Whenever I hear a recording of my voice, I always think that whoever recorded me made a mistake, as I don’t think I sound like that. Surely my voice is a lot lower and much richer and laced with more melodic tones. What I hear on a recording is just an ordinary voice with a midwestern accent (Minnesotan) and a regular, run-of-the-mill cadence. Since my voice does reflect my personality, my likes and dislikes, my wishes for today and my hopes for tomorrow, I thought it would be less ordinary, more extraordinary – like NPR’s Terry Gross extraordinary. But it’s not extraordinary; and no matter how run-of-the-mill and plain my voice is, it’s the one I am blessed with. And it’s the only one I will ever have. All the more reason to use this voice to express the love and affection I feel for my human family as well as my animal family.
When a voice is filled with unconditional love and devotion, there is nothing ordinary about it. Rather, it becomes the song of angels.
When we live with animals, we need to assume the leader-of-the-pack role. It doesn’t matter if we have one pet or ten pets. We are in charge of our homes. We make the decisions about what out pets eat, where they sleep, where they go potty and how they act. In order to stay in control of our pack, we need to have many tools in our chest. We teach our pets the rules of the household and try to make sure they abide by them. It’s easier said than done, I know.
Our voices are like fingerprints to our pets
Whether or not our pets comply with what we’re asking them to do depends on how we talk to them. In other words, the most important tool we have is our voice. No matter what we think we sound like to other people, to our pets our voice is pure golden to their ears and welcome to their spirits. There is nothing more powerful to an animal than the sound of their person’s voice. To devoted pets, our voices are magic, comforting and safe. Our voices are like fingerprints to them. No one else sounds like the person they love and are devoted to. And no other human’s voice excites them and lifts their spirits like the voice they call their own.
When I do end-of-life work with pets, I hear them tell me how much they love hearing their people talk. It doesn’t matter if a pet is completely deaf, they still love “hearing” their people talk to them. Somehow they “feel” the voice that has comforted and reassured them for years. Many times pets will ask me to tell their people to talk to them at the moment of their death. Hearing their loved one’s voice eases their fears and allows them to pass on knowing they are safe and loved and that their passing will be mourned.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our pets is the sound of our voice. Our pets learn certain words that we repeat to them over and over again. Sit, stay, lay down, wait, potty outside; etc. But what really affects them on a daily basis is the sound of our voice telling them how good they are, how much we love them, how glad we are that they are a part of our family. We can never say these words often enough.
Unfortunately, in our busy lives, we sometimes find ourselves out of patience with potty training or overwhelmed with an elderly pet’s medical requirements. Our voices become harsh and angry. We are at the end of our ropes with how much work is expected of us. While we aren’t serious about wishing at times that we were “pet-less,” we do wish we had more time and that the requirements of pet ownership weren’t so intense. It’s at these moments when we might say things that we really don’t mean. It happens to everyone. It’s important not to beat ourselves up over each incident. Our pets are very forgiving. Their love and loyalty is unconditional. So however we may talk with them at moments of stress and anxiety, they are still in love with us; and of course they’re totally in love with our voices. The sound of their person’s voice each and every day is what sustains and comforts them throughout their lives.
Keep talking to your furry friends…
I would encourage you to talk with your pets every day about your love and affection for them. Say their names often with a calm, soothing voice. Tell them how special they are to you. Even if you don’t get the kind of response you think you should get, don’t stop the chatter. Your pets are always listening to you. They are taking in everything you’re saying; and they’re basking in the familiar, “ordinary voice” of the person who belongs to them.
Blessings to you and your furry friends.