What Dogs Know About the Power of Simplicity

There’s a powerful quote about simplicity—that it reveals the pure beauty in life. Nothing could be truer about this saying than with dogs. They have such simple needs…food, water, play, and love. A walk, a romp in the park, a pile of leaves, or even just a treat brings such joy to their lives.

One of my foster dogs exemplified the power of simplicity by inventing a game. He’d jump off the two-foot bank in the back yard, fly through the air ala Superman style with his front paws outstretched, land with a soft thud, race underneath the deck, jump up to the bank on the other side of the deck and careen around the corner to his jumping off point. Rinse and repeat. He’d do this until he wore himself out. And then relish the tranquility of a simple nap. It’s such a simple metaphor for life…work hard, play hard and reward yourself with something that makes you happy. Here are 3 things dogs know about the power of simplicity.

 

  1. Be open to experiences. Embrace them with your heart and allow yourself to feel and rejoice in the simplicity of every experience. An autumn leaf falling, the colors of the seasons, the sounds of the birds chirping, the changes of the seasons, all have the power to uplift and inspire through the beauty of simplicity.
  2. Stay young at heart. Like Peter Pan, who never aged, we can all tap into our inner child and recapture the innocent wonder that lies in every moment. Imagine you are seeing things for the first time and honor how it makes you feel. And take note of what it sparks within you.
  3. Look at life as a game and try to find the fun in every experience. Play with color. Color has the power to change our vibrational energy, shift our mood and renew us. Allow the innocence within you to bubble forth, and unleash the wonder all around you.

Big Ben

Big Ben was a big, handsome, black and red coated boy who’d lost his way. In his first home, he’d never received training or guidance. As a result, his sweet disposition, his polite nature, and his excellent obedience skills became overshadowed by his resource-guarding behavior. Without guidance, he became aggressive, guarding his people, his food, and his territory in general. And because of his size and power, Ben could be dangerous and unpredictable. When I asked him why he was aggressive, he said that he was worried about things getting out of control. He was simply trying to establish order and structure.

When he came to rescue, we paired him with a trainer and reinforced his training with a team consisting of our most savvy volunteers. In time, he settled into a more peaceful routine. But his past was imbedded in his character, and Ben would need a home with structure, gentle but constant guidance, and strong yet compassionate leadership.

Ben was a stunning, commanding boy. He tipped the scales at 100 pounds and his long, luxurious coat made him seem even bigger and more imposing. He was with us for just a few months when he found his first home. But after eighteen months, divorce shattered his family. And Ben was returned to rescue. And we were back to square one. BigBen_1Ben’s training had been neglected. So we placed him in training again to rebuild the foundation we’d once built with him. And he needed a makeover. He’d gained twenty pounds while he was with his first family, so Big Ben was huge now.

Despite his aggression issues, Ben was loyal and devoted and generally great with people. And despite the lack of training in his previous home, he had retained his knowledge of basic commands like sit, stay, down, up, and shake. All we needed to do was tune him up and look for a savvy and communicative home. Why? Ben was a talker. He loved to express his point of view via his vocal stylings!

After a one-year wait, Ben found a family. A husband and wife team came to meet Ben with their five-year-old GSD Baron in tow. They were smart, savvy people undeterred by Ben’s size and challenges. Baron was huge, big-boned, and also coated; he could have been Ben’s twin. Now Ben had a family and a brother.

Sometimes when we have a dog like Ben, we wonder: will we ever find him or her the right home? Will we ever find a match? But we have faith that there’s someone out there for everyone. There’s someone looking for this dog. There’s someone willing to take on even the most challenging dogs. And it happens. The right family steps up. It’s all about timing. And when it happens, it is wonderful and inspiring.

Ben now has a home where he knows exactly what to do. His boundaries are clear. He is lovingly guided and accepted. His mistakes are seen just as that, just mistakes that are correctable. His humans are committed to giving Ben the best life possible. They pay attention to everything and let Ben know he is home…finally he was really home.

 

Kona’s Search for Acceptance

An impressive black and tan German Shepherd dog, she was named after the small town of Kona, located on the big island of Hawaii. Its meaning, leeward, refers to the dry side of the island, and it’s an expansive section of coastline.  Her family had fond memories of their time on the island. Now four, she had lived with her family since she was eight weeks old. Sadly, her human mom had contracted a progressively debilitating disease. And Kona’s love of being glued to her mom now meant that even a slight unintentional bump from Kona could cause her mom to fall and be injured. After much anguished soul-searching, the family finally knew that they must relinquish her to rescue. When they brought her in, they shared a huge album filled with photos documenting Kona’s world so that our volunteers would know her history and her life. The couple tearfully shared story after story about their beloved dog and their memories of her. And when it was time to leave, they walked away with their heads hanging and their hearts heavy.

We quickly placed Kona in a foster home with an older dog and a cat. Cats were new to Kona, and she tried to practice restraint, but if the cat ran, Kona would follow! But she adored her new foster mom and was always at her side. Kona tipped the scales at about 100 pounds, so you can imagine the challenge of navigating your home with a large dog underfoot. In addition, Kona was a pro at counter surfing, hand mouthing, couch jumping, and dinner stealing. So a refresher in House Manners 101 was in order. But she was smart and willing and fast to learn, and she flourished in her foster home. She loved car rides, long walks, fun toys, and napping in her cushy crate.

I tuned into her and asked her what she was looking for in a home. Her answer: to be accepted for who she was. On her terms.

As we got to know her, we learned that she had a special talent for opening gates. And on her occasional visits to doggie daycare, it wasn’t uncommon for her to open the gates connecting the play areas of the big dogs and the little dogs to let them mingle. She also managed to let herself out of the playground by opening two gates in succession. Maybe she was channeling her inner Harry Houdini? Unfortunately and perhaps due to missing her original family, Kona developed separation anxiety, and it was challenging for her to left alone.

So we searched for a quiet home with another confident dog and humans who were home a lot. The brilliant part of this story is that a couple became interested in Kona as a companion for their dog Buck. They had tons of experience with separation anxiety since Buck suffered from it, so Kona’s issues wouldn’t be daunting for them. Here’s the twist. The couple thought that Buck wasn’t very playful, and they were looking for a mellow companion for him. Turns out the reason Buck wasn’t playful is that he never had another canine to play with! Things are party central in Buck and Kona’s home now, and from reports the first night was pretty wild. But all is settled now, and everyone is happy and in love. And no more separation anxiety for Kona! In addition to opening gates, Kona loves water. Her new home has a fish pond, and splashing around in it has become one of her favorite things, although Buck was always a little indifferent to it.

We hear that things in her new home are going beautifully. Kona and Buck are bonded playmates. And that fish pond that Buck never was interested in? Well, apparently Kona showed him how much fun that could be. Luckily, Kona’s new family thinks that the dogs’ penchant for the pond is adorable!

When I tapped into Kona to ask her why she thought her new family chose her, she offered me one word. Adequate. Which means acceptable in quantity or quality. I’d always thought of the word in terms of “that will do.” I now have a different understanding of it. In Kona’s world, it means to be accepted for what you are. Wholly accepted. Worthy. What a beautiful word. And exactly what she was looking for.

7 Beautiful Behaviors to Learn From—and For—Your Dog

Like people, dogs are complex, sentient creatures. They feel love and joy, sorrow and pain. They have thoughts and emotions, and hopes and dreams. And they care as deeply about their needs and desires as we, as human beings, care about ours.

As an animal communicator, I work telepathically with dogs, often to help humans, whether at shelters or in forever homes, to better understand and support them. So I also know this about dogs: they are more than “man’s best friend”—they are wise and wonderful teachers. By their very nature, they are remarkable role models for mankind.

But to benefit from your dog’s wisdom, you must open your heart and mind. And you must be willing to be his student.

For starters, consider seven virtuous behaviors you can learn from—and for—your four-legged companion:

  1. Be loyal. Trust is essential to any whole, loving relationship. Be a faithful companion to your dog, and devotedly meet his needs and desires—physical, mental, emotional and, if possible, spiritual.
  2. Be loving. Make an effort to deserve your dog’s unwavering, unconditional love. Every day, day by day seek ways to express the love and respect you have for him.
  3. Be attentive. Watch over your dog’s health and well-being. Educate yourself on his changing needs in each life stage, and consider holistic approaches to nutrition and veterinary care.
  4. Be compassionate. Always be kind and gentle with your dog. No excuses. No exceptions. Period.
  5. Be forgiving. Know how to forgive—and forget. And remember there are no bad dogs. Even bad behavior is often a cry for help, to express angst, boredom, or physical pain.
  6. Be dependable. Embrace routine. Be consistent with your dog in all areas—with feeding, training, walking, playing, and beyond.
  7. Be present. Don’t hold on to the past or fret about the future. Be in the present moment with your dog.

Finally, accept that being human doesn’t make you smarter, let alone superior. Be the teacher—and the student. Together, you and your dog can learn a lot.

What Dogs Know About the Power of Humor

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Dogs add so much to our lives, especially when it comes to the power of humor. There are so many ways they make our lives compete. Perhaps their biggest gift to us is that of comic relief and laughter. Dogs find the fun in everything. And the simplest things make them happy. Show them a leash, say the word walk or treat, offer them a car ride and they are in heaven. Unless that car ride is taking them to the vet. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can tell you stories about the humor dogs add to life and how they make us laugh and see the lighter side of things.

I remember, Fozzie, one of the foster dogs I had the honor to care for. A big, fluffy sheepdog-shepherd hybrid with a heart of gold. What amazed me about him is that he was so different than many of the dogs that came into the rescue I volunteered for. All of whom were heartbroken and shattered after losing their homes and families. Not Fozzie, he was like the class clown, the comic relief in our lives. Everything was a game to him. He’d toss a ball in the air with his teeth, balance it on his nose then bump it into the air again. Or he’d strew magazines all over the floor, race down the hall and pounce on them sliding across the room like a kid at the beach on a skim board. He brought so much laughter into our home. And that’s the beautiful thing about humor, it elevates our mood, improves our physical wellbeing, and according to some studies, it can even improve our leadership skills. It’s vital to our lives and dogs are masters at it.  Here are three things dogs know about humor!

  1. Choose your mood – take time to look in the mirror. Just a quick glance. What’s your current mood and what are you projecting in the world? While dogs may not necessarily do this, as an animal communicator, when I tapped into my own dog, he told me that it’s important to know what your inner being is projecting into the external world. You want to radiate joy as much as you can. It’s your inner being that becomes your external projection. And what you project will be reflected to you ten-fold.
  2. Open up – when you tap into and open your heart, you’re accessing the deepest part of yourself. Deep inside of us we all carry pain, but we also carry the ability to heal ourselves and others which can ultimately bring us joy, a sense of weightlessness, and yes, the ability to see the lighter side of things and to smile no matter what.
  3. Be the eternal optimist – Try to see the lighter side of things, explore your dreams, and imagine that your best and highest fortune is just around the corner. The power of positivity and humor can lift you up and help you to manifest magic and miracles!Dog breed

What Dogs Know About the Power of Empathy

Empathy is a powerful emotion, it gives us the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. The importance empathy plays in our lives is that it allows us to treat the people we care about the way we wish they would treat themselves. And it allows us to better understand the needs of people around us, and to more clearly understand the perception we create in others with our words and actions.

Dogs are masters of empathy. They know when we are sad or blue and they communicate that to us through physical contact. And we’ve all seen photos of dogs laying on the grave of a departed human companion or keeping watch over an injured friend. Scientific research has established that dogs are empathetic to human feelings; in a groundbreaking 2016 study, researchers evaluated dogs’ empathy for other dogs. Study results suggest that not only do dogs empathize with the distress of other dogs, but they also show sympathetic concern. Anyone who’s ever loved a dog can testify to their ability to read our moods and celebrate our highs and support us through our lows. Here are 3 things that dogs know about the power of empathy.

  1. Empathy is an act of love. It requires opening our hearts to the feelings someone else is experiencing. It’s especially important to practice empathy when your life is flourishing in all areas. Opening ourselves at a time when everything is going our way allows us to give back to others who aren’t in the same place and offer our own personal fulfillment to be poured back into the greater whole.

 

  1. In the spiritual sense, it allows us to open up our chakra’s or our energy centers, particularly the source of our intuition. When we do, we are more awakened to feelings of love and devotion for those who need us and ultimately all humanity.

 

  1. To show empathy is like offering a burst of spiritual sunshine that encourages others to replace the darkness of a troubled mind and soul. It creates a bridge of compassion and understanding to everyone who shares your life path.

What Dogs Know About the Power of Love

Anyone who’s ever been loved by a dog knows that dogs are the essence of love. They love with their whole heart and being, unconditionally and without boundaries. You can see it in the way their tales wag their entire body, in the joyful abandon with which they celebrate our return home after a long day, and in the gentle way they lean into us when they know we’re hurting. Dogs are the masters of pure love.

As an animal communicator, I’m often approached by someone who has just lost a beloved dog, to do a final reading to connect, seek closure, and attempt to begin the healing process. The first thing every dog tells me is how deeply they loved, loved, loved their human. And they tell me about the beautiful life they had with that person. Teachers of sacred geometry and dimensional healing have told me that each animal on the planet is here to teach us and to help us evolve. Dogs are here to help us transition from the third dimension to the fourth dimension which is connected to pure love. But one of the most important things about love is that it must start with loving ourselves. Here are 5 things dogs want us to know, not just about love, but how the power of self love opens us up to all things about love.

  1. To give it freely and to never hold back. Lean into the power of sharing love without expectation.

  2. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Find the wonder and beauty of even the tiniest thing and let it fill your heart until you are overflowing with love.

  3. Create sacred space and a sanctuary for yourself—a place where you can go within and seek inner peace, clarity, and vision. When you do, you open yourself fully to love.

  4. Love is the infinite and ultimate potential of the human race and the path that allows us to manifest for the greater good of all.

  5. Love is the ultimate path that awakens and connects us more deeply to the unity, grace, and spiritual treasures in our world.

Surprising Ways Our Animal Companions Help Us

Our animal companions play such an important role in our lives and surprising research shows that human-animal bonds can have huge psychological and physiological benefits.

Stress Reduction—A brisk walk with your beloved canine can sooth nerves and offer instant relaxation. And the relaxation carries over once you’re home. Studies show that individuals who live with companion animals suffer less stress than those who don’t and also react better to stressful situations. Many hospitals, assisted living care centers, nursing homes, and similar facilities have begun to invite therapy animals into their establishments because of the proven positive impact on stress reduction and overall health.  One therapy dog I spoke to told me it gave her a sense of purpose and that she knew she had come into this world to serve others. Continue reading

TEN THINGS YOUR ANIMAL COMPANION WANTS YOU TO KNOW

Ten Things Your Animal Companion Wants You to Know

Years ago I lost my beautiful tan tiger kitty, Taz. Weeks later, in the throws of grief I sat at my desk crying, my head resting in my hands. Suddenly I heard his voice. I am here. I’m not leaving yet. There’s something I want you to know. In fact every animal companion want’s their human to know these things. And he began to share a stream of conciousness that I raced to capture, scribbling furiously as he spoke. Here are the ten things he shared with me.

  1. Be faithful – To yourself, to your word, and to your commitment to me. I need to be able to trust you.
  2. Be love – Surround yourself with love so you can in turn surround me with unconditional love as I do you.
  3. Be clear – Before you ever bring me into your home; be clear with your intent, about what you want, and about what you intend to give back to an animal companion. Then ask yourself if you are ready to do what it takes to care for me.
  4. Be wise – Know what my needs are. Equip yourself with knowledge about what I require nutritionally, physically, mentally, emotionally and if you can…spiritually. Be creative in finding solutions outside of the traditional. And be aware that I need balance.
  5. Be there – Do not bring me into your life if you cannot be there for me physically and emotionally. While I do sleep a good amount, my waking hours without you can sometimes be lonely unless I have another companion.
  6. Be aware – Of how I and my needs may change as I grow older. Be cognizant of the slightest changes in my state of being. And be ready to address them holistically.
  7. Be kind – Always. I have a reason for everything I do and you may not be aware of my purpose in any given moment.
  8. Be compassionate – Your needs and desires are not more important than mine. Always remember that I have a purpose and destiny that is as important to me as yours is to you.
  9. Be consistent – With feed, care, nurturing, timing. Patterns are important to me as is knowing what to expect.
  10. Be the change – Be the change you want to see in the world. Speak up against abuse and neglect. Help others to change inappropriate attitudes and behaviors. Be a role model for love and compassion.

When he was done speaking, I was awestruck, as I am so often about the wisdom present in the animal kingdom and the lessons humans can and should learn from these noble creatures. Thank you for sharing, beautiful Taz.

Mach-10 Energy Buck

He was a handsome youngster with a longish snout, long ears, and even longer legs. Everything about him was long and lean—an indication of the growing he had left to do. He was a high-energy guy even for a ten-month-old puppy. In his first home, his rambunctious nature proved to be too much for his people. A lack of training and Mach-10 energy made for a combustible combination, and Buck was often out of control.

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When I tuned into him, he showed me an image of a rocket ship launching from its pad, its flaming engines thrusting it into outer space. Yep, I’d say Mach-10 energy Buck was a good description of him. And because of it, Buck was relinquished to our rescue organization.

 

So we needed to find him a home with savvy parents who’d commit to training him and working with him to channel his energy in a positive way. He also needed another amenable dog who’d happily play with him so he could burn some of his rocket fuel and, for everyone’s best interests, a home without small children.

 

It didn’t take long for Buck to hit the jackpot. An active, young family took an interest in him. They had recently rescued a young, energetic female German Shepherd (Scout) who loved to play. They were looking for a buddy and playmate for her. Match made in heaven was an understatement. They talked to many of our volunteers, wanting to understand all Buck’s quirks. We stressed over and over that what Buck needed most was training and leadership to channel his energy. They heard it and took it seriously but weren’t deterred.

 

Since their female was almost a carbon copy of Buck, they understood how important training was and had already dedicated much time to her training over the past six months. On the day of the meet-and-greet for Buck and Scout, the couple came to our kennels. When they arrived, Buck was doing his best Houdini impression. He’d broken out of his kennel and was running AWOL through the other kennels, trying to open side gates to gain access to the play yard. Rather than be deterred by his boisterous attitude, they were instead impressed by his intelligence! And they committed to Buck on the spot. Now Buck hits the road every day with runs with his humans to mitigate that energy level. He is going to get some much-needed exercise, discipline, and of course love. We kept our fingers crossed for Buck as he really needs a special family. We believe he has found one.

 

It was several weeks later when I tuned into Buck again to ask him how he was. He showed me a picture of a rocket ship orbiting earth. Buck, our rocket man, has found his home and is circling his new family, bound by the gravitational pull of true love in the trajectory of a new found forever home.