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M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E /
/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
47
PET
Corner
The Transformation of A Relationship
by Allen and Linda Anderson
Often we hear from oth-
er animal lovers who tell us
about the challenges of blend-
ing an animal-human family.
Sometimes, animals are thrust
together when their humans
create new households togeth-
er. Other times, a new pet is
introduced into home and has
to find a way to fit in without
being an intruder.
By observing how animals
handle these relationship cri-
ses, people can learn much
about their own interactions
with each other. How do you
win over a co-worker, for ex-
ample, who doesn't like the fact
that you were hired or brought
into the department? What do
you do when there are nega-
tive vibes between you and the
close friend or family member
of someone you love?
A little kitten named Belle
has the answers to some of
those questions. Emma Lau-
rence wrote about what she
learned by watching her new
cat work out relationship is-
sues with the family's elder
cat Oscar.
Emma writes:
To me, our cat, Belle, is an
amazing example of kindness,
compassion, and divine love
in action. Belle arrived in our
household when our other cat,
Oscar, was two years old. She
was skittish to begin with, but
Oscar made sure that Belle
knew what an imposition it
was to have her join the fam-
ily. He hissed at her at every
turn, and she gave him a wide
berth.
When Oscar was three, he
was bitten on the head by a
wild animal. The veterinarian
told us she usually saw such
bites on the back end of a cat
running away. This meant that
Oscar had stood up to and met
his enemy head-on. That deci-
sion nearly cost him his life.
After the bite Oscar got very
ill, had to be fed with an eye-
dropper, and given medicine
around the clock. It was truly
touch and go. During those
weeks of Oscar's illness, Belle
stayed nearby. Tentatively, she
drew closer to Oscar to give
him company and comfort.
Over time, she gingerly ap-
proached to give him a bath.
At first he fussed but was too ill
to resist. Finally he learned to
accept Belle's love graciously.
From that time on, Belle
always created an aura of sweet
protection around Oscar with
her presence. It's so impressive
to me that Belle forgave. She
has taught me to take less of-
fense, to offer kindness more,
and to build my daily life on
loving service.
Not all relationship-building
takes place in the animal king-
dom. In Peggy Lubahn's story
below, she learned a valuable
lesson about noninterference.
How many friendships are
destroyed when people think
they know what is best and
impose their will or ways of
thinking on others? A little but-
terfly showed Peggy the conse-
quences of invading someone's
space, no matter how well-in-
tentioned.
Peggy writes:
Around the middle of June
I spotted on one of my dill
plants a handsome green cat-
erpillar with black and yellow
markings. The little fellow was
about three-quarters of an inch
long, so he must have already
been at least two weeks old. I
called him (or her) Charlie and
talked to him every day while
I watered my plants. His color
matched the stems and leaves
of the dill plants so closely that
sometimes it took a little while
for me to find him.
Before long, it was easy to
see that the mother butterfly
had been wise to lay only one
egg on my dill plant. Charlie
ate so much that there would
not have been enough leaves
to share with even one more
caterpillar.
In mid-July I found Charlie
in the wrong place. He had
obviously gotten confused
and wandered along a catnip
branch that was close to his
dill plant. Now he was resting
on the catnip plant. At first I
was worried Charlie would
starve: All the books say that
black swallowtail caterpillars
like to eat only dill and parsley
leaves. Catnip leaves are sim-
ply not on their menu.
Then I realized that he was
ready to make his chrysalis be-
cause he was getting into his
question mark position. I was
sure that he was on the wrong
plant because he didn't know
any better. I figured the best
thing to do would be to move
him back to his proper home
on a dill plant.
But Charlie knew where he
wanted to be, and it wasn't on
a bare dill stem where every
hungry bird could see him. I
watched in amazement as the
poor guy scurried around in
a panic, trying to find his way
back, until I wised up and
helped him return to the cat-
nip.
I stayed with Charlie long
enough to make sure that he
found another comfortable
spot on the catnip. I was re-
ally worried that he might have
used up so much of his stored
energy when I moved him
that he wouldn't have enough
strength left to turn into a but-
terfly. But the next day, Char-
lie the caterpillar had become
Charlie the chrysalis and was
perfectly camouflaged against
the green leaves of the catnip
plants. I guess he knew what
was best, after all.
I still felt pretty guilty about
interfering and continued to
check on Charlie every day. It
wasn't long before I was en-
couraged by new patterns
and colors appearing under
the surface of the chrysalis,
as Charlie transformed inside.
On a Sunday morning in ear-
ly August I stepped outside to
find that Charlie had already
emerged from the chrysalis.
I got my camera and spent
an hour with him as his wings
dried, partly to help keep birds
away and so I could reassure
myself that he was okay.
I was able to get some great
photos of Charlie before he
finally soared away on a breeze.
I'm so happy and relieved that
my good intentions didn't pre-
vent Charlie from becoming
what he was meant to be.
Have your good intentions
caused a relationship to go
awry? Are there relationships
that could be salvaged, im-
proved, or begun with a little
extra compassion from you?
Look to the animals (and in-
sects) for answers. Spiritual
awareness is all around you.
Allen and Linda Anderson are
founders of the Angel Animals Net-
work and authors of a series of books
published by New World Library
about the spiritual connection be-
tween people and animals. dogs and
the Women Who love Them: Extraor-
dinary True stories of loyalty, healing,
and Inspiration is the newest book in
the Angel Animals series. Subscribe to
the Andersons' free, online newslet-
ter at www.angelanimals.net and fol-
low them on Facebook and Twitter @
angelanimals.
The best way to find
yourself is to lose
yourself in the service
of others.
-- Mahatma Gandhi