My dog is a husky, and a hunter. In fact, he was given away from his last home due to him being a threat to the cats that lived there. I have been working with him to correct this behaviour through moment-to-moment application when the programming is triggered, on walks and when he is loose in the yard, for example. I understand that this hunting programming is deeply embedded in his genetic coding, and there only be so much I can do, but so too is my OCD inherited through my genes and is in my DNA.
Throughout the months of working with him, I have noticed so many similarities with how I have been working with myself with OCD. I have to become very vigilant and observe him and his body language so that I can tell when he is triggered, see what his triggers are, and notice when he is in full-fledged hunting mode. I use my sound and some physical intervention to snap him out of it, to support him through it, and to redirect him.
Interestingly, this is the same application that applies to me in my own self-support, where I have to watch out for a learn my own triggers, observe my internal reactions and changes, and then snap myself out of it, support myself through it and/or redirect myself.
One cool thing about working with myself through animals has been practicing and playing with my sound, my voice and accordingly who I am within myself when I speak, act and direct myself, the animals, and myself with the animals. To illustrate, I have shared my experiences here:
I have noticed that when I speak to the animals, so much of who I am within myself comes through and can be revealed and reflected in the animal’s behaviour. In my current position in life, I deal with animals daily, namely dogs and horses. It has been over a year now in this environment, and I have done much work on taking a stand, being clear, working through my uncertainties and being able to speak and sound my words in such a way that is different than it has been in the past.
In the past, my insecurities, my uncertainty, my inferiority and so much more, would be the predominant factors coming through as my Who I Am’ in my voice, my words and my sound. There is an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ involved in the learning process, as one plays around with different words, tones and volumes, but with animals (and small children), you can only get away with so much. Mostly they will hear these characteristics even more so than what you are actually trying to say! I have had instances of speaking or yelling loudly, only to be completely ignored and brushed aside! This would cause me to react in frustration, irritation and disempowerment, showing me that I still had work to do on myself with regards to the aforementioned characteristics I was living and bringing through as me as I spoke.
This is not to say that I have perfected my sound/speaking/voice, not at all! It is definitely a work in progress, and I work on it every day, especially as I walk my dog. This relates to OCD/derma very much though, because as I develop and transform these weaknesses (uncertainty, insecurity, inferiority) into strengths (certainty, confidence, equality), in order to work with the animals, I have found that I naturally turn into and towards myself now, and work with myself more effectively because of it! For example, when I get triggered, I muster up the same assertiveness I have to muster up with my dog when he is triggered into hunting, or the horses when they fight and bicker with each other. To me, it is very motivating, because I do not want my dog to catch and kill the chickens or other small animals on the farm, and with the horses, I do not want them to get hurt, or hurt me when they begin rearing and kicking, so the situations can become quite serious.
It is this seriousness that I am now able to see and recognize with my disorder. Before, I would not see it as such a ‘bad’ thing, because I wasn’t harming anyone but myself. But from that perspective, I am making the statement that it is ‘ok’ to harm myself. The reality and truth of me that is/was hiding behind that statement is that I hadn’t valued myself, cherished myself or honoured myself in such a way where self-harm would just naturally be a serious matter that must be stopped.
In the end, the qualities that I saw were important to develop when working with my dog and other animals assisted and supported me to be able to stand up within and as my SELF! Where, when I would be/am triggered, I immediately go into the certainty of who and how I want to be in that moment, the confidence that I am worth it, the equality of being equal to and not inferior to my disorder – equality meaning, the disorder that I have does not rule and direct my life, I have a say, I decide, and as I continue to strengthen my resolve, I decide whether or not there is a place for it in my life, and it’s looking more and more like my decision is NO.