Wondering if any of us would like to be introduced this way . Sure the answer is no . But then why do we introduce our pets, who we love the most , sometimes like this ?
Now that I have your attention with this extreme example , lets discuss our next activity.Just a disclaimer here though : The point of this blog isn't to make anyone feel guilty or point fingers . Its merely to throw light on a blind spot that all of us have at varying degrees .
In this activity , we are trying to extend the concept of label free living to our outlook with our pets . As mentioned in the earlier post , once we label , we unconsciously stop ourselves from understanding the true essence of that being . So what if we avoid labeling them and give ourselves and them an opportunity to experience their true essence .
We all have labeled our pets as lazy, moody , fat ,slow , old man , grumpy , hyper , tyke etc at some point or the other. We have then reinforced that behavior over and over again by referring / addressing them with that label . And then wondered how to get rid of that behavior .Most importantly , it reduces their essence to a single word and they are much more than that .Though we did this with love we can now drop this for love ?
We do a different kind of labeling with pets who have a past that is unclear. Usually, there are stories surrounding it and we tend to believe , internalize and share it until cows come home. Its either in the pretext of explaining certain behavior in them or talking about how far they have come. But it doesn’t add value to the animal's life and definitely doesn't help us. This is done under the assumption that they don’t go through emotions when we keep digging up their past or portraying a past that probably didn't even exist in the first place . This isn’t necessarily true. I will share two more extreme examples in human context . What if a friend of mine introduced me as “Meet Ruby . She is shy because i assume she was bullied at a lot when in school “. This could be true , but once someone says this time and again I am forever stuck mentally as this kid who was bullied in school and that part of me never heals . If this nugget about my past isn't true , it leaves me confused and I would begin to wonder if it really happened and if so how did I feel back then. That’s the same as "My dog is fearful of humans .We suspect she was abused by some workers in the area she was found”. Another example , “ This is my husband . He was single for a long time. He couldn’t find anyone good because of his looks. But I married him for his good heart and I couldn't be happier “. This is the same as “ Our cat was in the shelter for three years. No one wanted him basis his looks. But I saw his heart and brought him home “ . Something to think about ?
Pets also get labeled by their breeds and expected to behave in a certain way . Every Poodle is expected to be intelligent and every Retriever is expected to retrieve . My two retrievers had/have totally different personalities . Just like my sibling and me - we are very different people despite the genetic connection and the same upbringing .
Labeling also leads us to certain assumptions about their behavior and activity level basis their age . For example , while I volunteered with an Animal rescue full time , we had to deal with a case where a pup was almost returned because she wasn't playing enough .The family was lovely but they felt she was unhappy since they are used to seeing puppies playing a lot more . She was just a placid happy puppy.
A couple of years ago , I got the opportunity to communicate with a dog that was unwell and awaiting diagnosis . Her human felt the dog was almost giving up . The dog expressed how she keeps hearing that she has already lived a long life and that is solace in itself . Turns out that similar words used by her vets and some family , to comfort her human . Once he heard this , he informed everyone not to bring up her age and then we did some EFT for her and that helped her .
We can try shedding the labels for all beings at home, starting with pets. Energies work the same way for humans and animals and so this will help us experience the true essence of all. As they say , Labels are just for Jars !
Tip : Well, ok . This isn't really a tip but something that I do that seems to work . Brad is greying and its pretty prominent given his natural fur colour . So if anyone remarks that he is an old dog , I quickly say premature greying runs in our family and point at my husband and me . Weird reply , but that takes focus off their label for him. ( And they look at my roots - so probably not the best reply ;-) ) So if there is a label that others give your pet , what would you say to take focus off that label ?