Working from home, I am with my lovable companions 24/7. I am sending a million emails to the outside world. Each day there may be 1 or 2 conference calls where I actually have person to person interaction. I do my groceries once a month. There’s also the gym about 4x a week. So, I guess we need to add up those daily interactions. Aside from that, it’s just me, Gigi, Papi, Sophie, and Glinda. As I reflect back on my day to day activities, I discover that the day is not only filled with my own agenda but the agenda of my lovable companions. Is there communication? You bet. But it’s not communication by words. It’s a mixture of behavior directed towards me and that ‘look’ that you as their pet owner have learned to decipher what the look means. When that is learned, there is free flow of communication. For example, I have this sensitivity with my legs that is can actually be painful to have even the slightest tug from a dog’s or cat’s paw. My angels are so smart. They picked up on that quickly. Did that deter free speech? Not one bit. When Gigi has to go outside and to do number 1 or number 2, she takes a few steps towards our french doors that opens to the backyard. Then she looks back at me to catch my attention. If she doesn’t catch my eyes, she walks back to me and licks my legs. The light bulb turns on in my head and I ask, “You need to go outside?” She darts for the french doors and paws at it repeatedly. The speed of her scratching at the door tells me how urgent it is to go outside.
Although going to the bathroom is one thing, there are more profound moments of communication. Gigi and I both have seizure conditions. Knock on wood, both of us have not experienced any seizures for quite some time. I imagine many of your pets exhibit some anxiety or fear when a thunderstorm is emerging. The cats hide under the furniture. Gigi has a meltdown at which point I know to hold her close to me until the storm passes. But when Gigi is about to have a seizure, she gets as close to me as she can and makes sure I look into her eyes. There’s fear but it is deep within her. She looks deep into my eyes as if to say that awful thing about to happen. Please take care of me. We have managed all these years not to use medication. Our vet has trained me on how to ‘reboot’ Gig’s brain when a seizure occurs. It literally shortens the duration to less than a minute. We have medication as a last resort, but fortunately that look that Gigi gives me is enough for me to know to take preparatory measures. (Natural Seizure remedy for Gigi’s situation. Please consult with your vet about your pet’s specific needs.) I was trained to close Gigi’s eyes and with my thumbs and to hold Gigi’s head with the remaining portion of your hands, then to press down at the center of her eyeballs down as if you were pressing down slowly on two buttons. This acupressure point supposedly triggers a nerve that counters the action of the seizure. My vet describes this as rebooting your dog’s brain to stop firing neurons. I also added my own impromptu extra step. I sing to Gigi softly to calm her while pressing down on her eyes and massaging her head. It may actually just calm me own. But my vet said that’s actually a nice added touch for the both of us to get through the ordeal. Click on these links for more information on dogs’ acupressure points, treatments and efficacy studies.
Now what I am about to tell you is evidence of how amazingly awesome our pets are. They are so in tune to you in the most unbelievable ways. As I said earlier, knock on wood, my seizures days are hopefully behind me. But I went through a very rough patch several years ago due to sleep disorders that were not readily apparent to me at the time and causing me much harm. I was suffering from severe insomnia coupled with severe sleep apnea. Simply, I couldn’t fall asleep until about 4am, and when I did fall asleep I couldn’t stay asleep because I wasn’t breathing - the result was sleep deprivation. I’ll leave it at that. This is a whole book in itself. But relevant to this discussion, I would have these seizures at night that in hindsight must have been frightening to any onlookers. I would wake up in the middle of the night only to find myself on the floor on another part of the room, near my laptop and portable desk tangled in wires in an unbelievable contorted position. That only happened a few times because Gigi came to my rescue soon thereafter. I had a housekeeper, Dulse, during that time to help me out as I was undergoing treatment. Dulse, an animal lover too, asked if I was aware of what Gigi was doing as I was progressing through my treatment. I wasn’t aware. When I was in the beginning of treatment, she observed that my sleep was unsettling as I flailed to and fro from one end of the bed to other end of the bed, even when she would come in the early morning to do housekeeping. What Dulse noticed that Gigi had started to counter me by going to the side of bed where I could fall off. She would gently nudge me to the center of the bed and lick me to calm me down. As I progressed through my treatment, Gigi then would sleep on top of my head while I was wearing my sleep apnea gear. The weight of her body appeared to have kept me calm so that I could sleep uninterrupted through the night. Dulse said that she would always remember the image of Gigi deep asleep on top of my head while I too was deep asleep. Such a stark contrast from several months earlier when I was flailing and throwing myself off my bed. Gigi never once left my side.
Please share your stories of how amazing your pets communicate or understand you.