Healing as a family
I can not count the times that I have been in a treatment room with someone and declared that their cat or dog had say asthma to have them comment, “that’s odd I also am asthmatic.”
Many times it goes beyond just two creatures. I remember telling one woman that I thought her cat had inflammatory bowel disease.
“That’s so strange, “ she said, “because my husband is in the hospital with IBD and has been for the past week and the whole time he has been in there my stomach has been bothering me also.”
Many families may not share specific diseases but related ones. I have found that people with fibromyalgia and lupus tend to have animals with inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and muscle or tendon pain (especially in the back). In Chinese medicine IBD, asthma and back tendon pain are one condition called liver qi constant. This is a disease that gets worse with stress like fibromyalgia and lupus.
So what is going on here?
The first response I usually get is, “Oh no! Did I make my animal sick?”
I don’t think that is the case.
And let me just add that not all people and animals share illness. Just because you had a dog die of cancer doesn’t mean you will and just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean that your cat will become diabetic.
I have definitely given this some thought over the years and have a couple theories on this strange phenomenon. These are from my own experience and I would be interested to hear other people’s ideas.
I think that we tend to attract into our lives people and animals who are like us. Because of this we also attract in animals who share the qualities that make them more prone to specific illnesses.
Did you really?
How many times was there just something about that one who caught your eye?
“He was just reaching through the bars of his cage, I couldn’t leave him there.”
“There was this one puppy who just wouldn’t leave my side.”
I think they often do as much of the choosing as we do.
I also believe that some animals choose to come to this plane of existence to help us with our experience. What I mean is that they are like our guardian angels in animal form. They come to help us work with our own health and healing and to teach us about grace and love. When an animal shares a disease condition with us they are helping us work with our own illness. In seeing how they work with disease we are able to bear the burden of ours better.
I’ve gotten in arguments with people over this idea because I’ve had people think that I was implying that animals are our servants. I believe the opposite, that they are more enlightened creatures than us and have chosen to help us.
I want to add one more important thought. Sometimes there is an environmental reason why we share disease. By all means if everyone in the house has lung conditions please make sure there isn’t a mold or toxin problems. Everyone knows about using the parakeets in the coal mines. Don’t ignore warnings that there is something wrong with your home.
When we share disease often curing ourselves helps our animals and helping our animals helps ourselves. When I began to work with my own anxiety my dog Jake became less anxious. When I am not taking good care of myself my cat Rudy will stop eating. All I have to do is look at Rudy or Jake to see where my own health is.
Often times we need to work towards healing ourselves to help our animal companions. Healing is not a journey to undertake alone. How amazing that we have these teachers and guilds right in our own homes!