I don’t know about you, but I love animals and am very passionate about them. In fact, I call myself an “animaltarian” because I love animals too much to justify eating them. My pets are my children just as much as any human child is to their parents. I know many can relate in that their pets are part of their family.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous four-legged and two-legged “kids:” dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, chickens, birds, and hamsters. If I could, I would have all kinds of animals around me all the time whether they were wild, tame, outdoor, indoor…you name it, I would have them. But I also know that in order to care for them properly, you have to have the means to do so in way of vet and grooming bills, food, toys, and so on.
I am very spiritually connected to animals. I wasn’t always like this. At one time, even though I loved them, they were just pets. But at some point, I became more spiritually connected to them. It may have happened when I hit a deer one day on the way to work in the mid-80’s. She had jumped from the woods into my car so I couldn’t have avoided hitting her. She landed in the ditch and didn’t die right away. I was hysterical. The next thing that happened changed my life. I was kneeling by her side while petting her stomach, sobbing, and apologizing, when she turned her head over her stomach, looked right at me, and I literally heard these words in my head just as clearly as if someone were speaking to me: “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. I forgive you.” I became a vegetarian at that very moment. Believe it or not, but it happened.
I know this sounds unusual, and think what you will, but I can’t even handle seeing dead animals. On some level, I can “feel” the fear and pain that animal felt when s/he was killed. Most times, I can also “sense” if an animal is happy or sad, and sometimes, if they are sick or in pain.
Losing one of my “kids” is absolutely devastating. Anyone who has lost a pet who was a part of their family can relate. Those who do not have that connection with animals cannot understand this. Some will argue that it’s not the same as losing human children, but to those of us whose animals are our family, it is. I’m not judging them, so I hope they will not judge us.
My little boy (Toy Poodle) died last December and it’s still like it was yesterday. I still can’t think about him or see pictures of him without breaking down. I miss him so much. Same with my horse that I lost a few years ago. I miss every pet I ever had. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost their beloved animal kids. (I want to make it clear that this is not to take away from losing a human child. It’s extremely devastating.)
I love to hear stories where animals save human lives. Animals can also bring healing energy to those in need. Animals are taken into hospitals, nursing homes, and such to bring comfort to the residents. Animals know. And all they want to do is love their humans unconditionally. Then there are humans who will risk their lives to save animals. Again, not everyone understands this connection of humans to animals and some even try to make something wrong with it; but those of us who have that connection understand. We don’t question it.
Like children, our animals can bring us so much love, joy, and laughter. At the same time, they can bring us much sorrow when we lose them. And like children, all animals are blessings, and you never know, maybe even angels in disguise.
(Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 30, 2012.)