Shayne is a five-year-old female American Eskimo who has been with Annamarie since puppyhood. Annamarie and her partner Chris love her very much. She’s energetic, excitable — and very protective of her family.

Annamarie called me when Shayne grazed the hand of a neighbor’s child with her teeth. She told me that Shayne routinely responds to strangers with frenzied lunging and growling, and she was terrified her dog might do more harm. She and Chris admitted their dog was sometimes more than they could handle, and that it was time to get Shayne some help.

Getting to the root with communication

I initiated a communication session with Shayne, who shared that she felt tense and impatient. She had little opportunity to run, and was bored. She loved to explore but rarely had the chance. Because she was lonely and under-stimulated, she had an almost obsessive need for attention from Annamarie and Chris. Shayne’s frustration – even desperation — explained her out-of-control behavior.

Annamarie admitted that Shayne was confined to a basement room while the couple was at work. If left free in the house, Shayne would shred plants, chew furniture and generally create havoc. After work, Annamarie released Shayne into the fenced backyard, but only for a few minutes because Shayne would frantically race around barking, then dig holes in the lawn trying to escape under the fence. Shayne didn’t get walked much anymore because of her aggression towards strangers.

Quality of life is key

I explained to Annamarie what life looked like through Shayne’s eyes. As a high energy dog, it was hard for her to be confined to a small room most of the day and then have such limited outdoor time in the evenings. She needed to move to work off energy, to use her muscles and release tension. Intelligent and inquisitive, Shayne also craved mental stimulation. In addition, Shayne’s poor socialization and suspicion of others meant her family had become the center of her universe. Shayne was emotionally suffocating.

Annamarie and Chris needed to step up and make a commitment to their dog. They started walking Shayne twice daily and a friend was enlisted to visit her midday, walk her again and play with her. Annamarie found a nearby field where Shayne could safely run free and release her pent-up energy – visits to the field became part of their evening walks and Shayne loved it.

I recommended Bach Flower Remedies to support Shayne emotionally — Sweet Chestnut for desperation, Chicory for territorial possessiveness, Holly for suspicion and Mimulus to deal with known fears. Annamarie also took Shayne to a positive reinforcement trainer and worked hard to socialize her.

Six months later, Shayne is happier and more relaxed, able to meet new people calmly, and enjoying a lot more quality time with her family.

Sherlock’s story

Sherlock is a handsome three-year old domestic shorthair cat who lives with Lorna in western Canada. Lorna adopted Sherlock at eight months of age as a companion for her other cat, Miss Austin. The two cats got along well.

About a year ago, Sherlock landed awkwardly from a leap and broke four metatarsals in his back foot. Although a grumpy patient throughout his convalescence, Sherlock’s emotional state improved considerably with Bach Flower Remedies.

Lately, however, Sherlock seemed angry and had a very quick temper. He wouldn’t tolerate children anymore and had recently bitten Lorna, quite badly. He wouldn’t play, was getting rough with Miss Austin, and his claws were almost always out. There were no apparent medical issues. This behavior was uncharacteristic for Sherlock. What was going on?

Sherlock confirmed to me that he was feeling angry and edgy but didn’t understand why. Nothing was bothering him, and he loved his home and family. But he was feeling very tense. I then communicated with Miss Austin, who indicated that Sherlock hadn’t really been the same since his injury. Thanks to this insight, I suggested to Lorna that we start working on releasing the emotions related to Sherlock’s accident.

Strategy and success

Lorna agreed to keep Sherlock safe in a separate room when children came to visit so he wouldn’t feel stressed, and to try her best to entice him to play with a new assortment of toys. When the children came over, I suggested Lorna spray Rescue Remedy and remind Sherlock he would be safe while they were there. Lorna also used a Feliway diffuser and we resumed the Bach Flower Remedies – this time Rock Water for flexibility, Beech to promote tolerance, Star of Bethlehem to heal trauma associated with injury and convalescence, Holly to release anger — and most important, Honeysuckle to help Sherlock move on from his injury and release the emotions associated with it.

Lorna emailed me about five weeks later. “Sherlock is doing so much better and I think the essences are really the key,” she told me. “Lots of interactive play is also helping. No more grumps and growls and he lets me rub his tummy more.” Later still, Lorna reported, “[Sherlock] is cuddling at night and cuddles with Miss Austin, too.” He is even tolerating the children.

When dealing with behaviorial and emotional issues, animal communication can bring forward information that can’t be gleaned in other ways, and points the way to solutions that can turn even aggressive animals around.

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