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Pet Week – As The Crow Flies

Monday, November 30th, 2009
In This Issue:
As the Crow Flies

The Gentleman Squirrel

As the Crow Flies Jenn from Santa Barbara, CA writes:

Dear Spirit, when I was hiking the other day, I found a wounded crow. At first, I didn’t know if he was alive or not. Then, I saw that he was breathing. Gently, I began to pet him. Then, his eyes opened and he looked up at me, but he didn’t move. I dripped water over his beak and, when he gurgled, I gave him more. He kept looking at me, without moving. Then, I heard the cawing of a crow family. They flew up in the trees forming a semi-circle in front of us. The wounded crow tried to answer their call, but no sound came through. I thought maybe they wanted me to leave. Though I did feel torn about whether or not to take him home with me. I ended up lifting him onto a stone. Then, I said a prayer and left him with the other crows. Last night, I had a dream: He was sitting on a bush looking at me. Do you think I should have taken him with me?

– Jenn D.

Spirit: You were right to leave. The crow’s neck was broken, and he was close to death. You could not have saved him.

Jenn: I didn’t see any blood or feathers nearby. Can you tell me how he got hurt?

Spirit: He was attacked by a circling hawk. You didn’t see blood around because it cauterized before it reached the surface of the skin. The crow’s neck is small and contains very little blood.

The crow family you met had left him for dead. When they noticed you sitting by him, they became curious and they flew back. They made sure not to settle in the trees behind you so you would know that they came as friends. They weren’t asking you to leave. On the contrary, they were touched by your presence. You were there to comfort and bless the crow, and you taught his friends a lesson about the needs of the dying. Now, those crows can teach other crows what they learned from the experience.

Now I have a question to ask you

Jenn: What is it?

Spirit: Why don’t you go back and receive the blessing the crow has for you?

Jenn: What is that?

Spirit: A few of his feathers. As the native American culture understands, it is part of the birds’ manna to be able to share what they’ve learned in the life they left behind – as well as their personal power by permitting humans who honor them to keep their feathers.

Jenn: Is that what the crow was saying in my dream?

Spirit: Indeed, and he came to thank you.

The Gentleman Squirrel Jane Ellen wrote in: The elder squirrel I feed came to the door today and – after his usual greeting, began eating his breakfast He continued eating and eating – even though he has grown quite plump. After awhile – I asked him to step aside and allow his brother, as well as several birds who were also in line to share the meal. The result was: he ignored my request.

Is he holding onto his dominance? Or is he overeating for emotional reasons?

-Jane Ellen

Spirit: Both. For one thing, he feels his age; and he is afraid if he steps aside, the younger male will start to dominate the morning meal. He misses the days when he was more agile and it makes him feel grumpy – so he overeats to compensate his loss.

Jane: Can I ask you another question?

Spirit: Of course

Jane: Is there something You can do to help him feel better about himself?

Spirit: Yes. Like most aging males, your squirrel friend is learning to appreciate more passive experiences – such as your friendship, the new tastes in your seed bowl -which speak to him of far away places. And he is given the freedom to go about his day pretty much as he wishes. You have guaranteed his survival. Beyond that, his existence is filled with the prayer in his heart: “Please God – may I leap again this day?”

Pet Week – Unraveling The Mystery of Your Pet’s Behavior

Monday, October 5th, 2009
In This Issue

Sister Cat
Two Faces of Simba
How Suzee Lost Her Standing

Sister Cat

Lena T. from Los Angeles, CA. wrote in:

Dear Spirit, a little stray calico has been coming to my door and seems to want me to take her in. I feel very ambivalent about accepting her in my home. Can you give me some guidance?

– Lena T.

Spirit: Why do you feel ambivalent?

Lena: It is difficult to read her moods. In the beginning, she would come in, jump on my lap, and be very loving; Then, she started coming in only to distance herself from me – or ask to be let out after just a few minutes.

Spirit: Did you do something that hurt her feelings?

Lena: Could it be that in the beginning, I let her in and then asked her to go?

Spirit: Yes. Why did you do that?

Lena: I didn’t have a litter box; and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on the responsibility of her care.

Spirit: That’s understandable. Yet I pick up a deeper reason.

Lena: Can you tell me what that is?

Spirit: Your underlying ambivalence involves not wanting to fail at another relationship. Your sister cat’s problem is not dissimilar. Both of you feel easily rejected. Now, she would rather be the one to come and go rather than ever be asked to leave your house again.

Lena: You mean, she is giving me some of my own medicine?

Spirit: Yes.

Lena: How can I make it up to her?

Spirit: Start by letting her in each time she asks; and let her know you would like her to stay. If you get her a special litter box and a toy you can play with together – she will know she is home. Then practice avoiding the tendency to reject her when you feel rejected. As you succeed in not taking her slights personally, she will grow to trust you, and your relationship will flourish. Not only that: you will be on a success track in growing your other relationships.

Lena: Thanks to Sister Cat and You.

Two Faces of Simba

Cindy W. from Taos, New Mexico wrote in:

Dear Spirit, I just got a dog from a shelter. Her name is Simba. She looks part coyote and part Samoyed. My guess is that she is about a year old. She is mainly quite loving; and yet, I’m concerned about her tendency to become aggressive around some dogs. Can you tell me more about her?

-Cindy W.

Spirit: I’d be glad to help out. Simba’s mother was a coyote and her father was a Samoyed mix. The father was a genial sex addict and enjoyed conquering wild females. In fact, Simba has several half siblings due to this habit of his. Her mother felt infuriated. Her ancestral experience of dogs was as prey. And, she hated to be conquered by a lesser being. Fortunately for Simba, she enjoys the company of most dogs. Yet, she has inherited her mother’s disdain for large, aggressive males. Of course, the reason for this is subconscious in her, so it is likely to be tricky to train her out of the habit of threatening large males.

Cindy: Thank you for the insight. I would like to ask You two more questions. First, do you think it is possible to train her out of her aggressive tendency? And, second, I have noticed that she has two distinct personalities. One side seems sad and the other is very happy. Can you tell me some more about that?

Spirit: Of course. Her mother tended to be melancholy. She lived as a lone hunter. Otherwise, she would not have been available to Simba’s father. And, the life of an urban coyote is not easy. Many of the males were shot by ranchers in your area. The Samoyed mix who fathered her was a fun-loving cad. It is part of your journey with Simba to help her integrate her two sides. The way to begin is to bond with her as her new mother. She will eventually imprint to your loving kindness as her norm. Her essence is very tender as well. On the other hand, it would also be good to find a top notch trainer who is used to working with feral dogs.

How Suzee Lost Her Standing

Bill T. from Nashville, TN wrote in:

Dear Spirit, why has my bird Suzee started to fly off her perch and destroy my things when I’m out of the house?

-Bill T.

Spirit: Suzee is trying to recover her standing with the other birds by betraying you. Do you know why that is?

Bill: Because they ostracize her?

Spirit: Yes. Why do you suppose they do that?

Bill: Because I favor her?

Spirit: That’s part of it. How do you show her special attention?

Bill: In the evening, she likes to stand on my chest and preen me when I am kicking back and watching T.V.

Spirit: Of course, the other birds consider that mating behavior. How did she earn that special privilege?

Bill: She seems to love me the most and need the most attention.

Spirit: In the beginning, she was showing off to the other birds by courting your favoritism. Her daring do included transcending her merely bird estate and reaching for the status of winning you as her mate. The problem is – the other birds consider the behavior taboo. And instead of earning her top billing, the maneuver cost her her standing in the community. Now she is trying to get back in their good graces by demonstrating she prefers them to you.

Bill: How can I help her regain their acceptance?

Spirit: The best strategy would be to find her an appropriate mate. In the meantime, it would help to relinquish your nightly routine and show her the kind of attention your other birds can accept. Then, you can stop using her affection as a way to avoid meeting a real woman.

Pet Week – Zeus’s Sorrow

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Christina from San Francisco wrote in:

Dear Spirit, my cat, Zeus, has been diagnosed with cancer. Can you tell me if he is close to his transition?

-Christina C.

Spirit: Zeus is nearing the time of his transition; and, he needs you to accept the fact that he can’t stay with you much longer.

Christina: Is he in pain?

Spirit: He is not in pain per se, although he does feel uncomfortable in his body.

Christina: I want to ask you another question: Zeus is highly emotional; do his emotions have anything to do with his cancer?

Spirit: Tell me first what you feel about it.

Christina: Zeus is very close to me. He always sits in the chair I sit in. When I get upset, he gets upset. When I’m feeling anxious, he seems anxious. When I cry, he comes up and pushes on me.

Spirit: Yes, he wants you to stop crying over the man in your life. He feels indignant that you don’t recognize him as your most significant other.

Christina: I’m sorry he’s had a hard time being second to my boyfriend. What can I do to help him with that?

Spirit: Let him know how much he means to you. It is his sorrow in life that he wasn’t born a human male.

Christina: Was I wrong to have him spayed?

Spirit: Really not. Zeus did not come in to roam the streets and repeat his ancestral pattern of fighting and mating out of instinct. He came on a soul adventure to fall in love, and be changed by the experience. His love for you is the reason he has evolved to such a high degree. Do you remember why you named him Zeus?

Christina: I was taking a class in mythology; and Zeus was the name of a Greek god.

Spirit: He was also known for being the father of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.

Christina: That’s right. Didn’t Athena spring from Zeus’a head?

Spirit: Yes. Symbolically, that means she was his fantasy woman. In a sense, when you named Zeus, you were telling yourself a part of your story with him. Zeus had the gift of bringing out the Athena in you.

Christina: He always did.

Spirit: In that sense, he was like a soul father to you.

Christina: Is that why I feel so sad?

Spirit: Yes, that’s part of it. It would be good to let him know about this part of your story together. That will help him let go of the feeling of unworthiness he internalized because he couldn’t be your man.

Christina: Thank you for your help.

Spirit: That share would be a bonus. You have already helped him tremendously..

Becoming Cinnamon’s Friend

Andrea from Los Angeles wrote in:

Dear Spirit, can you tell me why my horse, Cinnamon, has been snubbing me lately?

-Andrea T.

Spirit: Cinnamon is upset with you because you stopped giving him a treat when you ride him. Is that true?

Andrea: Yes, I don’t want him to like me just for my carrots. And the trainer told me not to spoil him.

Spirit: His perspective on things is a little different. I understand that you feel slighted when he doesn’t welcome you. Yet, you need to understand that he feels slighted when you don’t offer him something of equal value to the service he feels he provides for you. His service is the rides he gives to earn a living, and carrots are his currency. So, if you bring him a surplus of carrots each time you visit, he will undoubtedly be happy to see you each time.

Andrea: Can I ask you another question?

Spirit: Yes.

Andrea: Why did he nip me the other day?

Spirit: Has he ever nipped you before?

Andrea: Yes he has, at least once or twice.

Spirit: Do you have an idea why?

Andrea: Maybe because I don’t do the best job getting him ready.

Spirit: I can tell you that, when you harness him, you tend to use too much force. If you are willing to place your thumb and index finger in his mouth, the bit should slip on quite a bit easier.

Andrea: I’m a little scared to do that.

Spirit: Then ask your trainer to help you, until you are confident in your ability to harness him.

Andrea: I guess I could do that.

Spirit: And always remember to give him a treat.

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