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Hi Kindred Spirits, today I am excited to share something from my own life with animals.

The other night, Scout, our dog, inspired me to share a little bit about our connection and also our patterns.

As you know, animals and people are creatures of habit.

And as creatures of habit, we also create patterns. You probably have little routines with your animals that have become a habit or pattern.

Scout and i have a pattern around dinner. Not his, but my dinner.

Usually, while i cook dinner, Scout is on the deck watching over his property.

When I fill up the plates, he is still outside. The moment David and I have the plates in front of us, Scout asks to come in. He is curious. So, if I think about it, I let him in before I sit down; if I don’t, I hear his paw tapping the front door so ,I get up and let him in.

At that point, a ritual ensues. I sit down, pick up my fork, and Scout sticks his nose into the air to sniff out what’s on our plates. So far so good.

The next step is what irks me. As soon he got a whiff, he lay down facing me and startes at me.

Of course, you might say, he’s begging. Well, yes, but i don’t feed my dog or cats off my plate.

And Scout knows that. He learned from a young age that begging doesn’t work.

Yet, every night I am home, he lies down and looks at me as I take the first forkful towards my mouth.

And evey time he stares at me, I look at him and say something like, “really?” which often is enough for him to get up and turn his cut elittle body around to face the other way. Sometimes, Scout needs more encouragement. I suspect it has something to do with how good my dinner smells. My response repertoir is something like,

“You know I don’t like this.”

“Can you please?”

“Scout, you know better.”

And evey time, he gets up and finds a better suited spot than peering up at my plate.

So th, either night, when we went through the same ritual, I said to David, “I just don’t get it. He is so smart. And he knows that this is a no-no. Why is there no learning curve?”

The same repetitive pattern had me perplexed for years. Why was Scout still doing it, though there was never a pay off? Why was there no shift?

The only way to shift it was me catching him before what happened happened. If I see him coming and already say, don’t even think about it, he will turn right away around and face th either way. But if I miss that moment … same routine different day.

The other night, as I told David that I didn’t understand why this pattern continued, Scout popped into the conversation and provided some insight. Scout is usually not very chatty, and he rarely speaks up. But that night, he explained why the pattern is in place and will stay in place. Let me try to explain to you what Scout shared.

When I questioned why he didn’t advance on the learning curve he pointed out that, yes, of course he is smart, and that he gets it, and that he shows that by turning around no matter if I say:

“You know I don’t like this.”

“Can you please?”

“Scout, you know better.”

But, he continued, if he just listened and not ask me to engage in a dialogue, he would be a less clever dog. He would be obedient. And though he is very well behaved, obedience is different; obedience means he is not questioning things. And when he doesn’t question things, he and I don’t have the kinds of dialogues we like to have.

He pointed out that I am so thrilled to have a dog who is so in tune with me that. And I love that we can have great back and forth communication using my body, mind, and intuition and that, therefore, the nightly ritual is just that … an opportunity to chat.

He says, “Hey, what’s for dinner? Smells good. I wouldn’t mind a bite.”

And in my old version I’d be, “Really? Really? Why are you asking every night?”

But now it will be different, it will go like this.

Scout says, “Hey, what’s for dinner? Smells good. I wouldn’t mind a bite.”

And I will say, very funny, same answer as always, people food, go find a better spot.”

And then Scout will, as every night, get up and turn around, or he will ask to go out on the deck so he can watch over the horses.

Changing my attitude toward the behavior, going from ‘what the heck’ to ‘duh, you;re right, I love that we can chat and connect like this our interactions will be more fun and more creative.

Scout gave me the opportunity to see the world through his eyes. Him pointing out that our verbal and intuitive communications make our connection so meaningful made me realize that there was another opportunity to change my attitude.

David and I also have verbal rituals, one agonizing one comes to mind.

David will ask what he wants to watch tonight, and every night, I ask him to pick it.

Honey, what should we watch tonight has been answered with

You pick.

Find something please I don’t want to decide.

Check what’s new.

Please make a decision.

One would think that one of those phrases would explain that I do not ever, ever, ever pick the show. Hence his question is mute.

But, Scout reminds us that verbal and intuitive communications make our connection meaningful. There is beauty in a ritual. There is safety in a ritual. There is connection and meaning in, “Honey, what should we watch? And in “Smells good, I wouldn’t mind a bite.”

Both are beautiful questions to engage me in a dialogue.

And I will take them up on it.

And I will be looking for other verbal rituals in my life. Conversations with people or animals that I can now experience with new eyes.

As for Scout, he told me to call this podcast In-Tune! and so I did; I am asking him right now if he wants to explain the reason for this title. He says we shouldn’t overthink this. He wants us to understand that being in tune with someone is something we do with our body, mind, and intuition. Instead of thinking about the communication as body, mind, and intuition, he says to think of being in tune. When you are in tune, you use all three as needed. When you are in tune, you send beautiful energy forward and, with that, become receptive to finer tunes. Haha, I love that. First, we get in tune, and then we fine-tune for the rest of our lives. Ok, back to Scout, he says, make it simple, be in tune. Tune in. Write it on a notepad. Be In Tune. Tune In. That is the easiest way to communicate successfully with your animal.

Phew, this podcast was a download rollercoaster.

It came through, and I will allow it to be what it wanted.

To recap, verbal rituals that seem annoying have magic power in them.

And, get in tune to tune in.

Scout and I wish you a great week.

Bis bald und Auf Wiedersehen

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