Helping dogs and their people is one of Kathleen’s specialties, and recently she released a new course on Udemy to teach pet parents how to use flower essences to help their nervous and anxious dogs. In this episode, she offers insights and essence recommendations for issues such as separation anxiety, rescued and rehomed dogs, and stressful environments.
Flower Essences discussed during the show:
- Aspen – Healing Herbs
- Rock Rose – Healing Herbs
- Star of Bethlehem – Healing Herbs
- Chamomile – FES
- Grove Sandwort – Alaskan
- Five Flower Formula AKA Rescue Remedy – Healing Herbs
- Pink Yarrow – FES
- Mimulus – Healing Herbs
Kathleen offers consultations for people and their pets – online scheduler here
Rochana Felde: [00:00:40] Welcome, flower essence friends. Today on the podcast, we’re going to highlight our own co-host, Kathleen Aspenns, and her work with anxious dogs. Kathleen recently launched a class on the Udemy platform called Flower Essences for Anxious Dogs. And it’s a really wonderful offering for doggie parents, guardians, and pet care professionals. So if you’re a listener of this podcast, you may already know that Kathleen is a well-respected, professional flower essence practitioner, but she is also a former veterinary technician and continues to help animal clients as well as people with flower essence therapy. Kathleen, I’m really excited about this. Congratulations on the launch of your course, and I’m really happy that your unique offering is available to the public.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:01:33] Thank you. I’m really happy that we have the opportunity to talk about it a little bit because one of my goals for creating this course was to make it accessible for people who are pet parents, and maybe, they don’t want to have to learn a lot, to learn too much, but just the right amount of things that they can try to help their anxious, nervous animal with separation anxiety. There’s a lot of issues that dogs can experience that we can help with flower essences. So I’ve been working with people and their dogs since before I became certified because initially, I thought when I got my certification, when I did the training, I thought I’m only going to work with animals. That was my plan. And when I did the certification, it made a lot more sense to do the training work with people because animals are really bad at filling out forms. So I started working with people, and I discovered I actually really enjoyed working with people. So I could have come into the normal flower essence work sort of sideways.
And my background of working with animals also informs my work with people because we’re not as different as we’d like to think we are. We all are experiencing the same emotions. We all experience the same traumatic events that get stored into our bodies and our emotional systems. And the flower essences are fantastic at helping every living creature. So that’s my goal is to help more living creatures and being able to put a course together and put it out to the world to experience, I’m really, really happy, and I’m glad that we can talk about it today.
Rochana Felde: [00:03:25] Yeah, it’s really great. So I’ve been doing the course, and I really wish that I had all of this information so much earlier in my experience as a pet owner, specifically, a dog owner. I mean, and it’s just so concise and practical, and it’s easy to do with Udemy. If somebody hasn’t been on Udemy, it’s just an online platform that makes learning really kind of easy and fun. So it’s got video. It’s got the information, and it just takes you through almost effortlessly. So to have your information on that platform is really great. I think it’s really filling a need that’s out there.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:04:15] Thanks. I’m glad that you’re experiencing in that way. That really was the goal is to– especially with online learning, you can’t consume an hour of content at a time. It’s just way too much. So you design it with little five-minute, seven-minute videos, so it’s not overwhelming, and you can take it little step as you have the time and bandwidth to tackle each little topic. So, yeah, I’m glad that it worked, that you’re enjoying learning, and I’m able to share this decade-plus of information on working with dogs.
Rochana Felde: [00:04:52] Awesome. So when we talk about anxiety and nervousness in dogs, can you talk a little bit more about what that means, and how you can tell if a dog is feeling those emotions?
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:05:07] That’s a really good starting place to talk about this topic because a dog can’t talk about anxiety in the way that we could maybe say, “I’m feeling really anxious about this.” They might have a whole spectrum of challenging emotions that they are experiencing, certainly starting with fear, and I’m kind of putting all of these fear, anxious, worry, that whole spectrum are things that I talk about in the course. So whether you might call it anxiety or whether you would call it fear, whether you would call it separation anxiety or just kind of general worry, those all kind of fit within the concept of what I’m talking about in the course.
So a dog would show anxiety in a variety of ways that you can watch behaviorally. Certainly, panting, shivering, shaking, those would be pretty darn clear and obvious signs. We’ve all seen a dog that was afraid of maybe having to go to the vet, and you see their face kind of close up. You see their ears drop and droop. You see their tail tuck. You see them sort of huddle into themselves a little bit. That’s certainly a sign of anxiety. If you can start to watch for your dog and see even these little moments of micro anxiety, you can be working with that with the essences as well. It doesn’t have to be going all the way up to the 100-scale on anxiety before you can work with it. So those are pieces. Sometimes, dogs will be really reactive when they’re feeling anxious. So you might get a dog that’s barking like a maniac or just kind of tearing around hypervigilant, excessively worried about every sound or sight or what have you. Those are things that you could kind of lump into the quality of anxiety.
I work a lot with dogs who’ve come from a rescue circumstance, dogs who have been either re-homed or part of– in a shelter or all of the different varieties of challenging childhoods, let’s say. That is something that I would really recommend anybody who rescues a dog to be thinking about working with some essences for them because there’s a lot of trauma that comes from having a difficult childhood, essentially, which is what we’re talking about. And having a disrupted, caring circumstance where you don’t have somebody looking out for you, a dog who’s been on the street and had to survive by their own wits, they’re coming with some stuff that really you want to work with. And so those are some really important populations to be thinking of with the anxiety.
There’s also one more piece that is really important to just touch in on, and then, we can dig into it a little bit later, but separation anxiety is a really big thing, and we’ve had a lot of dogs in the last year who’ve been adopted because of shutdowns. So people are at home all the time. And there’s some concern in the, I guess, maybe the veterinary community or the behavior community that when people start going away again and start going to work or leaving the house for longer periods of time, there’s a lot of dogs who are very used to people being at home all the time, and there are going to have to be some adaptations to that. And if you have a dog who has underlying separation anxiety, you’re going to want to get on top of that before you develop a full-blown dog who tries to tear their way out of a wall.
Rochana Felde: [00:45:57] 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 thefloweressencepodcast.com or join us on Facebook and continue the discussion.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:46:20] 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 health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of The Flower Essence podcast.