The Illusion of Natural Differences

Linda, Leaf, and Sunshine

Dogs and cats are supposed to be natural enemies.  Certain groups of people are expected to be at odds with each other, too.  Race, politics, religion, or any number of differences seem to be insurmountable barriers that separate us from one another.

Prana, our gentle golden retriever, whose name means “breath of life,” is no longer with us. But in her short life, she taught our family about how to transcend differences in ways that constantly amazed us.

Prana befriended the kitten Feisty we adopted from a local animal shelter. Their relationship demonstrated the power of love to crumble illusory walls that keep us from experiencing our deeper connections with each other. Prana and Feisty shared our home and inspired us with their selfless love and unstinting devotion. We’d look at each other and say, “Why can’t everyone be more like them?”

Gently playing with and mothering Feisty, Prana raised him with unwavering patience, kindness, and consideration. Prana cherished the chew bones we’d give her in the evening.  She’d sit by the television set chewing them in a state of pure ecstasy.  When Feisty came over, without hesitation, Prana would readily share her precious bone by holding it between her front paws for the kitten to lick.

As the kitten grew into a cat, these two friends became inseparable, even sleeping next to each other. Prana often slept on her back with her mouth open. Feisty would stick his head into her mouth, waking up his playmate.

When have you observed animals transcending the illusion of difference? What has it taught you about unconditional love?

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