My mission is to help people and animals understand each other. More specifically I enjoy assisting my clients reach household harmony and happiness through mutual understanding. Many of the animals that I work with are what we call “pets”. Their primary reason for being invited into the homes of my clients is to become a member of the family, a companion. This is not to say that they don’t have other roles, but they are not used for work, meat, products, transportation, etc. The animals are invited to live with their people, and once there they should be treated like family.
I treasure the friendship my companion animals offer me (two cats and a rabbit). In return I make an effort to give them the best comforts of domestic life, including food, grooming, medical attention, and training. I believe that “training” is one of the most important things you can offer your animal friends. Imagine how stressful it would be if you had never learned any social skills as a child. What if you had never learned to use a toilet, to shake hands, or to eat with silverware? Your life could be really difficult. For the same reasons your parents and teachers taught you how to “be” in your own culture, you need to teach your animal friends how to behave with humans.
A concerned client once said, “We don’t want to do any obedience training with our dog because it might ruin his personality.” As long as kind methods of teaching and mutual understanding continue, the personality will remain intact. If you do not teach your animals how to live in a people world, then they will not fully enjoy their time with you.
Whether you have a bird, cat, dog, horse, rabbit, or pig, the concept is the same. First your animal friend should have a physical space to live in comfortably, or it should be taught how to live in a human home safely and without destroying it. Second, they should be comfortable greeting and spending time with other humans or they need to have a situation where they will not under any circumstance be injured or injure a person. Third, their existence should not cause tension in the home or danger to themselves.
My favorite method of working with my animals is telepathic communication of course! I just let them know what we expect of them and they tell me what they need to be happy and comfortable- together we work it out. I have also found this useful in my consultations with my clients. Frequently I find myself explaining potty training to a puppy or the purpose of scratching posts to cats. I also encourage my clients to send mental pictures to their animal friends that show them exactly what behaviors are desired. As much as I encourage this method of “training”, I also highly recommend working with trainers, especially if you have a dog or horse. The kindest thing that you can do is teaching your dog how to be safe and polite with people- it could some day save her life.
I want people to know that they can and should live happily with their animals- too many homes are damaged unnecessarily. I also want to see animals living comfortably with their humans- too often they are misunderstood or punished without ever being properly informed about their behavior. Please remember why you have invited animals into your life. Treat them with love, respect and help them learn the human way. In return they will give you companionship and teach you the ways of their species. Remember, it is not likely that anyone will know all of the answers, so use the resources you have available- your animal, trainers, vets, behaviorists and animal communicators!