Spiritual Dog Trainer: A Spiritual Dog Retreat Review
Written by Rebecca Cook and Booboo, a Yorkshire Terrier Cross 4yrs
“A what?” would be the response I got from the vast majority of people when I told them where I was going, quickly followed by “You are bonkers”. I don’t know what confused them the most, the thought of doing something spiritual, going on a retreat, or doing it with my dog.
When I first stumbled across the retreat online, I was immediately drawn to it, and booked my place very quickly. I didn’t, however, have a clue what to expect, and I went with a completely open mind.
Firstly, let me list the negatives and get that out of the way. There were none. Easy!
Now onto the good stuff…..
During the retreat we did group mediation twice a day. Something you would think to be impossible with the dogs and to start with some of the dogs (mine being the main culprit!) were unsettled. By the end of the retreat though, it was as if they had been doing this all their lives and they were all so chilled. My dog, Booboo loved it and it would take ages for her to come round after a mediation had finished, just lying there and watching, which was in itself a minor miracle!
The most amazing mediation for me was when I met my spirit animal. I wasn’t very hopeful about it ‘working’ for me as I was very much a beginner in mediation, but he came. The most beautiful raggedy old hare! The best thing is that I feel he is always with me now and that we have connected, it is very comforting.
There were talks, as well as the chance to practice many other topics such as scent work, spiral work, grounding, balancing and dog nutrition. All of which were fascinating and eye opening, Caroline is so knowledgeable and I have total faith in her abilities and advice. We also had the opportunity to have a 1 to 1 with Caroline which was quite emotional for some of us. I certainly took a lot of useful information away from these talks and had quite a few eye-opening moments, where I could suddenly see aspects of myself clearly for the first time in many years. In fact I have never seen things as clearly as I did during the retreat.
The afternoons were left for us to do whatever we wanted to do. Many of the other participants went off for dog walks in the stunning Welsh countryside, or just hung out and had some chill time. Personally the whole experience for me was so overwhelming, I felt I needed processing time and spent a lot of my free time with Boo in my room, thinking about everything and also practicing spiral work on her, not to mention having some sensational afternoon naps.
I cannot possibly miss out the food. Oh the food! It was all vegetarian, with vegans completely catered for too. Freshly home cooked, from proper ingredients by the lovely Elaine, who is totally nuts and an awesome cook. Having recently gone vegetarian myself, it inspired me to try more when I got home. Even some of the meat eaters were so blown away with it they were considering meat-free Mondays, and it’s all a slippery slope from there.
The whole thing takes place in this amazing place, which has stayed with me in my heart. The accommodation is just lovely, very comfortable and they fully cater for the dogs, covering up all the sofas so the pooches can be as comfy as the humans and letting the dogs stay in your room. Also all the others on the retreat were amazing. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people and not be considered as odd, or different.
What has happened since I left the retreat…
My highly strung little Booboo has become a much more relaxed and happy dog, even my sceptical husband has had to admit this. I am myself also less highly strung and more relaxed. In fact, I have started painting again, something which I haven’t done in 10 years. I am also going to get back into playing the guitar as soon as Santa brings me one! I feel like I have been unblocked and set free – something that I didn’t expect but am very happy to welcome. I can see why so many people go more than once. I am planning to return next year myself.