Dr. Laurel Davis, an Asheville natural vet, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Our Dogs and Cats Teach Us to be Better Humans!
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” —John Muir
Left to my own devices, I can get completely carried away with my daily agenda. I can fill my day with what my mind, and perhaps what everyone else, says I should be accomplishing. Each day, my furry companions pull me back into a heart-space. With their help, I connect with my truth and become inspired to live in the moment. In doing so, I am literally saved from my misled self.
The bottom line: They are extremely good at tending to themselves and seem to do whatever necessary to feel good. When I buddy up with my hairy ally, I am reminded of all that is marvelous. Below are some awesome ways these four-legged Yodas inspire me.
- Living in the Moment. They accept what is happening in the present instant, rather than resisting it and wishing for things to be different. We can be reminded to appreciate every moment as it comes and be grateful for what we have. When we live in the present, we discover more enthusiasm, joy for life, and less worry.
- Connecting with Others. Humans are naturally social beings, yet we often seem to cut ourselves off from others either intentionally or unintentionally due to a busy schedule and other factors. This can result in short-term loneliness or even long-term depression. When we look to our four-leggeds, they need our connection on a daily basis. They require our love, time, and attention. This connection can keep us open to connecting with other people, feeding our soul and leading us to longer lives.
- Ability to Forgive. Humans have the tendency to dwell on the small bumps and roadblocks we encounter in life. Focusing on these little difficulties prevents us from moving forward with other tasks or on to new experiences that help us grow. Our furry companions seem to have forgiveness down pat. They don’t dwell for too long on issues. Instead, most seek immediate solutions to get out of predicaments. Their amazing ability to turn around challenges and see them as opportunities is definitely a lesson that can help us live a little bit more each day.
- Trusting their Intuition. Canines and felines understand what is going on beneath the surface, as they are led by their instincts and rely on their gut reactions. We have these clues as well; however, many of us have not developed this skill or have lost touch with our intuition. We listen to words but neglect our inner feelings. We may feel uneasy about a certain situation but disregard what our body is telling us. Sharing space with a dog or cat can teach us to hone our intuition and perhaps guide us to a life of greater peace and serenity.
- Finding their Balance. Notice how vibrant a dog or cat is when their life is balanced. They require exercise, lots of love, and structure to their daily routine, and so do we. When we balance our life, stress fades to the background, and we enjoy life that much more.
- Setting Clear Boundaries. Close, connected relationships start with clear and consistent communication. The relationship with our furry friend is a perfect example. When the rules are direct and gently enforced with consistency, our four-legged buddies thrive; otherwise, they are confused about what is expected of them. Many people struggle to set boundaries that are distinct and believable. We can waver and be indecisive. If it is true that ‘the way we do one thing is the way we do everything,’ then learning to set boundaries for our dog or cat could have some astounding effects on our very own lives.
- Accepting Limitations. Focusing on our perceived flaws hinders our well-being, opening the door to an unhappy place. The tendency may be to share our criticism with others. Fluffy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to give a thought as to how she looks as a three-legged dog. Instead, she is delighted with who she is, whether it is ‘hoovering’ for crumbs or romping with a friend.
- Greeting the Day with Enthusiasm. Animals seem to have the amazing ability to wake up and just start the day as if the hours laid before them are pure adventure. While a human’s life is filled with plenty of stressors, waking up can be anything but fun sometimes. Perhaps, by seeing how our animal friends face the day, we can be more inspired to follow in their footsteps.
- Appreciating the Little Things. Observing our four-legged companions even for just a few minutes reveals their innate curiosity at events they have seen play out many times before. However, every time they participate in these moments, their sense of wonder and appreciation is amazingly renewed. This can be a bold reminder to appreciate the little joys and miracles that appear around us each day.
- Teaching the Value of Napping and Just Plain Relaxing. Need I say any more? Let’s take a cue from our fleecy friends and relax once in awhile.
- Loving Unconditionally. This does not mean that dogs and cats love all people unconditionally, but that they have the capacity to forgive, forget, and love us again even after going through some tough times.
- Teaching Us to Embrace One Another, Despite Differences. Animals, while selective in a number of ways, are more loving, accepting, and welcoming than we humans can be at times. Interspecies friendships are probably one of the most common ways to observe our four-legged felines and canines embrace each other despite apparent differences. This bond can sometimes even overcome strong predator-prey urges in order to care for one another in need.
- Promoting Exercise. Of course, we get to walk our pups in the great outdoors amidst the green leafy beings, the tall ones, the creepy crawlies, the tumbling creeks, and serene lakes. Ahhh, smell the vibrant air and follow that trail even further! Certainly, all of our furry four-legged partners need one-on-one play time. We all have the opportunity to get up, move our blood and shake that booty.
- Teaching us to Listen. When Carolyn Jackson’s most precious and nurturing Italian Greyhound, Sunny, arrives at a local Asheville elementary school to assist in the reading program, there is a clamor and excitement as a jubilant student is chosen to partner up and read to Sunny. Initially, they joyful around each other, then the tail wagging tutor will sweetly chill out while the child relaxes, offers ear scratches, and focuses on reading in a non-judgmental atmosphere. From this partnership, let us value the ability to remain silent and take notice of what’s unfolding before us.
These wondrous beings we chose to live with seem to feel more intensely and purely than we do.We yearn to express ourselves with abandon and integrity like they do. Let’s allow them to teach us to be better humans!
“I think I could turn and live with the animals; they are so placid and self-contained. I stand and look at them for what seems like forever. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things; not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago; not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.” —Walt Whitman
Dr. Laurel Davis is an Asheville natural vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
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