Updated: Jul 4
If you're planning to rescue or adopt
or if you already have, this might help. I just returned home from a 2-week business trip to California which also included looking for a new home.
There were some really amazing things that happened to me but funnily enough, I ONLY have selfie pics with the furry ones to prove it... I need to get better at that.
1) I met with the founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to brainstorm ideas on how to give back on a large scale. Why don't I have a freaking selfie with him?! Best answer- I need adult supervision.
2) I got to jam out with the King of Rap from New Zealand. I do have selfies but I look too star struck to share... it's sort of ridiculous.
3) I was introduced to Paul Dunn a 4 times Teds X speaker who is behind Buy One Give One, a program that gives on large scales (yeah you can kinda see where I'm going with my business).
4) I hosted 2 group healings in Northern California and loved every second of it. OH! I do have a pics of this! Follow me on social media? Then you've seen them.
5) I got to meet some of my favorite veterinarians that I share clients with. OOH, I have pics of this too. Also shared on my Instagram and Facebook pages.
6) I got to see old friends and meet new ones.
7) So much amazing vegan food it was ridiculous.
8) I got to meet Rudy and Tess in person! Rudy is a dog I've been working with for over a year now. He was diagnosed with cancer and kicked it's butt a LONG time ago so now he's on maintenance. Tess is his sister and she's suffering from Vestibular Disease but had a good run and play after her session.
9) I got to go with Sampson (another dog I am working with), who was diagnosed with cancer, to his veterinary appointments and discussed the game plans with his vets. Oh! Interestingly enough, our sessions have brought relief to his Lar Par.
10) I got to see Chewie again (Chewie and I met over a tumor in his liver that is long gone.) and meet Lulu and Syndey, whose mama is one of my Prime Parents.
11) A million cat kisses... far too many to name but Cookie held my shoulders down and took full advantage and Lainey Boo Boo was the best little spoon.
This whole trip was something I planned but then suddenly I felt myself getting overwhelmed. My daily habits had been changed due to travel. I am used to business travel but this time it was different and I think it's because I was looking for a new place to live that I was suddenly able to relate to what it must feel like for dogs, cats, bunnies, birds and anyone else who is looking for/or brought into a new 'forever home' through rescue, or adoption. Being invited to stay with people in their homes, while I explored new possibilities, gave me a new perspective.
This is what I experienced:
Everyone was so nice and loving to me, wanting me to love the city they reside in, that I felt this strange pressure to be "on". My expressions and reactions were being observed in the hopes that I was happy. No complaints here- it made me feel very loved.
I had no idea when I was going to eat. I know this is going to sound ridiculous because I'm a grown woman and can eat whenever I want. But yet, I found myself waiting for others... and sometimes in my head thinking "When? I'm hungry."
Is it bedtime? Again... I'm a grown woman but when you're in someone else's house, you get caught up in their schedules.
And lastly, staying in other people's homes you often just have to find what you need and hope that it's ok if you use it.
When I was driving back to Los Angeles so I could fly home, I hopped on the phone with a woman who coaches me. I explained to her I felt overwhelmed. I wasn't used to NOT having 10 cups of kale for breakfast and I missed my daily walks around the lake with Sugarpants, my kitty. I was homesick for my routines. She laid out a routine plan for me/with me to help me get back into the swing of things by asking me what was important. 1) Nature walks. I need to spend at least 8 hours a week walking in nature because it helps to ground me and relieves stress. 2) I need to read at least 5 hours a week to shut off my overactive brain. 3) I need to listen to podcasts because again, it helps me tune out my own brain. 5) I need to listen to a lot of music I can sing along with albeit poorly - it brings me happiness. 6) I need kale... lots and lots of kale and should never leave home without it.
So, it occurred to me that when we bring animals into our home, they probably experience these same things.
1) Overwhelm just by being in a new place/people/things ...it's really tiring.
2) When do we eat?
3) When do I sleep?
4) Can I play with this? Can I use this?
5) Will they like me? I'm tired. Do I have to be 'on'?
6) Who is this cat that keeps licking my lips? Are we married now?
This is how you can help them integrate:
1) There's a lot happening... let them explore. Let them just "be". If they are scared, they have good reason to be. If they are tired, let them sleep. If they are sad, let them be sad. Give your new fur baby a tour of their home, explain where everything is and know that they will relax when they are ready. Personalities might change (most likely will!) once they start feeling more comfortable.
2) Find out from the shelter/foster/rescue what their feeding and sleeping schedule is. A lot of 'behavioral' issues can come from just being hungry (am I right?!) and tired. You don't have to stick to them forever, but at least until your new furbaby has adjusted a bit.
3) Show them their toys and show them how to play and use them. Often we buy the toys and just expect the dog or cat will instinctively know that the toy is there's and how to use it. A lot of animals are rescued from neglectful and awful places... don't expect that they've ever been given a toy or know that the toy you bought is for them.
4) Tell them you love them and let them know they are now in their forever home. Reassure them. Let them know it's ok to rest and recover so they can begin a new life with you.
5) Introduce them to the other animals in the house and when they have settled in, give them a job. All animals love to have a purpose! You need to make sure the job suits them and doesn't already belong to another member in your furamily (that can cause serious behavioral issues). If you bring a new furbaby into your home, establishing 'jobs' among your animals can prevent a lot of jealousy and fighting. Here are some examples: Protector, creative muse, emotional comfort, comedic relief, alarm clock, etc... if your furbaby LOVES their job, they will take it seriously and it will not only make them feel needed but prevent behavioral issues caused from being bored or without purpose.
6) I personally love diffusing essential oils that are calming but not all essential oils are safe, if you want to know more about essential oils, please read my article on that here.
If you have some awesome tips to help animal integrate into their new home, please share them in the comments section of my blog post and everyone benefits!
And with that, this week I head for Sedona! It wasn't in my original plans but something sort of amazing happened this week and I have to follow my heart. I'll share the secret soon as it's a big part of shaping this next year for me! Stay tuned.