The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies. I grew up humming “My Favorite Things,” so imagine my surprise when I started to write this post and realized I was writing about a biting dog and a stinging bee. Yep, all in one week.

Here’s what happened:

When the Dog Bites…

I’m at a dog park with a new friend, and her roommate’s dog*. She mentions how he’s poorly trained, runs away, and needs more socialization. We watch him play with the other pups, and I think he looks very energetic and sweet.

After a while of running around, he lays down next to me, tuckered out. I reach down to pet him with a smile on my face, loving words, and an open heart.

Suddenly I hear a growl and see teeth. He nips my chin and lip, leaving two small puncture wounds and a wicked painful bruise on my chin. Fortunately he was current with all shots and there wasn’t much damage, but I did have a decent scare and a lot of reflection, (leading to this post).

*I’m not mentioning a breed here because I don’t want to stereotype this one, but I will say that this breed does not have a reputation for biting.

When the Bee Stings…

We are driving past redwoods in Southern California. It’s my first time in the state, thus my first time seeing these magnificent trees. Our driver, Topher, pulls the truck over and we hop out to explore the woods.

“Look!” he shouts, “A fairy circle!” There’s a clump of redwoods in a perfect cluster, around a stump of one that is decomposing. As I step into the circle, I feel as though a large fly bit me through my pants. I see something fly away and tell Topher.

“Bees!” he says, rapidly moving towards me, “Stay calm.” And I do, as we walk away. A couple followed us, and one stung his back. For the first day, it was painful, and then our stings were swollen and itchy.

When You’re Feeling Sad…
“Simply remember your favorite things, and then you won’t feel so bad!”

So I’ve been a bit bummed out about all this, (not to mention in pain!) After all, I’m supposed to be an animal communicator, and I’m going into these situations with love and joy. My heart was clear and fearless in both these moments, so did something go wrong?

I believe that no, nothing was wrong. I was right where I was supposed to be, experiencing what I needed. The lessons of the sting and bite were invaluable. This is what I learned:

1.     Your Heart Is Yours- It doesn’t matter how insanely happy you are in a moment, those around you might be feeling another way. Just because you are having a great day doesn’t mean you can always impact others with your happiness. The heart is powerful, and sometimes it can change another’s mood, but not always. The trick is to accept what’s going on for other animals – people or pets – and still keep your joy.

2.     Their Burdens Are Theirs- The triggers carried by another animal could simply be a mystery – until you learn about them. Have you ever witnessed a friend suddenly snapping in anger at something that wouldn’t bother you? Any animal can be pissed off. Anger is a way to draw boundaries, and it needs to be honored and explored, whether it’s a human or another animal. The dog that bit me clearly had a trigger, a boundary that isn’t appropriate, and is likely based in trauma and fear.

3.     Sometimes Instincts Just Win- At the end of the day, some animals respond with behaviors that are ingrained for infinite generations – there’s nothing we can do. By disturbing the bees in the fairy circle of redwoods we were telling them to draw a boundary with their space that was appropriate. (If we had known they were there before barging in, we could have tuned-in and maybe had a different outcome, but as it was, we just barged in).

Let me be clear – I’m not saying it’s okay for animals to hurt you or vice versa. But we can strive for interactions with pets and wildlife that are peaceful, and not always get that. There’s a difference between instincts and ancestral trauma triggers that can be healed.

And of course, I could have been a little more tuned-in during both these situations. Frankly, when I’m in the presence of an animal there is so much stimulation that it’s always a best practice for me to take a step back and connect with my heart. I don’t have to close my eyes to meditate, I can just make contact with my heart and the heart of the animal, and send them love and any relevant messages.

There are many other ways we can be more mindful and support animals with strange trigger points. One of my passions is to help bridge any traumas that might have occurred between you and an animal, and to help animals heal the roots of their triggers.

Thanks to this bee and this dog, and the animal medicine they shared with me, I have even more insights about how to heal!

If you are curious to learn more, I’d love to chat. Contact me to explore the possibilities!

Photo credit: Aria Everts – We adore these llamas and alpacas in Northern Michigan that live down the road from my aunt. During the moment of this photo, the herd was responding to my aunt’s beagle, on the other side of the fence. Their instincts told them to huddle in close to each other and give verbal warnings to the dog. He’s lucky there was a fence between them!