Are you struggling to connect with your pet? Do you find yourself wondering if this is the right pet for you because your bond didn’t just “happen” naturally? Does your pet do things that absolutely frustrate or mystify you? Learn about four pet parent relationship game changers from animal communicator Shannon Cutts of Animal Love Languages.
In my line of work, it probably won’t surprise you to hear I spend a lot of time pondering the bond between people and their pets.
And it probably also won’t surprise you to learn I don’t usually hear from my clients when all is rosy-sweet in their interspecies family.
Nope. When I see a session request pop into my inbox, it is usually for one of these four reasons:
- Pet behavior problems
- Pet emotional or physical health issues
- Pet to pet aggression or incompatibility
- Pet end of life transitions
More and more, I realize these are pretty similar to the types of issues people have with each other as well! We might not like how someone else is behaving. Or we are concerned about our own or a loved one’s health.
And relationship challenges are a big one – perhaps “the” big issue we all struggle with in our life – aside from end-of-life transitions.
And in fact, all four of these challenges are actually about relationships, how we enter into new relationships, how we navigate existing relationships, how we end relationships, how we say goodbye when it is time to transition.
I have been a student of Don Miguel Ruiz ever since a mentor of mine gifted me with a small book called “The Four Agreements.”
Ruiz, if you are not familiar, is a multi-generational Toltec shaman as well as a medical doctor. He is also a master teacher. His four agreements have systematically transformed my relationship with myself, with others of my species and with my interspecies family as well as the greater world around me.
I have come to believe that these four agreements represent perhaps the four best ways to bond with your pet that exist today. (But don’t take my word for it. Read on and decide for yourself.)
The first agreement says, “Be impeccable with your word.”
In other words, if you make a promise, make sure to keep it.
This is a fantastic agreement for building trust with another being no matter what species.
For that matter, it is also a great way to build trust with yourself.
Pets know when we don’t keep promises and commitments we make to them. Even worse, they also know when we don’t keep the promises and commitments we make to ourselves. Either way, the hard part of keeping company with animals is that they hold us accountable.
A lot of pet behavior problems start when we stop keeping ourselves accountable – to them, and to ourselves. If we don’t hold ourselves accountable, our animals will do their utmost to step in and do it for us.
How do I know this? It is one of the most common themes that comes up in animal communication sessions.
The second agreement says, “Don’t take anything personally.”
You might not think you take anything personally when you are relating to your animal.
Yet if the hundreds of animal communication sessions I have facilitated to date have any insight to shed on this topic, there is no other relationship we take more personally than the one we have with our pet.
Consider how great you feel when everything is going smoothly in your relationship with your pet. Then consider your reaction when your pet growls, hisses, barks, bites, snarls, potties on the carpet, uproots the new sod, refuses to come when called, etc, etc, etc.
How disturbed is your personal sense of peace? Especially when someone else – your neighbor, partner, child, parent, friend, a stranger – is witnessing the breakdown in communication.
We take our pet’s behavior very personally indeed. Yet rather than easing the situation, this ownership of our animal’s choices ends up making it all much worse.
By stepping back and impartially witnessing – simply observing – our pet’s choices, we free ourselves up to step into their shoes (or paws, or feathers, or shell, or fur). We free ourselves to ask questions rather than assume the way our animal is behaving has anything at all to do with us.
This is when we might discover our animal is hurt, ill, hungry, lonely, tired, or something else that really does have nothing to do with us. This is also when we might discover our pet’s behavior actually has everything to do with us, and we might be the ones who need to adjust accordingly.
By remembering not to take our pet’s choices personally, we open the door to conversation and real authentic communication – an animal communicator’s dream job.
The third agreement says, “Don’t make assumptions.”
This sounds a lot like the second agreement and it is easy to conflate the two.
And this is why sometimes I think the third agreement and the second agreement should be switched around, especially when applying them to our pets. But really they go hand in hand.
When your pet does something, or doesn’t do something, how long do you spend honestly pondering your animal’s reasons before jumping to conclusions – aka making assumptions?
Please don’t think I’m throwing stones here. Trust me – it is one thing to serve as an impartial bridge of communication for you and your pet. It is quite another to tackle relationship issues with my personal animals!
This is never going to be easy – it isn’t supposed to be. It does get easier with time and it becomes less automatic to just take our pet’s behavior personally and make assumptions about it that have everything to do with us and nothing to do with our animals.
The fourth agreement sounds like a welcome change from the three before it. The fourth agreement says, “Always do your best.”
This sounds like such a no brainer, doesn’t it? (Or at least it did for me the first time I read it.) Of course you always do your best. I always do my best. But do we? Do we really?
What happens when you get hungry, or tired, or stressed? And then your pet wants something, or does something, or doesn’t do something, and you rush. Or you skimp. Or you get a little crispy with your animal love. And then you feel not so great after it all passes.
So all four of these agreements are a lifetime’s work. They have to be and they are worth it. Because once you do master them, life doesn’t just change. It transforms. I say this not because I have mastered any one of them, but because even a little progress has felt transformative in my life. So I can only imagine how transformative my life will be once I am consistently delivering mastery of all four agreements.
Oh, I nearly forgot. There is a fifth agreement. This one came later and initially kind of stumped me. It reads differently from the other four – so much so that Ruiz wrote a whole separate book about it.
The fifth agreement says, “Be skeptical, but learn to listen.”
Now I love this agreement maybe even more than the other four because this is where I step into the mix with people and their pets.
Even though animal communication is an ancient practice and also a part of our birthright, something each of us is born with the capacity to experience and hone, it is still viewed as quite “fringe” in many circles.
The rational left brain data-driven sectors of society see practitioners like me – intuitives, psychics, mediums, healers, energy workers – as, well, out there. Kind of like UFOs. And this is a shame. It is sad for the animals, sad for the people, sad for the planet.
Thankfully, master teachers like Don Miguel Ruiz encourage us to be skeptical, yet learn to listen. Learn to keep our minds at least sufficiently open to ask what else might be available when everything else we’ve already tried hasn’t worked, or worked well enough.
What if – just what if – animal communication IS possible? What if it is real? What if it works?
How might that change your relationship with your animal, with all the animals, with this increasingly fragile world we depend on that is now depending on us to heal it, restore it, save it?
What if you have senses you haven’t even discovered yet because no one ever told you? What if just by scheduling an animal communication session and experiencing your skepticism in the context of listening to what your pet has to say you could open up a whole new world far more wonderful than the one you’ve been living in up til now?
Be skeptical, but learn to listen.
If you are already, I am here to help.