How to Help Calm Your Animal Companions During an Evacuation
My community is on fire. More than 75,000 people have been evacuated and the fire is only at 13% containment after almost a week. I have been volunteering animal communication and healing for evacuated animals at our County fairgrounds and have been sharing the following tips with evacuees. It's important to understand how your animal thinks and feels during an event like this to prepare your animals if the time ever comes:
Be aware that our animals understand everything we say and even what we think. They, like us, are worried about their future when an evacuation occurs. Explain what is happening and reassure your animal frequently that they are safe, you will remain together and that the evacuation is temporary.
Be aware that our animals are incredibly sensitive to our feelings and can take our stresses and anxieties on in an attempt to heal and support us. Do whatever you can to stay as grounded and present as possible (see below) and do your best to minimize spinning thoughts.
A simple way to ground is to place your bare feet in the soil for a short while. You can also put your palm over the crown of your head for a minute or more or visualize yourself as a tall, strong tree with roots going five miles down and five miles out. Using our physical senses grounds us-focus on six things you can see, five things you can hear, four things you can smell, three that you can feel etc.
Spend time sitting quietly with your animals as often as possible. When our thoughts are running, we are up in our heads and not present in our bodies. Bringing ourselves back into a quieter mental space will support your animal in doing the same. Meditate with them if you are able and, if not, simply sit quietly and breathe. Think of your thoughts as passing clouds-you may not be able to stop them, but you can choose whether to engage with them. You can imagine your heart opening and inviting your animal in.
Some animals may benefit from a thunder shirt. If your animal is not too highly sensitized, grooming/brushing, etc. can help bring peace and calm.
Homeopathic calming aids can be incredibly helpful. Flower essences are an excellent and safer alternative to essential oils and do not interact with medications. Check in with your vet to ensure there are no contraindications for your animals. Local health food stores carry them. Animal Relief Formula is calming and my go to in highly stressful situations. Five Flower Formula is an alternative if you can’t find it and Bach Rescue Remedy would be a third choice. Get the drops, not the spray.
Dosages for flower essences are four drops, four times a day. You can place the drops on a treat, in food or rub them in our hands and “pet” the essence on. I like the chest area, where the animals’ heart chakra is located.