Creature Thoughts, April 2017

Know Your Teachers

Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)

Last month’s newsletter touched on how we are constantly teaching our animal friends with our actions, and how we respond to theirs. Most of us who live with animals as integral parts of our lives know that they are forever teaching us, as well.

We learn so much just by watching them and interacting with them. The more we open our eyes, and our hearts, the more we can learn. We learn about unconditional love, about forgiveness. We learn how to calm and comfort ourselves. We learn that it is possible to find peace in the midst of chaos. (And yes, we also learn things like the best way to get cat puke out of a carpet and dog-hair off the furniture.)

One way we can expand what we learn from our pets, is to do all we can to learn about our pets. Who, really, is your dog? What makes a cat tick? What does a horse say with his body language? Why do our animals react to circumstances the way they do?

I touch on this topic on one level in Through Their Eyes, which looks at the “problems” commonly faced by pet owners from the point of view of the pets themselves. The book takes into account the instincts and nature-embedded behaviors that lead our animal friends to respond in certain ways to their environment.

When we study animal behavior, and seek to understand who the being deep inside our furry friend really is, it makes it easier to see that our dog is just being a dog, and our cat just being a cat, when they misbehave. They’re not out to punish us or cause us problems. Taking that emotional misunderstanding out the equation makes it easier to fix problems in a methodical (and forgiving) way, and enhances the relationship we have with our animal companions.

Whether we are talking about pets, farm animals, or wildlife, the more we learn about their inner nature, their history, their behavior, the more we can learn from them. Knowing the wild prey animal that drives our horse will allow us to see that horse in a new light. It will allow us to learn a bit about what it is like to be a large equine with finely tuned reflexes for survival.

When we become acquainted with the highly-skilled predator inside our cat, likewise, we embark upon a journey through the undergrowth of time. By opening up to the true nature of our little lap-warmer, we become closer to her in so many ways.

I believe that all humans who live with, work with, or dedicate their lives to animals, should do all they can to study those souls, and learn their natures. Yes, it’s very important to know accurate information about health care, nutrition, and the mechanics of training. It’s also important, though, and so enriching, to know the soul of that being. Who did he evolve from, and why is he who he is in modern times? What were his ancestors like? What aspects of his life and behavior can be traced back to the wild creatures in which his DNA took form?

Our animal friends enrich our lives in so many ways. I hope that we can all continue to expand that enrichment, as we open our knowing to the lessons they teach.

 

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Blessings and Light,

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