Dealing with anger for animals’ sake

In animal communication sessions, an animal will often show me an angry person in a current or past household.

It could be an abuser. It could be a situation that led to a person or animal living in fear, getting hurt or neglected, or losing their home. Maybe all of these.

It could also be someone who would never harm an animal or person, but is struggling with human stuff. Animals are naturally wary of angry people, though many wish they could help with whatever the problem is. Animals don’t understand the specifics, but they get the threat. Their humans mean the world to them.

What if we could harness our anger to recognize and solve problems rather than create more problems?

An essay I read in seminary, “The Power of Anger in the Work of Love” (in Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics) made me think that might be possible. Theologian Beverly Wildung Harrison said anger is “better understood as a feeling-signal that all is not well in our relation to other persons or groups or to the world around us.” Though anger doesn’t automatically lead to wise or humane action, she added, it can help get us there.

That is, if we calm the heck down first and think it through (my addition).

Can we learn to deal with our anger without being jerks … or worse? Sometimes a pause of even a few seconds can buy life-changing time to respond rather than react. We may not be able to change the situation, but we can change the energy we send out. It matters, I promise.

Using anger constructively might seem too good to be true in an age of pointing fingers and putting up walls. However, this excellent Kiwanis Magazine story by my friend Julie Saetre is a deeper dive into not only why people are so angry these days. It walks us through coping with these disturbances in a way that might actually help. It’s well worth checking out … and trying out.

Also, please support those who work tirelessly (and often thanklessly) to help animals affected by abuse and neglect. Increasingly, domestic violence shelters are teaming up with humane societies so that people in abusive relationships can get themselves and their pets out of harm’s way.

We all owe it to the animals, one another, and ourselves to do better.

Ease anxiety of travel without your pet

Anxious dog lying on top of suitcase
Where do you think you’re going? Use simple animal communication techniques to relay important details to your pets.

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.

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). Anyone can use basic animal communication techniques anyone can use to make travel more tolerable:

Give it to ’em straight. With pictures.

Tell the animal what you’re going to do, 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.

“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 away.

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. For more help communicating with your animal friend, or for supporting both of you with Reiki, visit me at