Animals love flower essences! Learn how to use flower essences to help your pet with issues like barking, separation anxiety, and general household stress.
Flower Essences discussed during the show:
- Pink Yarrow – FES
- Animal Care – Alaskan Essences
- Vervain – Healing Herbs
- Guardian – Alaskan Essences
- Star of Bethlehem – Healing Herbs
- Northern Lady’s Slipper – Alaskan Essences
- Grove Sandwort – Alaskan Essences
- Holly – Healing Herbs
- Kousa Dogwood Bud – Flora of Asia
- Grounding Green – FES
- Tellington TTouch – website, many excellent books and video
- Flower Essences for You and Your Pets Class, November 10th at Gathering Thyme, San Rafael, CA
- The North American Flower Essences For Pets, Laura Cutullo, book
- Bach Flower Remedies for Dogs, Martin J Scott and Gael Mariani, book
- Bach Flower Remedies for Animals, Helen Graham and Gregory Vlamis, book
- Treating Animal Illness and Emotional States with Flower Essence Remedies, Jessica Bear and Tricia Lewis, book
Rochana Felde [00:00:39] Welcome to the Flower Essence Podcast. Welcome back to those who’ve been listening. And thank you so much for the positive feedback you’ve given us so far. We truly love doing this. I’m Rochana Felde and on this podcast we’re going to change the format a little. Our topic is Flower Essences for pets. And since Kathleen is an expert in this area, I’m going to interview her and I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot right along with you.
Kathleen Aspenns has been a flower essence practitioner for over a decade, creating the Flora of Asia flower essence line in the process. What some people may not know is that in addition to working with people, she has an even longer history working with animals. She’s trained in multiple animal wellness therapies and specializes in using flower essences for pets and their owners. So today, Kathleen, maybe we could just start out with you telling us a little bit more about your background working with animals.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:01:45] I’d be happy to. Animals are always my first love. And I think that when I first started studying flower essences, I was really certain that I was only going to work with animals. And when I started to do the certification work, where I trained with Jane Bell, and was certified through the Alaskan Flower Essence project. When I first started do that certification work I really realized that it would be much easier for all of the paperwork and the case studies to do it with people. And so I first started working with people actually as part of the certification, and I discovered that I really loved it. It was quite a surprise to me. So I’ve always been interested in working with animals. Animals have been absolutely a first love from my very early earliest memories. When I was a young girl, I thought that for sure I’d become a veterinarian in high school. And then for almost 10 years after that, during that time and after I worked as a veterinary technician with small animals and exotics. So I got a lot of experience in handling animals in that way. And it really at some point I really realized that it was kind of hurting my heart to work with animals that way, because so much of what’s done in veterinary medicine is.. You’re restraining them and doing treatments to them and using injections and all sorts of things. And there’s a lot of times you’re missing out on the sentience of the being. And it’s just a tough thing to do. Medicine itself is kind of invasive to the body. And I just really realized that that wasn’t the right thing for me to do. And I’ve moved on since then. I’ve trained extensively with Linda Tellington Jones for an equine TTouch certification. And I absolutely adore that method. And since starting to work with her, I really recognized how aligned I am with her philosophy and her system, because we’re always working with the intelligence of the horse and we’re never forcing. We’re never pressuring. We’re always trying to work with the horse’s ability to offer. So I just feel like that was a wonderful reset for me to be able to recognize that there was a different way of working with animals that didn’t involve force or coercion. Instead, we can work with the intelligence of the creature and help them live their lives better with that, with less conflict and fear. I think so much of of the behavior type work that we always think of with animals is about managing problem behaviors. And there’s a lot of coercion that happens there. It’s a lot of, you know, shut up and do what I say. And I think that it really relates to me personally, because that was a lot of my upbringing that I was essentially treated like a non sentient being and told to essentially shut up and do what I was told. So I can really relate to how animals feel from just an absolute soul level of recognizing this experience, and how I want to help things be better. And I think flower essences are just one more way that we can help our animals feel better in themselves, overcome things like traumatic experiences. And those traumatic experiences can be just ordinary things, like we think of an animal who was a shelter animal or a rescued animal, and their childhood was probably pretty traumatic. If you just think about the reality of that. And so I think that working with animals with essences is a really natural fit and can really help enormously with really common issues in the same way that it does with people. And I think that’s really what astonished me when I first started working with people, that I started realizing just how much we overlap. I’d always looked at animals, noticing this is what’s going on. This is what’s going on with with him or her. And then realizing that people have the same feelings, have the same struggles and challenges. We just talk about them differently because we talk about them and animals just act. So by watching people and seeing what they’re doing, I can kind of reverse engineer where the behavior is coming from. “Oh, you had a tough childhood, too.”
Rochana Felde [00:06:23] That’s really interesting. Can you tell us a little more about that TTouch method that you touched on?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:06:30] Yes, it’s the stutter. The Tellington TTouch Method is a type of bodywork, essentially, that was created by Linda Tellington Jones. She trained with Moshe Feldenkrais. And so a lot of the philosophy and the way that we work with the horses comes out of that work. It’s a very gentle form of body work that focuses on helping to restore healthy function to the movement, but also recognizes that through gentle movements of of the skin, essentially we’re really moving the skin rather than doing a deeper type of body work, we’re able to unlock areas that have gotten stuck, or from pain, and help them to release. So it releases on all the levels, on the physical, on the emotional and also on the mental level for the horses. We’re all one thing, right? You know, we can have something stuck in our bodies. But it’s also stuck in our emotions and it’s also stuck in our mind. So TTouch is a type of work that includes the body work of which there’s quite a lot. And then also has some types of groundwork. And then there’s also some ridden instruction. My practice is primarily in helping empower people to learn the body work because it’s a very gentle and accessible way of working with the body so that they can be really empowered in working with their own animals and they develop these tools that they can always keep with themselves.
Rochana Felde [00:08:01] Now, is this something that can be used with other animals besides horses?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:08:06] Yes, it’s been wonderfully developed with other types of animals, companion animals. They hold trainings for dogs and cats and other companion animals. And there are people who are doing it with llamas and all sorts of other animals. So it’s really it works with all animals. And there’s also a human form as well, of course, because we are animals, too. Right. My certification is with horses exclusively. So that’s the sort of work that I practice.
Rochana Felde [00:08:35] And do you combine Flower Essence Therapy with that for the horses?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:08:41] Absolutely. I think that it’s something that I bring to everything that I do is the notion and consciousness of how the flowers can help. So it’s one of those things that you can layer in. And I know that there are a lot of other practitioners who do other types of therapies and add in flower essences because it’s just so incredibly healing. I love to do flower essences for the animal and then also for the person, because so often there are a lot of overlapping issues.
Rochana Felde [00:09:09] Right. And I’ve heard that when you’re giving your pet a flower essence, that the owner should take the same one. Is that exactly right?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:09:23] I think that it’s really a good idea. Very often when I’m talking to somebody and, you know, sometimes the pet brings them to me. Right. The pets are pretty smart and they’re like, “I know how to get help from my person”. And the person would come to me and ask about something for their pet and we’d be working up the case on on their pet and then I’d start talking about some of the essences that might be really useful. This essence, that essence, in describing what they do and then the person will you know, more often than not, will say, “oh, that sounds like something I could use, too”. And, you know, it’s just absolutely true that we are so aligned with our animals that very often the right essence for them is the right essence for us to.
Rochana Felde [00:10:08] Amazing.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:10:09] It is. It’s astonishing if you don’t really think about it and if you think about it, you know.. Well, of course, of course they would share. They share our lives with us. And they’re so empathic. And they absolutely are here to help us and take care of us and to love us. And so they will take on things or often we will be attracted to animals that have similar issues so that we can start working them out. You know, if you’re thinking about it kind of on a soul level, we develop partners to help us work out our issues.
Rochana Felde [00:10:43] That makes a lot of sense to me. And you do hear about animals taking on the diseases of the owners? That’s a thought, a belief that some people have. What do you think about that?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:10:55] I think it does happen. I think that it’s also it’s really tricky because then we’re going to start dumping a bunch of guilt on top of the person. And, you know, we’re all just doing our best. And the pets are doing their best too. And so sometimes we can have a conversation with the pet of, you know, you can let this go and you don’t have to take it on. And there are essences that are very, very helpful for that. So when you’ve got a situation where the pet is is manifesting something and you’re thinking, “oh, no, maybe, maybe I’ve given it to my pet” or maybe they’ve taken it on for me in in love and kindness, I guess. And yet, you know, that would be it’s like our worst nightmare as somebody who loves our animals. I love to use Pink Yarrow, which is such a beautiful sort of de-enmesher, if that’s a word which I don’t think it is. But it’s one of those things where energetically we get really tightly aligned with our animals and they get tightly aligned with us. And so using something like Pink Yarrow can help to sort of create a boundary between us, not a not a boundary like a wall, but a.. “This is my stuff. This is your stuff. I don’t have to take on your stuff”. I think Pink Yarrow is one of the most common essences that I reached for in situations of people and animals and people and people, because many relationships…children and their parents and, you know, two spouses or coworkers or whatever, think Pink Yarrow. It’s kind of like “Just take Pink Yarrow, just take it.”
Rochana Felde [00:12:30] Yeah. I wanted to find out more about what conditions with animals do Flower Essences do well for?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:12:44] You know what.. What don’t they do? Well, like with people once you start really opening up what the issue might be, then things start to become more clear. A lot of times just because the way that we’re trained, Western thinking, we look at the symptom or the problem. You know, my dog is barking. Make that stop. And instead, what we’ll do as part of a consultation and exploring the issue is when is he barking? Why is he barking? What is he trying to get out of this barking? And sometimes it starts to become quite clear that the issue is that they feel really insecure or that they’re overstimulated and all of those things.. When we really get down to the root of them, that’s when you can start to become more precise in the use of essences and making sure that you’re getting just the right ones for that.
Rochana Felde [00:13:40] That makes a lot of sense. Just like with working with people getting to that root cause.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:13:46] Yeah, there are some nice umbrella types of remedies that can be a good starting place where you can see if it’s easily shifted, then sometimes.. those essences.. Like I love Animal Care from the Alaskan essences. That’s such a great formula. Just sort of as a blanket remedy. It was created by a veterinarian in Brazil using flowers from the Alaskan essences. And I find that it’s a helpful crisis formula that you can pull out whenever you have an animal crisis. And then when you’ve gotten through the crisis time, and you can look a little more at what might be underlying that, you can pull out some specific essences as well.
Rochana Felde [00:14:33] With pets and animals, I mean, like you said, they don’t speak. So sometimes it might be challenging to kind of figure out why they’re feeling a certain way or why they might be having a certain behavior. I mean, obviously, if they’re barking when the owner isn’t home, I mean, they’re missing the owner and they’re feeling alone. I’m assuming. So maybe there’s some that aren’t so straightforward. And how do you determine what’s going on with that animal?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:15:08] I think a lot of times they might not be straightforward, because just from a description of this topic, of the pet barking when you’re not home.. I think that it’s important to look at the breeding of the animal, the genetics of the animal as a starting point. What was that dog bred to do? If you have a border collie who’s in an apartment and they’re barking all day, they might have a different motivation then maybe a small toy breed or some other kind of dog. So that can be a good starting point to kind of feeling into what this animal’s motivation might be.
Rochana Felde [00:15:52] That’s such a good point. I mean, there’s dogs, sheep dogs that have been bred to bark all night long for keeping away predators. And there’s guard dogs that have been bred to protect the homestead. So that makes a lot of sense.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:16:13] It’s so interesting, isn’t it, that a lot of times we just think of it as a dog if we don’t know better. And then it’s really helpful to recognize that just like kids, you know, that one kid is not like another kid. One child might have a predilection for being the great organizer of a classroom and helping all the kids play along. And then maybe one kid just wants to be off by themselves. Kind of getting into their own little experiments. And if you look at the dogs or other pets in the same way, they all have their their reason for being here. You know, some of them are just really wanting to be with us. And some of them love to have jobs. So if you’ve got a dog that’s a herding breed, they’re accustomed to having a job. And it’s going to be really tough to turn them into a sofa lump and hang out all day, not really doing anything. That’s just not really what they’re designed to do. But I do work with dogs that are overly fired up. Even a border collie that gets a lot of exercise or a lot of mental stimulation from their person might also still need some help calming down. They can get a little over revved up. You know, we do, too. We can get over revved up on our lives and want to control everything and bark at everybody all the time. So the calming remedies can be really beneficial. I think of Vervain for those mentally driven, focused dogs that want to run the world. Vervain can help calm that herding quality down and help settle them down so that they’re not quite as over-revved by the world. It’s also really good to have a conversation with your pet. You know, sometimes they don’t understand what we expect their job to be and they’re thinking “my job is to manage the whole world that I can see, everything outside of my house needs to be barked at and everything that comes in or out needs to be barked at. Because I’m here to take care of everything.” And if you can literally have a conversation with them, as you would with a child. You know, at the same level of very simple conversation saying, you know what? I’m the adult here. I run the house. What I want you to do is this. And then the person can realise how it’s a lot of responsibility to run a whole house. And the dog’s just kind of taken it on themselves.
Rochana Felde [00:18:58] What are some other ways? I mean, are there other techniques for choosing what essences to use for pets besides, you know, are they part of the process? How do they let you know what’s going to be the right remedy for them?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:19:13] I love this question because it’s so important to get the buy in from the animal. The animals you know, they’ve got all of their senses operational, and we’ve decided that the only senses are the five senses that we know and animals can pick up on energies of things way more easily than we do. We think it’s just a bottle and there’s no smell and there couldn’t possibly be anything that they could pick up on. But I’ll tell you, if you show one bottle or another bottle of a closed flower essence, there’s no possible way that they’re picking up on anything except for the energy. And they can tell the two apart very easily. And a lot of times, if you if you have the ability to show an essence to your pet, if you’ve got it on hand and you’re thinking this one might be the thing or this one might be the thing, if you literally just show it to them and put it up to their nose… You’ll find that they’ll be very interested in the one that’s the right fit. And they will sort of turn their nose, or walk away, or just show you they’re not interested in the other ones. It’s wonderful to let your animal make the choice.
Rochana Felde [00:20:27] I’ve heard about that and I watched a webinar where they did that with essential oils, actually a practitioner. I forget her name, but she’s an expert in working with animals with essential oils. And it was phenomenal, the videos, the way that that the dog or the pet would go to the one that that was for them. I was just really blown away by it. So it makes sense. But of course, I was thinking at the time, well, you know, they have such a heightened sense of smell. They are using that to know what’s right. So it’s really interesting to hear that they do that with flower essences completely based on the energy.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:21:12] Yes. I when I first experienced it a few times, I went, oh, wow, that really does work because, you know, I’ve done it with my own animals because I have such a collection and I can sort of pull them out and show them to them. I can just, you know, line up 10 on in my hand and sort of show one at a time. And he goes, nope, no, not for me. And then the next one. Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. And you could just run through a through a line of possibilities really quickly and easily if you’ve got them on hand. If you don’t and you’re looking for other ways of determining what flower essences your pet might need, you know, repertories are very helpful. There are some good resources and I know that we’re going to put those in the show notes, of some books that are available on flower essences for animals. But it’s really about the assessment process of why your pet is doing what it’s doing and not just, for example, essences for barking, because it’s really useful to get in your animals paws and see what might be happening. Why would they be doing this at this time, at this place? You’re really trying to break down the behavior of..is this happening only when somebody comes over, OK? Is it one particular person or is it anyone coming in your house? And each one of those little points is going to help you differentiate whether maybe your pet is doesn’t like one particular person which could be a sign to you, that maybe this person is a little sketchy or they could have their own reasons that, you know, this person reminds them of somebody they used to know that was upsetting to them. And you can work with it that way. Or, if they don’t feel safe in their home, they feel like they’re being constantly invaded. That’s a different kind of a thing that that would be something that I would be thinking of using an essence, probably starting with Guardian. You know, the Alaskan Combination formula of Guardian to help them feel really secure in themselves and feeling really secure in their space because, you know, that’s their home, too. And they didn’t open the door and let somebody in. They may need to know, OK, this person is just gonna be here for a little while and then, you know, they’ll go home again. The animals don’t understand. I catch myself all the time forgetting to explain what’s happening to my pets. And I feel bad, like I should have just had a conversation to let them know, OK, this is happening now. We’re gonna go for a ride in the car. We’ll be back. And you know, I like to always explain when I’m leaving, how long I’ll be gone, when I’ll be back, that we’ll be back in time for dinner. Really important detail, those sorts of things. Talking to your animals is just such.. Please just do it.
Rochana Felde [00:23:52] Oh, my gosh. I talk to my dog so much. I know people must think that if they were to ever hear me. It’s hilarious.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:24:00] Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s like, why should we care what they say? Look at this. This is this is a sentient being with whom I have a relationship. And why on earth wouldn’t you talk to them?
Rochana Felde [00:24:14] I know, right? It’s pretty crazy. What are some other ways that you give the essences to or apply the essences to animals?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:24:25] You can use all of the possible ways. And if you’re working with an animal that you know, the essence is going to be of help for them, for them for a period of time. Go ahead and give it to them directly. So, directly could be that you put a drop or two on a treat. If they’ll take it from your hand. You can put essences in the drinking water and refresh that daily. That’s a really good way to get essences into your pets. And also, it’s totally fine for your other animals to drink that water too, because the way the essences work. They work on resonance. So anything that’s not a fit really just passes right through them. And you won’t have any sort of contraindications or problems. You can just put it all in the water. One of the really, really wonderful ways that carers can help their animal is to, be thinking about it, and using yourself, too. That’s a really good thing. A lot of times these formulas are really wonderful to share. If you’ve come up with a formula for your pet, so take a drop as you give a drop or two to your pet, as you hold them, as you give them a little treat, give them some love. That’s such a beautiful bonding experience. I remember I worked with a really interesting dog, a mastiff and just a fascinating personality, very strong personality of a dog. And I had to work with her a little bit on that because, when she got the formula, he refused to take it. I’d never had that happen before. He wouldn’t touch food that had it in it. He wouldn’t take a treat from her no matter how delicious the treat was with the drops on it. What changed his mind about it was when she took it, too. Yeah. It was really interesting. I’ve never seen it before and not since. But he wouldn’t take it until she took it too. So it was an interesting character and it was really quite cool to see how he knew that she could really use those essences too. But taking essences with your pet is really beautiful healing for both of you. So this is something that’s really nice with kitties is, if you’re using the essences, you can put drops on your hands and pet them onto them. A lot of times if the kitty is a cuddler, that’s a really beautiful way to get essences. They don’t have to go inside the body. They’re not.. You know, it’s not medicine. It’s energy medicine. And so it doesn’t really matter how many drops go in them. It’s more, how often you offer that that energy to your pet. So usually I recommend twice a day and that’s usually sufficient. But being able to rub it, you know, just put it on your hand and just pet it into their field. Essentially, you’re just putting it on. Usually I recommend the top line, you know, pet the head, maybe the ears and down the spine. It’s really a lovely way to give essences for your pet.
Rochana Felde [00:27:27] I made a glycerin flower essence blend, with glycerin recently for my dog. And she just absolutely loves it. I put a couple drops on my the palm of my hand and she loves licking it off the palm of my hand. And I feel like that’s that I’m getting it that way as well. Like I’m getting it topically. Well, she’s getting it internally. That’s the kind of in a nice way to share that moment. And now whenever she is, this is just so great, because whenever I pull out a little bottle with a dropper top, she’s looking to see if she’s going to get her meds.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:28:07] Isn’t that sweet? They really do ask for their essences, a lot of times they line up like “it’s time for my essences. Thank you very much”. And yes, being able to put it on your hand and have her take it from you that way. That’s really beautiful. And I know that you when you make a dosage bottle with glycerin, it’s not pure glycerin as the preservative. That’s one of the reasons why a lot of times I use an alcohol preservative in my dosage bottles for animals. So you have the option of doing topical. Because if you’re using glycerin, it’ll make them pretty sticky. And that’s certainly not great.
Rochana Felde [00:28:42] Yeah. The glycerin needed to preserve it is too much for a skin application for it, whether it’s animals or humans in cosmetic formulation, 5 percent glycerin would be the max you’d ever put in a cream or formula because it is so sticky. But what about the alcohol formulations? Great for topical. Some people have concerns about that alcohol internally. What are your thoughts on that?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:29:10] Yeah, I think it depends on the animal. You know, if you’re if you’re working with a 100 pound dog using a 20 percent alcohol, you know, two drops or four drops is probably not enough to cause any issues. But if you are concerned or you’re working with the smaller animal, having those drops be in their water bowl is a very, very low amount of alcohol. The alcohol is there just as a preservative to keep things from going funky in the bottle. So it does have to be there. Another option for the alcohol concerned would be to create a little tiny bowl with a few drops of the formula. You know, a little egg cup or something like that and just pour a bunch of water in there and stir around. And you’ve got potentized water, and you can dip treats in that and then hand that to them. And that way they’re getting a very small amount, a minuscule amount of alcohol, but they’re getting the essences, which is the important part.
Rochana Felde [00:30:16] Yeah. And you can also put it put it in their food. Right. It doesn’t have to be the water. So that’s another way to balance that out, the ingestion.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:30:25] Yeah, it’s always a part of the conversation when I’m working with a client of what their animal likes and what fits in well with their lifestyle and what’s sustainable for them to work with over a period of time to get the essences into the pet. So each animal is really different. Some cats are incredibly picky and they only eat dry food and you don’t know when they’re going to eat it. And in that case, putting drops in their food is probably not all that helpful. I’d really like to have it be wet and not have the essences dry out because I’m just not certain that they’re gonna get what they need. If the essence is just kind of dried into a puddle at the bottom of the bowl and they didn’t really get them. So that’s one of the concerns that I have in that sort of situation. And in that sort of situation I ask “Can you touch your kitty?” If so, let’s do topical. Let’s put it onto them. That’s a beautiful way to give the essences. Another concern that I have with putting in the food depends on the animal. If you’ve got an animal like my little dogs who get super excited about dinner time, they go bonkers. They’re not really in a calm, receptive state. So the essences can bounce off of them probably. I try to give it to them at other times that they aren’t quite so excited.
Rochana Felde [00:31:41] Wow. I didn’t consider that. That makes a lot of sense. How interesting.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:31:45] And the same thing goes with horses. You know, it depends if you’re working with a horse that’s you know, everything is a little bit of a balancing act. You try to do the best you can. A lot of times people who have horses don’t live with their horses. The horse is boarded out and they might see them once a day or perhaps even less often. And then we figure out, OK, what’s the best route? How often can we get essences into your horse? And if they need to be given to them by the carers by just putting some drops in the grain as they grain the horse or some other way, that’s fine. But if the horse is super excited about grain and all the horses in the barn are going crazy because it’s time for dinner, it’s probably not the ideal situation. And we might try to find another way to get essences into their horse then.
Rochana Felde [00:32:33] What are some common issues that you see in your practice with dogs, cats and other animals?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:32:44] I think the biggest issue that I’m always on the lookout for is separation anxiety, because I think weaning trauma is a very, very significant problem probably for all mammals. And that includes human mammals, right? Any sort of disruption in that bonding process and in the weaning process, having to change into a more autonomous being. If that was stressful at all for the animal, it can cause lifelong repercussions. And I see separation anxiety as being a part of that issue. It’s something that I’ve just I’ve seen so often. I work with so often. It happens with dogs when, you know, especially if the dog was in some sort of a breeding program rather than in a home and the puppies were just force weaned. Even if they had their litter to hang out with, it’s still really traumatic. I see it a lot with horses, with race horses. Fortunately, the breeders and I think the consciousness is starting to develop a little bit more and it’s not as hard as it used to be. They don’t force them as much, but it used to just be that they would just pull them away from mom and just haul them off to somewhere else. And all the babies would just be absolutely bereft and the mothers would be bereft, too. It’s really traumatic. For quite a few years I was working with the local Bay Area zoo, working with some of their animals. And the way that the giraffes had to be weaned was literally once they got to be too old they couldn’t even fit in a trailer anymore to get down the highway. And so they had to just pull them off of mom, put him in the trailer at a certain age when they were still quite young. And that was the weaning process. They just got in the trailer and then went to their new home that they’d have forever, just because literally the height issue of not being able to fit into a trailer and not be able to go under bridges. So that was the experience that a lot of giraffes had. I worked with a giraffe there that was the world’s angriest giraffe. And you know, her situation… When she had been weaned, she’d been put in a trailer like I described, and taken to her new home. And by the time she got there, she had kicked the trailer wall the entire way and arrived with an injury to her hoof and to her leg, and then had all sorts of medical treatments to help with that, but was left, you know, just really pissed off at the world. Being able to offer flower essences to that giraffe and help her turn around.. It was the most beautiful thing.
Rochana Felde [00:35:37] Wow. Do you still work with exotics?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:35:42] I don’t work with zoo animals at this point. But I’m always open. I do work with birds. In my early life when I was as a veterinary technician, I also worked for an avian behaviorist for parrots. And so I have a good amount of experience with parrot issues. I have my own parrots as well. I have a Grey parrot and a Myers parrot. And so those who enjoy listening to our show will probably hear noises in the background from time to time. Lady Kali, the gray parrot, she just has so much fun talking back and forth to things like trash trucks and heavy equipment, making that beeping noise. So we have a we have a construction project down the road from us. And she’s been having just the most fun talking back and forth to those trucks. You hear that in the background from time to time as well. The other noises. But you know, flower essences can help any kind of animal. And it’s just a matter of digging into what’s underneath the behavior, and why they’re doing it, because there is a reason. It’s not just some sort of randomly learned behavior. There’s some reason why they’re doing this. If it’s not a healthy behavior.
Rochana Felde [00:36:57] What are some of your go to flower essences, for example, for that separation anxiety or some of the other issues?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:37:04] Oh, yeah. I skipped right past that part. I think that is a really important detail, you know, starting with Star of Bethlehem. Always a good place to start. And that’s one of the Bach essences. Star of Bethlehem is such a wonderful, soothing essence. It really helps to calm and to help come back into yourself after some sort of a shock or trauma. And that can be any kind of a shock or trauma, whether it happened when the animal was six weeks old or whether it happened two minutes ago. Star of Bethlehem, always a really good starting place. And then I really, really, love Northern Lady Slipper, one of the Alaskan essences, it has this really beautiful quality of nurturing and soothing that is very helpful for any kind of disturbed gestation or early childhood experience. So a lot of times when you have mama kitties who are, you know, only a few months old themselves and they got pregnant and they’re on the streets and they’re not getting enough food and they’re stressed as far as they can be and they have some babies in their belly. Those babies will oftentimes come out and they’ll be pretty stressed, too, as one would expect. So Northern Lady’s Slipper is really good for those sorts of situations, even if you don’t really know what the life of your pet was before you got them. Also, Grove Sandwort is so useful. Once again, another Alaskan. It’s just so soothing.. It just works so well with that baby phase, you know, whatever was injured in that baby phase, softness and nurturing that was so needed and was missing. And you can reinstall that through the use of the essences later on.
Rochana Felde [00:39:04] I would imagine that almost, you know, unless your pet was bred at home in a family and with its mother, I know they probably all have this going on. And I mean, I know breeders, at eight weeks they take the puppies away. I know it’s so short. It really shocked me when I found that out.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:39:31] You know, it runs the gamut. So there are wonderful people who are really trying to be conscious and loving, you know, temporary parents when they breed animals. And then there’s lots of situations that are so far from being great. There are some really important behavioral markers and developmental markers that happen for both dogs and cats. And if they didn’t get the interactions with their siblings or if they weren’t getting safe and kind interactions with people at certain ages, they will always carry those marks. I think that it’s just something to realize that your animal doesn’t come to you a blank slate. And sometimes they really do have kind of a constant challenge in the same way that we do. You know, nobody had a perfect childhood. Well, I haven’t met too many that did. Most of us have some work to do. And the pets are the same way. And just being cognizant of that and getting them the help that they need is it takes you a long way down the road to healing.
Rochana Felde [00:40:39] Yeah. And flower essences, as I see, it’s part of that love that you give them and they respond to it just like they respond to being loved. So this is really this is so great to learn more about the specifics of how to do this.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:40:58] My pleasure. I just love I love to share this with animals because they’re just so responsive. It’s so much fun to work with animals because the people can’t deny the change. You know, a lot of times we look at flower essences and go, oh, that’s sweet. But it’s probably it’s probably just, you know, some sort of a placebo effect and, you know, and then you see an animal change and you think, OK. They don’t know that this can’t work. And they all of a sudden have some big change. That was one of the coolest things about working with zoo animals as the keepers and the zoo animals have a very different relationship than people with their pets. They’re not pets, right? They’re the keepers. And the keepers are trained to keep them somewhat independent, you know, attached to their herd or flock or what have you. And not as attached to the keepers because they’re not supposed to be pets. They’re wild animals. Right. But watching those animals changing with the essences was just undeniable. It was really beautiful to see.
Rochana Felde [00:42:05] Yeah. Have you been asked to work with farm animals at all? Cows, sheep, goats, livestock?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:42:13] I’m totally open for it. But I have not had a lot of experience with livestock. Let’s say I tend to work more with companion animals. It’s interesting, I think that they could always use it. And I’m sure there must be wonderful keepers out there who give essences to their goats and sheep and whatnot, but I don’t really know very many of them.
Rochana Felde [00:42:40] Yeah, well, so it’s probably a really under explored, under utilized area. You know, so many small ranchers and farmers really care about their animals and have a bond with them and would probably be really, I think, open to this modality and just don’t know about it. So it’s really interesting to think about.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:43:09] Make for a fun Four H project, wouldn’t it?
Rochana Felde [00:43:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So are there are there any other situations that you might think would be valuable to highlight with some of our companion pets? Getting back to dogs and cats, certain essences that you might want to call out?
Kathleen Aspenns [00:43:35] Yeah, I think that we’ve talked a bit about dogs. Cats are also very receptive and responsive to essences. I think that cats really take on a lot of the energies of the people who live in the home. And so when your kitties start to act up, you think about working with everybody in the household. It’s always really nice to work with everybody in the household anyways, but it can be really helpful with cats. You’ll start to see a lot of stress behaviors, of kitty arguments with the other cats in the household, things like that when there’s kind of an ongoing stressor. So I would definitely be thinking of using some essences for that. I think Holly is always an incredible essence for use with animals who aren’t getting along with one another. It’s so helpful for releasing those frustrations and irritations.. you know, when you share space with others, they can get on your nerves. And using Holly can really help to open hearts and and help everybody get along a little bit better and share space. One of the pieces that domesticated animals have, you know, ones that share our homes with us.. They can often be really suffering from a deficit of nature energy, especially if you live in the city and there’s not a lot of opportunities for your dog to kind of run in a wild area or just to be able to smell the interesting things. You know, dogs are so smell oriented.. to be in a city could be really overwhelming to the senses and not enough diversity of smells. So I think that if you’re thinking about that for your pets of getting some nice grounding essences, I really think of the Kousa Dogwood Bud, which is one of my essences from Flora of Asia for helping reconnect to the earth. It’s really beautiful. And especially since, you know, a lot of times now we really should be keeping our kitties indoors because they’re very hard on the ecologies outside. They tend to be excessively predatory to songbirds and lizards and small mammals in city environments, that giving them something that helps to reconnect them to the earth, even though they can’t be outside in it, is really beneficial for their for their bodies and their spirits. So any sort of grounding like the Kousa Dogwood Bud, or the Grounding Green essences from the Flower Essence Society. It’s a beautiful grounding essence. Or any kind of tree essences. And that would bring me to working with the home environment itself, using different sprays in your home, not overdoing the essential oils.. but the flower essences themselves can be incredibly beneficial in a spray version and just clearing your home of the day to day detritus of living in it and dealing with people, and with spouses and children. And there’s a lot of chaos that happens, a lot of homes and just misting your home, getting the corners of it a couple times a day can really take a lot of the stress of the space.
Rochana Felde [00:46:55] What a great idea for everyone in the household. And we just probably want to reiterate that you don’t want to use essential oils with cats or if you use it in a house with cats, be sure they have a way to leave the room if it’s overwhelming to them. And you want to be real careful with cats, who don’t have the liver enzymes to metabolize essential oils like other mammals do.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:47:19] Exactly that. I think that that goes for every species, but particularly cats are very sensitive. And also birds. It’s really useful to be thinking about what you’re putting in your environment if you have birds. That’s one of the reasons I just love flower essences. That was why I originally got into flower essences to find help for my birds. They’re temperamental creatures, and being able to use flower essences to help moderate their moods is really great. And you can just put some essences in a little misting bottle with water and just go ahead and and mist your home. That’s a wonderful way of getting essences in your space and everybody feels better.
Rochana Felde [00:47:59] That’s lovely. This is so great to hear this all of this from you and get this sort of download. But you also teach classes on this.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:48:07] I do. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much that you can do for your pets. And it’s so important to empower people to know that there are solutions out there, and that you can use them safely yourself and help your own animals. I just I love to share this information with people to help them. So I do teach, I do have a class coming up in November. November 10 from 1 to 4 in the afternoon at Gathering Thyme in San Rafael. It’s a wonderful herb store and they have a beautiful teaching space. It’s a women owned herb store that’s in the North Bay Area. And I just I love to be there. I love the women there. And I love teaching there because it’s such a great space and I’ll be teaching about flower essences for animals in that class. I’ll talk about certain basic issues, and I really love to get input from people in the class who have specific issues and then we can really delve into what can help them in their pet.
Rochana Felde [00:49:16] Yeah, and that’s an in-person class only in San Rafael, California. For those not in the Bay Area who don’t know where that is. These classes are just really great ways to get all of the information from Kathleen. Really, it’s just such a neat specialty that you have here with the with the pets and then also the horses and then bringing to the table your background with working with exotics and doing the hands on and being a person that works with people as well. So that whole connection between pets and their people.. I really love that it it makes so much sense when you think about it, with the way that we are connected with our pets. I mean, we love our pets here, especially, I don’t know, in this country and this time and space in the world, you know, they’ve really become a part of our culture. I mean, it all you have to do is to walk into a pet store, see the millions of things that you can buy for your pets. You know, it’s a huge industry, but it’s reflective of how much we just absolutely adore these animals that love us unconditionally.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:50:47] You can’t replace that. That relationship is so beautiful and I just I can’t imagine my life without having animals as a part of my life. They add so much and they’ve always been important to me. And I do love helping relationships be better between people and their pets and helping develop greater understanding and rapport so that we can all accept each other better and learn each other better and help each other heal. It’s just it’s such a beautiful experience. Our animals..they are just your heart and you will do anything for them. And sometimes they ask us to heal ourselves too.
Rochana Felde [00:51:32] So beautiful. What a great talk, and sounds like a perfect place to end this today.
Kathleen Aspenns [00:51:41] I just love talking about animals. So thank you for asking me.
Rochana Felde [00:51:44] Thank you, Kathleen, again. And until next time. .
[00:51:57] You’ve been listening to the Flower Essence Podcast with Rochana Felde and Kathleen Aspenns, and we appreciate your interest in connecting with nature on a deeper level. You can find us online at the FlowerEssencePodcast.com or join us on Facebook and continue the discussion.
[00:52:21] This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose, prescribe or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or healthcare practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of the Flower Essence Podcast.