Ease anxiety of travel without your pet

Friends of mine used to check their rescue cockapoo, Holly, into the kennel a day or two early so she wouldn’t see them packing. Holly, of course, knew they were going away long before the suitcases came out.

At this point in 2021, many folks are traveling again, perhaps with some anxiety. That’s on top of the usual anxiety over leaving pets behind if you are doing so. I have fought back tears when pulling out of the driveway or dropping somebody off at the vet clinic for boarding. Even when you trust those caring for your precious family member, when the moment comes, there may be pleading looks, trembling, and whining. The animal may not take it well, either.

However, you don’t have to deceive your cat or dog (you probably can’t anyway) to make the situation kinder.

The obvious place to start is with the best possible arrangements for your animal’s care, whether in your home with a relative, friend, or sitter coming in; at someone else’s home; or at a boarding kennel or vet clinic. Consider the animal’s individual needs and personality, and trust your intuition. (Got fish? Check out this very useful information from a fish veterinarian. Everything you may have assumed about vacation fish care is probably wrong.)

Once those plans are in place, here are a few ideas:

Give it to ’em straight. With pictures. Tell the animal what you’re doing, who will care for him or her and where, and when you will be back. As you speak, calmly hold the corresponding images in your mind, because these — just as much as or more than your words — will get the message across.

For example, you could tell your dog: “We are going to visit Grandma next week, and Susan is going to come stay here and take care of you. Remember how much fun you had last time she was here? We’ll be back in four days.”

While you’re saying these things, picture Grandma … then Susan … then the dog playing with Susan last time … then the sun rising and setting four times … and finally, you coming back in the door with your suitcases.

Acknowledge any challenges or negative feelings. “I know you got upset the last time you went to the kennel, and that was hard for me, too. We’re going to try it again. I’ll try to be braver and hope you will, too.” Again – picture it.

This respects both of you and sets the intention for a better outcome. It also affirms you as the decision maker. Again, get in charge of your own state of mind first; if you are angry or anxious, that will drown out whatever you’re trying to communicate.

Check in. While you’re gone, you can call and have someone hold the phone out to Fluffy while you talk to her. Then you can listen as the human comes back on the line and tells you Fluffy twitched her ear and stalked off. Or you can skip this potential awkwardness and touch base telepathically. Yes, you can; there’s a reason some dogs (and cats, and birds, and horses, etc.) know when their people are on their way.

Find a (relatively) quiet moment, bring your animal companion to mind, and just say hello. Tell her you’re thinking of her, that you love her, and remind her when you will be home. You can leave it at that, or you can ask a question and listen for a response. Either way, she will appreciate you checking in.

Try one or more of these next time you travel, and please be safe.

(Image by Rayleen Slegers from Pixabay

Reiki helps animals (and us) re-set

Photo by Alek B from Pixabay 

When an animal we love develops behavior or health problems, our stress level rises. Which is natural, but it doesn’t help the animal’s health or emotional state. Even beings who love one another can get stuck in vicious cycles. I’ve been there. 

Often, all that is needed to break such a cycle is a time-out. Not the kind of time-out that lands your dog in another room for a few minutes, but a time for both of you to pause, relax, and help each other heal.

Reiki, a Japanese stress relief modality, is perfect for this because it works with both people and animals — and because it works from a distance. (You don’t need Zoom, WiFi, or even a landline.) You don’t have to get in the car, go into an office, or lie on a massage table.

During a distant Reiki session, you and your animal can relax in the comfort of your home or barn — on a bed or sofa, in your yard, or in a stall. Some clients tell me they and/or the animal fell asleep during the session, but you can go for a walk or ride if you wish. 

With the Let Animals Lead method I practice, there is no focus on an illness or problem. The aim is not to fix anything, but to set up the circumstances for healing — whatever that might mean for the animal — to happen. When we take time out to relax and regroup, we are better able to recover. We can see solutions that elude us when we are anxious. 

When you contact me for a distant Reiki session, we’ll set an appointment. At that time, I will send the energy for about half an hour, then phone you to check in. I’m also an animal communicator. Please be advised that I cannot diagnose; Reiki is always in addition to, never instead of, veterinary care. 

Whatever you and your animal friend are facing, you deserve peace. 

The horse deserves a heads up

Image by Bee Iyata from Pixabay 

The horse didn’t know he was moving that day, let alone why. He didn’t know what awaited him at the end of that trailer ride.

With each attempt to coax him down the ramp, he panicked more. Once the humans finally got him off the trailer and into a pen, he ran back and forth, stopping every so often to whinny.

Change may be for the best, even life-saving. The horse still deserves to know what’s happening.

Here are two things to consider if you are moving, re-homing, selling, or rescuing a horse:

1. You set the tone.

Your horse already knows something’s up. How you handle it matters more than you think.

Tell the animals you’re all moving to a great new home. Let the horse know she’s going to live with someone who can care for her better than you can right now, or where you think she’ll be happier. Picture the trailer ride, the new home, the new owner and friends, even the temporary safe space. Tell the animals who will stay behind what’s happening, too.

If you are moving a horse for rescue or evacuation, stay as calm as possible. Let him know his safety is your priority and he can help by trusting you … even just a tiny bit.

2. Help is available.

Fellow horse owners can be great sources of support whether you need to borrow something or you’re dealing with some major manure.

I can help by communicating the situation to your horse and listening to what he needs. I can support him, you, and the other animals with Reiki, a wonderful stress reduction modality. Both of these also work from a distance and can bring greater peace of mind to even the hardest transitions. Visit www.njcrowe.com for more information.

Most importantly: If you are having trouble caring for your animals, please reach out to your vet or a reputable rescue or animal welfare agency. They’d rather help you now than deal with a more serious situation down the road.