I believe that loving and appreciating animals gives us an opportunity to become more than who we already are in this world. I believe that animals teach us, stimulate us, open our hearts and expand our minds. When we bond with animals, we see how completely trusting and authentic they are in their relationships with us, and how much they desire the connection. For me, this is one of life’s true wonders.
I believe that animals heal both our visible and invisible wounds. The physical rewards of lower blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and higher endorphin levels that occur from interacting with animals parallel another profound truth…that a wet nose and a wagging tail may be the only reason some people have to get out of bed in the morning. When I was little, I learned quickly that hugging our dog Cindy brought immediate comfort every time. Loving pets and watching animals in nature have both helped me move through grief, hopelessness, fear and despair on many occasions. I consider it the equivalent of receiving grace.
I believe that animals bring people together. Animal-people bonds naturally produce people-people bonds as we share our stories, and everyone has an animal story to tell.
I am currently writing the story of Zoe, my cat who ran away when I moved. She was returned to me two months later by a homeless woman named George, who was living under a bridge 14 miles away from where Zoe had disappeared. It is a beautiful and miraculous story, like so many other animal stories that lift our spirits. Although Zoe was not a social cat, I believe she chose George’s camp to wander into on a cold October night because she needed George and George needed her. Zoe and George spent six days together before George saw my ad in the lost and found as she used the newspaper for shelter. George told me she knew this cat was special and had to be returned home. That is why she walked two miles in the cold to call me from a pay phone.
Several months later, I saw George again and invited her to come home with me and visit Zoe. She brought with her a story she had written about her time with Zoe. She asked me to read it aloud to her, and she interjected details as I read. It was a delightful, magical visit. George said she missed Zoe and asked for a picture to carry with her. I never saw George again, but I think about her every day. The story she wrote is one of my greatest treasures. That is how animals bond people together.
I believe in the power of animals to take us to higher ground. By continuously offering us a chance to grow in love, compassion and joy, they improve life on this planet so significantly it cannot be measured.
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