I got to thinking this morning about the absolute joy my pets brings me and how spending time with them each day brings such a sense of peace to my soul.
I am the proud owner of three precious cats and one rambunctious dog. My relationship is completely different with each one; just like with people I know.
Salvatore is my cuddle muffin. His eyes follow me across a room and when he sees the coast is clear (and sometimes doesn’t care if it is and will make a way,) he will curl up in my arms for tummy rubs. His fur is some of the softest you will ever touch and his purrs are incredibly soothing. Some scientific research claims a cat’s purr has healing properties for the bones. Not sure if that is legit, but I can definitely imagine how that works. Cats really are magical creatures.
My Zen Kitty is completely different. He does not enjoy being held, but when he does (and it is rare,) wants to spend time with me, he sits in the most awkward places and purrs very loudly. One thing I love about him is how sleek and beautiful he is. He is a black cat and seems to have an air of mystery about him. Plus, his coat smells like cotton candy.
Jolene was this sweet little runt of a kitty found under our cabin, back when we lived out in the woods. She is dainty and sweet and does this terrific little circle dance on her hind legs when you walk past her. We call her our circus kitty for this little trick. She is sort of a combination of personalities – a little skittish and playful and sometimes a cuddle bug. Her aura just exudes kindness.
Then there is my 6-month-old German Shepherd, Dorian. What a joy he is and I am eternally grateful for that void he has filled. I no longer feel lonely or sad or unloved – EVER. (Not that I am, just sometimes we all get a little blue, but he has surely pushed all of that away.) He is full of life and energy and cuddles and kisses. We are bonded, very strongly, and I am better for it.
When I think of the magical, healing power of encountering animals, the image of St. Francis of Assisi always comes to mind. There is a story about Francis walking with his friends and he came across a flock of birds, but they were all different kinds. Instead of continuing on his journey, he stopped and followed the birds. Thinking they would fly off if he approached and spoke to them, he cautiously started preaching the gospel and praying for them. Instead of scattering, they stayed and watched him. Later, he asked his friends why didn’t we all pray with our animals and from that day forward was considered the Patron Saint of Animals and Animal Lovers.
He is also famous for saying, “Preach the gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words.” The love I feel when my animals look up at me with their trusting eyes remind me that God is very real and that their love for me and my need to have them in my life is a very real gift from God.
Lord, please watch over my pets as we go about our day. Grant me the patience and compassion to always put their needs above my own, for I am the center of their world. May we learn to love others as much as we love our pets. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN.