3 Surprising Ways Your Pets Can Make You Happier

When your pets are calm and well-behaved, you don’t need convincing of their positive impact on your life. They provide years of companionship and show you the meaning of unconditional love. They keep you anchored in daily routines and give you someone to care for. Studies have shown that having animals can even bring physical benefits like lowering our blood pressure, reducing stress hormones, and easing symptoms of PTSD and depression.

But when there’s an ongoing problem with your pet, it’s can sometimes be tougher to see beyond the frustration. Recognizing the gift that’s tucked inside it can not only bring new appreciation to your relationship, but could also be the key to finally easing those tensions.

3 Surprising Ways Your Pets Can Make You Happier | A blog post from Jill of Ark

Here are 3 surprising ways your pets (even challenging ones) can make you happier.

1.  They can show you what you’re not seeing in yourself.

A pet’s irksome behavior or weakened physical condition–especially when there is no explanation or apparent way to fix it–can be a reflection of something you’re not fully aware of that’s interfering with your spiritual and emotional well-being. By mirroring this back to you, your animal is inviting you to recognize it so you can do the work to be free from it.

My cat, Holly, used to break into my kitchen cabinets and gorge herself on whatever food-stuffs she could sink her teeth and claws into. I’d wake up to find half-empty packages of dried coconut, uncooked organic gluten-free pasta, dehydrated seaweed, and uncooked beans. Each of these items by itself may be considered “healthy,” but they weren’t particularly healthy for a cat, nor were they appropriate staples of a feline diet. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with and supported to recover from an eating disorder called orthorexia–characterized by unhealthy obsession with “healthy” food–that Holly’s mysterious behavior finally stopped.

Clients who come to me with seemingly unresolvable behavioral issues or inexplicable symptoms in their animals often start to see a difference once we’ve looked at how problems connect with what’s going on in their lives. For example, escape-artist dogs become content to stay in their yards once their people clear up their own fears of commitment, and cats who spray all over the house (despite being altered and having no known UTIs or obvious stressors) suddenly contain their eliminations to their litter boxes after their people find the courage to face what they’re pretending not to be pissed off about.

2.  They can push you to make positive changes.

A challenge with your pet can be the catalyst by which you develop a skill or tap into a hidden trait. Whether it’s by divine orchestration or merely coincidence, your animal can lead you to exactly what you need to release what weighs you down so you can lift yourself up higher than ever.

Zoey, my Rhodesian Ridgeback, helped me get back on my feet after I’d lost control of my legs from my long-time battle with Lyme disease. Having this young, adorable, and very spirited pup in our care awakened a source of strength in me I didn’t know I still had. I didn’t want to let her down, and I didn’t want Dan to see any reason why we couldn’t continue to foster her for longer than the initial weekend we’d agreed to. Those few seconds of stability grew longer and longer each time I held her leash, and before long, she officially became my balance and mobility service dog.

Many of my clients who’ve had strong-willed animals placed in their paths have needed to learn how to be confident and assert some boundaries. By being forced to do this for their pets, they developed a new sense of inner centeredness that carried over into their homes, workplaces, and other relationships.

3. They can lead you to new relationships and new wisdom.

Your pet can play a role in connecting you to the people, resources, and knowledge that can empower you, inspire you, and shift the trajectory of your entire life. When you’re desperate to resolve a problem pertaining to this creature you adore so much, it’s often easier to open your mind to new possibilities.

When my cat, Molly, passed away suddenly in 2007, I didn’t think I’d survive the pain. But crashing hard against rock bottom cracked me open to exploring things I’d previously assumed were just a bunch of woo-woo junk with no real substance. Not only did I learn techniques (like Reiki, visualization, and mindfulness) to ease my own suffering, I also discovered the pathway to my ultimate passion.

As an animal communicator and holistic pet consultant, I get to witness many people’s first experience with psychic connection, energy healing, or remedies like essential oils or flower essences. I love watching them light up with curiosity as we work together to support their animals in ways conventional efforts could not. I love it even more when our session leads to deeper, continuous exploration and self-healing.

Please don’t forget that animals have real physical bodies and instincts that are subject to real medical and behavioral issues, so your first step should always be to consult with a veterinarian or other qualified professional. But when tensions and problems linger beyond explanation, it may be a sign that you’re ready to make a leap into new territories–with your pet as a capable guide.


Over to you…

How have your animals made you happier? Tell me in the comments.

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