This fall we welcomed a new addition to our household – a bouncing young Basset Hound named Lukas. It has been several years since we have had a younger dog in our house, and we had forgotten what having a young, untrained dog in the house can be like. Fortunately, we have both trained dogs before, and we also have an older dog Bear who is very willing to be a teacher. We enrolled Lukas in obedience classes once he became adjusted and settled. One of the things the trainer, Marlys Staley of Circle Tail, reminded us is that training does not just happen in class, it is a continual process. Obedience class time was for the humans to learn how to teach the dogs what to do. We found ourselves becoming much more aware of how we interact with our animals, and the effect each interaction can have when teaching a new behavior. Continue reading
There was a song with that title many years ago, and it came to mind recently when we had a couple of “wildlife adventures” of our own.Terri and I went to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, and of course we visited the Great Smokey Mountain National Park one day. While driving through Cades Cove, we were treated to close encounters with deer and a flock of wild turkeys. What was so interesting about this for us is how used to people these animals have become. They were totally unconcerned about people walking up to within a few feet of them to take their picture. We were very grateful for the opportunity, and thanked them for their willingness to be seen by so many people. Continue reading
Recently we visited Terri’s sister and her family including their 3 young children and their Basset Hound Sadie. We realized, after that visit, that perhaps it was time to write an article about how to select a new dog member of your family.
Two years ago, Terri’s sister visited us and fell in love with our old Basset Hound Beauregard. Beau was certainly a charming guy. What Terri’s sister did not realize is that old Basset Hounds behave differently than young ones, and that Terri and I did quite a bit of behind the scenes management to live with him. For example, Beau was a thief, and would steal things off of tables and countertops. So, we didn’t keep anything of interest on tabletops and made sure things were kept away from the edge of countertops. We didn’t leave food out unattended. Terri’s sister decided that she wanted a Basset Hound. She wanted a puppy, as she had just lost her very old and very wonderful Rotweiler to osteosarcoma. Continue reading
What brings you joy? That seems like a very simple question, doesn’t it? As human beings, our lives have become so cluttered with responsibilities, activities, and information from TV, the Internet, email, etc that I’m not sure many of us have taken the time to think about what truly makes us happy, what makes us smile widely or laugh loudly.
Why not get some ideas from your animals? We just finished reading Temple Grandin’s “Animals Make Us Human” recently, and she talks a lot about the emotions different types of animals experience. That got us thinking about how our animals over the years have expressed what we believe is sheer joy and exuberance. We’ll share some of those with you here. We hope that you’ll then take the opportunity to watch your own animals for signs of joy. Continue reading
I recently asked two of our students, Chris and Cindy, if I could come and interview them and their very gifted cats Buddy and Mattie for this magazine. Chris, Cindy, and Buddy said yes. Mattie wasn’t so sure she wanted everyone to know about their special gifts, but she agreed to the interview.Cindy and Chris love football, and they especially like to watch Green Bay or the Jets. Last fall they noticed something very unusual about their cat Buddy. Whenever they sat down to watch a football game, Buddy would tell them which team was going to win before the game even started. What was even more unusual was that Buddy was usually right! Buddy then added a new twist to things one day when Chris was ready to turn off a football game because his team was on defense and losing the game. Buddy told Chris to stop, that his team was going to score. Chris patiently explained to Buddy that his team didn’t have the ball. On the next play, Chris’ team intercepted the ball and scored a touchdown. Chris was amazed at this new twist. Cindy, on the other hand, was beginning to NOT enjoy knowing the outcome of a game before she had even watched it! Continue reading
All of us who live with animals have had the experience of going through an illness or injury with them. One of the most challenging things to deal with in such a situation is understanding what is wrong, and how the animal is feeling. We often have clients tell us that they had no idea their pet was ill or injured, until it was too late to easily deal with the situation. We have had that happen with our own animals as well. Often animals will deliberately hide an illness or injury for various reasons. One reason is instinctual – sick or injured animals in the wild are a liability to the herd or pack, and are often ostracized to insure the survival of the group. Aging, ill, or injured animals lose their rank in the herd or pack. Another reason animals will mask illness or injury is that they feel ashamed that they can no longer do their “job” for their family. Continue reading
Recently we received an email from a Basset Rescue we work with in Illinois. They asked us to speak and do some healing work with a litter of 6 puppies that were very sick. These pups were infested with intestinal worms and fleas. Two had been diagnosed with parvo. We weren’t given the details of where they had come from or who had allowed them to get into this condition. We later learned that their owner had turned them over to GABR because they could not afford to treat the pups medically.
Systems are fluid in nature. What has that got to do with cats, you ask?
A system is a group of related things or beings that co-exist and interact together. Any system – whether it be an ecosystem, a family system, or your laptop computer – is in a constant state of change. When we work with animals, we work with the whole family system by default. The animal impacts or affects the rest of the family, and vice versa. This happens not only at the physical level, but also at the emotional and energetic levels. For example, if a cat suddenly begins not using the litter box, the physical impact is pretty obvious – smelly carpets or floors that need to be cleaned. Continue reading
“How long have you been able to hear the animals?”
Terri and I get asked this question a lot, and we love to answer it. Both of us have been able to “hear” animals since we were young children. As we grew into our teens, we allowed the adults and our culture to convince us that we were imagining it all, and we stopped hearing them. After all, American culture in the 1950’s and 60’s was very much based on the concrete. In other words, if you couldn’t see it, hear it, feel, smell it or taste it, it didn’t exist. As adults, we both rediscovered the ability to hear animals, and we’ve been expanding and growing our abilities ever since.
May is the time when a lot of us begin thinking about where we’d like to go on our summer vacation. We’d like to invite you to experience wherever you go in a new way.
Recently, Terri and I visited my mom and stepdad in southern Florida. Since Terri had never been to the Everglades, my brother-in-law, who is an Everglades tour guide, suggested we drive through a wonderful, wild swamp area he had recently discovered. He told us where some of the “good spots” were, as well as how to know where to stop and look for wildlife along the way.