Trust Your Dog

posted in: My dog as my therapist | 6

Archie's tongue!

Trust your dog. In response to my last couple of posts, 'why does a dog retrieve what it retrieves?' and  'your emotions your dog' some people have commented on my openness in discussing my personal situations and associated feelings . These comments got me wondering. Why was I sharing these stories, to anyone that cared to read them? Why was I sharing this level of intimacy? What was I getting out of it?  Would I want to continue sharing this insight into my feelings and emotions?

The truth is actually quite simple. My main aim is to share my experiences of my emotions and my dogs' behaviour, explore possible reasons and what they might be telling me about myself. I think its important.  That is what my work is all about. My dogs respond to my emotions (all our dogs do). My dogs aren't responding to the smile I put on my face walking down the street, or the cheery demeanour I give when having coffee with a friend. They are dealing with the true emotions that I hold in my body, whatever they might be, accumulated over the years of my life. Some of the emotions I might not even be fully aware of myself. The dogs are responding to the emotions that I might not outwardly wish to share with anyone. The dogs are dealing with the feelings and emotions that I might share with my counsellor, after months of trust-building, when I feel safe and valued enough to risk sharing them. My dogs don't hear, or see, my filters that are designed to keep me safe, that I use to make me acceptable to society. They just feel the true emotion, and if I observe them closely, that’s what I witness in my dogs being mirrored back to me. Trust your dog. That’s what is so wonderful about our dogs in today's world and how they can help us humans reach our true potential. That's why I share what I share on my blog, even though at some times it can be a little revealing 🙂

Trust your dog - and it doesn’t even have to be your own dog…….. as I found out recently 🙂

A few months ago Archie attended a session I had with my counsellor. Towards the end of the session, Archie started getting restless. I wondered if he needed the toilet, or sensed that the session was nearing a close and was looking forward to getting out to the park. But Archie had jumped up at my therapist, who was seated in his chair, and had started to lick his left arm. He is a 'licky' labrador, but this specific behaviour seemed unusual. I apologised, Archie was discouraged and we left.

But because of my interest in all of this I couldn’t help wondering what Archie's behaviour was telling me. I thought about it over that week. I had read that licking and pawing behaviour goes back to a dog's early development as a suckling puppy. They paw or lick at the mothers teat to release milk. When witnessing this behaviour in adult dogs, I read, it indicated the desire for some sort of movement. So I had come to read pawing and licking in my dogs as a sign that they wanted some sort of movement. Why the therapist's arm ? Was the left arm significant?

I considered my teaching in Bi-Aura. The hands, connected to the heart by the arms, are used to heal. In bi-aura, we have a convention to take energy away from the client with the right hand and release it from the left. That might or might not be significant, but it made me wonder if Archie was trying to encourage some sort of emotional release from my therapist.

At my next visit I shared my ideas on Archie's behaviour with my therapist. I explained that I had interpreted Archie's behaviour as, possibly, wanting to encourage some sort of emotional release in him. I thought he might be interested in exploring himself, although I didnt really expect an answer - after all, its the therapists job to ask the questions, to do the analysing!  But I did get an answer, and it amazed me. 'You clever dog, Archie!' my therapist said, and went on to explain. Prior to our meeting the previous week, my therapist had returned from teaching a first lecture at the university with a new group of counselling students. Unfortunately, despite two of the students having indicated the need for wheelchair access, the room allocated for the lecture had none, causing much embarrassment, delay and annoyance. My therapist admitted that he had still been holding onto the feelings that the incident had raised for him.

It was an amazing insight into what dogs are able to pick up and try and help us with, if we are aware.

You might wonder if I asked for a discount on the therapist's fee, for the insight we were able to feed back to him….…...Well, no....but maybe next time!

6 Responses

  1. Nanda
    | Reply

    Thanks..here are a couple of experiences in the last couple of weeks related to some of what you are sharing but in different situations..

    I watched my dog respond to a woman with dementia in a very interesting way..I went back to see this woman again a week later, and watched Lup do it again, and even more insistently. It is a longer story but my dog was revealing something about this person’s behavior, and this woman’s therapist was really taken with the insistence from my dog in drawing this woman into focus eye to eye. She wants me to visit again with my dog so I will try and video some of the interactions.

    Yesterday on a walk we often take Lupine looked at me and acted as if she wanted to turn around. I stepped a head a few feet, and she sat down in front of me, and as I looked down I saw mountain lion tracks in the sand below our trail up, and it was in about the same place we sited a lion last year. She did this same behavior last year except she circled my feet. I looked around and did not see a lion as I did last time on the ridge but instead of heading up to the ridge we turned around and she was very happy to head back up the arroyo.

    • Joanne
      | Reply

      Wow Nanda, sounds really interesting with your client – looko forward to hearing how it develops- and the mountain lion story too -brilliant!

  2. julielines
    | Reply

    Hi Joanne, thanks for another great post – it is so true that our animal friends use their senses with far greater sensitivity than we humans do. We have become so desensitised by the way we are conditioned and the many things we do that dull our senses down, like incessant thinking and dwelling in the past or projecting out into the future! The great news is though, is that we can resensitise ourselves, with willingness, patience, practice and skill development. I think this is another great teaching from our beloved animal relatives, we too can return to our intuitive and sensitive selves and the sooner we all do, the better for the whole planet and beyond! Sending much love and please do keep sharing! Julie XXX

    • Joanne
      | Reply

      Agree totally Julie – here’s to returning to our intuitive and sensitive selves – and thanks for the moral support as well! 🙂

  3. Scott
    | Reply

    Thank you for the beautifully written article – always a pleasure reading your stuff. As a professional therapist, having sat in both chairs of the therapy room myself, I believe there is a richness in what you are experiencing with your dog and the work you are doing with your counselor. All too often we forget that there are two people sitting in that room. Sounds like your pup was the real mediator in the room that day! I’m with you on the bi-aura stuff – its all energy no matter which lens you look at it. Again, great to hear about your sacred experience! Blessings!

    • Joanne
      | Reply

      Scott, thankyou so much for your kind words 🙂 I am constantly inspired by working alongside you and other NDT followers – can’t wait to visit Indiana in August!

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