I am often contacted by the owners of companion animals—dogs, cats, and horses—to assist them with questions and concerns that arise in these intensely close relationships. My training allows me to connect with the spirit of the animal, present the intention for the visit, and receive information that is provided; I record the information, and forward it to the owner. I feel very privileged to be called upon to do this work, as it brings both understanding and comfort to those in the animal’s life, and to me as well. In addition, there are often universal teachings that cry out to be shared with a wider audience. And so it is with the words of Bella.
Bella is a 5 year old female Boston Terrier/Jack Russell/Scottish Terrier mix who was rescued when she was about 6 months old. According to her owner, Bella suffers from anxiety, particularly when left alone or when the wind is blowing. Bella seems incapable of ever really relaxing. The owner has been offered many suggestions that she has subsequently tried, but none has worked. Although it was not clearly stated, I sensed that the owner was considering seeking another home for Bella. I agreed to take a journey to Bella on the owner’s behalf. “Dear Bella”, I asked, “please help us understand your true nature, and in particular, the periods of anxiety that consume you.” The excerpts I have chosen to share with you will, I believe, touch you deeply and help you understand the nature of any animal that has had a difficult past.
Bella begins with a description of her earliest memories:
"I was pulled from my mother while still taking nourishment from her. Up until then, I had known only the heat of her body, and those of my brothers and sister. I cannot remember exactly what happened, for I cried and sought out the warmth I had known up until this terrible moment of separation. It was as if a giant hand reached down with no respect or understanding of who we were or what we needed, and ripped us from our sustenance. You can only imagine the desperation and confusion that enveloped me, for I had not yet learned the ways of humankind. I knew only the comfort and smells and nourishment and play of my mother and my brothers and my sister. This memory of our parting lives within me to this day."
“But, I survived, although my life was rich in neither care nor affection. As one does, I became accustomed to the irregularity of it all, to the presence of food at unexpected times, or more often, its absence; to the presence of attention, but more often the lack of it, especially the lack of any meaningful contact. But we are, my kind, survivors, and we learn quickly when to come close and when to retreat, if we sense that anger, or danger, or even annoyance is to be directed our way. So this was life, until you removed me to one I could not have imagined. Instantly I was the focus of your direct scrutiny, attention, affection, and extreme good care. Never had I known the regularity that you provided to me, the up close attention to meet my every need, the willingness and desire to understand me in all my stages and all my states of being. Please know the gratitude I feel for you and cannot openly express. I am a product of my breeding, after all.”
Bella then speaks of the anxiety that so concerns her owner:
“You are correct in your observations that there are circumstances that in a sense, turn a switch within my being that energize my nervous system into extreme activity. For you this is a problem, yet for me, it is simply a shift from one state of being to another. I have given you a small picture of my beginnings, and it seems that what arises is reminiscent of the confusion and uncertainty that took hold of me when first I was removed from the comfort of the nest. The switch is automatic; very little can distract from the process of growing anxiousness once it is activated. And so for me, it has simply become part of my being. For you, it is something distressing to witness, and probably causes you some aggravation as well. I simply cannot take comfort, no matter how it is offered to me. There is no remedy or quick fix, as the habit of response is, as I understand it, deep within my cells. Can you appreciate this? You have done nothing wrong! In fact, the life you have offered has done much to alleviate what in other circumstances could be much, much worse."
Bella’s final comments assist her owner to regard her with ‘new’ eyes:
“And that brings me to another point. I know that I am loved, and that is so appreciated because I am not a beast that has a typical doggie affectionate nature. I am harder to love for sure, but you have managed it so well. If possible, please make conscious efforts to focus on what is good about me, no matter how small those things might be! Take delight in my appearance, which I understand is somewhat appealing to you. Recognize my sharpness, my intelligence, the gifts of my breeding for activity and focus and persistence. Look for every opportunity to just appreciate me for exactly who I am. This will draw the attention away from my ‘problems’ and put it more on my attributes. I will feel the difference in how you respond to me, and we will all benefit greatly. It is energetically beneficial to appreciate positive aspects of each other rather than dwell on those that are of concern. The focus on the positive may not necessarily change the outward signs, but it will definitely make our life together more relaxed and enjoyable. The effort is worth it for my wish is that we are together for a very, very, very long time. I wish to be with you, always.”
Bella’s owner responded with great gratitude. She is committed to appreciating Bella, and has no intention of parting with her.
Marilyn Geddes is a local editor and author of Ask the Very Beasts: Words of Wisdom and Comfort from Unexpected Sources. She offers intuitive consultations for animals and people from her country home west of Millarville, Alberta and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org