Canines and Humans coping with Change in Oracle, AZ

Transitions are defined by the dictionary as a “change or shift from one state, subject, place, etc. to another.”  Some of life’s transitions are marked on calendars, such as the Autumnal Equinox, or the beginning of fall, which is where we currently find ourselves.

Other transitions can reflect a change in one’s perspectives, or perhaps a change in relationships, living environment, or chapters in one’s life.  In my experience, transitions, aka change, can be challenging and filled with uncertainty and unpredictability. Change is difficult, even when it is planned for and welcomed.

If you listen, the universe will talk to you.  It’s like walking into a used bookstore, just perusing, and finding the perfect book you didn’t know you needed until you found it.

Transitions are stressful for dogs and people

It’s that way when it comes to figuring out when things should end.  I was in the dog yard and I went to open the gate into one of the kennel runs from previous dog boarding and training days.  The heavy gate was attached to a support post, but after 30 years of dogs urinating on it, the dogs had finally won. As I attempted to open the gate, it simply slumped sideways and collapsed into the length of chain-link fencing that kept it from falling to the ground. Corrosion had worn through it and it was no longer connected to the ground. This happened as I was doing some clean-up in the yard in preparation for listing our house for sale, preparing to move onto the next chapter of our lives.

Looking at that post leaning sideways, and the loss of connection to the earth, I smiled at another message from the universe and remembered a quote from Beryl Markham: “I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved, and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it anyway except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can.”

The universe sends messages and if we are open, we receive them.  We start to make plans and works towards a change that we can only imagine and are sustained by the invisible means of support known as faith.  We take the first few hesitant steps into a new future while stubbornly clinging to the status quo.

Our dogs, trusting souls that they are, are unsettled by the sight of moving boxes and possessions disappearing into them, one by one.  But we are still here with them, and they cling to us as we cling to the past.  They cope, they manage, they pretend nothing is changing.

We talk to Drake, our yellow lab, about a future filled with rivers, lakes and ocean beaches for Free Range Dogs to explore. The other two dogs are coping with no outward sign of stress, but Drake wears his heart on his sleeve.  He seeks items in his changing environment to get our attention: he “retrieves” empty moving boxes in escalating sizes and and turns packing supplies into living room snowstorms.  We ponder what to do about it, and my status as “the dog trainer” is called into question by Nicole.  Ultimately, we decide he is anxious and uncertain and it’s our responsibility to put things up that we don’t want him to get into, and to treat him with extra kindness and love and a sense of humor during this transition.

Dogs feel everything we feel but lack the verbal language to express it- opening the door to more creative expressions. During transitions in your life, recognize that your beloved companions seek both reassurance and to be reassuring. Try to keep as much of their routine in daily life as possible, and stay “present” for your well-being as well as theirs. Listen to the universe.

For help with canine transitions, as well as anything else dog related, don’t hesitate to reach out to Web Parton at and be sure to subscribe to his award winning podcast.