07:06 Friday 14 December 2012

When animals know

Written byDale Preece-Kelly

Ever thought that your pet knows when you need company?

Recently, I have been through a really traumatic time – a relationship break up, the death of my father and other negative events. Without my pets, I know I would not have made it through. It seemed, that they were aware of the events taking place in my life at that moment. I have many pets, but those who knew something was wrong, were my cat, my dog and my skunk.

Animals seem to have a sixth sense where personal trauma is involved. They have a knowledge that is only known to them, that allows them to tune into your feelings. In a way, they sense the negative emotion that comes from these events, and then act on what they sense to make it better. How or why this happens will probably remain a mystery forever.

First of all, the break up of my marriage. The departure of my wife and children (although that has rectified itself now) six weeks ago, came as a complete shock and was very traumatic for me. I was beside myself with grief. My cat, Scrat, was first to pick up on my emotions, and he became more attentive than usual – rubbing around my legs; seeking out my hand for physical contact that normally he can take or leave; vocalising at me, as if trying to tell me it would be okay. This came as great comfort to me, and I began to take some of my own therapeutic medicine. I even replied to his vocalisations as if conversing with him, and believe it or not, it helped.

This was the following morning. On the evening of the same day, it was the turn of Stoosh my skunk. Normally very active of an evening, playing in the kitchen and upstairs, this evening was somehow different. Stoosh has the run of the house for most of the day, and this particular evening, I sat down at around 6pm, feeling rather sombre. The minute I sat back onto the sofa, Stoosh was clambering up my leg and onto my lap. I was sitting with my laptop on my lap, but Stoosh really didn’t care, and lay straight across the keyboard, demanding attention. She seemed to know that I needed love, and needed to be shown that somebody cared, or something. She was oblivious to any attempts to move her and I had no choice but to sit and idly stroke her as I sifted through my thoughts on the situation I found myself in. It was a great help and through the whole six weeks, she remained constantly by my side.

Beanz relaxes with a shoe
Beanz

Beanz my border collie, I think, picked up on Stoosh’s actions and began to mirror her – the thing is, he seemed to realise why she was doing what she was doing, and therefore why I needed him too. So I began to get a cat rubbing around my legs, whilst a skunk lay on my lap and a dog curled up on the settee next to me. Some of the other animals also picked up on my need for comfort, almost contagiously – the rest of the cats, for instance, began to get more affectionate with me too.

It felt fantastic to be adored by these animals, who obviously had something deeper than unconditional love – they had emotions, feelings, even empathy. The way they attempted to comfort me and show me love was almost human, like an animal “hug” if you like. I can not scientifically prove any of the opinions in this blog post, but I believe that what was given to me by my pets was indeed comforting affection – they knew the dark place that I was wallowing in and were doing everything in their power to pull me out of it and show me there was light.

Never under estimate the power of your pets – on the outside they may appear loopy and not too bright, but their minds and that sixth sense they have are very tuned in to your needs. So before you give up on anything, or decide you can’t cope, consult your pet because they may be the answer – and if you don’t have a pet, then borrow a friends!

Critterish Allsorts undertake animal assisted therapy sessions, with their critters (who are all family pets), on an individual or group basis in your home, hospital, care home, foster home, or school. Visit their website for more information.

This blog is written by Dale Preece-Kelly from Critterish Allsorts, if you would like to find out more about them check out our previous article 'Meet the Critterish Allsorts'.
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