It’s Valentine’s Day, and on reflection you realise the person you Love most in this world is……. your dog!
Whichever way you view Valentine’s Day, whether recognising it as an ancient honouring of a Roman Saint or Hallmark pushed consumerism, there’s no doubt that most of us have a deep need to love and to be loved. For all those we love, people and animals, we want to be able to tell them exactly how we feel and how much they mean to us.
I know many people whose greatest Love in this life is their animals. Up until I met my husband 17 years ago, that was me too! Now they’re just about even!
Our dogs would do (almost) anything for us. They don’t judge us at all. They don’t care what we look like, if we’ve done our hair, wearing nice clothes, have make-up on or earn loads of money. There’s no pressure other than feeding, walking and just spending time with them in general. The best part of most days is getting home and being greeted by them and oh how special that makes us feel!
It’s usually quite easy to tell our human friends and family how we feel about them, but it’s not so easy with our animals.
Or is it?
One of the easiest and most powerful ways I know to communicate your feelings to your dog, is to feel the Love you have for them and then imagine sending it to them.
Yep, it’s that simple!
I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that but first let us look at a couple of differences between us and our four legged companions. I’m not talking about the physical difference, but the mental and emotional differences.
I’m sure many of you have seen the meme with a picture of a person on one side and a dog on the other. Next to the human is the caption ‘mind full’ with a bubble filled with lots of images and next to the dog a caption with ‘mindful’ and just a couple of trees in their bubble. What this depicts is the difference in what we focus on. Dogs usually have their full attention on only a couple of things at a time.
Of course, we have a lot going on in our lives, work, family, our usually extensive to-do list, not to mention social media and Netflix, so naturally our minds are filled with a lot more. Dogs too can have a lot going on at times but even when they are busy, they still come back to their mindful state within moments. Or maybe they never left it?!
Another difference between us and dogs are the way in which we deal with emotions. Dogs feel emotions very deeply, just like us. How can one misinterpret the joy when they meet us at the door after not seeing us for 12 seconds! What is different is how they deal with their emotions. Do you ever notice what a dog does after they have been through a stressful situation? They usually ‘shake it off’. And that’s not just clearing their coat of dirt or water, they are also shaking off emotion. It’s much more difficult for people to ‘shake off’ their emotions. And if there’s any regular day of the year we are feeling a plethora of often challenging emotions, Valentine’s day has got to be right up there near the top of the list!
How Do I Get My Dog To Hear Me?
You can always start by having a good “shake-off” with your dog! Alternatively, we have simple tools at our disposal to help us clear our mind and emotions. If for a moment we just focus on something that takes our attention away from our stresses, we can send a pure message of absolute Love to our dogs.
It’s like tuning into your dog’s wavelength.
I’m sure most of you have heard of mindfulness but maybe not sure exactly what it is.
The Oxford dictionary states that mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
The easiest way of being mindful is to simply put your attention on your breath and stay with it.
But what about emotions? Especially on this day of all days. Do you have expectations of someone but fear they’ll let you down, or are you feeling lonely, or remembering a lost Love. How can we feel Love if we’re feeling sad or worried? I’ll help you with that too.
Here is some guidance on how to relax, clear your emotions (even if just for a moment) and get onto the same wavelength as your dog. Afterwards I will share a couple of ways to tell that special four-legged friend, or friends, in your life, just how much they mean to you.
It’s All About Breathing
The easiest and quickest way I know of to get into that mindful state is to simply put your attention on your breath and follow it. Noticing as the air moves past your nostrils and your throat and the rise and fall of your chest.
If you notice your mind has wandered, just bring it back to your breath, this is completely normal, and may happen many times, just keep bringing your attention back to your breath.
Relax your body as much as you can. Especially your shoulders, your stomach and your jaw. Smile.
Now for Clearing those Emotions
Those challenging feelings don’t go away in an instant, they usually pass with time, but if you want to feel better right now, you can either breathe with the focus on the area where you feel the emotions or just re-focus your attention completely on your breath.
You are Ready To Chat To Your Dog
Now you’ve done all the ‘hard’ work, here’s a couple of different ways you can share your feelings with your dogs.
Gather your Loving Memories
Conjure up all the Love you feel for your dog and send it to them. Whether you feel it or see it. Send it to their heart.
Remember those moments when you tell your dog he’s a beautiful boy or she’s done something really cute and you wish you’d managed to take a photo? When they do something you’re truly proud of like overcoming a challenge or even when you watch their beautiful, peaceful faces while they sleep. When you are feeling so grateful they came into YOUR life you could burst. Muster up all those beautiful feelings.
After following the guidance about how to get into the mindful state, and conjuring up and feeling all those moments where your Love meter is filled up to the top, you’re going to share that feeling with your dog.
A Rainbow between You
If you’re good at visualising then imagine all those feelings are inside a bright and glowing ball of energy inside your chest. Then visualise a rainbow from your chest to your dog’s chest and see that beautiful ball of energy moving along the rainbow from your chest to your animal’s chest, from your heart to their heart.
Breathe With Your Animals
If you’re not so good at visualising you can simply get yourself into the mindful state and sit with them, watch their breathing and breathe in time with them. Have a smile on your face, and in your heart, look into their eyes and out loud say ‘I Love you’. Really feel the feeling you felt after conjuring the memories and tell them over and over again, ‘I Love you’.
A Recorded Guided Visualisation
For those who find it easier to listen to a guided visualisation, you can click the link below