I’ve been working with healing and animals of late, and it has been a true joy and a deep and lasting education to work so closely with some of these beings. I’ve watched as shut-down animals, often ones in both physical and mental pain due to earlier mist-treatment – sometimes at the ‘hands’ of fellow animals but usually at the hands of man – gradually open up to trusting and healing. It’s a remarkable thing to experience or observe.
With one of my own dogs it has taken years to erase the past. Or perhaps that should be to rehabilitate the past? A past where we feel certain – but cannot know for sure as his history is unknown, he was left tied up at a rescue shelter – someone beat him with sticks and kicked him repeatedly. An animal who could not walk between 2 sticks in a garden because of the fear they posed, who dived to the floor and crawled to my side when a stranger once threw a stick for him to catch (without asking first – they were mortified when they were told of his fear), who used to move out of the way of moving feet, and who quaked in fear at loud noises. We’re not entirely over the loud noises; maybe not all things can, or are meant to be ‘fixed’, but if you met him now you would never know of his past. His ability to trust once more has, given time and patience, blossomed.
I was reminded of animals’ amazing ability to trust again at the weekend, watching a poor abused shut-down horse come out of her shell somewhat and begin to see humans as collaborators and carers rather than someone to fear. To see the change in her demeanour, even overnight, was a joy to behold. And then a day or two ago, finding a poor rabbit who was suffering, who allowed me to pick her up and move her to a place of safety. Somehow she knew I was not a foe, her heartbeat did not change as I picked her up, and she did not struggle in my arms. It took only a minute of my time to do that but the effects of that interaction are still resonating with me days later.
We have much to learn from these animals. Their ability to trust without prior knowledge of us, or – perhaps more remarkably – in spite of previous negative experiences with others, is astounding. Whether it is their ability to live more ‘in the moment’ than humans are usually adept at doing, without practice, or whether this is a particular lesson that I need to learn from these interactions I’m not sure. But it is worth taking time to observe closely the animals in and around your life and see what lessons their interactions with you might bring.