What is Qi?
It is the Chinese name for the pervasive energy force that flows through everything in the universe. Every organism is born with a finite amount of Qi that is stored in the kidneys. We can gain more Qi (pronounced “chee”) by eating foods. The fresher and “healthier”, the more Qi. We want that, because Qi gives us energy to take on our daily tasks as well as having vision and manifesting those visions. Our animals are part of the same flow.
Where else can we gain more Qi?
Deep breathing, open-hearted connection to nature and healthy relationships, the warmth of the sun, a campfire and a warm bath are some great ways.
Another free, simple way to help our pets gain Qi is by allowing them to run in the woods. Nobody has told me this. I have not read it anywhere. I just know it in my soul. Just like you know breathing fresh air is good for you. Have you ever watched a dog or pack of dogs run through the woods? They are home.
There is hype now around “forest bathing” and “earthing” for people. There is even research and/or science now backing these ideas. For a very convincing argument for the benefits of the “ultimate antioxidants” found in walking barefoot on the earth, see Dr. Mercola’s article. It is the same for pets.
There are many reasons that cats who spend at least part of their time outside have fewer behavioral problems. Perhaps the healthy flow of Qi is one of them.
Walk your dog outside everyday. If you can safely let him off leash to make his own decisions about where he sniffs and pees, even better. If you can do those things in the woods, even better. Every bit counts.
This article was partially inspired by a client and friend who wants to be positively evaluated by a rescue organization, because she allows her dog to run off a leash in the woods. See the comment to my blog article, “I Should”.
I am glad that you talk about letting dogs run and enjoy being dogs. Mine at least have a very large yard, and I get them out on trails as much as I can. I cannot emphasize enough how bonding and important a proper walk with your dog is. For millions of years, humans have wandered the globe with their dogs, and it is wired into both of us.
You are so right, Marla. Thanks for commenting. Bonding is another benefit to a walk in the woods together. Packing together is still important to people and their dogs, in spite of the time between now and the diversion of dogs from their wilder roots.
Boy, can I ever confirm what you assert about the benefit for dogs running in the woods!! Maddie and Lexi have had that opportunity every day of their lives. First, in Maine and, now, here in North Carolina. You know the great physical and emotional condition of these two gals who are soon to be nine years old. They act and appear to be much younger than their physical age. Good food and lack of vaccinations also have a lot to do with that, but I truly believe that the freedom that they’ve enjoyed to run and play in a natural habitat have largely contributed to their well being.
As you may know, I take a group of dogs, anywhere from five to nine, each morning to our wonderful dog park in Southern Pines. It is 50 acres of wooded areas with beautiful walking trails and open areas where the dogs can play and romp with one another. It even has a fabulous spring fed brook. I can attest to the life changing impact this opportunity has on dogs who’ve been cooped up in their homes day in and out, only seeing their fenced backyards or a brief, leashed walk in their neighborhood. You haven’t experienced true majesty until you see two Weimaraners running in the woods, jumping downed trees and weaving in and out of the trees – just what they were bred to do! People stop on the trail to watch them; it is truly a beautiful spectacle. Even the littlest guys and lap dogs find it invigorating. It is so heartening to see dogs in their natural environment, doing exactly what they are meant to do!
Just another thought on the dogs in the woods. I have taken many of these dogs to the park for the past six to seven years. A couple of them were difficult and unsocialized when I started working with them. This experience has transformed them. The wooded walks, being off-leash and free to go where they want, has calmed them down, made them happier and more content. They’ve also learned how to be a part of a pack – not just “our” pack, but a part of the overall pack of dogs at the park. Owners and others who know the dogs comment on how the dogs have changed since working with me. They think it’s me who has transformed the dogs. I know it’s the opportunity to be in a natural setting, doing what they born to do – running free. I just provide the ride to and from the park!
It is also such a thrill for me to see my two dogs run through the woods twice a day on the way to the barn, as well as their ability to play in the pasture. It’s a celebration of sorts. I feel strongly that it broadens their development both physically and mentally.
Right on, Marilyn! I agree wholeheartedly. It IS a celebration! Thanks for reminding us of that!