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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January Theme: "Within" Volume 1 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Using Flower Essences with Animals:
Healing the Inner Kitten

By Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM

Flower essences (remedies) are specially prepared extracts of the flowering parts of certain plants. They work through energy fields to heal stress and disease from the inside. Flower essences were first developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician who gave up his busy practice to study and prepare the 38 flower essences which now bear his name.

Dr. Bach believed each of us has a divine mission on earth, which we can discern through listening to our own instincts, wishes, thoughts, and desires. He also believed all disease is the result of disharmony between the soul and the mind. This occurs through allowing other people to interfere with the true course of our lives. Such interferences are not in themselves evil or malicious; they may be well-meaning, such as a friend who expresses concern about an action we plan to take. It is our response to them - the "permission" we give them to disturb us - which causes the inner disharmony. True causes of disease include fear, doubt, indecision, indifference, impatience, and grief.

The flower essences heal underlying negative emotional states by "flooding" the patient with the opposite, positive quality. For example, the essence of Holly is love. Use Holly in any situation where there is a lack of love, such as anger, jealousy or rage. Similarly, the essence of Rock Rose is courage: it is helpful in cases of deep fears, panic, and terror.

In terms of Dr. Bach's philosophy, it is easy to see how animals are similarly diverted from their "true course." We forcibly wean them, take them from their families, and train them to exist with their human companions by altering or suppressing natural behaviours - even to the extent of surgery, such as spaying and neutering (or in extreme cases, mutilation such as de-clawing or de-barking). We are not being unkind or arbitrary when we require our animal companions to use the litter box instead of the carpet, or refrain from biting, scratching, bucking, or flying out the window. Our animal companions must make these necessary accommodations in order to share our lives. It is, however, not entirely natural.

In humans, mental and emotional upset can have lasting physical effects. The cause, however, is internal, and we must heal from the inside. Animals too, have an active mental and emotional life. Therefore, they can similarly manifest not only behavioural but also physical problems, which have their roots in emotional stress. Stress-related conditions in animals include asthma, urinary tract problems, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhoea). Of course, there may be underlying physical causes for these diseases, but acute flare-ups are very often due to emotional stress.

Behaviour problems such as chronic barking, litter box avoidance, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, separation anxiety, and inter-animal conflicts usually have an emotional component and are treatable with flower essences.

Fear issues are very easily treated with flower essences. For example, Mandy was a little grey cat adopted from a shelter. She spent the first two weeks in her new home under the dresser, coming out only in the middle of the night to eat and use the litterbox. Her guardian gave her a flower essence combination including Mimulus (confidence; releases specific fears), Larch (self-esteem; for low self-confidence), Aspen (groundedness; ameliorates vague fears), and Rescue Remedy (a 5-flower combination to treat severe panic). She reported that within two hours the cat was out exploring the house.

In another case, JoJo was grieving the loss of his canine companion, who had died. He would sit mournfully at the top of the stairs waiting for the dog to come bounding up as she always had. A flower essence combination of Water Violet (joy; for grief), Honeysuckle (adjustment; to stop living in the past), and Walnut (adaptability; to make transitions) helped JoJo get over his sorrow and interact with the family again.

Sissy had licked her tummy bare as a stress response to her guardian working extra-long hours. She was given a combination of Beech (tolerance; promotes gracious acceptance), Chicory (selfless love; reduces neediness), Elm (composure; for feeling overwhelmed), Red Chestnut (trust; to alleviate worries about others), and Vervain (moderation; to restore balance), and soon the hair grew back normally.

When choosing essences, remember our pets often mirror us, and essences appropriate for our animal companions are often the ones we need, too.

To make up your own combination, use 2 drops of each desired flower essence (up to 7) to one ounce of water; for Rescue Remedy add 4 drops per ounce of water. You can add up to 25% vodka as a preservative.

Give essences by mouth, or in food or water. Just a few drops (3-5) at a time are sufficient. To increase the effect, give more often rather than more volume. Add a dropper-full to a spray bottle filled with spring water, and use it to spray a room, carrier, car, or around litter boxes. Or put a few drops in your hand and massage around the head and ears.

Since the essences act energetically, not physically, they are completely safe and non-toxic. They cannot be overused or misused, and are compatible with all other treatments. Even if you give the wrong remedy, it will not have any negative effects, but simply no effect. This allows us to use flower essences in food and water bowls, even when several animals share them.

Since Dr. Bach's time, many other essences have been created, not only from flowers, but also from gems, minerals, animals, butterflies, lakes, stars, celestial phenomena, and Ascended Masters. There are now essences from Australia, South America, Alaska, and other points around the world, and pre-mixed formulas are available from many companies for both people and pets.

Dr. Jean Hofve has been a holistic veterinarian for more than 9 years. She founded SpiritEssence in 1995, which remains the only line of essence formulas for animals created by a veterinarian. Dr. Hofve does health, nutrition, and behavior consultations through www.littlebigcat.com.

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