Now that our thoughts are beginning to slowly turn to the next step of this isolation, post isolation, what about the animals?
Many of them have now moved from the confusion of families suddenly being home, to the comforting knowledge that when they wake up we will be there, get extra walks, cuddles and scratches.
In some cases, perhaps sleeping in, extra feedings, has become the norm. Some Pet pals are luxuriating at waking up dreamily without the chaos of mom, dad, brother and sis busily readying themselves for work or school.
The ones however, who loved the solitude of pre Covid – 19 who loved the daily routine of running the home and protecting it while the family is away…may now be suffering anxiety because there is so much at home hustle, bustle and foot traffic. In some cases they may not feel as necessary with everyone under the same roof.
I am sure some of us have already seen changes in the behaviour of our pets. Some good and some concerning.
As an animal communicator I am not only sensitive to this, but have had animals come to me asking why their parents, pals, and caregivers are all suddenly home! They have questions about Why they are not going to the doggy park anymore? Did they do something wrong?
When we go back to our lives (whatever that new norm may be) I will surely and expectedly have an influx of pet pal friends who will want to know if things will go back to what they were becoming accustomed to? They will sure ask why mom and dad have gone back? Do they still love me? and yet again some may query …did I do something wrong?
I am writing this so we not only can become aware of what may be coming, but also to give some pointers on what to do to mitigate the feelings of possible loneliness, confusion and depression that may set in.
My hope is to keep your animal as harmonious as possible through these times.
1. Talk to them…let them know now what is happening and what to expect. People are getting sick and because of that we all have to stay home so we don’t all get sick. that this is temporary and that although you have to stay home at the moment you wish you could all the time. That you love them.
2. Use Rescue Remedy… There are many calming agents we can use with our pet pal family members. I recommend this one as I have seen its positive affects. Petting your animal with few drops Bach Rescue Remedy on your hand 3 days before you go back to work. And 7 days after will help smooth the transition.
3. Have fun with them…you have some wonderful experiences ahead of you in this time of isolation enjoy it!
4. Animal communications… Get your animal communicated with. It can be done through many platforms even now. This will give you a sense of what they are going through, give them the opportunity to ask questions, will put them at ease and help to create an action plan together for the rest of this time.
This is something to consider too. Animals, like people have languages of love. There are 5 of them and can be found in a wonderful book called, “the 5 love languages” by Gary Chapman. This book was made for people, but can easily be transferred to the animal world.
Animals, like human beings, have a primary and secondary language along with the remaining three. These languages (in no particular order) are:
- Physical Touch
- Quality time
- Gift giving
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
For those animals who fall under physical touch you will notice they are usually the clingy, thin, nervous type continually having to be around their owner or someone who will cuddle, caress or talk to them endlessly.
One of my 4 cats has this as her primary language and quality time is her secondary. I am the opposite of her my primary, being quality time first and foremost. This is a language of deep conversation, time spent with another, not necessarily in the same room, but feeling their presence perhaps upstairs clicking away on a computer while the quality time person is cooking.
My cat and I share these languages so for us it’s easy to spend endless hours with each other knowingly glancing once in a while to make sure the other is okay. A knowing meow from upstairs affirms to me she is in a good place and with a sigh of contentment I go back to writing or reading my book. That is if she isn’t on my lap napping of course.
However, during isolation she is my shadow. I play with her lovingly but make sure she understands that this is not a permanent arrangement by have discussions with her that go something like this…
“Now listen baby girl you know I love you but at some point I have to go back to the office. At some point your going to have to sleep with the others so that when I’m not here you won’t feel lonely”
Each day i play a new game with her that we created one night. when I return to work I will happily retain this bond we have through our chase the sticks hide and seek around the scratching post game we discovered, which will also put her at ease with the change.
When this time comes, some animals will begin to stress lick, birds may over preen their feathers, reptiles will do the cha cha in their terrarium looking for their owners. This is normal because their routine will change on a dime yet again.
If you have started something new like listening to music and you see this is something your animal seems to enjoy continue this routine when you get back to “life”. Leave it on while you are gone. Play it when you come home.
Regardless of their language talk to them. You don’t have to be a professional animal communicator for them to understand your words, they understand through your love.
Those animals who hoard toys or love to play with objects that are bought for them, could be speak the language of gift giving. They love their new squeakiest!
During quarantine it is easy to buy more out of sheer Boredom or even perhaps theirs. One or two is great, but leave the gift giving for when you go back. Not to say you should spoil them, but this is a way they feel loved. A new chew toy or seed stick for a cage is like a girls “diamonds are a girls best friend” motif for those humans who speak the same language.
These animals are good with you not being there, but need to know that a scrap off the table will come their way because they have been a good boy or girl. Save the good stuff for later! Play with what they have, make new toys instead of purchasing them and have fun. Most Animals are easy to please.
Then come the ones who need the reassurance, words of affirmation. They need to know somehow from their families, friends and even other pet pals that they have behaved well. The dog who wags his tale continually asking with his body “did I do a good job?” The ones that require acknowledgement with a kiss on the head, a pat on the back and a “what a great job you did” …the golden retrievers of the world.
Languages are not attributed to specific breeds. However, specific breeds sometimes lend towards specific languages. Border collies need to be put to work to fulfill there need to be of service and are typical of acts of service animals. Guide dogs, and compassion animals such as cats in nursing homes are other examples.
These animals can be very physical and may not necessarily need praise, but could. They may do their act of service and require the gift of a treat afterward to feel completely fulfilled after their good deed for the day.
The quality time aspect along with acts of service is the time the owner spends with an Australian sheep dog on an agility course or herding sheep. This also addresses physical touch and the words of affirmation comes as praise at the end, just before the gift of a treat for a job well done. These 5 languages can be matched in many ways. We have all five. The top two are usually pretty easy to spot.
Knowing them will help you understand your animals needs not only during this time, but for always. Right now though this knowledge is a great ally in coping with the next transition. We want our fur family to be happy. We want them to feel as relaxed and loved as they can when the Change comes. Start now. Make your walks consistent and at regular times as before. Feedings need not change. Keep the norm as much as possible.
If animals are acting out because they need space, give it to them. Be in another room, take yourself for a walk the same time each day. Be as consistent as you can so going back won’t seem as shocking.
Above all….talk to them. They are also sensitive to how you are feeling right now. We are all experienced mixed bags of emotions and changing in positive ways that can feel difficult while the learnings and growth happen. Let them know what you are going through and let them be there for you. Be there for each other. Always remember, they hear you, they feel your emotions deeply, hide nothing from them as they would hide nothing from you.
Until next time…Stay in Tune, and Stay Blogged in!