The Choices Animals Make
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We recently had lunch with Jane, a blind woman who has a story in our book, “Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals”. She was accompanied by her new guide dog Marko, a black Labrador retriever with soulful, attentive eyes. Linda commented that Marko seemed much more devoted to doing her job than Fuller, Jane’s previous Seeing Eye Dog had been. Fuller, also a Labrador, had done his work dutifully but without enthusiasm. His eyes would wander to anyone who might be tempted to come over and pet him — a no-no when he was on duty. His little nose would touch tabletops to sniff food a little too closely. His happiest moments were when Jane took off his harness and let him romp around.
Unlike the frolicsome Fuller, Marko is focused on Jane like a laser beam. He never takes his eyes off of her. His big heart is totally devoted to Jane alone. Marko holds his head high when Jane puts on his harness. He guides her with a confident air of pride in his accomplishments. Marko chooses to be Jane’s constant companion. Fuller had done what he’d been trained to do, but would rather not. This is why Jane now has Marko, and Fuller is with someone else who doesn’t need him as much.
Marko and Fuller are examples of what we’ve consistently observed in our relationships with animals and in the stories we’ve collected from people all over the world. We’ve concluded that animals are conscious beings who make choices. They aren’t always free to have it their way, but they sure do try. And they do everything they can to deliver their messages.
The Cat Who Chose Beds
In a radio interview we did for a province-wide station in Saskatch-ewan, Canada, a man named Van called in to tell us about the choices his family’s cat Smokey makes. Van says that every time a family member has a problem or is in any kind of distress, Smokey chooses to sit or sleep on the person’s bed, or in his or her bedroom. Although in retrospect, Van realized that the cat has been doing this for years, he’d never noticed Smokey’s behavior until his daughter moved away to stay in a college dormitory. One night, Smokey slept on his daughter’s bed, looking very morose. This made Van think of his daughter. Missing her, he called the dormitory to find out that she’d been admitted to the hospital that day after being very sick with the flu. Van’s daughter hadn’t called her family because she didn’t want to alarm them. Smokey delivered the message though.
According to Van, if he ever comes home from work feeling overwhelmed or upset, Smokey follows him around and won’t let Van out of his sight until the man feels better. Now the family recognizes Smokey’s signal. If they see him on a family member’s bed, even the ones which his son and daughter use when they come home for a visit, Van calls the person and finds out what is troubling them. Smokey has never been wrong about his diagnosis of their condition. When all is well with everyone, Smokey peacefully sleeps on the couch in the living room.
A Bear Makes a Choice
On that same radio show, a woman called in to share her story of the choices animals make. She said that she and her husband were driving to a camping ground in a national forest when they had to slam on their brakes. A huge grizzly bear stood in front of them with his arms folded across his chest. He’d decided the road ahead belonged to him.
As the caller and her husband sat in their car, thinking about what to do next, another family drove up behind them. The Canadian caller said that this family “must have been Americans”, because they had no idea what a frightened or angry grizzly bear could do. Unaware of the danger they were putting themselves in, they jumped out of their car, started flashing a camera in the bear’s face, and throwing food at him. The caller said in an understated way, “I thought I was about to see my first bear-mauling”.
The bear’s next actions surprised her and her husband. They watched as this animal became increasingly annoyed with the “ugly Americans.” Then a look of utter disgust swept across his face. He shrugged his shoulders, gave them a parting withering glance as if to say, “You’re too dumb to eat,” and stalked back into the forest.
This bear made a choice not to have the tourists for dinner, thank goodness.
In many spiritual writings and teachings it’s mentioned that before a soul enters a body, the soul makes agreements to meet and interact with other souls. When they meet in this life, the two souls have a sense of rightness about being together. We believe animals are souls in furry, fuzzy, and feathery bodies. They make soul agreements to enter a person’s life at exactly the right time and to leave it when their spiritual mission is completed. These animals become our spiritual partners in this life and meet us again in heaven.
We’ve received many stories from people who adopted animals and came home feeling that the decision had been mutual. Others have written to us that they’ve rescued animals who, in turn, rescued them.
What do you think? Have you had experiences with an animal who has chosen to be part of your life, perhaps to adopt you? Is there a special animal who had a spiritual purpose for choosing to be with you? Has an animal let you know that his or her time on earth is finished? If so, please send us your stories at the address below. We’d love to include them in future articles.
We think there’s a simple explanation for why animals choose the people and families they do.
They love us.
And that’s the best choice of all.
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-editors of “Angel Animals, Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals” (A Plume Book) available in local and Internet bookstores. Angel Animals plush toys are available at www.mindwalking.com or by calling (305) 532-3111. The AAEF Web site is www.angelanimals.com . Tax-deductible donations and story submission to the nonprofit AAEF are gratefully accepted at P.O. Box 26488, Minneapolis, MN 55426 or on our website. For more information call (612) 925-3309.
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