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

Dog breed

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.

Gem’s Journey – A Magical Rescue Story

Pregnant and stranded in a high-kill shelter, Gem’s transition to motherhood was a challenging one.  She was scheduled to be euthanized when a German Shepherd rescue stepped in to change her fate forever. And through the power of one simple word—“yes”—Gem’s life and future changed forever. But even though she was out of danger, poor Gem was still so frightened she had to be carried to the rescue van and into her foster home.

One week later, Gem gave birth to nine adorable puppies, six of whom were claimed by adoptive families as soon as they were old enough and three of whom, like Gem, waited patiently for a forever home.  The rescue’s “yes” had saved nine more lives.

Gem was a beauty, a pale blond shepherd with a frosted black saddle and a thin black strip on her forehead. Her eyes were soulful and kind, and underneath her quiet demeanor lived a regal soul. I asked her to describe herself and what she wanted in a home. She said simply that she was humble and shy and that her only desire was to feel safe. And while she was cautious, she warmed up to people once she became comfortable with them.

I asked Gem what she had gone through at the shelter, pregnant and alone. Her response: People don’t realize that we understand our plight and our situation. I knew I was pregnant and stranded. I knew my puppies depended on me and on the kindness of people I had yet to meet. It was a desperate time.

In her foster home, Gem worked hard on building her confidence.  She gained emotional strength and support from the two resident dogs, and she followed them everywhere when she wasn’t tending her puppies.

At the same time Gem arrived in our rescue, a husband/wife team put in an application. They had always had GSDs and their most recent, Schatzi, had been imported from Germany to join their current fur family that consisted of three small dogs and two cats. Schatzi was a character. He stole beer, carried the small dogs around in his mouth like lollipops, and toted a Barbie doll crown in his teeth. He visited dog parks frequently and attempted to play with his other pack members, but within weeks, his family knew that something was missing from his life. And they knew he needed a dog his size to play with.  So we scheduled a meet-and-greet for Schatzi, Gem, and the original five furry family members. Gem was a pro. It was like she knew she was home. Her shyness melted away, and she greeted the new “furmily” with grace and reserve. No feathers or fur ruffled in the process.

Gem was welcomed into the family and became Lily. Now, the “yes” that transformed ten lives expanded to touch seven more. The family reports that Lily fits in like she’s been there forever.  Schatzi no longer is tempted to enjoy a lolli-pup, has forsaken his Barbie crown for good, and has stopped stealing beer! And Gem’s life is no longer desperate.

How Nemo Found His Way – Part Two

Nemo Part 2

 

Then his healing journey began. He was taken to the vet, shaved, vaccinated, X-rayed, and crated for transportation to the kennels. All the while, Nemo was brave, curious, gentle, grateful, and fearless. He needed medicated baths for months. They were long and painful, and there was scrubbing and bleeding. But all the while he seemed to know that everything we did was to help him on his road to recovery.

A foster stepped up to continue his arduous care routine, and after months, Nemo began to gradually respond. He gained weight, his front leg healed, and his fur filled in. He morphed into a stunning, regal black and tan shepherd who was far younger than we originally expected. nemo before and after

Nemo was a relatively laid-back dog. He spent his days in his foster home going for walks, fetching tennis balls, and playing with other dogs. But he also loved just “chilling” in the backyard or sitting with the humans to watch television, even seeming to enjoy the family pastime of watching football games. Nemo often went with his foster mom to visit other rescue dogs who lived at the kennel, watching while his mom tended to them. He looked on from afar, happy and relaxed in a long run, observing the activity as kenneled dogs came and went on their walks.

Once he fully recovered, Nemo morphed into a strong and powerful and protective shepherd. And we knew he  would need a structured and disciplined environment with another well-settled dog in the home to be a role model. So we all hoped that we could manifest the right home for him.

In his foster home, we learned he was housebroken, had good house manners, was friendly with other dogs, and was respectful of boundaries. He knew basic commands and had a genuine desire to please. Most likely, he had once been loved and well-cared-for before he found himself alone as a stray.

A few weeks ago, Nemo was invited to stay with the mother and father-in-law of one of our volunteers and their resident canines. They were looking for a very special dog: a German Shepherd Dog with excellent temperament; a dog who would be dog-, cat-, and bird-friendly; a dog who would be gentle with kids and responsive to all family members and friends.

The lucky dog would have more than an acre of fenced grass yard on which to run and play with all the doggie friends, a swimming pool in which to cool off, and, of course, love and attention from many dog lovers.

Nemo moved in and settled beautifully, every puzzle piece fitting perfectly together, as though it was meant to be. They found Nemo, and Nemo found his home. And while we’ll never know the full extent of the tragedy and hardship Nemo endured, we can sleep peacefully now, knowing that our regal Nemo is no longer lost in a sea of unwanted dogs looking for his forever home. He is now thriving and languishing in the love and care he needs, deserves, and welcomes.

When I asked him to describe his new home he said simply: Paradise. My home is paradise.

 

Sandy’s Heartwarming Rescue Story

By the time the rescuing officer found her, she was skin and bones, extremely malnourished from her time wandering the streets alone. But slowly he nursed poor, neglected Sandy back to health, and soon life was good.

Sandy was a super sweet, super outgoing one-year-old black and tan female who had the odd habit of sitting with her feet jutting out like a ballerina in second position. She reveled in going on trips to the beach and dog parks, and just hanging out with her new dad. She was a perfect walking and running companion and mastered training and simple cues while in his care. She learned sit, stay, down, come, leave it, and in and out, but her favorite thing to hear was “good girl.” She loved other dogs, although she could initially be dog-selective as is common with some rescue dogs who haven’t had proper training and socialization, but she adored people and this super affectionate girl never wanted to leave her person’s side.

bebeWhen a sudden job change meant a long-distance move for her dad, Sandy’s fate was uncertain. Fortunately, Sandy’s dad contacted our German Shepherd rescue and she became part of a pack in one of our kennels where she enjoyed daily walks, playtime in the pool with other dogs, grooming, andmost importantlots of love while we searched for her forever home. Sandy was with us for about a month and won volunteers hearts with her loving personality. On picture day, several dogs waited their turn to be photographed for our website. Sandy was last in line and just couldn’t wait for her mug shot moment. She trotted up to the photographer and deftly licked the lens with her long tongue. And the photo opp must have worked because she caught the eye of a family who drove across two states to meet her. Now she spends her time racing around a huge fenced yard, chilling in her new air-conditioned home, lounging by her new pool, and partying with her new people. Congrats, Sandy. We know you’ll never want for anything again.

When I pondered the way that connected Sandy with her new home, I was told she has a heart with purpose. What I felt about the message was this: when one has a heart with a purpose, they have so much love to give that they may be paired with many people in order to give again and again. It’s a selfless journey, a humble undertaking, and a noble dedication. And just one more example of why dogs are so special. And one more reason why I am in love with Sandy’s heartwarming rescue story!