I think a really huge roadblock to our relationships with our animals is an uncomfortable topic: how we use animals to fulfill our need for human relationships.
Right now I’m watching a dog training show, and it’s painfully evident. Disappointments happen on the human end because they got the dog to be their baby, their surrogate boyfriend, their best friend, and the dog is not fulfilling that need.
Many of us find refuge in our animals because the world of humans can be frustrating, unfulfilling and cruel.
Many of us are running away from failing marriages, friendships, relationships of any kind and pouring those needs into our animals. You see it in jokey memes about geldings and women all the time – that a gelding is better than a boyfriend, etc. Its kind of funny until you realize it’s true.
But animals can never be anything but what they are. They are who and what they are, and until we get right with ourselves, right in our relationships in our lives, and right with our understanding of the animal itself, we will always struggle with disappointment, failed expectations, and frustrating encounters with our animals.