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Friday, August 5, 2011

Alternative Healing for Pets: Getting Started with Bach Flowers

One of the many advantages of alternative healing methods is that what works for people also works for pets and vice versa. In many cases you don't even have to change the dosage or learn new protocols, symptoms, or indications.

In fact, some people find their way to alternative therapies having first tried them on their animals. Humans  put so much thinking into things it can be hard to figure out if you've just experienced a relief of symptoms because you "thought" you would see a benefit, or because the remedy actually worked. Most people figure that placebo effect is eliminated when treating animals. If you see symptoms or behavior improve, it's because of the remedy, not because the animal thought the remedy would work. Hmm... I'm not always sure about that. But I do think it doesn't matter why a remedy works- just that it does.

If you're thinking about trying alternative strategies for the animals in your life, the easiest place to start may be with Bach Flower remedies. Bach Flower remedies offer gentle, subtle healing of emotions that can at the same time, produce dramatic results. Animals respond well to Bach Flowers, perhaps because they often carry less baggage or layers of emotions than humans. Which is not to say they experience any less dramatic or less intense emotions- just that the layers can often be lifted quicker.

You choose the remedies for pets the same way you choose them for people. Dogs that are afraid of thunder storms for instance might respond well to Mimulus or Rock Rose. Horses that are demanding at feeding times might benefit from Impatiens. Dogs that are overally agressive might benefit from Vine, Vervain or Holly.  Any animal that attacks might respond to Cherry Plum.

Bach Flower essences are meant to be used in a "try this at home" strategy. You can choose which essences you feel are right for your pet and administer them in food, water or directly in their mouth  (if it's safe for both of you to do this!). Trust me, it's easier to get some drops of liquid in there than it is to try to "encourage" a reluctant animal to swallow that little pill! Many animals in fact, eagerly take the remedies. Maybe they like the brandy in them, but I think they feel the vibrational energy and know this is a good thing for them.  You won't hurt your pet if you have chosen the wrong remedy. You won't see any adverse reactions, you just won't see the benefits you're hoping for. It's safe to experiment. There are a number of books out there to help you sort through which remedies would work best for your pet.  "Bach Flower Remedies for Animals" by Stefan Ball and Judy Howard is a great one and a good place to start. "Emotional Healing for Horses and Ponies" by Stefan Ball, Heather Simpson, and Judy Howard is another good one. You can order these publications and others, directly from the Bach Centre at

The trick to finding the right remedies for your pets is clearing your own perceptions away. Animals often absorb the emotions of their humans and project that back. So when you  look at the pet, you see ourself and your own emotions in there. Then you add a few more interpretations to the mix. You might see fear and interpret it as anger, giving Holly when it fact it's Mimulus that would be more helpful. Sometimes you just can't trust that your interpretations are accurate and you put too much thinking into the choices.

When I do animal consultations don't ask a lot of questions from the owners. I find the less I know the better. I'd rather get the story directly from the source, the animal. As part of the consult, I provide the owner with a "write-up" of why I chose the essences I did. When I first started emailing those write-ups, I braced myself for the reaction, thinking owners would think I had totally "lost it". I've yet to experience that reaction. What I got  was more along the lines of "I knew that, I just couldn't believe it".

Like the woman who had this feeling that her cat was "stalking" her. It was true. He was having a tough time deciding if he wanted to be a domestic cat or a wild tiger. He was practicing both! He was stalking her. Not only did the remedies help but she learned to open the curtains carefully, stopped sneaking up on him, and let him know that she wasn't going to be his next meal in any dimension!

The dog that would suddenly "turn" on her buddies and be agressive, really just needed some Beech. The noises and jumping around and barking of others all the time really "got on her nerves" and sometimes she'd just had enough. The Beech helped. The owner felt the same way. Now they find some "time out" together and go off on quiet walks just the two of them to get away from the madness. They both occasionally take Beech.

Almost every time I do an animal consultation I get the response, "Do you think I could take the remedy too?"  The answer to that is always "Yes". Another benefit for starting out with Bach Flowers. I think this is particularly true when using Rescue Remedy. If you think your pet could use a dose of Rescue Remedy, go ahead and give it, but take some yourself first. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who had the emotions first- you or your pet, but if you are in a close relationship, there's a good chance you're both experiencing some of the same "stuff". It really doesn't matter "who started it first"!

I believe our animals come to us for a reason.  Maybe that reason is to help us heal! Breathe in, breathe out and enjoy the journey!

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