Is it true that our animals are always in the now? I’ve heard that statement often, but I don’t think it tells the whole story.

They show us how to be in the now

When people say this, they express how our animal companions are there to teach us humans to be “in the now.” To be present to what’s happening in this moment. And I think there’s a lot of truth in that belief.

For instance, when my dogs and I are walking in the park, they are totally engrossed in scents, or whatever catches their eye. And when my cat Bunnie is having her chin and ears scratched, she fully focuses on our delightful interaction.

No “To Do”

In those instances, they’re not thinking about their “To Do” List like we humans tend to do. Nor are they multi-tasking. They are totally in the present.

But I worry that people believe this description explains everything about how other species interact with the world. They carry no past, and they don’t think about the future. Some philosophers even believed animals had no memory. Instead, they simply responded to whatever stimulus was presented in the moment.

There’s more to them than being “in the now”

Remembering the past

Those of us who have a deep relationship with our animals know there’s more. The dogs I’ve adopted from shelters and rescue organizations bring history with them. Some behaviors I’ve seen, which are based on bad past experiences, are separation anxiety or fear aggression.

Smarter than  you think: Fish can remember where they were fed 12 days later

Grieving the past

Another example I noticed is that our animals grieved family animals who transitioned. Their behavior changed; they were less conficent. When we adopted doggies Newt and Molly, they acted comfortable and started playing again.

When Animals Grieve

Anticipating the future

And we also know that our animal companions anticipate what is going to happen. Every day, my cats let us know when it’s time for breakfast. It’s very clear – vocalizing and walking on me. When she thinks it’s time to go on our afternoon walk, Molly gently paws me and stares soulfully into my eyes.

The Surprising Complexity of Animal Memories

In the now  + so much more

As you enjoy being in the now with your beloved companion, notice how they have a deeper experience of life. Celebrate that! It’ll bring depth to YOUR life.

Are your companion animals stuck in the past? I can help.

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Have you also noticed a deeper aspect of your animal companion’s life experiences? Would love to hear about it – leave a comment!