I am still on that mission.
I have created this blog to explore the many adventures, mishaps, and lessons that I have learned from my animal companions (and nature) and to share them with others. By doing so, I hope to help others better understand their animal companions and improve their relationships with them. I also hope to help other Empaths better understand the delicate balance that we need, and how animals and nature can in fact, help us heal and grow in ways we never expected. There is always more to learn and explore and many adventures to be had.
But for now, I think I’ll go outside and get dirty with my dog.
Dogs are our link to paradise. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace. ― Milan Kundera
Safety Note: Riding on dogs and smothering them with hugs is not in a child’s (or dog’s) best interest. Fortunately, Sammy and Sheba were very patient, accommodating, and inviting with the way I showed them affection. As you can see, Sheba’s moth is open – a behavior indicating she is at ease with me leaning on her.
But most dogs are not this tolerant.
Today I teachworkshops on how to safely and respectfully show our canine companions affection without compromising their stress levels or a child’s safety. If you are interested in learning more about canine body language, please visit these links: here and here and here . And I invite you to learn about dog and child safety here.
“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole”– Roger Caras