His human parents named him Alex, but I came to think of him as Sir Kisses. He gently, yet enthusiastically, lavished kisses on the people he loved and trusted. He is a loving soul. And a wise and balanced one. Although his life was cut short in a brutal attack by a much larger dog-instrument of a vicious human who encouraged his dog to carry out his own personal hostilities-Alex bears no ill will toward his misguided attackers. He is at peace with his fate. He speaks to me as he sits on a cloud pillow. He smiles and waves a paw to greet me. While his parents are too distraught to see him, he visits them as well.
I used to tease his mom threatening to elope with him and that she'd then become my mother-in-law. Even though I found him a tad short for me, I'm 5'6" and he is after all dachshund, I still felt there might be the basis for a good, solid relationship.
When he is not resting on his cloud, Monsieur Baisers spends his time entertaining spirits on the other side of the veil. He dances doing heel clicks to the left, then to the right. Everyone is amused to see his whole spirit body lift off the heavenly ground. Although he is quite good at the dance, this is but a temporary activity. Once he has settled into his eternal home, Monsieur Baisers will take on other assignments. He will become an instructor in the art of forgiveness, an occupation he is well-suited for. He will be able to speak from experience and let his own earthly circumstances serve as an example to his students. But his contented audience need not worry, he will not totally abandon his entertainment gigs, they will simply no longer be his "day job".
Let me introduce myself. My name is Douceur, that means sweetness or gentleness in French. My mom's guides gave that name to her. She likes to think it was inspiration, but one of her guides shouted it in her ear. Mom's explanation is that she studied me for a few days and was always struck by how gentle I was in spite of spending my first two years homeless in the back yards. Mom originally intended to have my big brother Mont-Blanc do a column, but one day she thought to ask me if I'd like to contribute. I gave her a big enthusiastic yes.
So now its my column. Maybe I'll let Mont-Blanc contribute from time to time, if he's good. [Editor's note. I didn't get a chance to pose the question to Douceur. As I was thinking of asking, she came to me in a can-can outfit, dancing upright on her back paws, swiching her skirt with her front paws. All this was done in a burst of glee, with a big contented smile on her face. After a bit of sashaying, she turned her back, bent over, and flicked up her skirt. In traditional can-can fashion, she revealed there were no panties under the skirt. I took this joyful explosion of energy to mean that she wanted to do the column.]
Mom expects me to talk about pets and I intend to, but right now what's bothering me is people. People don't know how to get along. Sure we cats fight, dogs fight too, but when the fight is over, its over. We move on to other things. Maybe humans should learn how to fight, nothing dangerous or life-threatening. Just a way to show clearly, for once and for all that someone won and someone else lost. Karate seems pretty good. Or even fencing. Mont-Blanc showed mom some fancy sword play a few times-that was part of a message he was bringing her. [Editor's note. Douceur seems to be suggesting anger management and that stylized, structured, controlled fighting is an effective means of funneling rage and channeling the emotion into something useful.] People use the expression to fight like cats and dogs. They don't know what that really means. We also know how to pick our fights, walking away from the ones that aren't right for us.
Q. My wife tells me my cat goes to the front door and waits about five minutes before I get home. She hasn't been looking out the window, so how does she know I'm coming home?
A. Your cat senses your energy field. She can feel that the energy becomes stronger as you approach the house. She can judge by the intensity of the energy just how far away you are. Also, since she is "your" cat rather than "our" cat, your cat is strongly attached to you and your whereabouts are highly important to her.
Q. I've been adding [the *Bach's flower essence] Rescue Remedy to my dog's food and I don't see him getting any calmer.
A. The essence doesn't work in food. You need to put it in his drinking water. If he doesn't drink much water, you can put a drop of the essence in a spray bottle filled with water and mist him with it. If he doesn't like the direct spraying, you can mist the room. If you don't have a spray bottle, dip your fingers in the drinking bowl and wipe them on his fur. The essence can be absorbed through the coat.
*If you'd like to receive a copy of the instructions for the use of Bach's flower essences, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
C. Ferguson, 107 Kensington Avenue,
P.O. Box 301, Jersey City, NJ 07304.
You are welcome to send your comments and questions for future mailbags to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact information: 212-445-4730; 201-433-7955; email@example.com or www.cfergusonconsult.com
Copyright 2005 by Catherine Ferguson. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form whatsoever without written permission.
The information in this newsletter is not to be understood as direction, recommendation or a prescription of any kind. Nor is it intended to take the place of a qualified healthcare/wellness professional. Further, it is not our intention to advocate the abandonment of traditional medical treatment.
Q. Oso is my four-year-old poodle. When we take him for a walk at first he seems eager, but in the street when other dogs approach, he starts to shake. In addition, he is afraid of cameras. When he sees one, he hides under the bed.
A. Oso is angry. He is insecure about his position in your household. Are you studying more or more intensely? He feels like a fifth wheel. He feels ignored. When he is outside and sees other dogs, he feels they are competition for your affection. I understand that time is precious, but it would be helpful for Oso if you were to spend a bit more time with him, dropping your studies for a few minutes at a time to devote your attention to him exclusively. Talk to him and tell him how much you love him and what you appreciate about him. He'll be very happy to hear that from you. Spending time with him will be good for you as well. It doesn't hurt to take a break from time to time. It will clear the cobwebs from your head. You'll return to your books and notes refreshed. And you can thank Oso for it.
I suggest the Bach flower essence Mimulus for known fears. These essences are available in health food stores. After you've praised him for being himself for several days, start talking to him about his fears. Explain to him that cameras will not hurt him and that you want to have a record of how handsome he is. Tell him that you take photos of all your family members and that you don't want to leave him out. After he's had a chance to absorb that message, talk to him about the dogs he meets while out walking. Let him know that they are not competition for your affection. Tell him that you want him to enjoy your walks together and do not want him to have any unnecessary worries.
This new behavior of being afraid of other dogs may be a developmental issue. Ask your vet if this is the case. In any event, the flower essence will support his emotions.
The Cat with the Kink in His Mustache
by Catherine Ferguson
They say curiosity killed that cat. But they don't know Number One. He and his curiosity are alive and quite well. He is the cat with a kink in his mustache. It isn't always the same kink, but whenever the crimped whisker falls out, it isn't long before he gets another crimp. The kinks look like the Marcel waves women used to put in their hair during the roaring twenties. But Number One doesn't get the crimp to set a new style for the nineties. His wave is a by-product of his curiosity. You see, he loves to explore the stove when his mom Betsy is sleeping. To get a good view, or a good sniff, he pokes his nose around the burners. When he gets too close to the gas pilot light, his whiskers get kinked. That is if they are not just plain singed. When the whisker is singed, the burnt part falls off pretty quickly. Then Number One has a short spike in place of a full-length whisker.
Number One likes to explore the kitchen sink and stand in it to get a better view out the window. There are several bird families that nest nearby and they frequently fly back and forth. Do you know the elephant joke that asks: "How can you tell if there's an elephant in your refrigerator?"
The answer, in case you don't know, is "You can see his foot prints on the cream cheese." And now, how do you know if Number One has been walking in the kitchen sink? The answer to that riddle is easy, you can see his paw prints on the white enamel.
As soon as Betsy gets out of bed in the morning, she usually hears a "thump". That's Number One jumping down from the sink he knows he is not supposed to be in. When Betsy enters the kitchen and scolds him, he puts on his "Who me?" expression. Maybe he wants to grow up to be an actor, he is very good at pretending to be innocent. "It was another guy who looks a lot like me, honest."
If Number One decides to be an actor, he at least has the right coloring for it. He is black with a white chest and paws. This cat wears a tuxedo and is ready to accept his Academy Award for best four-footed actor.
Betsy gets angry when Number One walks on the stove and sink. And she knows that he knows that she does not want him in those places. She yells at him, but never punishes him. He is such a sweetheart and she cannot bear to chastise him. When he kisses her, he does it with feeling. He rams his nose in her face or he bumps his forehead on hers. He is so enthusiastic, he could knock her over. How can you discipline someone who is so happy to be part of your life?
Curiosity hasn't killed Number One yet. But he may be down to the eighth of his nine lives.
Talk to Me Fluffy, Please
by Catherine Ferguson, Ph.D.
"Pet psychic, humph!" Those were the words I heard repeated over and over again as visitors to the cat show passed my pet psychic stand. It was repeated so frequently, I thought I was hearing a mantra shared by many people. To avoid risking a defamation of character suit, I'll refrain from naming the area of New York City where the show was held. Of course it is quite possible the Doubting Thomases and Thomasinas were out-of-towners. But I suspect that there were a fair number of native New Yorkers who were expressing their innate cynicism.
That was a few years ago. Now I am fortunately finding a warmer reception when I read pets at public events. However I am aware that many people still find "pet psychic" a strange occupation. Strange is the polite version of downright "wacky". In all fairness, I do have to admit that 20 years ago I too would have been somewhat skeptical. The more I do this work, the more I learn about the breadth of possible communication. And the more I see how well some pet owners (I would prefer to call you "pet parents") understand their companions' feelings. A large part of the information my four-footed and feathered clients relay to me is mundane. Since animals tend to adapt and try to accommodate us, most comments about their environments are positive. And since they live in the present moment, they do not dwell on the past. Birds may tell me they love the view from their window. Dogs convey how much fun they have digging in their yards. They do not agonize over past suffering, but when asked point blank they will describe the abuse they endured before they were rescued. If asked about food, they usually answer before I've finished the question. Many have told me about their past lives. Sometimes they were the same species, at other times they were a different type of animal. Sometimes they were humans and may have shared a life with their present owners.
Communication is a two-way street. We can't simply issue orders. We have to listen to what the other party has to say. We have to treat the other party as an entity with the free will to accept, reject, or negotiate our requests. If we do not treat the other party as an autonomous being, we are hampering the flow of communication. Our animal friends may simply tune us out. If you think these ideas are baseless, try them out in human terms. Would you want to have a conversation with someone who talked at you and ignored your ideas? The Golden Rule of treating others as you would have them treat you applies to all species, not just homo sapiens.
There is a bonus for listening. We are richly rewarded for listening to our animal friends. They will love us even more and will try to improve the quality of our lives. Some may tell us to go to bed early when we're not smart enough to keep from burning our candles at both ends. Others keep us from barging out into the street when they sense a car is coming. Still others warn us to be leery of apparently wholesome people who are masking a dark side. And then there are those pets who open up unexpected new vistas by unveiling their past lives. In cases where humans are deeply attuned to their animal companions, the role of a pet psychic is to give a second opinion, a neutral opinion. When there is unacceptable behavior, the psychic may find a possible deep-rooted cause and suggest avenues of correction.