Many years ago, long before I knew I would be involved with Animal Kinship, I registered the name Canine Spirit. At the time, I was living with my teacher, a master of canine spirit, my Australian Shepherd dog – Kirra. Little did I know what an important role Kirra would play in my future, not only as my companion but as one that would ultimately inspire me to change the course of my life.
Canine Sprit was what I sensed when I was in the company of Kirra, or other dogs, and there were many other dogs during those early years. While I knew I had always been magnetically drawn to dogs, Kirra helped me realize it was the joy of their beautiful canine spirits I was attracted to. Kirra inspired me to participate in numerous canine related activities, undertake companion animal studies, and use my skills as an educator by becoming an instructor at a dog obedience club.
Time and time again I have experienced, and witnessed the qualities of beauty and joy shining through relationships between humans and animals. In my view, human-animal relations are instruments of the soul. Our canine companions can open and heal the human heart in ways no human or medicine can. For many people, the love of dog is medicine for the heart and soul.
I refer to my work as an animal behaviorist as Canine Spirit: The Soulful Art of Learning. While this does involve dog management strategies and training, that is only part of it. Based on behavioral science, the soulful art of learning is an approach, not a method or system. It draws on knowledge from many disciplines, including life experience, and takes into account the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of both humans and animals. It is therefore a holistic approach that goes beyond training. Every relationship between a human and animal is unique because each individual in the relationship is unique. The soulful art of learning is a journey to discover and release the potential held within the uniqueness of the relationship.
The soulful art of learning is a means of transmuting canine related difficulties into strengths. Within any problem lies its solution and its treasure, a secret just for us. When we are willing to learn by exploring our own inner depths, we undertake a journey of self-discovery with our animals as friends and companions along the way. As we develop a better understanding of the way our thoughts, emotions and actions affect animals, our self-awareness deepens. The soulful art of learning is not confined to a specific activity, place or time. It is a soulful way of living.
Canine Spirit, as a soulful way of living and learning, is not only about the way we approach relationships with dogs, but people too. It is about the way dogs, and other animals, help us learn about ourselves as a way of changing how we relate to others and ultimately, how we relate to the natural world we are part of.
This blog will continue with extracts from my book, Canine Spirit, soon to be released.