I’ve been professionally communicating intuitively with animals for more than 17 years, and casually communicating with them for my entire life.
Working with thousands of animals and their humans has created a unique opportunity for me: I’ve learned “straight from the horse’s mouth” what animals truly desire in order have the best relationships they can with their people.
1. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
It may not come as a surprise, but animals crave a healthy lifestyle. What many people do find surprising though, is that they don’t just crave this for themselves—they crave this for their people as well. Because pets are at our mercy (after all we must feed and care for them since they are not living in the wild), they tend to mirror the way we live. When we are not making the best choices for ourselves, that same behavior may show up in our pets. Animals of all kinds want exercise, and to eat their natural diet. They want freedom and happiness.
Healthy food and plenty of exercise are a big piece of this, but so many of the people I work with trade those concepts in for over-loving. Feeding their dog/cat/horse their own comfort food. Sacrificing taking the dog for a walk because it’s raining (in the wild, dogs don’t hide from rain!), and instead snuggling under the covers. Yes, a snuggle is a good thing, but not when it comes in lieu of what the animal in your life is really asking for.
Perhaps, you can’t let your dog roam free around the neighborhood, or maybe you don’t want your cat attacked by a coyote, but you can provide a jog, a great fenced in yard, a super fun cat-tree, or hamster maze. And just think: as you work to provide your pet with a healthy lifestyle, what does it do for you? It gets you outside, it gets you interacting with the world, it gets you putting on your creative hat to think of ways that you can meet your pet’s needs! It’s a win-win.
2. Have Healthy Relationships
This may seem like an odd one, but animals also want balance in relationships. Whether it’s the relationship between you and your pet, between you and your mother, or you and your work, many animals won’t rest until they have shown you the need for healthy relationships. In my animal communication work, it’s been very common for an animal to tell me that her human needs to get out on some dates, or stop working so many hours and take a friend for a hike instead, or dump that girlfriend. Animals are very aware of what creates balance in our lives and they know that the more balance we have, the better lives we are able to provide for them, so they’re constantly directing their humans’ social lives.
Did your cat ever hate your boyfriend and then later you found out he was cheating on you? Did your dog ever start getting separation anxiety until you cut your hours at work down to a normal 40 so you could walk him? Animals know, at the very deepest levels, and often better than we acknowledge ourselves, what is best for us. So often we get caught up in what we’re supposed to do and what it’s supposed to look like. Animals sense what balance is and they bring us back to that again and again, and if we don’t listen to them, they step up their game so we take notice and take the right action. The more balance we have in our lives, the more balance they have in theirs.
3. Practice Clear Communication
As human beings living in times of turmoil, we often choose to put on a happy face just to get through the day. While our friends and colleagues may appreciate that we’re not spilling our guts every minute of every day, our animals certainly do not. An animal’s survival depends on her ability to read her environment accurately, and when she detects that your inside doesn’t match your outside, you can bet that your behavior is going to create an insecurity in her and a distance between the two of you.
More than half of the animals I work with want me to help their humans learn that it’s okay to be upset, or to say no, or to be unhappy, and that keeping those feelings bottled up will not only be detrimental for those people, it will also create distance in the relationship with their animal. Animals don’t fully open to those people they can’t trust! Even when that person totally and completely loves that animal, if the person is hiding their real feelings, it’s impossible for that relationship to reach its potential. Say what you feel and feel what you say—and mean it all if you want to have a deeper relationship with your pet.
4. Experience Unconditional Love
In my time spent working with animals, they’ve told me again and again that they have mastered unconditional love. Unconditional love means loving everyone and everything around you, including yourself. Many people have mastered unconditional sacrifice or unconditional giving, but don’t yet love themselves that way. Animals, on the other hand, never feel badly about themselves. They don’t wish they were smarter, thinner, richer, faster. They accept themselves for who they are with the skills and challenges that they have. Animals are constantly modeling this for us, but so many of us forget to notice.
The more you love yourself, the more love you have available to love the animal in your life. If your time is spent looking at your “flaws” in the mirror or obsessing over the “wrong” thing you said in the meeting at your office, you’re missing out on loving yourself.
When I work intuitively with animals, they often want me to help their humans realize their potential. So many of us are stuck in a place of, “Am I good enough?” and “Am I lovable?” and “I fear I don’t have enough support/friends etc.,” that we forget to look within. Just spend a moment looking deeply into your pet’s eyes to reconnect with that unconditional love. It’s more than, “You’re the one who feeds me.” So much more.
Our pets are the ultimate reminder that we can source unconditional love from within ourselves, just like they do. When we stop to look at what our pets are modeling for us, we can find the access to our true selves that so many of us are missing. When we live healthy lives with balance and clear communication, feeling the love of ourselves and of those around us, the relationship with our pets can only get better.
Excerpted from Animal Lessons by Danielle MacKinnon. © 2017 by Danielle MacKinnon. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.