Paw prints in the sand

These are my boys.  Al and Zeke. We’ve been hunting the beach and woods for years. Both have very different in personalities, but they are brothers and they’re a pack.

The very first thing they do when we get to the beach is to sniff out paw prints left by other dogs. They can tell when a dog has been there, if the dog is still around, and more information about the unknown animal through their keen sense of smell. As we start out on our walks, I keep an eye out. Mine are two of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. But they don’t mess around when they come across a new dog. They have a routine and I know it well. People mistakenly believe that since I am an animal communicator, I can talk with them and ask them to behave in a certain way. But once we’re on the beach, they are dogs and I am human. They tune me out and do their dog thing.

When we meet up with a new dog on the beach (whose paw prints my boys have already detected) the dogs will posture. They stand and look stern as do the new dogs. Then Zeke, the smaller one will make contact. Al will follow and they begin the introductions. It’s interesting for me to watch.  If the humans with the new dog (or dogs) are relaxed, tails will wag and all will get along fine. I know my boys and know they’re friendly once they’ve been properly introduced.  Then it’s sniff time with the new canine, to make sure they all know who is the alpha: Al. He’s daunting because he’s so big, but inside that large body is a very sweet shy dog.

But if we come across dogs whose humans are uptight, then all the dogs will immediately break out into a brawl.  This used to scare me and *I* would become uptight. But how am I (one human) going to break up a brawl of 3-4 large dogs? I found the best thing for me was to simply keep walking and ignore the noise. After all, that’s typically what these fights are: a lot of noise  Once my dogs see that their efforts are being ignored, they leave the fray and follow me quickly. No leashes, no fuss, no yelling – we simply walk away.

No matter what the size or shape of your dog, they are all descendants of wolves and they have  to posture and fuss because it’s in their nature.   But when my dogs return to me after a dog meet-up, I always remind them they are good boys.  With those two words, they know I love them – in spite of their sometimes unruly behavior. Because this is what dogs do. They all need introductions and it’s up to us as humans to socialize them. Our reaction is what determines their behavior.

Not all dogs are as lucky as mine. As an animal communicator I have many clients who are uncomfortable with walking their dogs because they are worried about what might happen. “Dogs on ropes” as Zeke calls them, feel at a disadvantage when they come across another dog off lead. Coupled with their human’s fear of the unknown, a docile dog can become aggressive and this will turn into a pattern with a dog of any size. Small dogs are dogs too. As their human when you walk your small dog, let them sniff everything, let them smell the “paw prints in the sand”, and introduce them to a new dog, with no fear. If you are confident, the dog will be confident. Everybody wins.

“Paw prints” are left here on my blog . I want to thank all of you who have followed my experiences, been loyal clients, and left comments on my bog. I can see who you are and when you’ve been here and I really appreciate the return visits. Thank you.

And since it’s Christmas, I want to end this with a beautiful message Al once gave me. He was born “accidentally”  when his mom mated with a Shepherd up the road. His mom was a Husky and was set to be bred with their dog – his dad’s favorite dog of all time: Bob. Sadly, Bob died before Al was born, so Al was the chosen one out of the litter to live with the family. He knew from Day One that his dad could never love him as he had loved Bob. He loved his dad anyway, did as he was asked as he grew, and became a much beloved member of the family. But there was always that distance between Al and his dad. Al wasn’t Bob.

Through my animal communication, I taught Al’s dad a lot about Al and the things he had to say. Al was nothing like Bob but his sweet nature is irresistible. With his giant frame, there is a heart as big to go with it.

One day we were walking the beach and Al was at my side. He said to me “My dad loves me now like he loved Bob.” I replied “Really Al?, That’s great!” and he said “Yes, and all I had to do was be myself.”

May we all be reminded daily of Al’s message: to love others as we leave our “paw prints in the sand” and are loved by others:  simply by being ourselves.

 

**this is a family I am very close to. I am an honorary member of the pack and spend as much time as I can with Al and Zeke AND their other two dogs.

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Can’t we just get along?

Recently a friend of mine adopted a dog. Not so unusual really, except my friend has always been a cat person. And that ‘s putting it mildly. My friend is a literal angel in our community who has rescued hundreds of cats over the years and found good homes for them. She has a small home, patient husband and too many cats-in-waiting. But she never refuses a cat in need. She’s been known to call other kind souls and ask them to help her foster a kitty for a short period of time until their forever home can be found. She has even set up a place in her car so that a cat can have a stable environment (so to speak) and feel at ease, warm, and fed until the right human comes along. So that she decided to adopt a dog is sort of out of her wheel house.

Over the years, I have worked with many of her foster kitties to help her with their background. The question for me as an animal communicator is simple “Lost? Or dumped?”  I find out a little background on the cat and then the Kitty Angel can better place them. As an animal communicator it’s a nice way to give to the community.

Nilla came with a history. She had a loud mother and an “in-your-face” three year old child as her pack. So Nilla, for whatever crime she committed, was sent to the shelter.  My friend chose her for her sweet temperament and brought her home. Finding herself in a new environment, with no one yelling or small children in her face, Nilla began to chase the two resident cats and played too roughly with her husband’s dog.

She wrote me in frustration on “Day 5: Nilla’s New Home” and asked me to tell the dog that “cats rule in this house.” Before I even spoke to Nilla, I wrote back and reminded my friend that animals have free will just as humans do. There would be no use in having me tell Nilla to stop chasing the cats or else, because that wasn’t  going to work and Nilla would find herself right back at the shelter.

I checked in with Nilla who indeed has a very sweet personality. She wanted to please her new family very much and was confused about the kitties. She has never been around cats, but boy are they fun to chase! I asked her to please stop but knew it was going to take some work on the part of my friend if this was going to be a success.

My suggestion was to take Nilla to the beach and walk her often. Talk to her. Animals understand everything we say to them. You may have found yourself confiding the deepest secrets of your heart to your beloved four legged. And even though they appear to be asleep, looking at something on the wall, or licking themselves  – believe me they’re taking notes. I suggested packing treats along for the walks, to keep her attention and let her run off some of her energy. I also suggested telling her repeatedly how much she wanted Nilla in her pack. And I suggested bringing up the subject of chasing the cats, and how this is something that scares them and they don’t enjoy.  And so she did just that.

Several days after our initial conversation, things are going much better. In fact all the animals can be in the same room without a lot of panic and protection going on. Nilla is quickly learning her place in the pack. Things aren’t perfect, but she is listening and learning.

Dogs are very different than cats in that they want to please first. Cats could care less. Dogs need to know their place in the order of the pack. Cats let you live with them. Dogs need structure. Cats want their food a half hour early. Dogs love to walk with you and explore. Cats want to ditch you and live their private life.

Temperament and the breed you choose are really important. Nilla has a sweet temperament and most likely came from sweet parents. And this environment works much better for her than her first family. If my friend had gotten a  Jack Russell, it would be: Game Over. Jack Russell’s are small and would seem a good match for cats, but they simply can’t resist chasing them. Jack Russell’s were originally an off-shoot of a breed that chases and kills small animals. So the instinct of the breed (mixed or not) is important too. But Nilla has a shot at this. Through her alone time with her new mom she is learning the ways of her new pack, where she fits in, and what’s expected of her. The expectations are simple: be the loving girl you are, and please don’t chase the cats. She has good temperament and doesn’t have that killer instinct bred into her.

Putting dogs and cats together in a family can work. But it takes understanding dogs and their need for structure.  A strong willed cat will put a dog in its place right away with a good swipe to the nose. But if a cat is the least bit timid, and the dog is strong willed,  then problems will arise for sure. And an animal communicator or pet psychic can’t fix this problem. We can isolate the issue, but ultimately, the human is the one in charge.  And that means coming from a place of patience, firmness, and most of all love. You will teach them faster with that combination than you will by blocking off the house, yelling at the new dog, and trying to fix an animal problem with your human mind.  Everyday must be predictable for the dog and everyday must have the same routine (or as close as possible) for the dog if you’re going to integrate them into a home with cats.

And as for the cats? They will get used to their new dog companion as long as you remember the half hour early feeding rule.

My Pal Al

My dear friend Al is getting up in years. Not that he’s old – let’s say he’s led a full, fun, some-what hard-on-his-body life. Al’s head is the size of two 5 year old’s. He’s a very large dog. He takes your breath away. One because of his size and two because he’s stunning. He’s one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever known and I’m proud to say he’s one of my teachers.

One little thing that separates me from other animal communicators is that I wasn’t the little girl that loved all animals. I didn’t want a pony. I never brought home strays. No quite to the contrary. We had a dog. I acknowledged him and he loved me. I wasn’t “that kid”. I wasn’t waiting for my 18th birthday so that I could make a home large enough for all unwanted animals. And in fact, before I knew I could communicate with animals, I was scared to death of Al. I would sit in Al’s driveway, (after all with his size it is HIS driveway), and throw dog biscuits out the slit of window I had unrolled. Then I’d call Al’s mom on my cell phone to ask her to please come and escort me past Al. Now I find this quite funny. Because now he’s one of my best friends.

Not only did Al teach me that he wouldn’t hurt a fly (unless the fly was threatening me) but he also taught me a lot about animals. After we’d gotten over the fact I had been afraid of him, we began taking long walks together on the beach. Al would run along the rocks, sniffing things that dogs find cool, and I’d listen to his long monologues about, well, dogs.  He told me long and interesting stories of his past life, his soul mate, and why he wanted him here with him in this life. (that’s another story for another day) He told me why dogs do certain things that we humans find fascinating, and he taught me how to train dogs.

Later I would read a book by a woman whose information about dogs I already had learned – from Al. She also said in the book it was impossible to communicate with animals. I thought this was funny since I had learned all her information from a dog. But he’s a pretty amazing dog and a very good teacher. In fact I don’t know anyone that knows him, that doesn’t love him.

One of our favorite things to do (naturally) is to go to the beach. It’s a bigger group now. Al, me, his dad, and Al’s two brothers. Sometimes we’re joined by his mom and his “human litter mate”. We all traipse down to the beach early on weekend mornings. Rain or shine. And even though is showing visible signs of slowing, he wouldn’t miss our walks for the world. Sometimes we have to stop and turn and see how far behind he’s lagged. But mostly he stays pace with us pretty well.

I found out about and ordered this great product to help him with his sore hips. Most large dogs over the age of about 8 start to slow. But these supplements are really helping to put a spring in his step. I’m linking to their site here because I think their product is so great. They concentrate mostly on horses, dogs, and humans. But Al’s found a new way to keep up and it’s called “having these supplements with his dinner”.  They’ve really helped him a lot and I would recommend them to anybody with a dog of any size who has started to slow a bit.

We love our big guy. And we want him along for our walks for as long as he feels like coming. And I’m just guessing here, but I think that’s going to be for some time to come.

Of course I guess I could just ask him……