Article: The Emotional Life of Animals
As I sit at the computer writing this, Max, our pet rat, nestles snugly in the folds of my sweater. Already, at age one (we celebrated his birthday with a party on the 5th of December) he has been treated with homeopathic remedies more than once. And so has Maggie, our West Highland White Terrier, who anticipates Max’s emergence from my clothing with great interest.
While using remedies for first aid and emergencies is often the first way people come to use homeopathy with their companion animals, remedies also ought to be considered in times of emotional stress. It is there that homeopathy really shines! Physical symptoms generally are just the outward expression of the internal disease. By paying close attention to what the true problem is, and finding the remedy that can help heal it, often the physical symptoms will disappear on their own.
Wodge comes to mind – a big fluffy cat (his owner calls him a “pillow” because his activity level is comparable to that of a pillow!) who is not pleased when is owner goes on vacation. He will become, politely said, “ticked off,” and will express it by urinating at the front door. Conventional medicine had been tried many times to deal with this recurrent symptom, to no avail. It wasn’t until Wodge was given homeopathic remedies (including Staphysagria, one of the main remedies used in animals – or people – who are “ticked off” on one level and manifesting urinary symptoms on another) that those symptoms disappeared.
Any caring owner of a companion animal intuitively knows when there is something wrong with their pet. Often it is a nebulous and generalised sense, nothing that would be measurable on a medical test. But under careful questioning they often can come up with an idea of something that has changed in their pet’s life – a new job situation for the owner, the loss of a friend (be it human or animal), the birth of a child – we can’t downplay the effect those events might have in the pet.
I once had a call from a woman who was upset that her dog had started eating the couch. Nothing had changed in his life, she explained. He had the same diet, there were no new pets, no new routines in the household. However, when I asked what was going on in her life, she told me that she and her husband were contemplating a separation. Aha!
But, she continued, of course the dog had no way of knowing that, right? Wrong! Everyone in a home will pick up the energy in the home. When there is marital discord, when there is a new baby coming, when the family is moving into a new home, or even when people are planning a business trip or a vacation, the energy shifts and it can be sensed, whether consciously or unconsciously, by everyone in that house. In the couch-eating dog’s case, I only had to prescribe the same remedy the “mom” was taking for her emotions, and the behaviour stopped.
Igor Stravinsky once said his music was best understood by children and animals. Sometimes I get that same feeling with the intuitive sense children and animals have with the homeopathic remedies! When Wodge’s owner cuts in half the paper cup in which she administers his remedies, Wodge runs into the kitchen and sits at her feet, waiting for her to hold it out to him to lap up. My own cockatiel, Burney, never bathes, and shows a distinct dislike of water – until I put a remedy into his water cup. Then, and only then, will he dive into the cup, splashing and drinking, showering anyone sitting beneath his cage, until the cup is almost empty.
Jeff likes to challenge his cats, Shadow and Danforth, by putting out three water bowls for them. One will contain water with Shadow’s remedy, one will have the water with Danforth’s remedy, and the third will be plain water. He has been surprised often, because Shadow drinks only from her own dish and the plain bowl of water, and Danforth does the same. Jeff changes the positions and the colours of the bowls periodically, but the results are consistent.
Just last week I had a cat bring in his owner to see me. She thought she had brought him to see me for a skin condition, and he paced the room while she explained his symptoms. When I asked about the household situation generally, she began to unravel her long story of a very uncomfortable relationship she was having with her partner, and the medical problems she had been suffering for the past several years. As she told her story, he sat quietly in her lap, snuggling against her.
However, by the time she had shifted gears and started discussing her own need to begin more serious homeopathic treatment for herself, he was sleeping quietly in his carrier – his job done. She and I were acutely aware of the role he is playing in her life.
Animal caregivers are increasingly aware of the powerful existence of the emotional side of their pets, and it is easy to see that their animals have an intuitive understanding of the bioenergetic healing properties of homeopathic remedies. And when an animal owner chooses to help their pets heal with homeopathy, the benefits go both ways!