Cuddles Anderson 1998 – 2016

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The sweetest cat we have ever known left us yesterday. She went to a healing home in the inner worlds. But our world will never be the same without her.

We found this little black-and-white ball of fur in a bin full of kittens at the animal shelter. Linda said to all the kitties, “You are so cute. I have no idea which one of you should be ours.” She put her hand, palm up, inside the bin. Cuddles peered up at Linda from the back of the bin. She jumped over all her littermates and landed in Linda’s hand. Cuddles was The One. She had chosen us.

About the time Cuddles arrived into the Anderson household, we were starting our first Angel Animals printed newsletter. The concept that animals are spiritual beings, messengers who show us what God’s love is, intrigued the news media. Before we knew it, newspaper reports and local television crews were coming to our home and interviewing us. Cuddles became our publicist, hostess, and model.

She scratched at the front door as journalists arrived and made a brilliant first impression. She curled up on reporters’ laps and posed for photographers. Everyone was so charmed that she served as the image of Angel Animals without ever saying a word.

Stories about our new project, which by then had morphed into our first book proposal, made it into national wire services. Cuddles, stretched out on our living room coffee table or sofa, caressing readers with her lustrous emerald eyes, made it into newspapers all over the country.

Cuddles gave us 18 precious years of love, companionship, and fun while we went on to write 17 Angel Animals books. She slept next to Linda every night underneath her arm. If Linda didn’t wake up when Cuddles decided it was time for breakfast, she used her paw to pull out Linda’s earplug and mew, “Feed me!”

Cuddles loved to curl up on Allen’s big blue chair and watch him work in his home office. She ruled him and the house. We all loved and accepted her benevolence. He enjoyed taking pictures and videos of her as she orchestrated the impressions she wanted to make.

In our third book, ANGEL CATS: Divine Messengers of Comfort, we gave Cuddles her own column called “Ask Cuddles.” She answered the age-old question: “Do animals go to heaven?”

Cuddles wrote: “Yes, of course animals go to heaven. And we will joyfully greet you there at the Rainbow Bridge (it does exist!) when you arrive. That’s a promise. One more thing. (You can believe this or not, but I happen to know from personal experience that this does happen.) Sometimes the Soul that was your sweet kitty can’t wait for a heavenly reunion with you. This Soul then rejoins you at another place and time in a different body. If you want to know the truth of this, look into our eyes. See if you recognize an old friend. Our love never dies. – Forever yours, Cuddles”

Today, our family is bereft and grieving. Our little cocker spaniel Leaf, who was smart enough to do whatever Cuddles told him, is lethargic and sleeping all day. Our yellow cockatiel Sunshine wouldn’t come out of his cage this morning. Cuddles passing has left a big hole in our hearts.

As the veterinarian helped Cuddles leave her sweet body, we sang HU, a sacred love song to God, and tearfully said goodbye to our wonderful friend. She left peacefully, gracefully, and with utmost dignity, just as she had lived her life. Her spirit lives on as a great and wise Soul moving on to her next spiritual adventure.

We love you, Cuddles. We miss you, Cuddles. You always lived up to your name, Cuddles. Thanks for being a precious member of the Anderson family.

Cuddles 2

Cuddles 4

Cuddles 3 (2)

 

Do your pets try to talk to you?

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

DOG TALK

For many years, our cocker spaniel Leaf has vocalized to Linda in an attempt to talk to her every night before we all go to sleep. He jumps up on the bed, rolls over for a belly rub, and then begins with a series of moans and groans that are his version of words and sentences.

Depending on how tough or interesting a day he’s had, he talks a lot or a little; in calm or excited tones. Linda asks him a question such as, “How was your day?” Leaf answers with emotional responses.

Allen is also on the bed, watching the scene unfold. But Leaf doesn’t confide in him. He only shares his heart with his “mommy”. Allen’s role is to play with Leaf, so Linda calls him “Leaf’s favorite toy.” The dog is more than happy to have Allen scratching his ears during the debriefing session on bed at night.

One night, Linda was amused to hear Leaf talking to her in his usual manner. Except for one thing: Leaf was having the conversation in a dream. From his dog bed next to ours, Leaf babbled on with the same kinds of moans and snorts he uses while awake.

Nice to know that even in his dreams, Leaf continues to communicate in his unique ways.

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

What are the animals in your home learning from each other?

LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER

Leaf, Sunshine, and Cuddles

Leaf, Sunshine, and Cuddles

The animals who live together in our house appear to be learning from each other. It’s a strange sight to behold.

As dogs tend to do, our cocker spaniel Leaf runs to the door when we comes home and he wags his tail with friendly excitement. Now, so does our little cat Cuddles. She scampers along behind Leaf. Her tail swishes. Uncatlike as it may be, she expresses her happiness at seeing us.

When he was about one year old, Leaf was abandoned at an animal shelter. We adopted him, and it’s been quite an adventure ever since. Even though he’s made his home with us for eight years now, he still has abandonment issues.

We leave the room or he wakes up and doesn’t see us; he howls. We leave the house; he howls even louder.

We adopted Cuddles as a kitten from the same animal shelter. She’s never gone through abandonment nor has she howled. But after years of watching and listening to Leaf, she’s added howling to her behavior.

It’s her version of a howl which is more like a yell. But the other day, after Allen left the house, Linda was surprised to hear Cuddles mark his departure with a long, drawn-out meow. We had a symphony of howling and yelling for about 30 seconds.

Early on after Leaf came home, he began watching Cuddles jump up on our bed at night to sleep with us. Guess who soon joined us on the bed? If she can do it; so can I!

What are the animals in your home learning from each other?

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Has an animal tried to communicate his or her wishes to you?

LEAF’S SPOT

Leaf

Leaf

In the early morning Allen was sitting on the couch in a different place than normal, having his morning cup of coffee. Leaf walked up, sat in front of him, and stared. Allen asked our little cocker spaniel what he wanted. Leaf continued to stare at him.

Allen had already given breakfast to Leaf but had forgotten to include a small apple slice that he usually gets for dessert. Still under Leaf’s watchful eye, Allen went to the kitchen and gave Leaf his customary apple slice.

Allen returned to his morning waking-up ritual on the living room couch. Leaf sat down in front of Allen and resumed staring at him. Allen thought, “Maybe he needs to go outside for a bathroom break.” So he left his coffee cup, got up, and let Leaf outside. Nothing happened, though, and they immediately came back into the house.

Once again, Allen sat on the couch only to have Leaf gaze into his eyes as if he was trying to tell him something. Finally, Allen stood up and attempted to figure out what Leaf wanted. The moment he stood, Leaf jumped onto the couch in the spot where Allen had sat. He curled up and made himself comfortable.

At last, it occurred to Allen that he had been sitting on the spot where Leaf usually sprawled out on the couch. Every morning, Allen sat on the smaller couch while Leaf had his reserved spot, viewing the world outside the living room window.

Humans can be so dense.🙂

Has an animal tried to communicate his or her wishes to you?

Who is in charge of keeping you in balance when your life fills up with too many to-do list items?

Who tells you it is time to play?

The truth of the matter is – we are working too hard and putting in too many hours on the next books. But we have barometers in our home who tell us that. They are named Leaf, Cuddles, and Sunshine.

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

Cuddles

Cuddles

Sunshine

Sunshine

Leaf, our dog, brings his ball and drops it at our feed and tells us to throw it for him. Cuddles, the little cat, vocalizes with a scolding tone of voice. Sunshine, the bird, screeches more than usual but also sings his song if one of us spends quality time with him.  He is giving us positive reinforcement to play with him too.

Everybody joins in the chorus to let us know that it is time to rest, time to take a break, time to play.

Who is in charge of keeping you in balance when your life fills up with too many to-do list items?

How do you make special time for your pets?

MAKING SPECIAL TIME FOR YOUR PETS

Feeding, cleaning, exercising, grooming, caring for, playing with pets can sometimes seem like a full-time job, especially in multiple-pet families.

How do you find time for it all?

Cuddles

Cuddles

If you’re like us, you have to multitask, even with your pets. Exercising includes walking combined with playtime and throwing the ball for our cocker spaniel Leaf.

Annual vet appointments involve bringing both our cat Cuddles and Leaf to the veterinarian’s office at the same time. We found that sharing their distress with each other actually seems to help them cope better. Cuddles can scurry back into her carrying case and feel safe while Leaf is having his exam.

But one thing that each of our pets requires and deserves is at least a few minutes everyday of our undivided attention. Cuddles tends to like her quiet time while sitting on Linda’s lap in the morning. Linda has to work around the cat in order to write in her journal and do a contemplation. But the sound of Cuddles’s sweet purring adds a blissful dimension to the centered start of her day.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Leaf’s special time comes at night when we take turns rubbing his belly, while he sprawls out on the bed. First, he carefully paws Allen’s side of the bed as if preparing a nesting place. Then while Linda pats his head, he answers her question — How was your day? — with grunts, groans, and other vocalizations.

Leaf licks Allen’s cheeks for a while and then settles in the middle of the bed to sleep until Linda finishes reading and turns off the lights.

Cuddles curls up next to Linda’s side. The bird is covered in his cage, sleeping on his perch behind a spray of millet. And everyone drifts into sleep and dream.

How do you make special time for your pets?

What do you think about emotional-support animals?

EMOTIONAL-SUPPORT ANIMALS

The April 22, 2013 issue of TIME Magazine had a thought-provoking article about emotional-support animals (ESA), “Comfort Creatures: Support Animals Help Patients, but That Lizard May Be Against the Law.”

The National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) certifies service and emotional-support animals and has registered 7,000 of them since 1995. The NSAR certifies dogs, cats, pigs, birds, mice, rats, hedge hogs, iguanas, rabbits, and goats. These animals can then wear vests or patches and have ID cards to prove they are necessary to the people they serve.

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Mental health professionals can prescribe an animal’s companionship for patients to help them cope with emotional and psychological symptoms. But health departments can counteract the diagnosis with laws that restrict farm animals. Neighbors can and do report pet owners who they believe are keeping pets or traveling with them illegally.

According to the article there is a confusing gray area about what constitutes a service animal and who needs them. With physical disability, everyone can see why the person needs the animal. With emotional issues, the reasons for having a service animal may not be visible. “Complicating the issue further was the growing diversity of critters aiding people with physical disabilities: boa constrictors that warn their owners of oncoming seizures; capuchin monkeys that help quadriplegics eat and drink; parrots that verbally calm owners who suffer from bipolar disorder.”

Allen and Leaf

Allen and Leaf

The article doesn’t mention a further complication – people who make up their own vests and badges in order to self-certify a pet. Sometimes, this is due to the fact that someone with a disability is on a long waiting list to receive a professionally trained service animal or can’t afford to pay for one. Someone wrote to us that she couldn’t bear to be without her dog and had “faked” a vest that allowed the dog to go everywhere with her.

What do you think about emotional-support animals? Have you had an animal officially or informally who offered you so much emotional support that you had to have him or her with you everywhere?