Backyard Sheds

Body, Mind & Spirit: Pet medicine


By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

To experience the unconditional love of a pet during trying times is to know a connection to another living creature that is deeper than any other that I’ve ever known in the non-human world.

It’s a relationship that is expressed with a sincerity that transcends the spoken word. Didn’t matter how much emotion I unleashed during the hardest of days after I had surgery, my little ones were there at my side, snuggling, giving me the connection that I needed to know I was not alone. Their actions said, “Go ahead and cry your head off and take all the time you need, we’re here!” 

That’s what “pet medicine” is. They knew I needed them to just “be there.”

Oftentimes, there were those incredibly generous occasions when I was also offered their most precious possessions known as their “baby” toys that were dropped on my sobbing chest in a gesture that said… “Here, Momma, you can play with these until you feel better.” 

Without fail, that drew me right out of the depth of emotion and brought a sincere smile to my face that healed the wound that had broken open at that moment. My smile warmed their hearts and got their tails wagging exuberantly. They and I knew all was well, at least for now.

So, what is this magical elixir? The nectar that fuels the psychological need to be shown love without the actual words that might be said by another, human or pet?

In my field of work, whereby I delve into what’s known as “energy medicine,” I’ve learned the power of just being with another as a witness to an experience. I’ve been just that… a version of “pet medicine.” I may not wag my invisible tail, but I definitely can show love and support through eye contact and a gesture that says “I’m here for you,” by sitting quietly and matching the breathing pattern of the person I’m working with.

Eventually, that closeness and the calming of both of our energies results in a shift of complacency and trust.

This is the duality of being on the needing side of compassion and actively just “being” alongside.

Obviously, our pets, in this case my two pups, came with this program already installed and they showed me how much they were capable of by helping me to get through a really tough time by just having them with me.

Of course, my gratitude was shown by perhaps giving back an extra treat of two, which only tends to happen on the holidays.

Could this be their motivation? I doubt it, but it has left me wondering.

Pat Larsen is a fitness instructor bringing Baby Boomers and seniors music and movement mornings at The Shamrock House, in East Durham. She also is a certified clinical hypnotherapist working in Greene County to uncover solutions to help those seeking to live their best life at any age. Contact Pat at 518-275-8686 or via email at, or on Facebook at Pat Larsen. 

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