The recession has taken its’ toll on our pets at an alarming rate. As some pet owners are finding it increasingly difficult to feed and care for their animals and are giving them to rescue and adoption centres which are already struggling to cope with the increasing arrival of abandoned and unwanted animals. However, some are not so fortunate and many of them are being simply abandoned or dumped to face their own fate.
Like us, animals respond to stressful and traumatic experiences in much the same way as we do and they cannot verbalise emotional pain in a way we understand. Animals with post-traumatic stress, anxiety and emotional pain can result from neglect, abuse, abandonment, grief and separation from their animal companions and owners, often seen as behavioural changes. Even changes in the daily routine, home environment or family unit, can cause a degree of distress and anxiety or when left alone or confined for long periods of time. Long term, the emotional trauma, stress and anxiety of an animal can lead to a weakened immune system and illness.
Animals experiencing stress, anxiety or trauma is often seen as behavioural changes such as depression, timidity, biting, aggression or other destructive behaviours. Behavioural changes in traumatised and stressed animals can make it difficult for rehabilitating and re-homing them later. Some pet owners have difficulty coping with these behavioural changes on a daily basis and sometimes the reason for giving them up for adoption.
Pets assistand support our emotional needs and help us feel loved, relaxed and more peaceful, but what can we do to help support their emotional state and overcoming the experiences of trauma, stress?
Animals have an in-built innate knowledge of how to heal themselves, they just need a little more help from us besides love and veterinary care. Healing therapies such as Zoopharmacognosy and Energy healing using Reiki and Spiritual healing are just some of the ways we can offer them the emotional support they may be in need of, to process any emotional trauma and anxiety, move on and trust again.
Zoopharmacognosy healing therapy utilizes the physiological and emotional innate responses of animals to improve both their physical and emotional welfare. The wild relatives of our companion animals have evolved with a powerful, innate healing sense and highly developed senses, in particular sense of smell, which allows them to utilize plants and other features of the natural world to maintaintheir own health physical and psychological health.
Our animal companions still retain this ability and enabling them to exercise this innate skill away from the wild is a crucial step in improving their emotional welfare, allowing them to self- select scentsand natural wild remedies they are familiar with. This approach helps them to connect with positive, healthy feelings, give them back a measure of the confidence they may have lost, reduces anxiety, offers them emotional support and assists with emotional release and helps correct any trauma related behaviour and responses. It also offers a bonding and more trusting experience between animals and new and existing owners and stimulates the immune system, important in combating the onset of illness.
Therapy that utilizes sensory smell on people has been widely researched by the perfumery industry, as most of us are aware that different scents can influence one’s emotional response and behaviour. Olfaction to treat post traumatic stress is well demonstrated by scientists in USA by recreating the smell of Ground Zero as a desensitization therapy for the affected survivors.
One such case study was that of a six year old male Bull Terrier dog with a fear phobia of noises.
He was rescued by his current owner at the age of about 18 months old with a history of having fireworks thrown at him one evening which left him with a severe case of noise phobia that was so extreme that he would panic at the slightest noises such as rain on a window and developed a fear of the dark. This phobia almost threatened his own life when on one occasion during a thunderstorm when he walked through a glass cabinet in an attempt to escape the noise.
Using zoo pharmacognosy self-healing therapy the dog self-selected remedies of Sandalwood, Vetiver, Neroli and Lavender for five days indicated for anxiety, obsessive worry, nurturing and comforting and offered a sense of peace and calm. On day 5 the smoke alarm accidentally went off in the house and the owner concerned about reactions from the dog, immediately, the owner walked into the room where she had left him and was amazed to find him lying on his bed, fully awake and did not even raise his head to acknowledge her presence. The owner had never seen him react so calmly.
Animals are very responsive to natural energy therapy such as “Reiki” or “Spiritual healing”, is a non-invasive ancient therapy that has stood the test of time and offers another method of assisting animals in promoting self-healing on all levels, bringing more balance to the animal, giving a sense of well-being, calm and acceptance. It can increase positive outcomes for animals with a range of conditions on all levels, physical, emotional and behavioural issues, helping them to release any anxieties, worry or stress.
It utilizes invisible energy systems that exist around and through the body and includes the auras, chakras and meridians all of which can affect the emotional, physical and spiritual energy systems of the body.
Rescue animals can benefit enormously from these natural therapies which not only serve as a natural tool for post-traumatic stress, anxiety issues and related behaviours. My work and experience of working with rescued animals has been consistently effective and because this approach to natural animal care addresses the emotional support the animal may be in need of and proven to help animals overcome their emotional pain and experiences and learning to trust and bond with people again.
Please note that these natural therapies are by no means a replacement for the professional opinion of your veterinary surgeon.