The Connection We Feel is Real: Turning to Our Animals for Coherence

by | Nov 9, 2020 | Animal Wisdom

How many times have you looked into the eyes of your beloved pet or animal friend and felt an immense source of loving energy, calmness, and peacefulness? For a brief moment we are transformed out of a world of sadness, fear, anxiety, and worry as we drift into this magical place of heartfelt connectedness.

Why does this seem so natural, and yet at the same time so difficult? We as humans ultimately crave the same things. It doesn’t matter what race, creed, religious, or spiritual beliefs we have, the color of our skin, or the language we speak. it doesn’t matter what our food preferences are, or how we look. We all flourish in the face of love.

Why is it that we often say, whether we like to admit it or not, that we love our pets more than we love people, and truth be told we don’t even like each other most of the time. We tend to be suspicious and cautious of one other, and it is so much more apparent in these unprecedented times, where we are told that separation and isolation is what is best for us while deep down we are secretly longing for the opposite. 

Often above all else, we seek a deep connection, a divine recognition. We find that when we are ‘In Love,” and we find that in the loving interactions with our animal companions. It could be your dog, cat, horse, lizard, rodent, or even your fish. Animals have a natural and beautiful way of just BE-ing that transforms us in the moment and takes us out of our DO-ing state of mind. Is there something about these animals, or is it a strong recognition of something deep inside of us that is being reflected?

That question may seem esoteric, and the answer is yes! 

Wellbeing Can Be Found in the Most Unusual Places 

While I was in veterinary school in the Caribbean, living on the island of St Kitts, I would go out snorkelling after classes to clear my mind. As we say jokingly, “It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere”; usually meaning, it’s time to stop working, go to “happy hour,” and decompress from our busy day. The ocean has the same philosophy.   

Every day around 5 o’clock under the waves of the Caribbean Sea was the aquatic “rush hour.” Colorful fish of all different shapes and sizes were swimming to and fro, some heading home, some coming out; it was an unusually busy time for fish traffic.   

While out enjoying this flourish, I became especially fond of a family of squid. Every day, at that time, I would “meet” up with them. There were seven of them, all different sizes and ages, and they always swam next to each other, in a horizontal line, at the same speed, in size order. The largest one was always on the left. 

It seemed that after some time they became accustomed to my presence. At first they would swim faster when they saw me, and then as they became more comfortable with me, they moved much slower, and in sync with my speed. At times I would playfully get close enough into their ‘field,’ causing them to break up and swim in all different directions. But, within a minute or so, the family would regain their composure and re-organize into their rightful place amongst the group. 

There was so much coherence and connection between them. And as for me, whether or not our relationship was “one sided,” it created a sense of joy and peace within me that in those moments, nothing else existed, except the ocean, my breath, my  friends, and the divine connection I felt within  and the world around me. It was pure harmony and it felt magnificent!

Why am I talking about squid? It is not really about the squid, but about my experience and the feeling it created inside of me. Interestingly, recent studies on squids conducted at the Queensland Brain Institute found that a squid’s brain was more complex than that of a rat or mouse and its complexity was actually similar to that of a dog. 

Squid have been found to have the ability to count, solve problems, recognize patterns, and communicate through sophisticated signalling systems, and although they are colorblind, they are able to instantly change colors to blend into different backgrounds and to attract potential mates. 

According to Dr. Wen-Sung Chung, the primary researcher from the Queensland Institute, “Squid can say “I love you” to his favorite lady, communicating in different ways. This is not an ‘instinct reflection’, but has been associated with a very complex cognition process.”

I find this anthropomorphizing very interesting but how is this relevant to us?

Regardless of what we have uncovered in the inner workings of a squid, my experiences, and innate understanding of my relationship with squid, lead me to similar conclusions. And at the end of the day, regardless of the source of the connection we feel, it is that moment of joy, appreciation, gratitude, or love that enables us to go into Coherence. 

What Is Coherence?

Coherence is a physiological state of being when the heart and the brain are in such clear communication that the rest of the body becomes harmonious within itself. There is a global physiological shift into alignment and synchronization between our immune, hormone, endocrine, and autonomic nervous system. This may not sound important to you, or you may not fully understand, and in truth, it doesn’t really matter. All you need to do is “feel” and emote, and the Innate Intelligence within will take care of the rest.   

When we are in a state of Coherence, not only are we in alignment with ourselves, we’re also aligned with the world around us and the animals and people in it. 

The side effects of being in that harmonious state include:                                                                                          

  • An increase in mental clarity, focus, and ability to discern
  • A shift into emotional respondence instead of heightened emotional reaction
  • An increase in our general overall performance and reaction times
  • An ability to create more resilience and decrease energy drains
  • An enhanced overall sense of health and wellbeing 

All the while decreasing that constant stress response we know so well. 

Our pets and the animals we surround ourselves with are the catalysts that help create this. Even more fascinating is the energetic affect we have upon each other. Most of us intuitively know that there is a profound energetic exchange between our beloved animal friends, and it is within the study of our bio- field physiology where things start to get even more interesting.

It seems that the more we open our heart to connect, the more connection we have, and this ability to create wellness within each other is a beautiful untapped resource.

Dr. Barrie Sands

Dr. Barrie Sands received her DVM degree from Ross University in 1991. Over the last 29 years she completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center, worked in private practice and is currently working at the VCA Specialty and Referral Center in San Diego as a senior clinician in the Emergency Critical Care department and as the head of the Integrative Holistic department. As a certified trainer for the Institute of HeartMath, she teaches emotional self- regulation, resilience building and coherence techniques, and has a strong interest in interspecies coherence and bio- physiology entanglement. She is a journalist and published author of the book The Stupid Things My Human Does; True Stories from the Animal ER. Her vision is to co-create and facilitate body, mind, and spiritual health and wellness in both animals and humans. You can find out more about Barrie at, and complete her survey on The Energetics of the Human Animal Bond

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