“Can you ask my animals if they love me?” is a common question I receive from clients. It is one of those questions that always surprises me. “Can’t you tell?” I wonder to myself, while realizing there are times I take my gift for granted.
I would like to say that everyone’s pets loved them, but, unfortunately, some animals merely tolerate their people while wishing their lives with their humans were more active, more healthy, more peaceful, or more fun. In my experience people gauge love by how much an animal touches their human, how excited the animal appears to be when their person arrives home, and how close the animal sits to their human. These are sure signs your animal loves you, but not all animals express their love in these ways.
I know what people want. There is no doubt that Stormy, my Australian shepherd, loves every person he meets. He wags his body, he looks endearingly into a stranger’s eyes, he rests his head on people’s knees, and he looks mournful when they leave. I have watched strangers break into a smile when Stormy meets their eyes.
But I know other animals whose bodies are in pain so they restrain themselves from getting up to greet their humans. I know animals that love their people, but get headaches, so they sit in the dark instead of sitting in the general vicinity of their humans. I know animals that feel so dignified that they would rather exhibit independence. Though you might not know it, these same animals have heartfelt gratitude for their people’s kindness.
Every animal shows his or her love differently. If the animals do not have personalities like Stormy’s, how do we know if they love us? My animals may contribute their thoughts to this topic:
Makia my cat says, “If one of my humans friends that I love is sad I appear in the room with them. I won’t necessarily go to them but I will walk into the room so they don’t feel alone.”
Serafina my cat says, “I think people should have company when they eat. So I go to them when they are eating. Sometimes I rush to the door when they come into the house, but if they are busy in their heads, they may not notice.”
Joey my cat says, “I think people should look for eye contact. Even if your animal is far away they may look at you when you are thinking about something important. They may just say with a glance, ‘I understand. You are not alone and I agree with you.'”
Stormy says, “Sometimes, with my friend Lynda, I will say, ‘Let’s walk today,’ and then we will just go be together, and I listen to what she has to say. If you can’t hear me you would have no idea I am listening. You would think I am just sniffing gopher holes. So sometimes animals are talking to you and listening even though you are clueless of that fact. Ask them to give you a sign. I usually look at Lynda for a moment to let her know I heard her.”
Bean, my bunny, says, “Sometimes I want to bite people cause I am scared. Usually I tell people I love them by trying extra hard not to bite them. I may freeze and look at them with one ear tilted forward and one ear back. If I really like you I will run and kick my butt out. You know how much I love by how much fun I look like I am having in your presence.”
Maia, my wolf dog in heaven says, “This is a good test of whether your pet loves you or not. Find a time when your pet is comfortably lying down relaxing. Go into the same room as them and sit down. Be respectful of their space. Do not sit too close. Close your eyes and meditate. If your pet stays relaxed and comfortable then they love you. If your pet leaves the room, then you have some work to do in improving your relationship with your animal. You will then need to ask yourself, ‘What does my pet need that I am not giving them?’”