What makes an animal respond differently to one person than another? Why do some people seem to have a “gift” with animals, while others struggle to make a connection? In most cases, the intention in the heart of the human that makes all the difference. A purity of love and a desire to improve an animal’s situations comes through loud and clear to most creatures.
Animals can pick up on underlying feelings, agendas, and preoccupations quite easily. Trying to mask these things only works to an extent before true intentions or feelings become apparent to the animal in question. There is no way to fake the purity of intention when it comes to interacting with animals, it needs to be what is actually in your heart for them to pick up on it.
When you genuinely care about the animal, their wellbeing, and improving their situation connections are made that would otherwise be impossible. Their instincts pick up on this purity of intention and gravitate towards those people who possess it. Now, some animals are pretty social and friendly no matter who the person is, but those that have a cautious side, a nervous or apprehensive personality, or have been wronged in the past are the hardest to prove yourself to.
While you cannot teach a purity of intention you can change the way you view interacting with animals. Approach each interaction with the animal’s best interest at heart, not how the interaction will benefit you. Here’s some examples:
When going to catch a horse in a field that has proven to be reluctant to be caught, do not march out there, try and throw the halter on, and march back, thinking of all the things you need to work on and accomplish that day. Instead, approach the horse with softness and with the halter over your arm. Pet on the horse for a minute and ask them how their day is going. Then slip the halter on and walk into the barn thinking of how lucky you are to be able to work with this animal today and all the ways that it’s improved knowledge will benefit them in the long run. This approach will make the horse want to come with you and be with you and discourage them from walking/running away. Think of working with or training as improving the animal’s way of life, as a way of making their interactions with humans more pleasant and the needs and requests of people easier for the animal to understand. This will ideally aid in preventing the discipline that can come from confusion of what is being asked or expected of the animal by those interacting with it in the future.
– When interacting with an animal for veterinary care approach the situation with an open heart and mind with the intention of improving their predicament. Animals can tell when you are there to help them and usually respond accordingly. Becoming stressed, agitated, annoyed, or any other form of negative emotion will be a detriment to the situation. A good example I can give is that we recently had a small bird somehow make its way down our chimney and into our fireplace. My stepdaughter heard noises in the fireplace so we checked and there was this little sparrow flitting around, trapped. Now obviously we needed to get the bird out but ideally not let it loose in our house. My fiancé grabbed a pair of gloves and approached the bird in the manner of “getting it out” NOT “helping it”. Needless to say he was unsuccessful, the bird panicked and avoided his hands. I took over and while talking softly I gently took a section of paper toweling and laid it over the bird and scooped him up and he quietly sat in my hands until I unwrapped him outside, then flew away. So what was the difference? The approach: while my fiancé is an animal lover he did not approach the situation correctly, he approached the predicament as simply taking care of the situation and getting the bird out. I’m a die-hard animal lover who has the blessing and curse of feeling an animal’s pain. My approach was to help the bird get out of that scary place and get it back outside where It belonged. I immediately thought of, and empathized with, how scared and possibly hungry and thirsty that poor little guy was. I wanted to help him, not simply rid my house of a bird.
There have been many titles assigned to people who can connect with animals on a deeper level, some more than others, such as animal whisperer, magician, communicator, and so on. I cherish this ability to connect with animals but realize it for what it really is, an ability to see the world through their eyes and the desire to improve things for them. This is the trait that people who seem to have a “magic touch” with animals possess. This is a talent just like many others, some people excel in music, sports, trivia, etc.…. others excel in connecting with animals. While not everyone will possess this talent, learning to adjust how you approach animals will greatly improve your relationships with them. Try it and see how it works for you!!