Animals that lose their mates and friends

We are learning much about the rich emotional life of animals, particularly mammals. For instance, it used to be thought that animals didn’t feel much emotionally beyond the level of instinct. Now we know that isn’t true. Animals love and animals grieve.

One of the most striking examples of this in nature is the way that elephants mourn their dead. When they come across elephant bones, skulls and tusks, they touch the remains, gently nuzzling them with their trunks and exploring them inside and out. Sometimes they carry away the tusks. Then they go back to their lives.

Wolves also mourn lost pack members. After the death of a wolf, the remainder of the pack walk with their heads and tails held low – a sign of depression. They no longer howl as a group, but each cries in their own way. This behavior often lasts for a few weeks.

We can learn much from this. We need to remember our loved ones, and grieve them but also to go on with life when the grief period is over.

An essence that is very good for this is Wisdom and Love Combination Flower Essence.

 

Pet Loss

Experiencing the loss of a pet can seem as painful as the loss of a human being. And there’s every reason this should be the case. If you have opened your heart and your home to an animal companion, then you will have most likely become attached to them. A pet brings so much joy into our lives; it is only natural that we will feel grief when they pass away.

Alexandra lost her dog, Lassie, a German Shepherd/Boxer cross, when she was living in Sri Lanka. She says: ‘I was living in a huge property on the edge of a nature reserve. Although everyone told me that there were leopards in the reserve, I didn’t believe that they would come for my dog. The night after she was killed I had a dream that Lassie was at the foot of my bed, and she was telling me that she was home.’ Although she wasn’t home with me, I came to understand that she was home in a greater sense.

Many people are surprised at the level of grief they feel after a pet loss. Sometimes we don’t realize how much our animal companion has become part of our emotional lives. Often a pet will have seen us through previous losses, relationship break-ups, and traumatic events. As Bob said, ‘My dog is the only person I can absolutely trust. He never thinks about what’s in it for him.’

Each person will find their own way to express their grief. Questions you might like to consider are:

How did my pet come into my life?
What did we enjoy doing together?
Why did I call my pet what I called him or her?
What do I remember best about my pet?

Alexandra answered the questions this way.

‘Lassie came into my life after she had been hit by a lorry (truck) and had lost an eye and broken her hind leg badly. Her owner could no longer care for her, so I took her on. We became inseparable, enjoying walking, sitting and just being together. She was great with my cats, moving her soft muzzle down to their noses to greet them. She was already called Lassie, so I stayed with the name. It was hers. I remember best her absolute determination. One day I was getting into the car but not planning to take her with me. But she had already made up her mind. She forced her way ahead of me into the driver’s seat and looked at me, with a saucy ‘what are you going to do now?’ Then she moved the passenger’s seat and let me drive.’

You might like to think of a memorial to your pet. Some people have a funeral, others like to donate so money to an animal charity, or help at an animal shelter.

Nobody can tell you whether you should get another pet straight away or wait for a while. There are pros and cons each way. Sometimes it’s best to just wait for a new animal to come into your life. Usually the animal chooses you and then there is mutual bond and you know that it’s the right time.

An excellent essence for this is the Loving Memories Combination Flower Essence.

Pets as Therapy

Pets are an excellent form of therapy, one of the best natural cures for grief. If you’ve seen the film ‘The Horse Whisperer’ you will know how healing a relationship with an animal can be. Through working with a wounded horse, an injured teenager who has lost her leg makes peace with her life.

Many studies have shown that companion animals, particularly dogs and cats, have a calming effect on our physiology, lowering blood pressure and bringing about feelings of relaxation and ease.

Many people who live on their own after the loss of a partner benefit from having a pet. It gives them a focus and something to love and care for. Even in the depths of depression, a dog has to be taken for a walk. A cat must be fed and stroked. A bird’s cage has to be cleaned and the bird related to. All these activities take us out of ourselves and the love that animals give us in return can mean the difference between life and death. Many doctors have wished they could write a prescription for a pet for heart patients, knowing that most people with this condition live longer if they have a pet.

In order to communicate with your pet effectively, you need to learn their language. Cats will close their eyes gently when in your presence to say I trust you so much I don’t need to see you. But if their tails start to move from side to side, it usually means something is upsetting them. Dogs wag their tails too, as a sign of emotion, often happiness at seeing you, but it can mean, from a strange dog, fear. If that is the case, give the dog space. Watch a dog’s ears, too. Flat back against the skull means submission. Dogs can find direct eye contact quite threatening so take your cue about this from the actual dog. But when they roll over and expose their tummy, it usually means they want to be stroked. Some dogs put their paw on your arm as if to say ‘More stroking please!’

Other animals are used therapeutically too. Horses are especially good with children with developmental delay and learning difficulties. People often enjoy swimming with dolphins, though care must be taken with all wild animals that human interaction with them doesn’t put them under stress.

A favourite flower essence for pet therapy is Embracing New Love Combination Flower Essence.

 


 

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