Pets are well-known to be our best companions who chase away our loneliness and social isolation. But they can do so much more for us than we usually think or know. They can be our role model for better relationships as they follow their instinct and are not blinded by external influences. But how can they be our relationship coaches?
A study established a clear and unique link between pet owners’ (Editors’s note: we believe the term “guardian” is more appropriate) well-being and their social needs. Pet guardians, it concluded, are fulfilled to a greater extent through their dogs than through their human relations. Interestingly, the support the pets provided to their guardians didn’t compete with the support from other relationships; they complemented them. Many dogs and cats sleep in our beds. Single people, especially, don’t feel lonely with a dog in their bed as the dog provides them company and companionship. The co-sleeper feels closer to the dog and cat and the mutual bond gets stronger. Due to the amount of time the guardian and dog or cat stay together, the positive benefits of pets for humans increase even more such as excretion of “happy“ and “love” hormones. Having a dog in bed gives a feeling of security and safety and prevents anxiety.
Often in our daily lives we are excited at the start of a new relationship, but this excitement quickly fades into the same boring routine, day in, day out. Our enthusiasm is gone, and what’s left is a shell that does things because they must be done. So, what to do when our relationship gets sour? Let’s learn from dogs—and I believe from all other animals, too. They show us what real enthusiasm is and how to preserve it. Animals’ pure joy in doing things is unprecedented. Dogs and other pets should be our role models to bring back and infuse joy into everything we do and thus improve our partnerships. Our private lives, and even our work lives, will be so much better if we live our enthusiasm continuously instead of falling into the same old boring, frustrated patterns.
The Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca offers a clear conclusion when it comes to one of our biggest mistakes in life: Don’t live in the past; don’t live in the future; live now, in the present. So many of us focus on what we want to achieve that we forget to live now — until it is too late. And then our partners suffer. Animals don’t make that mistake. They are the champions of living in the present. They care only about what is happening now. They don’t plan for tomorrow or think about what they did yesterday. Dogs are a daily reminder to live in the present, because they take life as it comes. And so should we.
But it’s not only dogs and cats that remind us to live in the present. Horses especially have the unique ability to bring us back into the present. They have a hyper-vigilant sense and can feel if we are not living in the moment. Horses can bring people into the here and now due to their authentic state of expression. Also, horses can have a hugely beneficial impact on our inner balance and wisdom. Nowadays so many people are out of balance. Interaction with a horse helps to heal us in a profound way and to balance our mind and body—even when someone doesn’t realize he or she needs to be healed. This leads to true power and inner wisdom which is one of the pillars our relationships should be based on.
Life is not always about what we think we need for ourselves. Life can mean doing something for our partner because it’s the right thing to do, even if the situation is so extreme that it almost breaks our heart. Life lets you make decisions in times when there are no choices left. It’s not about right or wrong; it’s about what you must do for yourself or your partner to help save him or her from a world of hurt.
We have the answers and solutions inside us. Our body and gut feelings tell us what is right or wrong. It warns us of danger, allows us to jump with joy and shows us the delights of love. Sadly, most people don’t listen to their inner feelings, and they make bad decisions as a result.
In our modern world, only tangible, measurable things seem to count. We depend on technology and computers for everything, even our own decision making about the course of our lives. Animals do this naturally and never doubt themselves. They follow what their inner voices tell them to do and they are always right.
Let’s go back to our origins. Let’s learn to once again trust our senses, our inner feelings, and our wisdom; our bodies will not mislead us. Embrace your Sixth Sense, gut feeling, universal energy or whatever you wish to call it—and follow the path destined for you. Let’s embrace what our pets can teach us as our relationship coaches– their life lessons will bring you in the perfect state for an enriching, profound and long-lasting relationships with your partner!
Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller is author of Your Pet, Your Pill®: 101 Inspirational Stories About How Pets Lead You to a Happy, Healthy and Successful Life and its accompanying workbook. She is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, sought-after speaker and Certified Life Coach. Since 2001, Dr. Muller has been the Executive Director and Chief Veterinarian at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in the United Arab Emirates. A member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, UK, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, USA, and the Bavarian Chamber of Veterinarians, Germany, Dr. Muller is also the author of Practical Handbook of Falcon Husbandry and Medicine and Modern Veterinary Practice Management.