Animal New Year’s Resolutions
By Allen and Linda Anderson
In this new year we look toward the future but also remember the past when our human and animal family grew in love and awareness.
As we work on this article, our cats, Speedy and Cuddles, are sprawled out in the office chair, patiently watching. Taylor, our soulful looking yellow Lab, has a chew toy sticking out of her mouth as if it were a cigar. She appears to be contemplating its spiritual nature.
The other couple in our home, cockatiels Sparkle and Sunshine, are perched in their large cage probably wondering how they’ve survived one more year, living in a home with so many natural predators. It seems that each of the Andersons approach the year 2001 with much gratitude.
If you live with an animal or animals, you’ve probably noticed what we have. Sometimes, when we’re too thickheaded to listen or learn any other way, God sends an animal messenger — an angel animal, as we call them — to help us figure out our next steps. So, as the typing on this article continues, Allen writes the following sentence: “When a human tells you that he or she loves you unconditionally, the very fact that it had to be said means the person knows nothing about unconditional love.” Cuddles jumps up near the keyboard, presses the backstop, and erases this line. Allen realizes that what he wrote would have taken the piece in a whole different direction — maybe a little too harsh; maybe a little off the point.
Was Cuddles simply playing a role or is she a spiritual being, guided by Spirit or an angel to help us write a better article? One which doesn’t pass judgment on people or animals? Or is Cuddle’s erasure mere mischief and coincidence?
We’ve had enough of these experiences to conclude that, if we’re open to receive, animals definitely deliver messages in their own unique ways. We have no idea what they know or how they think. We just appreciate how the Divine uses them as vehicles for helping us in more ways than we can count.
Animals are spiritual messengers for people but they also assist each other. Amy Berk from New York writes, “When Belle & Ruby were kittens, they’d snuggle up to me in bed on winter nights. I still kept several doors closed to keep them in a more confined area while they were getting used to the house. One night, as I lay in bed, Belle kept jumping off the bed and walking down the hall. Suddenly I heard this unearthly scream coming from the usually silent Belle. I jumped up to find her sitting in front of my closed office door. I swung the door open, and there sat Ruby, her golden eyes flashing in the light. I had unknowingly shut her in this room. I praised Belle for coming to her sister’s aid.
Could you make a New Year’s resolution to start listening and observing animals more closely so you can recognize the messages they may be delivering?
New Year’s Question
Why do you to have a pet? We sometimes hear or read the argument that living with a pet isn’t a reasonable or logical lifestyle choice. The financial cost of vet bills and food, the additional cleaning that is necessary, and other responsibilities seem prohibitive to some. And why would people willingly put themselves through emotional loss, when they know that someday, a beloved animal will leave or die? Many who have never lived with animals question the motivation (and sanity) of those who share their homes and lives with pets.
For those who haven’t experienced the human-animal spiritual connection, sincere animal lovers seem to lack common sense. Pet lovers are accused of having emotional weakness and immaturity which spring from their lack of “real” human contact and companionship. They must be severely bored to need animals as their source of amusement.
When Allen types this line at his computer, Speedy looks at the screen as if to ask, “Do you think that’s true? Do I amuse you?” Allen strokes his hand down the cat’s back and replies, “Yes, you do, but that’s not the only reason we love you.”
Speedy seems to know exactly what to do when we need encouragement. His special way to offer comfort is to touch his paw ever so gently on the shoulder of the one who needs a little extra T.L.C. His eyes peer straight into that person’s heart and without one word spoken say, “You are loved.”
Do you notice when an animal gives you a gentle touch and wide-eyed, innocent look of unconditional love? If you ignore these signals that love is all around, may we suggest you become more observant and grateful as one of your New Year’s resolutions?
Andrea Vivian wrote to us about an animal whose gentle touch and compassion helped her cope with pain and loss. She writes, “My husband and I adopted Inky from the Humane Society in 1990. When our last dog, Cocoa, passed away, we went back to SPCA to look for another dog. On that Sunday morning, the workers opened Inky’s cage, and he immediately jumped into my husband’s lap and started kissing and licking him.
“All that I now have left of their wonderful relationship is memories. You see, my husband, Joe, passed away. Since then, Inky and I are inseparable. He has been my shadow, as if he’s protecting me from the outside world.
“Inky is twelve-and-one-half years old. He has a cataract and is going deaf. But he still seems happy and alert. He adores me, and I adore him. This little guy is so special. I can’t even put into words what he means to me. When I’d be up crying all night, missing my husband, Inky would climb in my lap and kiss away the tears. His unconditional love is unbelievable.”
Can you make a decision to develop a keener sense of spiritual communication with people and animals? Could you resolve to accept more love into your life when you hear the song of bird, the bark of a dog, or the sweet meow of a cat?
Happy New Years for Animals
Here are more animal New Year’s Resolutions. See if any of them light up as just right for your list.
Play with an animal at least once each day.
Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature; breathe them into your soul.
Take a class on how to communicate with animals.
Make it a point to photograph and/or paint pets or animals in nature.
Tell others a story or write a song about an animal who especially touched your life in a positive way.
And Happy New Year to you and the angel animals in your life from Linda, Allen, Cuddles, Speedy, Sunshine, and Sparkle Anderson.
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-authors of “Angel Animals, Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals” (A Plume Book), available in local and Internet bookstores. Visit the Angel Animals Foundation Web site at www.angelanimals.org for details on how to nominate animals for the new Angel Animals Awards contest which offers cash prizes for the best stories. Official entry forms are available on the website or by writing to P.O. Box 26488, Minneapolis, MN 55426. Donations to the nonprofit Angel Animals Foundation are gratefully accepted. For more information call (952) 925-3309.
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