I would like to share with you a speech that i gave at a Toastmasters Meeting recently.
Who here has a dog? or a cat? or any pet? A spider or a snake (snakes fascinate me)
Do you listen to your animal? Do you make an effort to understand them?
Humans communicate through the spoken word and the through the written word.
Animals on the other hand do not have the option to express themselves verbally nor do they have the option to write.
They communicate in SILENCE
So how do we start to understand the animals around us?
The challenge for the human is NOT to humanise their animals, that is, to give them human thoughts or human emotions. A relationship between a human and an animal needs to be based on knowledge of that particular species of animal, on how it perceives the world through its senses and, on our own observation.
As a professional pet sitter, I am extremely interested to know more about the animals I care for, but, my true passion lies in observing them.
Dogs are great energy readers. Research from the American Psychological Association suggests that the mental abilities of a dog will reach that of a 2 to 2.5 year-old child. This means a dog will read its environment similar to that of a human child. This is truly astounding! Children are excellent energy readers and so are dogs. Dogs are finely tuned like a piano to the thoughts and emotions of their human guardians.
For instance you come back from work and you have had a terrible day. Your boss has shouted at you and you feel angry and undervalued. You are tense and you have been sweating (and maybe are still sweating). Your body has pumped adrenaline into your system to help you cope with the situation. You may not be aware that your body has reacted in this way but as soon as you walk through your front door, your dog will know immediately. To communicate his or her anxiousness about your state your dog will communicate silently by not eating his food that night, or, by pulling extra hard on the lead. (Dogs will communicate in many ways depending on their personality) This communication is all silent.
I have also noticed how dogs will behave towards each other before they sniff butt!
Dogs have many subtle signs of communicating to one another and their owners. This is one example, they will lick their lips or their nose to convey to another dog that they are not a threat and that they dont want to be threatened. They want calm. I have seen dogs use this sign on their owners. (look out for it!) This is a slient form of communication. (see the book called "Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas)
I also look after many cats in my work and i have observed that when i walk through the front door of their homes they will flop down on the floor twisting and turning on their backs showing me their tummies. I have come to the conclusion (and it is only my conclusion) that this is a form of affectionate greeting, a welcome to a friend, that they are not a threat. I have also seen cats use this when a situation around them becomes too boisterous. They are gently saying "calm down". This is silent communication.
I have looked after a rabbit that thumped its foot when it heard a noise outside on the street. It was warning me of danger, and if i was a rabbit i would have run to hide into the nearest burrow. There are no words in this communication.
I urge you to know more about your animals, to try to understand how they experience the world through their senses and to observe them. BE with them. BE SILENT with them.
But .... wait ... there is an added advantage if you take these qualities into your human relationships.
By truly listening to the humans around you and by understanding how THEY experience THEIR world you will slowly create richer relationships.
“BE SILENT, OR SAY SOMETHING BETTER THAN SILENCE” (Quote from Pythagoras)