I heard a sad story yesterday that made me want to revisit the subject of animals who suffer from various physical, mental and emotional ailments.
A friend of mine was telling me about a family he knows that had a beautiful Staffordshire bull terrier. This dog was the pet of the 20-something-year-old daughter and her husband. As a young couple, they then had two children and for some reason, they then decided they no longer wanted this dog so were planning to give him to a rescue shelter.
This alone for me is heart-breaking. That dog would have considered himself part of this family, so to be given away and abandoned like this would have broken his heart in the same way that a young child would be traumatised if its parents decided they no longer wanted the child and so took it off to an orphanage.
Anyway, the woman's mother took pity on the dog and decided to take him in. Her two younger teenage daughters still lived at home and so the dog would be welcomed into the family.
Unfortunately, this little Staffy was very anxious and unhappy and began to habitually chew on his own tail. He bit himself very badly and eventually it was decided that his tail would need to be amputated. This £1000 operation took place a couple of days ago and now this poor little dog has a stump where his tail was and is having to wear a cone around his neck until the scars heals.
I was in pieces when I heard all this. Rather than address the cause of the stress and anxiety, which I believe is clearly emotional from a sense of being unwanted, unloved and abandoned, the little dog had to undergo a painful and unnecessary operation. I do not think his tail needed to be removed. I believe his anxiety and stress needed to be addressed. And I suspect this is still the case. They have removed the tail but they have not looked at addressing the reasons that were causing the self-harm.
It is the same situation for humans that self harm. If a beautiful young teenage girl repeatedly cuts her arm with razor blades from a sense of deep unhappiness and unworthiness, do you amputate her arm? Of course not. You address the reasons why she is self-harming.
I do not know why many people cannot see that animals feel and suffer just as much as humans. Animals are sentient beings, just like humans. They have nervous systems and emotions, just like humans. They need to feel loved and cared for, just like humans. And when their basic emotional needs are not met, this shows up as depression, anxiety, fear, anger and self-harm, just like humans.
Please know that your pet, as well as any animal you interact with, has feelings. If your animal develops a physical condition or a behavioural issue such as tail biting or compulsive barking, its root cause is in the emotional and mental. Healing these conditions comes via more love, more understanding and more compassion. It does not come through punishment.
If you have an animal, please give them a big hug and cuddle from me. If your animal could benefit from a healing session with me, book a session here. They are worth it and they deserve it.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
PS I am now offering guidance and healing sessions over Skype/Zoom/Facetime - get in touch if you'd like to book an appointment! Just click here.
PPS To add names to my weekly, free distant healing group, go to my Facebook page here www.facebook.com/zoehendersonhealer
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Intuitive healer, horse whisperer and animal communicator who works with the angels to offer healing and guidance to all beings.