Let the Animals Teach You

by Kim Shotola


Just like with the animals at the zoo, the animals in your life are here to teach you.
Just like Mr. Handsome the rooster, they may teach you to respect all life and show love and care to others.
Like Donald the female alligator, they may tell you how sick they feel so that you can figure out how to heal them.
Like Arial the otter, they may tell you why they are not acting kind to another animal.
Like Forest the goat, they may know their life is coming to an end and accept it with dignity and grace.
Like Nani the leopard, they may have a beautiful message for the world.

Animals in captivity can display a certain behavior or become ill or injured.  Do you realize that most of the time, they are really trying to tell you something?

  • First of all, realize that animals are here to help teach us.  We only need to listen. Yes, that can be the hard part as we can become too focused about other things in life. They truly are some of the greatest teachers we will ever have in our life but many people do not realize this.
  • Secondly, if an animal is exhibiting a specific behavior or illness, you need to ask yourself “why?”.  Most people honestly have some kind of clue as to what is happening with an animal.  Their intuition is usually correct.
  • Thirdly, ask yourself what you can do to help resolve the situation.  This is not as difficult as it seems.  Sometimes it just requires reflecting on the situation and coming up with solutions.

Let’s take a common behavioral issue that animals in captivity face: anxiety.  Ask yourself:

  • If the animal is acting anxious, is it because they are left alone?
  • Are they simply bored?  Perhaps you don’t have enough items to entertain them with or you don’t spend enough time with them.
  • If there is another animal with them, do they get along with each other?
  • Are they anxious because you changed something like your schedule?
  • Are you anxious?  Some anxious animals have anxious caregivers.
  • Do they feel they do not know their purpose in life?  They may not know what you expect of them or feel they do not serve a purpose.  Some animals want to have a “job”.
  • Did the previous caregiver neglect them or dump them on the street?  It is possible they think every time you leave, you are not coming back.  Many adopted animals actually think this on a regular basis.
  • Have you told them this is their forever home?  If you intend this to be their forever home and have never told them, even if you have had them for years, NOW is the time to do so.  A lot of anxiety stems from an animal not knowing their future.  Telling them you love them and giving them treats is not the same as telling them you are giving them a forever home.  An animal can remain anxious their whole life if every day they are wondering if this is the last time they will see you.
  • Do you need to change?  An animal may be acting this way to get you to explore other options in life.  Some animals simply act the way they do because of the results they hope they will achieve. An animal may exhibit certain behaviors because YOU need to change something in your life and they know it. Maybe you are working too much. Maybe you worry too much. Maybe there are things in your life you need to work on.

If the animal is sick or injured, what does this mean?  Ask yourself:

  • Is their illness similar to yours?  For instance, do they have pain in the right shoulder and you do, too?  It can be that you had it first and they are trying to take on your discomfort to help you.  Or, it can also be that they had it first and you are empathetic with them and you are inadvertently taking on their pain.  Honestly, it happens both ways.
  • Does the animal have a serious illness?  Animals can take on serious illness for us, even cancer.  This does not happen all the time but it does happen.  Animals will be diagnosed with serious health problems.  You will not.  They will do their best to help to keep you healthy.  This may be a hard one to grasp but know it is true.  Animals are amazing at what they will do for their caregivers.
  • Are they asking you to take a closer look at yourself?  Sometimes animals want us to closely look at our health and by them becoming ill, they teach you about how you can go about helping them and in turn, yourself.  Many animals want you to explore your options on ways you can help them AND yourself – different foods, supplements, various holistic methods, exercise and spending quality time together.
  • Did you know that most illness, disease and behavioral issues are a result of emotional issues that are unresolved?  It does not matter if it is a dog, cat, bird, snake, lion, elephant or giraffe.  They are ALL sentient beings that have a body, mind and soul.

So after you have thought about all of this and made a list of possible reasons the animal has a behavior or health issue, what next?

  • Sometimes it is simply a matter of talking to the animal and letting them know you understand why they are like they are and you want to work on things.
  • What are you going to do to try to make this happen?  How can you resolve what is going on?  Adjust your schedule, separate the bowls, say a code word, spend more time together, tell them they have a forever home, seek holistic methods, work on yourself, etc.  Whatever it is, you need to tell them very clearly.
  • You can also use positive or negative reinforcement.  You may have a dog that urinates during the night on the carpet.
    • First you would want to find out why to see if you could resolve the issue.  Is it they don’t want to wake you?  Or they have tried unsuccessfully?  Or do they have a health issue of which you rae unaware?  Can you get your vet to examine them and rule this out?
    • After you have determined why, you can find out how they can let you know they need to go to the restroom, such as barking.
      • You can use positive reinforcement and tell them you’ll reward them with a treat or an extra walk if they are good all night long.
      • You can use negative reinforcement by telling them they will be put in their crate all night long or placed into the bathroom by themselves (instead of being with you) if they continue to use the restroom on the carpet.
  • If you do not feel comfortable with figuring this out totally on your own, get some professional help.  You want someone that will look at the animal as a “whole” – on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.  They can communicate with your animal and may also find that something like a custom flower essence blend would help them.
  • And lastly, sometimes animals are helping to push you on the path you need to be on.  They can help you with your life purpose.   They want you to explore your options in life.  Know that you are capable of learning how to help animals AND yourself with natural methods.  This includes communicating with animals.

I hope this helps you to look at animals in a different light – as teachers that want to help empower you, heart and soul.  Animals are windows to our souls and doorways to our spiritual destinies. If you let them into your life and allow them to teach you, you will be better for it.


Visit www.TheLightfootWay.com to find out about our new distance learning program where you can learn from your home various holistic methods that each entail a teleclass, manual and video with the option to earn a certificate.  Check out our natural pet health blog at www.houstonpettalk.com/category/natural-pet-health-blog/.