One of the most common questions I get asked is “Is my animal happy?” Given that this is a very broad question with a whole host of possible answers, there are some general suggestions that can be applicable to all households.

All animals have messages about how they are feeling and what they would like their people to know. If we wish to listen to what they have to share, we are fully capable of doing so with practice. Animals have thoughts and feelings about their households, the other members of the households, if they are happy and healthy and if they would like something to change.

A common misconception about animals is that “all dogs” or “all cats” is an accurate way to categorize. In reality, however, just as each individual human has her own personality, so does every individual animal. By understanding the personalities of each animal in our home, we will be well equipped to provide a healthy and happy environment for our dogs and cats. In my classes, I call this “individuation”.

Pay attention to what your animal likes to do, their dislikes and set up your living space in accordance with these preferences of your animal friends. If you are unclear how to do this, there are questions that you can ask yourself that will allow you to see things from your animal’s perspective- this is called empathy. Empathy simply means- putting yourself in the animal’s position. By doing this, it will be a lot easier to understand if your animal is happy and what you might want to do to adapt your environment to make your animal more comfortable.

Companion animals seek balance. By taking a moment to observe your home, and your animals’ behaviour in your home, you will begin to see what may be out of balance. Balance may be sought in temperature, noise level, ability to go outdoors into green space, cleanliness of home, diet, play time/play things, among others. Bringing balance to your animals’ living space can make a world of difference!

Asking yourself questions such as: “Is my animal’s sleeping area warm/cool enough” , “Does my animal have enough fresh air every day”, “What brings my animal joy?” can really help you to understand your animal’s personality. Once you have taken the time to answer some of these questions, you are now ready to accommodate your animal. For example, is your feline friend more interested in sitting on top of a wall unit all day? Or is she more interested in hiding under the covers of your bed all day? Does your dog react better to a reward system based on food or praise? By identifying what interests your animal friends and accommodating accordingly, you will be providing a nurturing environment where the animal can grow and learn- and most importantly, be content.

In some of my earlier articles, I mentioned that animals have specific roles in our lives. It is important to let them know that they are heard, that they are loved and that they are doing a wonderful job. By using positive affirmations toward your animals, you will be helping them to succeed and to feel confident in their roles. Though your animals may or may not understand linguistic words and phrases, the certainly understand intonation, energy and vibrations. It is common that when you use a negative tone of voice or raise your voice, your animal may cower or exhibit discomfort via body language. This is not a coincidence. Just like humans, animals will respond better to praise than negative reinforcement. In fact, it is often the case that animals are more sensitive to tones, noise and yelling than humans are. Knowing this can help you to create a more harmonious home for you and your animal friends.

Instead of worrying if you animal friends are happy in your home, it will help you feel better to take action to ensure that they are happy living with you and your home environment. It will also help to remember how sensitive animals are to our thoughts and feelings. When we are unhappy, they are unhappy. By allowing time each day to connect with our animals through various ways, our animals will be that much more comfortable. Some of these ways include; cuddles, massage, energy work and singing to them daily. These practices are those that the animal understands on a very basic, intrinsic level. By connecting with them in these ways we are nurturing them and helping them to feel balanced and at peace. Of course, it will also help us to feel at peace as well!

Once you become practiced at animal empathy, you can begin to commune with your animal friends daily.  You may be surprised at how open they are to communication!



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