Rescue animals often have mysterious behavior problems that their people never fully understand. These problems can severely limit an animal’s life, and their family’s life too!
A dog with separation anxiety, a cat who sprays, a horse who cribs, or a pet pig who bites the dog, they always have a story to tell.
Their people look into their animal’s eyes and wonder, “What in the world happened to you to make you behave this way? Why don’t you understand that you are safe now?”
In a communication session, we hear from your animal, listen deeply to whatever s/he has to say. Then I gently but persistently guide the conversation towards the issue their person is calling about. Often the animal will bring up the problem, before I even know the full story of why the person is calling.
“I pee in her husband’s shoes and chew on the sofa when she leaves. I can’t help myself,” one dog told me. And then the deeper reasons came forward: “I was yelled at and beaten by a cruel man, then abandoned on the side of the road. I wandered the streets for weeks before someone picked me up. I am terrified of losing my person who loves me so much now. She is my everything.”
When an animal has a mysterious behavior, it is a coping mechanism for some emotional wound or wrong belief that formed earlier in their lives.
And beautifully, when animals get to share their story fully and deeply with their person, they change. In about 50% of my client cases, the very problem that the person calls about goes away, just through communicating alone, no additional interventions.
I have so many stories that illustrate this, but probably my favorite story of all time was that of a cat named Genevieve.
Her person, Katy, is a nurse who cares for the elderly. Katy loves cats and always goes to the shelter and chooses the cat that no one else will adopt. Inevitably, it ends up being an older cat with FIV and / or Feline Leukemia. This was Genevieve, with the added complication that she hides a lot and doesn’t like people touching her.
From the time she came home with Katy, Genevieve lived in the spare bathroom. She would not come out for any reason. Ever.
Katy didn’t force the issue; she sensed Genevieve had lived a difficult life in the 11 years before she arrived. Katy just accommodated her friend, bringing food to her, going in for visits and cleaning her litter box.
But the truth of the situation was that Genevieve was in a prison of her own making. And Katy was lonely. Her cat before, Gabby, was very affectionate and followed Katy around the house to see what she was doing much of the day. Here is Gabby perched in her favorite window, watching the birds.
But not Genevieve. Six months of Genevieve’s self-imposed isolation passed, and Katy was at her wits’ end. She wanted to help her friend, and was curious what Genevieve had experienced in her life before that would cause her to be so afraid. Katy saw my YouTube video and decided to reach out to me for help.
Right away Genevieve came forward, ready to communicate. She had a long and intense story, and at one point, Katy and I were both in tears. Here is an audio file of the 60-minute session:
Immediately after Katy hung up the phone, Genevieve came up to her, got close to her face and looked into her eyes very intensely. Katy said Genevieve had never done this before, and that there was this overpowering sense of connection, and it blew her away.
Then Genevieve proceeded to venture out into the hall for the first time, ever.
In the days that followed, Genevieve gradually, slowly took even more brave steps. Within a couple of weeks, Genevieve had the run of the house.
Below are images of Genevieve finding Gabby’s favorite bird-watching spot, as you can see. In the middle photo she is looking up at the birds in a feeder just outside the window.
Below are photos of Genevieve relaxing in the hallway and watching Katy as they spend their day together.
Each day Genevieve would do something a little more adventuresome. Here she is seen again in the hallway, casually exploring her home. In the other photo Genevieve has found a nice place where she feels protected, but can see and be seen by Katy while she works on the computer.
It is amazing that a lifetime of fear unwound in only a few weeks. This is the power of this work. Genevieve’s truth was heard, received and appreciated. And because of this she was freed from some of the pain from her past.