Love Is All Around
By Allen and Linda Anderson
Blood. It’s one of the most frightening sights a human with an animal companion can see. One Thursday morning, we reached for our two cockatiels, Sunshine and Sparkle, to take them out of their cage. Then we noticed stains on the floor and around their food bowl.
At first, we thought it was the remains of some berries Linda had fed the birds or food they hadn’t digested well. Then we examined Sparkle’s distended tummy and observed that her head drooped. We remembered that in the past few days she’d been sleeping more and flying less. Her energy seemed unusually low.
Allen had been traveling out of town consistently for about a month, but this week the computer software training class he was scheduled to teach had been unexpectedly cancelled a day early. This meant he came home on Thursday instead of Friday. Linda had a hair appointment for Thursday, but when she arrived, her hairdresser had gone home sick. As a result of these “coincidences,” we were both at home on this Thursday afternoon when we discovered more blood in the birds’ cage. We decided to call the avian vet. A technician told us that if we could get Sparkle to the animal hospital right away, the vet would see us immediately.
While driving Sparkle in her cardboard carrying case on Linda’s knee, we reflected on how much this little bird meant to her mate, Sunshine, and to us. When we took Sparkle from the cage to bring her to the vet, Sunshine had screeched as if we were tearing his heart out. His fear, apprehension, and blood-curdling screams increased as we placed Sparkle into the box. These two with their “old married couple” routines depend on each other for companionship and protection in a household where they are surrounded by natural predators. (Even though our two cats and dog don’t seem to want to eat their family members, we’re careful not to tempt the natural order of life on the food chain by letting them mingle.)
How sick was Sparkle? Would we lose her? How could we bear the loss of one so sweet, aware, and affectionate as she is? Would Sunshine’s grief be inconsolable? These were all questions we pondered on the trip to the hospital.
We were greeted by a lovely woman veterinarian, who used to raise cockatiels and is an expert on the breed. She examined Sparkle and told us the bird had yolk peritonitis. She explained that an egg had tried to form, and its yolk had broken. This had caused an infection which enlarged Sparkle’s liver and possibly her kidneys. The vet would have to take an x-ray while we waited at a nearby coffee shop for news of whether there was another egg forming or if organs were severely damaged.
Would the X-Ray Show?
Returning to the vet’s office, we held hands and tried to prepare ourselves for whatever news might come. The vet explained that although the liver was enlarged, antibiotics should heal the damage. If all went well, we could give Sparkle injections at home. She explained how to make an incubator so Sparkle would stay warm. If she took and responded well to the medication, Sparkle would have a good chance of fully recovering. Rather than keep her at the hospital, the vet advised us to take the bird home, because Sunshine and Sparkle were a “bonded pair.” Later, we chuckled at how hard it is for most vets to simply say, “They love each other.” But this might sound like they’re committing the terrible sin of anthropomorphism — attributing human characteristics to an animal.
We packed up our little bird and returned her home to the other half of her bonded pair. Our hearts melted at Sunshine’s reaction when we placed his beloved Sparkle back by his side. He turned his head to her with immense love and concern on his face and in his eyes. He whistled and sang to her, listening while she chirped softly, probably telling him all about her ordeal.
How to Communicate about the Medication
Delivering Sparkle’s dose of medication became our next challenge. How would we convince this bird, who had been traumatized at the vet’s, to open her beak so Allen could squeeze a syringe with the foul-tasting liquid antibiotic down her throat? We decided to use some of the animal communication methods we teach in our workshops. First, we raised the whole situation into the spiritual realm by softly singing a holy name for God that is used by Sufis, some Native American tribes, and is taught today in the modern-day religion of Eckankar. HU, it is said, is the sound of God’s love flowing through creation. When sung as a mantra with love, HU is a prayer that raises spiritual awareness without directing an outcome or petitioning for anything other than acceptance of God’s will. We sang HU (pronounced “hue”) to Sparkle. She turned her head to us and watched, listening intently.
Would this love song to God calm our little bird and help her know that we were acting in her best interests by giving her the medication? Then we visualized how Sparkle needed to cooperate. Out loud and inwardly we explained that the medicine would help her heal and feel better.
Did she get the
We thought it might be best to bring Sparkle out of the cage and leave Sunshine inside so he wouldn’t try to protect her from us. He let us know that he wanted no part of that strategy by raising a ruckus. So we decided to let him watch what we were doing. He sat quietly on Linda’s arm, while Allen held Sparkle and administered the dosage. Although Sparkle had fought the vet, now she raised her little head, opened her mouth, and accepted the medication without any protest.
It was amazing. Our communication, carried on the wings of HU, had connected with Sparkle spiritually and eased her fears. We’d communicated soul to soul.
Animal consciousness, the souls of animals, animal emotions — we witnessed all of these intangibles through the experiences with Sparkle and Sunshine. A Divine hand had orchestrated the entire experience. The synchronicity was incredible. We had both been brought home unexpectedly. An avian vet, who specialized in cockatiels, was available just in time to save Sparkle’s life. Sunshine and Sparkle had caught on to what she needed to do to heal and had cooperated. These two little birds were loved and protected beyond anything we could have imagined. We were shown one more time the interconnectedness among all of God’s creatures.
Later, when we discussed how to express what we’d learned from our experience with Sparkle and Sunshine, we read excerpts from the wonderful book by Allen M. Shoen, D.V.M., M.S., “Kindred Spirits,” (Broadway Books, 2001, $23.95). Dr. Shoen wrote about how his dog Megan took care of an injured one-week old goat by licking the animal and lying by her side, breathing against the goat’s chest. Dr. Shoen had to hurry off to save the life of a wounded kitten and wondered if it would be all right to leave the goat in Megan’s care. The dog looked into the vet’s eyes and seemed to assure him that she’d take care of the kid while he was gone. He writes, “Megan had intuited and understood my role in life, and now she had adopted that responsibility for herself. She was becoming a healer just as much as I was. Although I had been very close to many animals before, this connection moved beyond any I had ever made. In a moment’s time, my sense of the human-animal bond had changed forever.”
Love is all around. Awareness is all around. Divine guidance is all around. Sometimes it takes furry, feathery, flowing, or flying creatures to remind us.
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-editors of “Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals” (A Plume Book, 1999) in local and Internet bookstores. Angel Animals plush toys are available at www.incrediblecreatures.com or call (305) 532-3111. The Andersons co-founded the Angel Animals Foundation to increase love and respect for all life — one story at a time. Tax-deductible donations and story submissions are gratefully accepted at P.O. Box 26488, Minneapolis, MN 55426 or www.angelanimals.org . For more information call (952) 925-3309.
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