As an animal therapist I visit many different environments. It can be hard at times, as I have been invited in by the ‘owner’ to help their animals, but sometimes the situations still shock me. It is vital that I stay non-judgemental and that I approach every situation with love and compassion. I always do.
This week I attended several clients whose horses had gained a bad reputation for themselves through no fault of their own. They had been labelled as ‘dangerous’, ‘too nervous / spooky’, ‘rude’, ‘disrespectful’ to name but a few. It amazes me that people do not understand the impact of these labels on another being, whatever its species. Every word has an energy associated with it, and animals are far better at picking up on this energy than most humans. Being constantly miss-labelled for something you are not has a devastating effect, emotionally, which then leads to physical problems.
There is always a reason for perceived ‘bad’ behaviour, whatever the species (and yes that includes us humans)! These horses were both in severe pain that had not been detected, despite all the warning signs being given by the horses! These horses were expected to carry a rider, both had poorly fitted saddles which would have been causing severe pain when ridden, yet when they expressed this pain via initially facial expressions (which were ignored), then by more extreme behaviour e.g. not being caught, biting or bucking, they were told off severely, often physically but always emotionally by being told by everyone how horrible they were and that they would be sold.
During their session with me, amongst other therapies, I used essential oils to help release traumatic emotions (more on this amazing process of animals self-medicating in a later blog). The release of emotions is amazing and heart breaking at the same time, the scale of hurt and abuse these majestic animals carry is humbling. I then working with the humans to change their perception of the animal, to see that when you have no language for communication, the only way you can express your fear, pain etc. is through physical actions, and if no one listens to you then your actions have to get more severe to try and be ‘heard’.
When people understand why an animal may be behaving in a certain way, it changes their approach completely. The animal immediately respond to this new approach, and the healing of the relationship can truly begin. Knowledge truly is power, but only when it is applied!
So today I encourage you to always talk kindly to others, whatever their species. Unkind and insensitive words really do hurt and can have a devastating impact on an animal. By trying to understand why an animal or human is behaving in a certain way, and by approaching them with compassion rather than judgement, a positive outcome can always be achieved. Our animals will always reward the slightest effort by us humans in kindness, compassion and true communication. They will help us understand ourselves and how we impact on others if we are prepared to listen, and we should be truly grateful for every interaction we have with these beautiful animals.