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.

Advertisements

Angels

Until a story was published about me in a local paper a few years ago, Norma had no idea animal communication was possible. But she and her husband Ed contacted me so that I could talk with their dog Hannah. This is her pictured on the right. She had some health problems, she was blind with cataracts and had bad infections in her ears. Ed and Norma wanted assurance that she wasn’t in pain. This beautiful girl with the sweet smile was not in pain, though the daily medication treatments stung her ears a bit.

They took her to a vet that told them that a surgery was possible, but risky for a dog Hannah’s age. Also it couldn’t be done in our area and Hannah would be in pain after the surgery. It was a very tough decision and a hard call for anyone to make. But Hannah had lived a good long life so Ed and Norma did what was best for Hannah. Rather than put her through the ordeal of a painful surgery to help, but not cure her ear problems, they chose to send Hannah to spirit. It was the best choice for Hannah.

Not only were Ed and Norma heartbroken, but Buddy their other Cocker and Hannah’s soul mate was devastated too. He told me he’d rather be in spirit with Hannah, he was so grief stricken. In their last few years together, Buddy had helped Hannah navigate their world. She had such trouble seeing because of her bad vision, that Buddy had been her, well, seeing eye dog. He missed her very much and wanted to be with her. This is not unusual. I’ve seen healthy animals either have accidents or die suddenly when their mate goes to spirit.

So shortly after Hannah left them, Ed and Norma went to the shelter and adopted Bugsy.  He was a Boston Terrier who was in the same place they were. He had lost his human and was awaiting adoption by a new family. Bugsy had some health issues of his own because he too was an “elder dog”.  He had cataracts that really distorted his vision.  Bugsy literally had no future until Ed and Norma found him.

Gradually, everyone worked through their grief and got to know each other. It took some time, but Buddy and Bugsy began to really have a good time together. Buddy told me they were “a couple of old guys kickn’ around” – a line that has always made me laugh. Both “old guys” had arthritis in their hips, so Norma and Ed took them to the beach daily for a walk. And Bugsy was just what this family needed. I suggested a good supplement for the boys and their hips got stronger. Today they are very good friends. Bugsy has a loving home again, Buddy has a friend to knock around with, and Ed and Norma’s family is once again complete.

Buddy has not forgotten Hannah, nor has anyone in this family.  I often wonder if Hannah was the catalysis who “urged” Ed and Norma to go to the shelter that day and find this wonderful guy. Bugsy told me he helped to heal his human that is now in spirit and now he’s helping to heal the hearts of this family. I think he’s done his job and earned his new life.

This is a story that is special to me.  Hannah will always hold a special place in my heart. She was so kind and loving and never even let on to me if she was in pain. In fact I don’t believe she suffered at all. For one, animals don’t feel pain as humans think they do and two, well, Hannah really is one-of-a-kind. But then, so are Ed and Norma.

As for the old guys? They’re still enjoying daily walks on the beach that I know keep them younger and younger. These two are pretty great guys themselves.  And they have their angel Hannah watching over them as they enjoy a second life together. Both of these dogs had decided this was the end of the line for them. But this new found friendship has changed everything. And it’s keeping everybody young.

I titled this post “Angels”  because I believe that everyone, human and canine are all angels.

The cool truth about overly bred dogs

I have had the hardest week. I have a new client who bought a Yorkie (like this one) from a “breeder”. The “breeder” told her that this was a second litter dog between the mom and dad Yorke’s. She just had the two dogs. Yeah. right.

This little client of mine has suffered his entire life. Which is just a year. He has an “undetermined infection” which has caused his tummy great discomfort. He has had more tests done (that have shown nothing) than most dogs have in a lifetime. He has two human boys who love him and are scared to death he’s going to die.

Cool huh? They got a Yorkie!

The reason they chose going with a “breeder” and not a shelter dog is that one of the boys is allergic to pet dander. Yorkie’s don’t have this issue since they have hair and not fur. So the excited children brought home their puppy and their question to me was “Does he like us? He never wants to play.”

Wow. A dog, no a puppy that doesn’t want to play! Imagine. Well this little guy told me that he loves his human brothers but that his tummy hurts him. All the time. So he acts like an old dog. He lies around most of the day and feels like crap.

The “breeder” called my client 6 months later to see if she wanted another puppy. My client (who is not originally from this country but is by no means stupid) said she understood it was too soon for there to be more puppies. And the “breeder” said there had been an accident.

Yeah right.

My client here “Han” as he is called, is living a life of misery. And his “breeders” brought more puppies into the world much sooner than they were supposed to. They thought that Han”s mom would jump at the chance to have another puppy.

Yeah right.

The truth is that every day thousands of dogs are put to death in shelters around this country. Thousands of innocent sweet faces gone. Many potential best friends sent to spirit. The dog doesn’t really care. They’ll come back in a more attractive “package” so that some human will fall in love and learn the lessons that this dog has to offer.

And Han here? Well he’s been introduced to a holistic vet. And just in the nick of time. I think his life will improve and he’ll become the puppy his human kids wanted in the first place. But if his mom wasn’t determined, smart, an even fighting a language issue – Hans here would be gone too. She is very brave and very strong. The mom of my client.

So if you MUST adopt a bred dog. Be real sure what you’re getting. And if you have a choice, check out your local shelter first. There will be someone there to fall in love with. Remember to spay and neuter your own animals. That’s a start.