The Other Horse

The horses have asked me to start writing about them and since my whole life has centered around them I agreed.

This week in the course of working with a long time client and her horse Mimi, a topic came up.  Often in a situation where there are two older horses, if one horse has to be put down the second horse is also put down.  The reasoning being that horses are a herd animal and being alone is a stressful situation for them.

Mimi has given me permission to tell her story of being the other horse.  Mimi and I have a long association.

Mimi and gelding David, both older horses, were  together for a long time.  In early May 2016 David was diagnosed with an anal tumor that was growing fast and would very soon block him from passing manure.  It was decided to put him down.  The vet’s assistant said that it was common to put the second down at the same time.  I worked with David to prepare him for leaving, he wanted more time and that was fine with his human.  As I worked with David, Mimi was given the opportunity to leave too.  She thought about it and decided she would stay knowing she would be alone.

Mimi’s human had me work with her in the weeks after David left and Mimi made the adjustment to being alone really well.  It did not take her long to realize she liked having all the attention.  It also gave her the opportunity to experience life a different way.  It allowed her to expand into herself and rely on herself.  That is a big step for a horse who is wired to be in a herd.  I am leaning life is about experiences and how we use those experiences.  We can grow, expand or not.  Animal or human.

Here she is in February 2018 still doing fine alone even though she has some health issues.

I shared Mimi’s story in an effort to show that it is possible for a horse to adjust to being alone.  Then it is up to each of you to make your own decisions.  No right or wrong.  Each situation is unique.  I am learning making blanket statements about any topic is not in the best interest.

Thanks Mimi it was great working with you again.

Just Checking

The Universe does check on me.   I wrote about Experience and Allowing recently and I was given a test a couple of days ago.

I was sitting on the porch at the barn with the three barn cats.  Two were on the grass just off the porch and the third was at my feet demanding to be scratched.  Being a good slave I was doing my best to meet his demand.   We were enjoying the moment then suddenly a baby bird came out of it’s nest on the branch in front of the porch.  It tried to fly and it landed just behind the Gator and hopped under it.  The cat sprang into action in a flash.   The cat was under the Gator, grabbed the baby bird and raced into the barn before I was all the way out of the chair. 

As I ran to the barn door ready to intervene, I stopped.  I realized trying to get the baby bird from the cat was not what I needed to do.  My to do was to do nothing, really hard to stand aside and allow another being to have it’s experience.  It was a very dramatic scenario the Universe sent me.  That part of me that was taught to care for and defend had a tough time with allowing.  It was quite a range of emotions that went through me.

It was over instantly.  I heard a faint “I’m OK”, then everything was very still.  In spite of my upset there was a feeling of peace around me and that all was right and perfect.  I had to get over myself.  Who do I think I am to question another’s path.  The animals show me over and over that there are no accidents and that everything that happens is fine.  They do not need or want my pity or upset so I went and sat back down and simply got quiet.  Letting it all just be, allowing myself to be a being not a doing.  We are not called human doings, we are human beings.  I forget that.

The baby bird was fine, the cat was a cat and I got to be.  The Universe was just checking to see if I really got it.  Slowly, yes I am.  Thanks Universe. 


In my last post I wrote about everything in our lives is an experience, humans and animals alike.

For me the question came up, if I am to honor my animal’s experience what do I have to do?  What is the action or non-action?   The answer is allow.  I have to be willing to allow my animal to have their experience.   What does that look like?

For the past two years I have been working with Rick and his old, not well, dog Merlin.   It was a series of ups and downs and in the process Rick wanted very much to do what was best for Merlin.  At times the question of euthanasia came up.  Each time Merlin was very clear he wanted to be here and Rick got it.  There was a lot of care and management involved and what I saw was allowing.  Rick would stand back and allow Merlin to be with the condition of his body, allowing him to have the experience of the condition of his body.  I was in awe of the amount of care Rick was willing to give for two years and the whole time staying in allowing and at times it was not pretty, yet Rick stuck with it.

For the past six months it was a slow steady spiral of Merlin moving in the direction of dying.  Rick had some tough moments watching Merlin’s process and he was steadfast in allowing Merlin his experience.  In allowing we stand back and do not let our emotions take hold.  Allowing is a calm place, and not always comfortable.

A few days ago Rick called to check in with Merlin to make sure Merlin still wanted to leave in his own rhythm.  The answer was yes.  Although it was hard to watch, on one level, Rick said the feeling was very peaceful.  Merlin was gone in 24 hours.  This was Rick’s first experience of allowing an animal to leave on their own.  He said it was an amazing experience and the time with Merlin was precious.  No regrets.  He said it expanded his view of life, giving him deeper awareness of life and how precious it is, and not to waste one second of it.

I am learning allowing is love, as I have to step outside of my emotions, it does not matter what I think or believe.  It is about the other beings experience.

Thank you Rick and Merlin for letting me to be a part of your experience, an opportunity for me to learn more about allowing.  My hat is off to you.

Aging and Attitude

I work with a lot of older animals. And two question arise.  Is aging itself the problem?  Or is it our attitude about aging the problem? 

From where I sit, most people see aging as the problem.  I hear all the time what the animal can’t do anymore.  People really get concerned about this and think something is wrong. 

I’ll share a story from about 19 years ago when I was starting out as a communicator. 

I received a call from a woman who was seriously considering putting her older dog down.  She was concerned since her dog did not chase the ball anymore, slept more and that there was no quality of life for her dog.

I opened up to the dog and she wanted to know what the big deal was about chasing the stupid ball.  She did not care at all that she did not chase the ball and lying in the sun sleeping was really nice.  The dog was confused the woman wanted to kill her because she did not chase the ball.  She wanted to know why chasing the ball was so important and why couldn’t the human enjoy sitting in the sun with her? 

I explained the dogs point of view to this woman and she was so relieved that her dog was fine and the dog was relieved it got to stay. 

I was floored.  I am grateful to this day for that woman and dog.  I learned a huge lesson about aging and how animals see it.  They just are with it.  No judgment, no worry, no quality of life issue.  Those are our attitudes.

Going back to the two questions.  I don’t see aging is the problem.  And as I say that, yes there are changes and sometimes issues to deal with.  It is simply life in an older body.  Our attitude is a whole different story. 

I am going to sit in the sun with my aging cat and think about my attitude.  I have no doubt she will set me straight.   

What’s Right?

When an animal is old, has health issues and is nearing the end of their life, the question often comes up.  What’s right?

It is a huge question with no straight answer. 

I worked this morning with Samantha who wanted to prepare her dog Glow and cat Diva for the addition of another dog.

The new dog, Lily, is old, has health issues and is nearing the end of her life.  Lily’s human is a breeder, with many other dogs and is not in a position to give the kind of care she needs.  The most obvious solution, put her down.  Was this right?

No, Lily’s human and Samantha realized this was not right for Lily. What to do?  After a great deal of thought, Samantha came up with the idea that Lily could come live with her, she was willing to give Lily the care she needed and allow Lily the opportunity to live out the rest of her life without the need to be put down. 

Lily’s human saw Samantha’s offer of taking Lily as a wonderful solution. Can you imagine letting a dog that you raised from birth, showed successfully, has lived her whole life with you, that you love, and let go at this stage?  Putting feelings aside and deciding to do what is right for Lily, that is love.

Glow and Diva are ok with Lily coming into their territory.  Lily is ok with leaving her pack and coming into a new pack.  She was very clear she was not ready to leave that body and her human was picking that up which allowed for taking Samantha up on her offer. 

What’s right?  When we are willing to step away from our emotions and point of view it allows us to see a bigger picture in which there are solutions. 

I want to honor both of these people.  One for letting go and the other for taking a dog knowing that dog will not be with her for very long.  Something to think about.  

Lost Dog

About a month ago, in the morning, a call came from Melinda, her dog Rose was missing.  She had come home from work the previous day to find Rose gone.  Melinda explained Rose had gone thru the invisible electric fence and she was wearing the collar keyed to the fence.

Melinda said she had called all the local vets and shelters, plus she had gone on Facebook.  There were roughly 14,000 people on the internet who were aware Rose was missing.  In all those people no one had seen her.

Before I opened to Rose, Melinda said she felt Rose had been upset with her lately.  I said sometimes if they are upset with us they will leave.

The tough part of lost animal work is they show up the same to me whether they are in their body of out of it.

I opened up to Rose and she cautiously made contact.  She felt her human’s upset.  It also felt like Rose was close by.  I explained to Melinda that our upset feelings will keep a dog from coming home.  The dog cannot discern what the human is upset about, just like a 2 1/2 year old human child.  The child or animal will think they did something wrong to upset Mom or human.  They simply do not have the discernment skills.

I explained to Rose yes her human was upset and I explained to Melinda that she needed to calm her emotions.  Then I showed Rose it was safe to go to her territory.  I showed her there was no sting now with the fence, so it was safe.

I could feel Rose take all this in.  I also showed Rose that we understood she was upset with Melinda.  I did not work with that upset as it was too much for her.  It is best to keep it simple.  It is safe to go to her territory.

The last thing I did was visualized a 500 foot pole with a light that was blue over the top of Melinda’s house and showed Rose is was safe to go to that light.  I asked Melinda to visualize this as well.  Don’t ask me why blue, it just felt right.

I told Melinda that was the best I could do, the rest was up to Rose.

Melinda called me late afternoon.  When she came home from work Rose was lying on the front door step.  The big thing that helped was Melinda got her emotions under control and Rose felt it was safe to come back.

I love happy endings.

Tree and Mistletoe

It has been a long time since I have made a post.  My New Year resolution is to get back to writing.

Living in Georgia is good.  Has taken some time to adjust to a very different environment, so most of my energy went to settling in and I am enjoying warmer and moister.

In the fall I started doing morning walks and on these walks I noticed trees that had lost their leaves and had round ball shaped groups of green leaves still on the tree.  I was curious so I asked a friend what kind of tree did this.

I was told it was not a type of tree.  These trees had mistletoe growing on them and the mistletoe was the green leave balls and the mistletoe would eventually kill the tree.  My friend went on to say how sad it was and that the mistletoe is a nasty parasite.  I let myself get sucked into what a terrible thing this is.

The next morning on my walk I passed one of the trees with the mistletoe growing on it.  I started to do my pity thing and the tree showed me it did not want my pity and it was fine with the mistletoe growing on it.

The animals have been very adamant with me on the pity thing and you would imagine by now I would think before I felt pity for anything!

I stood looking up at the tree and then the mistletoe showed me it had a job to do.  It did not take hold on strong trees and the mistletoe is part of nature’s pruning system.

The tree was ok with the mistletoe taking of its’ life force.  It was a slow process of leaving and that it was fine and the lesson is surrender.  The mistletoe’s lesson is how much to take.  I began to see it is about balance and coexistence.  The tree is not a victim and the mistletoe is not the bad guy.  I thanked them both for setting me straight.

It helped me remember, the Universe knows what it is doing and no one needs my pity and sad thoughts.

Now when I walk by the tree I have a light heart and know all is well in the world.

End of Life

I am being nudged to continue writing about animals and dying.  One of the things I see over and over when working with an animal who is in the dying rhythm movement is they are clear they want to die in their own rhythm.  Which means not to be euthanized.

I want to be clear here.  I am relaying what the animals show me and this is not me saying animals should not be euthanized.  I do not want to hear of anyone saying “Sandy says on her blog animals should not be euthanized”.  You want to see me really angry just let someone say that.  What I am doing is giving the animal’s point of view on dying.

They are teaching me their end of life is a very rich time for them to work on what they came to learn in this particular life time.

I am working with a cat now.  He can’t get up on his own anymore; he eats and drinks, purrs and is clear he is very alive.  A couple of weeks ago the question of euthanasia came up.  The human was torn so she called me.  In working with him he showed me the lesson he is working on is his will.  He has a very strong will.  All his life he has been able to will his way through challenges.

Now he is discovering his will is not working the way it did.  He is learning acceptance and surrender for what his will can’t change.  He is also seeing there is a bigger movement then his will is.  He had never seen this before.  The bigger movement is the Divine that moves through everything.

This is a huge discovery for him.  At the end of the session his human agreed to let him follow his own dying rhythm movement.  One of the things he wanted his human to know was, don’t get stuck in what it looks like and she listened.  She realized there is something big going on here and she wants to give him the chance to have his own movement and discovery.  She is willing to put herself aside so he can do what he needs to do.  To me this is a beautiful loving gift.

What I am passing on here is an example of what I am being shown by an animal moving toward the end of his life.   There is no blanket statement being made here.  I am simply sharing a story of a cat and his human and their journey together.

My work with dying animals is such an eye opener for me.  I am doing a lot of rethinking how I look at death.  Is it always comfortable?  No.  I am being taken out of my comfort zone and being asked to see someone else’s point of view on the end of life.

The phone just rang and it is this cat’s human, which blew me away as here I sit writing about them, reporting he is still here and she and he are having a very special time.  She wanted me to know how wonderful it is to be a part of his journey.

The animals are simply asking us to take a look at their point of view.

Point of View

The mice are not the only animals teaching me.  During the same period horses, dogs and cats were also showing me the same message; we are not victims nor do we want human pity.

I remember a small female dog I was contacted to communicate with by the group of people who took her out of a puppy mill.  The reason I was called; she was edgy, not eating well and had bitten volunteers.  So I opened up and asked for her permission.  She did not trust me as no other human had gotten her pictures and listened to her.  She had pretty much given up.

I told her I would not push her, it was her choice, then I got quiet.  It took a couple of minutes and she finally opened up to me and showed me her point of view.

She was angry with the humans who took her from the place of her job.  The humans took her, no one asked her if she wanted to leave, they took her puppies and they hurt her.  Within a day or so of being taken she was spay and given stings, that is how they see shots.  There were humans touching her, something she had little experience with which was overwhelming.

The job of raising puppies was very important to her and was what she knew, it was her life.  If you think about nature their bodies are hard wired to reproduce.  It is not a thought process for them, it is instinct and hormones.  She missed her job and she did not have much use for the humans who took her and turned her world upside down.  She wanted me to have the humans take her back to her job.

I had an angry dog who had lost her job and a human who could not understand why this dog was not falling all over them in thanks.  After all they had rescued her from a terrible life.  There were two very different points of view here.

My work was to explain to the dog her job was gone due to the spaying and that the door to her job life was closed and the humans wanted to find her a human whose pack she could become a member of.  In order to do that she could not bite.  She did not care about the biting; she was a dog protecting herself, period.

The other side of my work was to explain to the human the dog’s point of view.  At first the human did not think too highly of my communication skills.  From her point of view no dog could be ok producing puppies in that horrible place.

It was a tough session.  I went back and forth and at the end had the beginnings of understanding on both sides.  Did I have a happy dog and human?  No, we had some consideration for each others point of view.  A start.

The dog saw herself as having an important job to do.  The humans saw her as a victim to be pitied and rescued.  A difference of 180 degrees.  I am learning there is a place in the middle.  It is about listening and being willing to see another’s point of view with no judgment or agenda.

Like with the mice it is respecting the beingness of another species whose way of looking at life is very different from ours.

My Teachers Come in Many Forms

It is the end of the week and I have not written anything for Monday.  Again resistance sets in.  Not sure how to continue from where I left off last week.  The size of the journey I embarked on was and is huge.  The volume of information learned and learning, seems endless.

It is fourteen years later and I am not sure how I got here or what comes next.  The blog is definitely part of it and yet I don’t know what it looks like.  I see in pictures and when I don’t have a picture, like now, then I am at a loss and dead in the water.  No movement as the horses would see it.

So I will tell the story of the mice who get into the mare’s mineral feeder.

I check horses every morning.  The mares live in the 153 acre meadow pasture in the winter and in the corner near the gate is a mineral feeder.  This feeder is heavy black plastic that stands a little over three feet tall.  In the top of the feeder are two depressions, one on each side, big enough to hold a 50 pound block of mineral.  The middle section is a deep well and like a well if you fall in you are not able to get out on your own.

Frequently mice get down into this well area of the feeder.  On Thursday morning this past week there were two brown field mice in the feeder well, huddled together in the right hand corner.  I asked permission to communicate with them.  They were not sure; their big concern was; was I going to kill them. I showed them I would keep them safe.  I asked them was there anything they wanted of me and they showed me a picture of grass.  Translated meant they wanted to be on the grass.  I did my best to show them my hand curling around them and lifting them out onto the grass.

I gently got my hands around the first mouse and lifted it out.  It jumped off my hand, stood for a moment, looked up at me then scurried off around the base of the feeder.  I reached in for the second mouse only this mouse would not let go of my gloved hand.  I rested my hand on the ground and finally it jumped off going as fast as it could in the same direction of the first mouse.

What the mice have taught me is they are not victims nor am I the great rescuer when they get down into the feeder.  It is a very humbling experience to learn this.  Life is choices for humans and mice alike.  For me to ask is there something they would like from me is hugely different then me assuming I know what is best for them and going into rescue mode.  My thinking I am rescuing the mice is not respectful of their beingness and it is me working from my ego.  This lesson has taken many encounters with the mice to learn.

The mice have helped me change my point of view.  If they make choices that land them at the bottom of the feeder it is simply that.  There is no judgment of them which ultimately makes them a victim.  Me not seeing myself as the rescuer takes me out of judgment and ego.  They show me the picture of grass and I become an elevator.

From their point of view if they die in the feeder and sometimes they do, that is what happens.   No big deal.  I am the one who made it a big deal.  For me to see the mice as beings in their own right with choices of their own to make has changed the whole picture for me.  It is a liberating lesson and I am thankful to the mice for teaching me.