‘I get it. But I don’t like it.’

Image by sianbuckler from Pixabay

As an animal communicator, I occasionally hear or sense this from our four-legged and other friends.

Usually it’s because their human has asked me to help them understand an upcoming move, addition to the family, or other change. Or maybe he or she has hired me to help sort out a behavioral issue.

The animal understands the situation. He may understand what the human wants. But you’re not seeing the change you hoped for.

“I get it. But I don’t like it.”

So the animal keeps nipping, scorning the litter box, or refusing to load. The problem continues after the vet visit, the session with me, your efforts to help, or all of the above. What on earth can you do?

First of all, understand that I can make your wishes known to your animal, but there is no guarantee she will comply. Compliance isn’t the point anyway.

So back to the “what can you do” part:

Let it be. You want to do something — anything — to resolve this problem yesterday, but remember you’ve already planted the seeds for something better.

Some situations resolve themselves in ways understood only by the animal. The cat decides the new baby isn’t a hairless monster. The horse loads when another person tries. The dog feels better and eats the special diet more readily.

You may choose to do something else tomorrow. Today, let go and see what happens. The animal will feel the change in your energy.

Give the animal a choice. Offer an additional litter box. Try getting the donkey onto the trailer tomorrow rather than force him today. If your dog doesn’t want to be around your boyfriend, let her stay where she feels safe.

Letting the animal choose boosts her confidence in herself and in you. That can only improve your relationship and the situation.

Savor (and reward) the small victories. The new cat and the current cat come within three feet of each other without hissing. The dog stops barking the first time he’s asked. This is great! Pony up (so to speak) with praise, a treat, or a play session

Ask for more help. Your animal may be telling you she needs (if you’ll pardon a tired old job rejection phrase) to move in a different direction. If you are still struggling, I will do my best to refer you to a trainer, organization, business, veterinarian, another practitioner or communicator, or someone else through trusted sources. Or you can ask a trusted friend for referrals. It does take a village.

Similarly, don’t hesitate to (diplomatically) let your veterinarian know that you need some other ideas. He or she is on your side, and on your animal’s side.

Also remember every state has veterinary schools — Purdue, here in Indiana — whose mission it is to help people help animals.

There are ways to bridge the gap between understanding and integrating. As with us humans, it may take patience, creativity, and additional support.

Showing up in 2020

horses-on-a-grass-field-under-a-cloudy-sky-Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pixels

A sad stillness enveloped the barn and pastures at Summit Equestrian Center on a damp, fall-is-coming morning a week after Whinnie died three years ago. The animals were grieving, and as I arrived for my weekly animal Reiki rounds, so was I. In fact, I feared my own sadness would taint the energy I wanted to share with them.

Whinnie, Summit’s thriving-with-disabilities spokeshorse, was a dwarf miniature horse with a giant presence. That presence was glaringly absent now.

All of the animals had taken turns visiting with her before she passed. They knew she had been struggling. When animals grieve, whether for a human or another animal, it’s not that they don’t understand what’s going on. They probably understand it better than the humans do, and feel the loss and disorientation all the more acutely.

On that morning a week later, no other humans were about, but three horses waited by the fence. They felt not only the loss of Whinnie, but the sadness of the other animals and humans who’d known her. 

I wasn’t sure anything I could offer at that moment would help. In the face of suffering, injustice, and anger, it’s easy to feel that whatever we bring to the table will not be enough.

However, surrendering the outcome is essential when sharing Reiki energy with animals or communicating with them. So with a brief prayer, I set an intention for the animals’ highest good and put it in God’s hands.

Rain began to fall, and without thinking I put my umbrella up. Startled, all three horses pulled back.

I folded the umbrella and stashed it away. I started to castigate myself for not remembering that I actually knew better than to unfurl an umbrella near a horse. 

But they were still there and so was I. “Sorry, guys.” 

They relaxed, and I shared Reiki energy with them and with the other horses, ponies, and donkey who stood, still and mindful, in the pasture.

I offered a variation on the earth and sky meditation my animal Reiki teacher, Kathleen Prasad, taught. This meditation gently taps into both the grounding power of the earth and the divine expanse of the sky. I reminded the crew that support is always available, no matter where we are or what is happening.

A chilly breeze cut through my jacket as we finished up. The perfectionist in me still wondered if I’d done enough.

Then Boo, a beautiful 14-year-old black cat with white whiskers and a delicate white star on her chest, strolled up. She usually hid out in the barn. Now here she was, meowing and rubbing against my legs.

Boo at Summit Equestrian Center. (Photo by Nancy Crowe)

Boo had been dropped off a couple of years earlier. Though initially terrified of people, she became “selectively social,” as executive director Allison Wheaton put it.

Being well-trained by cats, I know when one is demanding food, a lap, an opened door, a quick head rub, or the ever-popular skritch above the tail. Today, Boo wanted healing energy: Come on, let’s see what you’ve got.

I sat on a bench in the garden while Boo continued to wind around me, occasionally putting her front paws on my knee but never quite taking the leap into my lap. As she took in the energy, she kept up a running commentary of meows and purrs. This, I felt her tell me, was just what she needed. Of course, it was just what I needed, too.

One of Whinnie’s most important lessons was that it doesn’t matter what you can’t do or don’t have. If you show up with an open heart and put what you do have out there, chances are it will be exactly what is needed.

Even today, when COVID-19, violence, and division send us scrambling for an adequate response, we can bring our imperfect offerings.

We are here. We can offer more than we think. We can do this.

A humble reward

Two goats and a pig would have walked happily into a bar. Instead, they were confined to a pen and in various stages of discontent over their primary caregiver’s absence. I’m sure anyone within earshot would have thought Freddy Krueger, and not their animal Reiki practitioner, was visiting.

Because I practice the Let Animals Lead® method of animal Reiki, I wasn’t there to get them to do (or stop doing) anything. Instead, after greeting the animals I sat in meditation on a bench just outside the pen. I set an intention to share the peace that is available whether things are going our way or not. Sometimes that comes down to one breath at a time.

After a while I noticed the pacing, squealing, and “naa-aaa-ing” had stopped. The pig and younger goat had settled at opposite ends of the pen. The older goat, just inside the shed, was relieved not to hear the other two complaining. Each had shared the energy on her own terms and decided what to do next.

When the session ended, I thanked them, reminded them when their person was returning, and said I’d see them next week. I headed for my car with the niggling thought that there should be more.

Then there it was, wedged between the driver’s seat and center console: a biscuit left by my distracted dog after a visit to the groomer. It had been there for a few days.

I started to drop it in the trash, then gave it a closer look and a sniff. Not the freshest to my human nose, but otherwise fine. And it was a gourmet dog biscuit. With pink frosting.

I returned to the pen and broke the treat in three. Pigs and goats are not known for being finicky, but they were as delighted as if I had served it straight from the baker’s case.

Gifts tend to surface when they’re most needed and appreciated … even stale doggie treats.

To learn more about Reiki or communication sessions for your animal friends, visit me at www.njcrowe.com.