The animals who cross our paths, the ones we “resonate with”, or those who “pick us”, do so for a reason. Call it divine direction, past life connection (or not, if that is not part of your belief system), an agreement to work together in this life, a knowing that together the two of you can do wonderful things. . . . This beloved companion might be a dog who has the ability to be a tracking dog, a search and rescue dog, an agility dog, your best friend, the Light of your life; or a happy and lively animal companion (perhaps a potbellied pig?!) who makes you laugh, one who helps you when you are going through tough times, one who teaches you things (about who animals are, about what they need, how they feel, etc.), and the two of you work together to explore your unlimited potential – whatever that may be . . . .
You may find yourself becoming calmer and gentler and more introspective because you welcomed an animal into your life who shows you how to relax and enjoy the peaceful silence or the beauty of nature (watch a cat some time, how they truly look at everything around them), or becoming more alert and present in the moment because of the joy you feel from watching your dog focus on those squirrels/butterflies/birds/bugs; watching your horse run freely, tasting and feeling the wind, eating with gusto or grazing lazily. . . . Marvel at the beauty and grace of a bird’s song and flight, how it uplifts your heart and soul. This bond and mutual learning/teaching facilitates bringing out the best in each other – love, guidance, security, support, acknowledgment, gratitude, playfulness . . . playing “drag the string across the floor” with your cat embodies all those things.
I don’t mean to say the animal, of whatever species, has to “do” something (like agility, showing, tricks, whatever). I mean that they are given space with you to be Who They Are, you allow yourself to be Who You Are when with them, and the lesson learning takes place throughout our lives. They will sometimes struggle with their own issues that have nothing to do with us – think about the timid dog, the aggressive cat, the depressed bird, the horse who has been ostracized by the others . . . . People have situations and issues to learn from and spiritual path to follow, and it is the same for the animals.
Max, my older Weimaraner (now in spirit), definitely picked me – I wanted his sister, but he just kept gently sliding her over so he could get up on the front of the cage and stick his paw out at me. He did this three times, so I thought “all right, I guess you’re the one!”. They were born (litter of 14) on the day of the traumatic automobile accident I was involved in, and that made me think too, for some reason, that he was the right one for me. Max is the reason I finally jumped into holistic care and feeding a raw food diet to him, and I haven’t looked back. He also taught me about patience with and compassion for self.
The women who found Barney, my younger Weimaraner, wandering the streets of San Antonio obtained my name through a member of the the local Weimaraner club. This was unusual. Usually people contact the state’s rescue group directly, and the group would ask me to retrieve and foster the dog. I fostered and eventually adopted Barney. Barney was a very sick dog when I picked him up from the women who found him. I never thought I couldn’t help him, but there were many times I wondered if I could do enough to support him nutritionally, energetically, etc. to sustain his life and increase his vital force/life force. One night when he was struggling so hard with pneumonia, having great difficulty breathing, I gave him a Reiki treatment. I told him if he was ready to go to the Light, if he was too tired and didn’t want to struggle any more, he did not need to stay, that it was okay for him to be free again of this Earth plane. He let me know he was not ready to leave, but he had nothing left in him (not enough vital force) to work with to assist in his own healing.
So it became a matter of giving Barney anything I could think of or find out about or try that would be supportive of his physical body. He was not “present” in his body for months because of the mental, physical and emotional pain and trauma he had suffered. There was nobody home when you looked in his eyes. He was overwhelmed by the tremendous pain from his gut, stomach and lung problems and could not bear to be with his body. It was one of the the saddest and most heart-wrenching cases I’ve ever worked on. One day, about eight months after he came to be with me, I looked into his eyes and did a double-take — he was finally with us in spirit as well as present in his body. I cried; I had been uncertain that day would ever arrive.
My animal companions have all been master teachers for me. They have dealt with one or more issues related to trust, acceptance, security, self-confidence, and others — and they were mirroring my issues to me. All had one or more serious medical issues (such as megaesophaegus, feline infectious peritonitis, seizures, cancer . . .); and they caused me to look at my health problems over the years in a different light. They also have taught me, by their illnesses, how to stretch and grow in my knowledge of natural care and alternative healing modalities. All of this has been a blessing for me, and I am grateful to them for their teachings. I keep reaching for the next thing that might help us and others to heal, and in doing so I’ve found amazing products and tools which work. I’ve learned many lessons from Barney, Max, my horse Oh So Native (a/k/a “Bubba”) and my other animal companions and fosters past and present, as well as clients’ animal companions. My view of how the mind, emotions, body and spirit are interconnected has solidified. It is my firm wish that what I have learned from the animals, and continue to learn with each new case or session, will be helpful to others dealing with the same or similar issues in their animal friends.
I never doubt that an animal crosses my path for a reason, a purpose. Even the ones we deliberately choose to become a part of our lives, we do so because “there’s just something about him/her” that can’t be defined, but the connection is there. Looking at it from a higher perspective, there are lessons to be taught and learned by both ourselves and that animal, and services to be performed by each as well. When we are drawn to an animal or human, either positively or negatively, it’s not a coincidence. We are all mirrors for each other, teachers for each other, students of one another. Perhaps you’ve read the following at some point:
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.
Then people come into your life for a SEASON. Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.” [author unknown]
I think the word “animal” can be substituted in the above, and mean the same thing for a human/animal relationship.
Animals are teachers, companions, and so much more. Wishing many blessings to the animals for being Who They Are, divine beings who bring Light and so much more into our lives.