Myself and any animal lover will tell you, animals have feelings, too. They may not be able to talk about them, but if you watch their behavior and get to know them, you will soon be able to recognize their subtle changes of emotion.
Even without words, animals express their emotions clearly. When emotionally upsetting events occur, animals can suffer from trapped emotions just as people can.
Here is an incredible story that Dr. Bradley Nelson has shared with many of us and is based upon a personal experience he had:
Twiggs Gets Dognapped
A little Lhasa Apso named Twiggs is a perfect example. His owners, Brett and Cathy, told me his story when they brought him in.
A few months before, they had all been taking a walk together in the foothills near San Juan Capistrano. Twiggs, who was very inquisitive and loved to go exploring, had trotted off down the trail about 50 or 60 feet in front of them. Suddenly, there was a rustling of leaves and a coyote emerged from the brush along the trail. A heartbeat later, the coyote was running away with Twiggs in his jaws. Brett and Cathy barely had time to move before he was gone. They chased the coyote into the trees, but there was nothing they could do.
Going back home, broken hearted, they resigned themselves to the loss of their dog. They were still grieving four days later, when Twiggs showed up on their doorstep. He stood there quivering, his hair all matted and bloody, glad to be home. They rushed him to the animal hospital, where the vet stitched up his wounds, gave him antibiotics, and saved his life.
“It was like a miracle,” Cathy said, stroking Twiggs, as she held him snugly in her arms. “We were so relieved!”
“So what seems to be the problem?” I asked.
“He’s just not the same dog any more,” Brett explained. “He never barks or chases anything. He seems to have lost his interest in life.”
“And he shakes all the time,” Cathy said, holding Twiggs up so I could see how much he was trembling.
“The vet says it might be neurological damage,” Brett added. “He said there’s nothing he can do. It’s probably permanent.”
Cathy set Twiggs down on the table, so I could examine him. I checked for misalignments in the spine. I found a few, as I had expected, and adjusted them.
“The thing is,” Cathy said, “We’re wondering if we should put him down….”
“His quality of life just isn’t very good any more,” Brett said. “He never barks or runs around like he used to. We have to carry him everywhere. His curiosity is gone. He just seems like he’s suffering all the time.”
We all looked at Twiggs, sitting on the adjusting table, shivering, with a miserable, frightened look in his eyes.
I could only imagine the terror he must have experienced when he was attacked and carried off, and decided it was likely he was suffering from a trapped emotion. After getting permission from Brett and Cathy, I explained surrogate testing and asked one of them to act as surrogate for Twiggs.
When I asked if he had a trapped emotion, the answer was “Yes.” I assumed that the emotion would be fear or terror. As I narrowed the list of emotions, what turned up was surprising. The emotion that filled this little dog’s heart and soul at the time it was being carried off by the coyote wasn’t terror, or anything like that. It was sadness.
As he was being carried off in the jaws of the coyote, all Twiggs could think about was that he was never going to see Brett and Cathy again, and the thought overwhelmed him with sadness.
Once we identified the trapped emotion, I quickly released it with a magnet and the treatment was over.
When I set Twiggs down on the floor, he took off like a speeding bullet! He ran down the hall and into the waiting room. When he had first come into that waiting room, in Cathy’s arms, he’d been shivering so hard, he hadn’t seemed to notice any of the people there. Now, he greeted each patient with several nice, healthy barks. Then he rushed down the hall and stuck his head into every room, barking at least once, before he finally ended up in front of Brett and Cathy, happily wagging his tail.
It was an amazing, instantaneous transformation. We were all astonished and touched by this miraculous healing. According to his owners, Twiggs stopped shaking from that moment and his charming, inquisitive personality returned. The great thing about testing animals for trapped emotions is that what you see is what you get. Animals don’t pretend they’re feeling better just to make you happy. Often the effect is immediate, and quite profound.
Twiggs seemed to know that we were trying to help him. And when he suddenly felt better, the change was obvious to everyone!