Category: Inspirational & motivational
|January 13, 2018||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, The Soulful Daily|
Wow. Sh*t got real last year, didn’t it?
We were faced with life-altering drama-trauma, individually & collectively.
But we survived; we thrived. And that was no small effort. But you did it; we did it. And here we are in 2018!
How on earth did we pull through?
We dropped our egos & masks. We opened our hearts, either consciously or they were torn open for us. We got real – real raw. We leaned on each other. We offered help. We learned to ask for help – some of us for the first time because we had no choice but to turn to our community for safety & aid. We became a strong, united, powerful force pulling together to thrive, persist & resist. And we succeeded.
When you come from your heart, you tap into your truest, higher self.
That resonates & attracts others. It binds & bonds us via the connected collective consciousness of our higher selves. And that is where our power lies, individually & collectively. That is where we are united.
This new year continues to be about shining your true self and being connected to community.
We are not isolated. We are not tribal, partisan, socially warring people. That is an illusion created by ego-driven, low-vibrational souls who need to control to exist. But, as we’ve seen, the love that emanates from each of us is our true bond, our true power. We demonstrate that daily by uniting, not dividing; showing kindness to each other; volunteering in community; and being grateful for each day as a gift to do & see the good stuff all over again.
That’s not to say that we aren’t facing daily struggles.
We will, for sure – sometimes epically so. But, I know for certain that those struggles are lessons our souls need to learn to grow & enlighten in this lifetime. It’s how we face & react to them that matters. And, after all, that’s all we can control.
So my new year’s wish to you is that you wake each day with gratitude in your heart.
Open your eyes & give yourself 10 minutes before hopping out of bed to review what you’re thankful for. Don’t forget to be grateful for the strength & guidance that got you through the previous day’s struggles. And, before you hop out of bed, be consciously aware of the lessons & growth opportunities that the day’s challenges offer you. If you do that, you will find that you flow thru the “obstacles” more gracefully, seeing them as opportunities, instead. Similarly, you can end your day by reviewing its events with gratitude before you fall to sleep.
You’re in “soul school” daily, so pay attention & do your soul’s work.
As you go through your day, stay in your body & heart. Love lives there; your spirit lives there. Your intuition lives there. Trust your heart & gut to stay connected with your highest self. In doing that, you will stay connected with community. Ego and it’s fearful skeptical motivations isolates; love unites. Stay in love with your higher self; you will glow. Like-spirited others will find your glow. And that’s how your soul tribe-community self creates. That’s how we evolve to our best selves, individually & collectively. Your ripples of self-love & kindness to others matter. They resonate through community, and back to you. They bind us all together.
Why on Earth is a science-based, positive pet trainer writing about this?
Well, I’m also an intuitive. I walk in the worlds of science & soul daily, in my personal life and my work. I find that the synergy of science & soul is a beautiful place to live & work from. I am better for it in all that I do, and I think that I’m better at all that I do because of it. I bring all of me to all I do, and I can’t imagine living any other way.
Waking with gratitude and heart-centered days are hard to manage at first.
I’d love to help you with that. As an intuitive, I receive brief guiding messages & lessons daily. I’d love to share them with you via my new newsletter, THE SOULFUL DAILY™. Think of them as eclectic little inspirational messages, from my soul to yours, to brighten your day. They’ll be easy to remember and share (via words or deeds) with souls you encounter, including your pets. And we’ll all be better off for that.
I encourage you to keep a journal.
Call it an inspirational or gratitude or intuitive journal; just call it daily journal, if you like. Write down my messages that resonate with you most. Write things you’re grateful for. Write lessons you learned that day. Soon, with my guidance, you’ll receive daily messages yourself. Write them down – keep that journal as an act of self love. Reflect on it for future inspiration. What a fabulous way to navigate each day of this new year. Bonus: It’s a science-based way to be happier!
So here’s my offer to you:
Subscribe to THE SOULFUL DAILY™ for my daily intuitive inspirational messages by visiting the right side bar of this site & subscribing. Simply choose a monthly subscription rate that’s doable for you from the pull-down menu. (You pick the value of a daily dose of happiness: anywhere between a cup of coffee, a squeaky toy or a dinner out.) Soon you’ll see how a few daily words from me, perhaps journaled by you, add up to a very sweet gift to yourself & those around you. Ripples my friends: positive deeds, thoughts & words are powerfully healing ripples for us all. We are all connected, so let’s honor that. Let’s be aware of what we put out there – in our group swim.
Happy New Year to you & your pets! Let’s do 2018 together! xo ~Ruth & Rusty
©2018 The Soulful Pet
|November 11, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Training/Behavior|
I’m up way too early writing this this morning. But I’m inspired and cozy as I work.
It’s 330 am, and I’m curled up on the couch by the now-comforting fireplace’s glow. I’m flanked by dogs on both sides, their soft, warm bodies pressed against me, as I sip coffee, reflecting on recent events. I am overwhelmed with what matters most in life: gratitude, love, community, trust & kindness.
I have my house; it didn’t burn down.
Rusty, my miniature poodle friend, is curled up on my left, comfy & safe. Finn, a mini goldendoodle, sighs as he presses in even closer against my right side. Finn is visiting Rusty & I for a day – his humans have their house; it didn’t burn down. Finn is dog-tired from being “Uncle Finn” yesterday to a lovely & sweet but perpetual-motion goldendoodle puppy guest, little Bella. Bella’s family doesn’t have their house; it burned down. But – they have each other.
It seems distant but realistically, tragically recent that the worst fire in CA history ravaged northern CA counties.
Just 10 days ago, it was announced that all the fires are 100% contained. Our community is eternally grateful to the heroic first responders’ bravery & resilience in the face of an epically terrifying conflagration. We watched in horror & amazement as fire devoured entire neighborhoods, and friends & family ran for their lives. Startled awake in the middle of the night, often by angelic first responders pounding on their doors, people scrambled to evacuate hell on Earth: a blood-red glowing sky, flames lapping darkened landscape nearby, blowing embers & choking-thick black smoke. Families fled for refuge, finding safety in relief centers, friends’ homes and hotels. We were all in deep fear & shock.
Those of us who didn’t need to flee for our lives with just the shirts on our backs & our pets in our arms, quickly packed in case we were next to be evacuated.
The fire was incredibly intense & merciless. It was a searing challenge beyond measure, often driving firefighters to flee its unrelenting advances. The evacuations rolled out as it spread. So many of us were so scared; so many of us left our homes, not knowing if we’d find them standing when we returned. Rusty & I were lucky; friends in safe towns to the west & south of us kindly offered their homes to us. I can’t tell you how comforting that was.
Personally, my bag was packed for a week.
The evacuation zones grew increasingly closer to my home, just a handful of miles to the north and east of me. The closest advisory evacuation line bordered the end of my street, just a quarter mile away. Three times I thought I needed to flee; three times I thought I’d lose my home. It was a week before I could breathe and begin to believe that Rusty & I were safe.
Now our community rebuilds – resiliently.
It’s who were are: Sonoma County strong. Only a few weeks ago, evacuees were allowed to return to their devastated neighborhoods to sift thru ashes. Most of us haven’t yet personally witnessed the complete annihilation of these neighborhoods – aside from images from drones, helicopters, & press photographers. When we do see the singed ghosts of once vibrant communities & beloved, historical landmarks in person, collective shock & sadness will roll through us, renewed. The charred bits I’ve seen so far caused me to gasp & sob in horror yet disbelief. But I know we will prevail; we must.
We are collectively still processing this ever unfolding trauma.
We might tell ourselves that life is back to “normal” as we get groceries, pay bills, take the kids to school, celebrate holidays, and make plans to rebuild. Indeed, we are not in fear for our lives now. But this experience lives in vivid memory in our minds & bodies – as trauma. It is important that we continue to lean on each other to heal, to mentally process events & move the trauma out of our bodies.
So, Sonoma County, how are you – really?
How are your pets – really?
No doubt, we’ve all been traumatized. Science shows that fear and stress are group-think & energetically contagious. We can all feel it in the air, humans & animals, alike. Trauma unfolds its symptoms slowly; it’s not felt completely initially. So this will be a long-haul healing process. Personally, I’m very concerned about our collective well being. Our immune systems are stressed; our psyches are stressed. But I’m optimistic for our community and our group consciousness’ healing capacities.
We are all now much more awake and raw.
And most of us aren’t used to that experience, to those feelings. Self-aware empaths and intutives like myself keenly feel this energetic shift, the community’s angst and fear thick in the air; we are uniquely called to help heal. I believe it is our purpose to help those affected by tragedy to cope, survive & thrive.
Pets, natural empaths & intuitives, feel the shift, too.
So that rawness & openness that feels new to you is familiar to your pets. Animals are experts in being present in the now, so they are better equipped to release trauma. Your pets can help you heal because it comes naturally to them. Now is the time to consciously, collectively heal, while trauma is most potentially transient if given a loving incentive to move on, before stress events take up more permanent residence in your mind & body.
Begin your healing; plug-in to community.
I mean really plug-in: Get personal. Skip the extra-excessive hours on social media. Rather, help and ask for help – in person. Traumas teach us to rely on each other because we don’t have the choice not to. Stoically isolating doesn’t heal; we’re not islands. (Why is it so darn hard for us – myself included – to get comfy with asking for help?) So build a team to lean on. Use the resources available to you, be they medical, psychological, financial, strategic, social or spiritual. They are there, ready when you are. And you are ready. Be there for yourself – now.
Our pets plug-in, without hesitation.
If they want a cookie, they unabashedly ask for one – without shame. Bonus: In giving Fluffy that treat, we gain a positively warm & fuzzy feeling. The healing connection’s a two-way flow: Fido knows when you need a cuddle. We cry; pets instinctively comfort, and we let them comfort.
Learn from your pets. Use their love lessons in your life, privately & in community.
Give and accept giving. Giving & receiving, giving & receiving – and so the cycle is meant to go. And so we are bonded as family and community, humans & animals, alike – by love. In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.
♥ I have an idea – a uniquely healing one! ♥
Together, let’s harness the healing power of the bonds we share with our pets. I’m offering “Mutual Healing Sessions“. They are designed to reduce your stress, as well as your pets’. (Stressed pets often exhibit behavioral changes, including aggression; destruction; and depression/anxiety-based behaviors.) If you’re stressed, so are they. Relax yourself, relax them. And vice versa. I combine my 25+ years of experience as a science-based, positive trainer/behaviorist with my empathic and intuitive abilities to help pets and people heal via the power of the bonds they share.
So let’s get together; let the healing begin.
If you & your pets feel just a bit off nowadays, it’s more than understandable. Life stressors are many & cumulative: current culture, politics, tragedy, holiday hustle-bustle, life transitions, etc. Reach out, ask for help. I’m here for you. Our time together will feel like time spent with a friend. Together, we’ll come up with doable, personalized behavioral/wellness plans, drawing on a variety of healing modalities (training, mirroring, mindfulness, meditation, grounding, breathing, intuition) – whatever resonates with you and your pets the most.
Stay open and awake to the healing possibilities, my friends. Let’s do this together!
Sending you all woofs, wags & tons of love!
xo ~Ruth & Rusty
- “In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” ~Sun Tzu
- “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” ~Marianne Williamson
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|June 5, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle|
Nope, not right now.
I’ve not been good to me lately. And that’s incredibly effed up. You feel me? Right, well let’s fix this sitch, stat.
I’ve blah-blahed about self-care awareness in the past.
This time, I’m getting my bitch on about it. BTW, I took that word back long ago. Bitch = strong woman. Period. Bitch bonus: Rusty loves that determined, smart, surviving-thriving, loving side of me. Rusty loves bitches, period.
I realized that I’m doing 2017 backwards.
I’ve put everyone ahead of myself, to the point where I’ve given old battles energetic permission to resurface. Why the trauma redo? Because I didn’t get the message the first time. Call me dense. But I’ve got it now. If I’m not clear in my self-emitting signals, the Universe won’t be, either. So, pulling up my big-girl bitchy panties, let’s get specific; let’s get crystal-healing clear: Self first!
I have not been my best friend.
You should hear the smack I talk to myself: stuff I would never say to my besties, stuff I would never allow a guest in my home to say to me. What’s up with that noise? I vow, from here on, I’ve unerringly got my back. (Bitch’s back, you might say. Sorry, had to.)
I had to zoom out to clearly focus on the fix.
The big picture is the current grand-scale chaos of our country, our world. But, the biggest & best truth-picture: we are all love, we are all connected – people, animals, plants, Earth, Universe. We get wrapped up in 24/7 noisy news drama, social media, orange tweets and daily life – in a din that consumes & shrinks us, blinds & deafens us to our truth-picture. A friend asked me: “Why is everything so chaotic now, personally & globally?” Partially, it’s because we don’t zoom out; we’re being tribal & small, right-fighting. In that, we lose track & trust of the love that bonds us. Partially, it’s because the Universe is out of balance; it’s realigning now because it insists on balance. Because we’re all connected, we are sharing this universal experience. We’re all feeling it: topsy-turvy-crazy.
I intuitively zoom out.
It’s what I do; it’s who I am. (If you follow my writer’s FB page, perhaps you’ve read my monthly intuitive microblogs.) I must listen to my intuition. She’s always right, she’s calm, she’s loving – she’s always a welcome guest in my home, my work, my heart. Her voice has many sources, all from love. To listen to my intuition, follow her guidance & pass her messages to others – I must be unyieldingly steadfast in creating voice-space for her – for me. Steadfast in self-care, self-love, self-listening….. self first.
You can catch up on past microblogs here.
If one resonates with you, or you think it could help someone else, please share it. They are meant to be shared; they are messages thru me, for us all. Namaste.
- Summer realignment – the healing of individuals & community (May)
- “She Becomes” – a poem about embracing self-truth (April)
- Embrace becoming – The change-friendly message that inspired the poem and a blog-to-be. (March)
- Need-speaking – A nice empowerment to say what you need. (February)
Up next: Reaching out – June’s message, heard but not yet written…. Follow my writer’s page to catch it!
There’s a theme to the monthly messages: “Be your best friend.”
Take care of your best friend, you. Listen to your best friend. Love your best friend. Why? Because she’s downright awesome. She knows you best. She’s got your back. She’d give the shirt off her back to your friends. And people love her. She’s the gal they wanna hang with, laugh with, blow off steam with. Hell, name her if you need to. I named my me-bestie “Betty”; it makes it easier to give her a voice. My true friends know her & love her. In fact, they often greet her before me with a hearty, “Betty!!!”. They’re fond of saying, “WWBD?” Betty’s a “bitch” who knows & says what she wants. She’s fiercely loyal, loving & giving. Cosmos, chocolate, giggle-snort belly laughs & gritty-real talk – they’re the soul-stuff of her. She loves life & lives it unapologetically, regrets be damned. I love her. She’s me. We are GFFs; we are one.
In parting, I’ll share a personal intuitive message I received regarding my trauma 2.0.
“You are one. It’s a realignment. Stay on your path. You are safe & secure.” I believe that’s true for me. I believe that’s true for us, collectively. And that gives me peace and strength.
Be your bestie.
Love you because you deserve it. Embrace your Betty! Self love is your strength source. Trust and believe it. Then zoom out to this: love is Universal truth, the Universal balancer. We are all love; we are all connected. Feel that; trust that. From this truth, you’re strengthened to reach out to help others. We become reconnected as community. May this bring you peace and strength in the chaos, as well.
Want guidance on tuning into your intuition?
We’re all intuitive; it’s a sense we all are gifted with, like sight or smell. Tap into it, and you can trust it will guide you in life, career, relationships – endlessly & lovingly. To hone & honor your intuition, you must honor yourself – giving your soul space to grow and a deeply listening audience of one. What better way to be your own best friend?!
I’m offering brand new soul-based intuitive guidance sessions for humans!
Your pets are welcome to join you; they are natural, gifted helpers in this wonderful process. xxoo ~Ruth~
Love connection quotes:
- “We are one heart, one love and one spirit.” ~Panache Desai
- “There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~Brian Andreas
- “Self-care is how you take your power back.” ~Lalah Delia
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “You should see her since she gave herself permission to rise.” ~Rebecca Ray
- “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” ~Roald Dahl
- “Never diminish your light’s strength, for it is meant to wildly, beautifully shine in this life.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” ~Rudy Francisco
- “I fill myself first so I can heal the world.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.” ~Ram Dass
- “Life lived authentically is all the sweeter.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|January 18, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Training/Behavior|
2016 was a relentlessly hardcore teacher launching mammoth lessons at us.
Were you paying attention in last year’s class? I was.
Buckle up; this is gonna get personal.
And real. And uncomfy in parts. But that means last year’s lessons hit home – deeply. I accept 2016 as my teacher.
I often joke that since my post-divorce awakening as a writer and an intuitive, I somehow hooked myself to a comet that’s plummeting thru life lessons at a ridiculously head-spinning rate.
Or I’ve caught an epic wave that must be surfed to its fullest. Or both – waves by day, comets by night. Regardless, it’s a master class and I relish it.
I could be ongoingly outraged. We all could.
Hell, we’ve all been politically outraged, haven’t we? But that outrage means the lessons aren’t getting through to us. If we’re right-fighting, we’re not listening, not growing, not learning. So deep breath, and repeat after me: “Puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens.” Picture that fluffy cuteness, keep repeating & breathing. Better? Good. Time to chill out and absorb the past year’s lessons.
Here are 6 of my biggest takeaways from 2016 –
about humans, affirmed by animals (my life teachers):
- If a loving relative yells at me, it’s because she’s scared & stressed nearly to death.
She needs my compassion, understanding & stability. It does neither one of us any good if I match her aggression with aggression. Similarly, a fearfully aggressive animal needs you to kindly provide time & space for them to calm. Ultimately, they need your patient guidance through their fears later, when they’ve calmed to a non-defensive learning mode. A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage. Don’t go there.
- If a loving friend is occasionally critical or negative, it’s because he’s stressed by his day’s events.
Again, calm compassion. And boundaries. And space and time. (He gifts me these if I’m scared or sad.) He unspokenly needs me to hold a mirror up to him, inspiring self-reflection, returning him to presence. A simple question then silence succeeds: Why are you irritated with me? (I know he’s not, really.) I do the same with irritable cats & dogs: What is not ok for you right now? How can I make you comfy? Growls from otherwise sweet animals require the question: What lies beneath the behavior? Are you sick/scared/painful/stressed? Be safe, but be there to be aware when they answer you. They will answer you. Then get to your vet.
- When life presents challenges – and it always does – they are surmountable.
Rather than obstacles, they are lessons in disguise. I see two perspectives. For legit problems, by definition, if the problem exists then so must its solution. For questionable problems, I apply the “5 by 5” rule: If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t waste 5 minutes of your energy on it today. Just let that shit go. Back to pets: I counsel my clients that obstacles are opportunities. For example: that barking dog behind the fence that your pup can’t pass without transforming into a leashed Tasmanian devil? Be grateful for this conveniently located & safely contained distraction, perfect for positive focus training for Fido. With all challenges, if it seems insurmountable, find a teacher-helper. Just do it.
- Something today might feel like a very bad thing you survived in your past, but it’s not the same.
Step back and evaluate. Is it really the same? Of course not. An example, please? I know a lot of women, myself included, who were badly affected by Trump’s rise to power because it felt too familiar. But he’s not that guy. Remind yourself of that, ladies. He’s just not. He can’t hurt you. You’re fine; you are. An animal example, please? Your new pet is not your last pet. If you were traumatized by the aggression, behavior, illness, etc. of your last pet, please know that this new animal-soul is not that trauma. If your last pet was your soul mate or behavioral perfection, your new furry family member will rise to her own unique potential if you don’t hold her back with unfair comparisons.
- Recognize mismatches and souls whose paths no longer overlap with yours. Let them go.
There is no need to keep someone in your life, even if you could, to the detriment of you both. I now know that a love that was never there to begin with can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. While I give my heart fully, it is not fodder for others’ toxic whims. That’s where my path must diverge from theirs. It is meant to be that way. I see this play out with pets – as mismatches. A dog who needs time and space to evaluate or escape chaos likely won’t be his best with a hectic, uber-social, on-the-go family. A person who craves & insists on a cuddle-buddy cat is not best paired with a fleetingly affectionate, independent feline. Don’t insist on square peg-round holing it through life. It’s not good for anyone involved. Admit it doesn’t fit and move on. It’s a mismatch, not a failure. Letting a soul’s path diverge from yours gives them the gift to find their better fit. There are perfect matches to be found for all of us. And, it’s likely that your mismatched encounter was necessary to put you both on separate paths to better-suited, destined companions.
With that, I enthusiastically ride the waves & comets into 2017.
I am grateful for 2016’s cosmic lessons. While teachers are often cleverly, even cruelly, disguised, they are placed in our paths because our souls need their lessons. Don’t be outraged; be a life student. Always ask: What can I learn from this? How can I grow from this? Then listen. Really listen. As you studiously wait, apply compassion, kindness & empathy. Then your truest answers will come….
If 2016 was The Teacher, I believe we should put our hard-learned skills to work this year.
In 2017, let’s become The Listeners. (To be continued in my next post…..)
So what did you learn last year about yourself, fellow humans or your pets?
Who was a powerful teacher-helper for you last year? How will your lessons help you this new year? Please share; there’s strength in learning together. Go ahead, get political if you want. But be kind, constructive & inspirational while you’re at it. Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too. xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words with wisdom:
- “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” ~Buddha
- “Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too.” ~Ruth Hagen
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~Leo Buscaglia
“I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” ~Queen Latifah
- “Today, I find calm clarity. I am inspired despite the election. I choose happiness (not naivety, not helplessness). I choose a path of love & light.” ~Ruth Hagen, on her FB writer’s page
- “A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Don’t be outraged; be a life student.” ~Ruth Hagen
“I take all of my life lessons, which some people might call ‘mistakes’, and apply them to my future so that I keep growing.” ~Kimberly Caldwell
- “When you get older, you learn certain life lessons. You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, “Hey, I’ve got a new lease on this thing. So let’s go!” ~Robert Redford
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|September 4, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Videos|
With Labor Day celebrations behind us, let’s rethink our daily labor.
It’s often a lonely, one-way journey down the very real road to burnout.
It is unhealthy, not sane or saintly, to put all things before yourself. Working more is not working better or smarter. Trust me; I know this to be true.
A 40+ hour work week takes an undeniable toll on your mind, your health and your relationships.
When all is said and done, we will not wish for more possessions or hours at work. We will wish for more memorable adventures and time with loved ones; good health; and a continued passionate, creative curiosity in life.
Be mindful in your daily work flow.
Look for inspiration; it is everywhere. Have a beginner’s mind. Embrace your passion with childlike abandonment.
With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.
I can be found with my muse-pup, Rusty, sitting under the redwoods, with paper and pen – should creative inspiration strike. There, I am open to the possibility of business and writing ideas, but I release them to the paper for consideration at another time.
In the big picture, there is no true place in the workplace for selflessness.
It leads to illness and resentment – the stuff of burnout. It empties you, making it impossible for you to create, find joy or give to others.
Make your work and your breaks part of a soul-filling, blissful process.
With dedication to your well being, design your days to be simultaneously productive, energizing and of benefit to others. With this, you become abundance, not depletion.
Can this self-aware design be had in a 40+ hour workweek?
Or would we best honor our souls by embracing the science that justifies a 3-day work week? Certainly, whatever the number of hours, it is imperative that we prioritize finding our uniquely personal sweet spot for our best life.
I challenge you to consider this:
If your knee-jerk reaction was something like, “I have no time to sit under a tree with a dog“, then you have missed my point. Get honest, personal and introspective. Because you’ve always done something one way, does not mean it’s best. Is your blinders-on, nose-to-the-grindstone, joyless way really working for you? Are you frequently complaining about your work? Are you chronically tapped out and exhausted each day? Are your relationships stressed? If you’re not sure, ask your family and friends for honest feedback. Be prepared to respect their words and make a change.
If you’ve read this piece to this point, you might have an intuitive desire for change.
Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now. ~Namaste.
Please share how you balance work & life. We’d love to know! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words to live & work by:
- “By refreshing our sense of belonging in the world, we widen the web of relationships that nourishes us and protects us from burnout.” ~Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope”
- “With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
- “Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” ~Kristin Hannah
- “Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Rest and be thankful.” ~William Wadsworth
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|August 24, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I’m impatient…. with myself… bigtime.
I have infinite patience with people and animals. Well, almost infinite – as long as my empathic-introverted need for solitude & stillness is regularly refilled.
Today, I wrestled with the potential horror that the quicksandy feeling of writer’s block would never end.
My mind’s impatient insistence that the-now-is-forever is a slippery slope. The ride down that slide careens through glass-half-empty territory. And within minutes, my writer’s block is a concrete amalgamation filled with angsty issues….
Currently, my yard is an active volcanic system of mole holes.
It’s my first foyer into battle with these critters. Initially, I wanted to be humane: shoo them along in a live-and-let-live NIMBY kinda way. I even had a sense of humor about it: As I savored a glass of wine under my redwoods one night, both back legs of my chair sank completely into mole tunnels. I calmly poured another glass & laughingly said, “Call me Alice.” But now, I’m mole-iciously murderous. Done. Outta here. So the Mole-y War (will I win it? can I end it yesterday?) swirls together with my writer’s block. There’s more in the mix….
I spent spring in PA helping my mom as best I could with my dad, who’s critically ill.
I put my life (my business, my sweet S.O., Rusty, etc.) on hold – because it’s the right thing to do. I love my parents & I wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, it’s hard to be across the country from them as I pick up my life again. So add that to the thickening mix, as well….
And, I’m bravely-not-so-bravely rolling out a new business – which includes brand new services & new approaches to existing services.
Plus, I have books to write! Great, right? Yes, to be sure, it’s exciting! But my methods have changed, and change is unnerving. (I’m confident in my well-honed process, but how will it be perceived?) I’m following my calling to combine science & soul to enhance the lives of both humans and animals via the bonds they share. It’s groundbreaking, it’s new and it’s bound to ruffle some feathers in the training community. In order to do it, I have to write about it. (How am I doing so far? Gulp…) For that, I have to fly my freak flag just enough to not care about naysayers & gremlins. And that is the glue in this quicksandy conglomerate that occasionally paralyzes me.
But tick-tock, right?
Life is way too short to be anything less than kindly patient with yourself. We are all, human & non-human animals, beautiful souls who must share our gifts with the world. Artists, caretakers, counselors, lightworkers, teachers, scientists – we must shine our unique lights into the dark corners of this world – especially now. I learn this lesson repeatedly from animals & their people.
So, let me tell you the tale of Molly & me:
I met Miss Molly when her mom called me for help.
As her human told me their story, I sat on the floor with lovely Molly. Molly’s mom had recently lost her husband to cancer. She knew she wanted a dog to keep her company and had searched several shelters & rescues for just the right pup. Finally, Molly. As I listened, I had both hands on Molly, who calmly leaned into me. Suddenly, through my mind & out my mouth came, “You had help finding her.” It was a natural knowing that had to be stated out loud (claircognizance, I now know). It was a message that Molly’s mom needed to hear. She said, “Well, yes, my friends looked for a dog with me.” I said, “No, that’s not the help I mean.” Molly’s mum blinked and lit up. She told me, with a sparkle in her eye, that before her husband passed, they had talked about her getting a dog. Her hubby teased her that she’d probably get a little, white, fluffy dog. Molly’s mom insisted absolutely not – she didn’t want to be cleaning a white dog’s bottom all the time. It was then that I noticed Molly’s rear end: an adorable white fluffy swishy tail, white fluffy-furry haunches & legs, and a decidedly dark grey bottom where cleanup counts. We laughed….hard. Message received & sent (or vice-versa). Molly, her mom & I are friends for life. Rusty & Molly are on mole patrol as I write this.
Whew! I feel like with the telling of Molly’s story, I’m breaking out of that cementy-sandy stuff.
I must remember that the now is transient, including its feelings, its drama & and its perceived obstacles. I will not make mountains out of mole hills. I now see life’s muddy little hills as opportunities & lessons placed along my life journey’s path. I embrace my unconventional intuitive gifts, my writing, and my time with clients and pets – it’s all so precious.
Moles & gremlins, be damned.
Why? ‘Cuz, patience, dear – every little thing’s gonna be alright!
Coming soon: New pages on this site describing those new services and my new role as a positive, science-based Intuitive Pet-life Guide (IPLG). Open-minded humans and their teaching-healing pets make up our growing soul-tribe family…. for that, we are so grateful! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Quips for patience with your creative truth:
- “Patience, dear – every little thing’s gonna be alright.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If you’re creating anything at all, it’s really dangerous to care about what people think.” ~Kristen Wiig
- “When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.” ~Buddha
- “These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” ~Najwa Zebian
- “It is the function of art to to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” ~Anaïs Nin
- “The most important aspect of being on a spiritual path may be to just keep moving.” ~Pema Chodron
- “Life is way too short to be anything less than kindly patient with yourself.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If a problem exists then, by definition, so must its solution.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|March 22, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Mindfulness, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I peed on the sand dune. And I’d do it again.
There I squatted, sea breeze gracing my bottom, between clumps of too-transparent sea grass.
Had it come to this? In the sweet relief of bladder desperation, I had to answer: yes. As I looked up (to be sure I was alone), I realized I had let go under the synchronized glows of the rising moon, the setting sun, and the rainbow flares of a sundog.
Bathroom deprivation threatened to soil my perfectly beachy b-day picnic.
Pink champagne is extra bubbly-sweet when poured by a charming man, sipped by soothing waves, and paired with sea salt chocolate chip cookies. But my burgeoning bladder was winning out. Something had to be done – now.
And that’s how I found myself thanking the Universe for every cursed squat I’d endured in the gym.
No wobbly legs on this girl. I scaled those dunes & released without shame or shakes. I am woman, hear me roar. (Just don’t peek behind the dune.)
Was it necessary? I could have hiked out & driven to a porta potty.
Was it legal? Probably not. Was it ethical? Who decides that? Was it pretty? Lord help me, nope.
But was it memorable? Absolutely!
I will never forget that birthday, the magic colors marking the sky or the champagne’s blush. I had unwittingly peed my way to marking a moment in time that I’ll forever cherish without regret.
The grand sand pee happened on the heels of hunkering down with my folks in Blizzardy, PA.
What to do when you’re snowed into a retirement facility by a sparkly-white historical weather event? First, you play “find the fireplace” wherever you are. Everything’s yummier by a fire’s golden warm glow: food, wine & convo. But at around 3-feet deep, I felt compelled to mark the moment myself:
Why does marking a moment with childlike wonder & abandon seem rare?
My pup, Rusty, blissfully potties on the beach without hesitation. (Now I get it, little guy!)
As a trainer, I guide clients to counter their human nature.
We are hardwired to focus on negatives: the wrongs in our world. We do this so well, we wear awareness blinders that block the sweet, magical-markable stuff from sight. So, for example, folks notice & react to a jumping puppy. Instead, we should see Pup’s more frequent 4-on-the-floor successes. But past just seeing, mindfully reward those successes with praise and/or a cookie. (No chocolate chips for Pup!) Make that moment matter. Suddenly, you see a non-jumping puppy, and Pup feels seen when calm. You get each other, and you get more of what you see.
See & seize life’s magical moments.
Make your mark on them. Watch them appear more often, in memorable technicolor.
Cake by the ocean, anyone? Perhaps, she writes with a wink.
Definitely chocolate chip cookies. And big belly laughs. Life’s sweeter when lived in full color.
Share your no-regrets stories with us. It’s at once liberating & inspiring! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “See and seize life’s magical moments.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “We teach each other how to live.” ~Anne Michaels, poet
- “Life’s sweeter when lived in full color.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If everyone would look for that uniqueness then we would have a very colorful world.” ~Michael Schenker
- “You get more of what you see.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.” ~Joshua Foer
- “I’m a get-a-dress-at-a-thrift-shop-but-open-a-bottle-of-champagne kind of person.” ~Helen Mirren, actress
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|December 18, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Music, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I’m worried about you. Where’s your head, human?
I swear that’s the thought my Rusty’s side-eyed look just conveyed. He knows Mom’s not herself this week. In his infinite poodle wisdom, I’m certain he feels the inevitable seasonal shift. But what exactly lies beneath Rusty’s worries?
Below the appealing, concealing din-frosting of holiday music & lights, there lies a darkness.
It’s an insidious, chaotic undercurrent that sweeps us along, oblivious to the ugly likelihood that we’ve distanced ourselves a bit (or a bunch) from our loving natures.
Let me illustrate with a true tale.
Gather ’round & hug your pets. It’s a humans-behaving-badly story that inexplicably occurred after Paris & San Bernardino, in this holiday season. (If you follow my FB writer’s page, you know this one.)
I stood in line at the bank. (Retro, I know.)
Behind me, a woman stood in line, calmly writing on the counter the line forms along. As the line moved, she moved along the counter, holding up no one. Behind her, an abrasive woman crankily & accusingly asked Writing Woman, “Are you in line?”. Upon answering yes, Cranky Gal pursued her, declaring, “You’re not acting like you’re in line.” (I know 5-year olds who would never do this.) Exasperated by the response to her only crime of facing the counter rather than the direction of the line, Ms. Writing finally snipped, “That’s right, I’m IN LINE.” By now, Ms. Cranky had a fan in line behind her. I’ll call him Mr Pile-on. Mr. P. didn’t like Ms. W’s defensive tone & fanned Ms. C’s flames by spewing, “Nice.” (Not cool, people.) Cranky G., a bully now feeling buoyed & justified in her “outrage”, loudly declared, “Well, you should have done that at home.” (“That” would be the innocent writing on the counter that the line formed along – the counter designated for that sole purpose.) Writing retorted, “Nope, nope, I’m doing it RIGHT here.”
It escalated exponentially.
They were “at war” for no reason. I could feel their icky-thick, bickering energy rolling over my back. The woman in front of me palpably eyerolled-sighed. I whispered, “Right?” She said, “Breathe.” I said, “Exactly.” With that, we cleansed our little oasis in line. I hoped our vibe would displace the toxins in the space behind us, as well.
I left the bank knowing that we CAN be civil.
Nastiness divides; compassion unites. I chose to compassionately wonder what happened in Cranky’s life to ooze out so illogically in an inertly short bank line. I chose to wish her well, not let her actions color my day, and continue to put positivity into my world. I believe in kindness’ ripple effect. We are, after all, all connected.
So what happened?
You’ve surely experienced your own version of that tale. Exactly when & how do we disconnect?
Have you sat in silence to hear your soul lately? If not, that’s the crux of the discord.
Without stillness & inner focus, peace’s light dims. Nature abhors a vacuum. A void of peaceful stability will be filled by chaos. Peaceful thoughts, peace of mind, a peaceable kingdom – diminished, but always within reach.
What’s the fix?
Get back to your true self so you can give the best you to others. Check our how-to-be-present list; check it twice:
- Get still. This season, I’m fond of pj’s, a room lit only by candles or the Christmas tree, a cozy-fluffy blanket & my favorite tea, while cuddled with my cozy-fluffy poodle. No TV. No phone. No computer. God knows, no news. Tune out to tune into the silence within yourself. Get still; get clarity.
- Just be; just breathe. Ditch the rat race. Shun the shoulds. To hell with the haftas. Is that societally imposed materialistic thing you had planned a must-do? No. Not really. Martha Stewart, who? Deep breath. Let go….
- See yourself in the mirror your pet shows you. Pets can only be present. That’s what we love about them. Follow their leads. Rusty’s calm when I am. I notice his restlessness before I tune into my own. For him, I become present again. Recently, I counseled a client to resuming her meditation practice because her dog wants a peaceful pack. If she’s rattled, he chews. What’s your pet teaching you about presence?
- Be fully present in each moment. Create moments worthy of your presence. Now that you’ve taken the time to reconnect with yourself, connect in person with those you cherish. Mindfully slow down… Feel the warmth of your partner’s hand in yours. Hear the happy music of your friend’s laughter. Take in walks with Pup with all of your senses. Actively listen to those who need to be heard. Really notice. Be a student of the moment.
- Trust that these moments last a lifetime. Things don’t. Connections, feelings & experiences shared with loved ones are priceless. The gifts, errands, places-to-be and places-to-be-seen that you’re racing to reach? No one will care or remember them in just a few months. Including you. Put your heart, soul & essence into what’s real: loving presence.
This season and always, give yourself & others the gift of presence.
Truly, intentionally be in the moment. Reconnect with your essence. Presence is better than any present under the tree, we guarantee. xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there? ~Thich Nhat Hanh
- “Get still; get clarity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer
- “Put your heart, soul and essence into what’s real: loving presence.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “We are, after all, all connected.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Just be; just breathe.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” ~Shonda Rhimes
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|November 8, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Music, Pup culture, Videos|
Last year, I bubble wrapped my heart.
I did this once before, after my sweet-soulmate cat, Alex, died suddenly.
His death deeply, devastatingly impacted me, emotionally & physically. Afterward, my heart wasn’t yet securely tied & bound (thanx, Pat Benatar), because I was 24/7 nursing & chefing for my senior, barely mobile & epileptic boxer boy, Gumbo. When he passed later that year, I was relieved for him. His discomfort was over. I believe with all my being that Alex & Gumbo are in a wonderful place now. But then, I sealed the wrap over my heart completely. It all hurt too, too much.
Fast forward: For 3 years I was content to be Auntie Ruth to a stream of visiting pups, as well as all of my clients’ pets.
So I didn’t miss having a pet; I worked with animals daily, with the freedom of traveling on a whim. No petsitters, daycares or pre-travel vet visits required. Just me & my bubble-wrapped heart, joyfully, obliviously traveling. Are you starting to see the downside of the wrap approach? Good. ‘Cuz I wasn’t seeing clearly yet, what with all the bubbles & plastic clouding up my soul.
Enter Rusty: a delightfully sassy-cool poodle puppy.
I knew him from the start as his Auntie Ruth, for training & puppy-sitting. For reasons for a future story, I had the opportunity to adopt him. Without a thought, I jumped at the chance. Such a gift. But my heart was still sealed….
The first few months with Rusty were blissfully healing, perhaps for both of us.
I was aware, though, that I had him at arm’s length. I wouldn’t be hurt again. Ahh, but love finds a way in & out. I woke up one day to realize that poodle-love had me wrapped around his paw – hook, line & sinker. We were both better off, more than I knew.
Last year, I was blindsided by betrayal.
People who called themselves family & friends, who said they loved me, suddenly devalued, dismissed and discarded me. I had given my heart & soul to people who couldn’t love me. I had fallen for an all-so-conditional illusion. (Fodder for a future tale.) My head knew the truth: love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. But my heart? It was in deep, deep trouble. Certain that life itself was at risk, I wrapped & sealed my hurting heart in layers of bubbles. Deep, thick, cushiony layers of the big, big bubbles. Funny, those are the most poppable ones…..
I dated my girlfriends. I leaned on true family. I cuddled my kindred soul, Rusty. I became wonder woman, reinventing and rediscovering my superpowers. I found my voice – as a writer and an intuitive. I found myself – the girl I was before I gave myself away. Legit love from & for friends, Rusty & myself – gradually healed me. The warmth and glow of it all melted bubbles away.
Today, my heart is an open, ooey-gooey, vulnerable oasis.
It’s the place where I live. I write, work and love from my heart. It guides my voice and life. It doesn’t play games. It abhors held-in emotions. Basically, if I feel it, I say it. My heart is wise & kind, so no one gets hurt. Especially me. I trust that.
A six-year old once told me with great earnest: “The problem with pets is that they die.”
That’s a jaded adult thought, not one of a wide-eyed, open-minded child. That’s bubble-wrap talk. Suffocate your heart, and it shrinks. Hurt can’t get in – true. But love can’t get in – or out, either. Yes, real love is messy-risky. But I trust the unwrapping is a worthwhile leap of faith….
Heck, it’s risky for me to write this post.
I never, ever thought I’d write about love. I don’t have a gift for annoyingly sappy, flowery prose. But is that what’s required? A bit of a think-break here, before I (gulp) bare more soul. In the meantime, I’m with P!nk (yet again): “The Truth About Love” does come @ 3 am. You do wake up f*cked up, so you grab a pen….
I unwrapped my heart.
With Rusty & friends buoying me, I found love – real love. It’s passionate, unconditional, trustable, scary-honest, rapid-growth, biped love this time around. Together, we’re unwrapping insulating layers from previous hurts. A juicy, someday story-to-be-told, indeed: a tale of love layers.
The only bubbles I need now are chillin’ in the frig. Lucky, grateful girl. xo ~Ruth~
- “Love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
- “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. ~Rumi
- “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” ~Gilbert Chesterton, English writer
- “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” ~Mik Everett (not Drake!)
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|July 31, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
On a blue moon eve, we’re relishing life’s sweetness.
In the midst of rapid-fire, life-altering, all-good changes for Rusty & I, one thing remains a constant: change itself. Perhaps counterintuitively, that is what makes life oh-so-sweet.
Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.
Gazing at the moon, I know the now is everything. In the now, be present, be grateful, and let go. Let go of what’s past, what’s not yours to control. Don’t cling to what’s bound to change. Ultimately, mindfulness creates happiness in the face of chaos.
Last month I briefly tuned into
news chaos after a self-imposed grey-out.
I had enjoyed a creatively productive morning, solving problems in my head (writing ideas, organizational solutions, meal planning & laying out my week’s agenda). Then, seeking a break, I plugged in & immediately became less positively productive. I made the mistake of perusing media, which I’d intentionally avoided for the past week. Suddenly: prison-break killers loose in NY; another Bush political ad (the drumbeat begins); a raccoon apocalyptically rides an alligator (because Florida); shark attacks; escaped Georgian zoo animals; & a flooding-likely tropical storm in the Gulf. Now, I questioned: I care, BUT, do I need any of this noisy info? Simply, no.
In a blink, none of that din matters in my life. But this moment did:
Last week, a tall friend rescued a distressed hummingbird from my patio skylight. It was an exercise in gratitude. I was thankful for his help, as was, I believe, the hummingbird. Later in the day, my friend randomly & sincerely said, as though he was a boy describing magic, “I got to hold a hummingbird this morning.” I hadn’t even thought about it that way. What a gift to us all.
Shift gears to get to the sweet stuff, which sustains & surrounds us more than chaos.
It’s in the hummingbird’s beauty & flight to freedom. It’s in the rewardable moment when a jumping puppy fleetingly has four paws on the floor. And it’s in life’s happy accidents. (Accidents? I don’t believe in them. They are our teachers: serendipities the Universe wants us to see.)
Rusty & I had a sweet, serendipitous kitchen moment.
As I inhaled a garlic bagel smothered in cream cheese, topped with dill, capers & smoked salmon – I noticed Rusty’s stare. Say what you will, I was under poodle mind control. I covered some cantaloupe with smoked salmon (just a bit ‘cuz it’s salty, but safely cooked) and shared the bounty with my foodie fido. On a rushed morning, together, we created a blissful, in-the moment, savory summery-snack.
Rusty’s always been a canine cantaloupe connoisseur:
So, silently reflect on tonight’s moon.
There’s wisdom in that silence. A blue moon is about setting clear intentions. My suggestion: Take 10 minutes to aim for mindfulness. Marvel at the moon as you howl with Pup. Last full moon, Rusty & I tipped our heads back & let it rip. Soon, the neighborhood’s pooches joined our chorus. It was magical.
Intentions are powerful.
Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly. Choose an intention of daily mindfulness. With practice, your mindset will shift to one blessed with spontaneity, creativity, appreciation, self-knowledge & happiness. What a lovely, wondrous starting point in a blue moon – a savor-worthy summer event.
What are you waiting for? Get your howl on! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” ~Oscar Wilde
- “If you’re trying to find out what comes next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen.” ~Ann Patchett
- “When you wait, you get very clear on what you desire and how much you want it. And when you get clear on what you really want, you can manifest anything.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” ~Goi Nasu
- “Intentions are powerful. Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “There’s wisdom in the silence.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2015 The Soulful Pet