Why do you call animals, angels?

Radio and television hosts and newspaper reporters frequently ask this question when we do interviews for our books. Sometimes it is accompanied by a snide comment such as, “My pet isn’t an angel!” Then they go on to report all the behavior that drives them crazy. Usually they end their tirade by saying, “But he’s family, and we love him.”

Over these many years, as you can imagine, we have come up with an answer to the question about animals as angels. We explain that our definition of an angel animal springs from the Greek derivation for the word angel, or angelos. This word literally means messenger.

We believe (and have thousands of stories to back us up) that animals can be divine messengers who bring assurance to people that yes, indeed, there is love in this world.

Then we get into the thornier aspect of the question: Is every animal an angel?

Because both animals and humans are souls, or divine sparks of God, clothed in physical form, they can serve as messengers for others. Notice we draw no distinction between joyful, sad, protective, or any other type of message.

Mother Teresa once compared herself to a pencil God used for writing a love letter to the universe. Animals are delivering love letters too. What does yours say today?

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Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson

NEW — ONE WEEK ONLY PRESALE UNTIL OCTOBER 2

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson. Twenty true stories of dogs and women who changed each other’s lives. Endorsed by Betty White, Wendie Malick, Vanessa Williams, Linda Tellington-Jones, and American Humane Association, among others. Reviewed or mentioned in Modern Dog, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal so far.

Rory Freeman, #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of Skinny Bitch, an Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres favorite book, says in the foreword, “This book will open your heart, warm your soul, and make you proud to be a dog-loving woman.” Visit the Angel Animals Online Bookstore at http://shop.angelanimals.net/product.sc?productId=24 to pre-order now.

What wildlife do you enjoy where you live? How do you share your space with them?

Animals in the Wild

Those of us who love animals don’t limit our attention to pets. Our caring extends to animals in nature. As the United States grapples with the disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, images of damaged and dying wildlife devastate us. We encourage you to donate to and volunteer with the organizations that are trying to save animal lives.

Also, please consider helping groups such as Animal Rescue New Orleans www.animalrescueneworleans.org and Humane Society of Louisiana www.humanela.org. Because so many people have lost their livelihood due to the oil spill, these groups are experiencing a deluge of abandoned pets who are being left at the shelters.

About a year ago, we posted the following question on Facebook: How are you sharing your space with animals in the wild? Below are some of the answers we received.

Katherine: I live in Western Maine along the Androscoggin River in Canton. We have deer, moose, eagles, some fox, beaver, woodchucks, ground hogs, and the list goes on. I have worked really hard to create somewhat of a sanctuary for the wildlife to visit. We have a lot of land and we grow various plants, fruit trees, etc. We also have a manmade pond, a brook, and of course, the river. All of our plants, vegetables, etc. are grown organically, and we use no pesticides. We do our best to protect the land, wildlife, and all animals.

William: We have a bald eagle, deer, raccoons, skunks, fish, snakes, robins, and birds of all kinds. We have many feeders for them, and they stay year round. They all are so much fun to watch. We have a fishpond with 100 fish. They love it here and have been with us over twenty years.

Donna: We have “domesticated” hummingbirds, meaning we feed them, and they take over our deck. We also enjoy many waterfowl and see beautiful Baltimore orioles everyday in our yard and several wrens’ nests. The wrens peep and squawk at us when we get too close. We love nature and respect it all as God’s gift to us in this physical world. There are so many lessons to learn by observing nature.

William: We feed animals year-round because we are here all year. And if we go on vacation, we have people come in and feed them for us. If we see one hurt, we have a place that will fix wildlife so they can get back to their world. They do a great job and charge nothing.

Joy: My backyard is 26 acres, and we have deer, turkey, raccoons, groundhogs, owls, whippoorwills, turtles, hummingbirds, snakes, lizards, coyote, many songbirds, frogs, dragonflies, field mice, butterflies, and probably some other things I’m not aware of.

Kathy: We live in the desert and constantly are lucky enough to see jackrabbits, desert ravens, lizards and occasionally coyotes. I wish their living space was not shrinking so quickly, though.

Becky: We have 3-1/2 acres and have planted over 300 trees in ten years ago. We’ve let the greenery grow wild around the big pond, and the koi pond looks lush. So far this year we have more wildlife than before. Behind us is a small wildlife area with eagles, herons, geese, ducks, woodpeckers, owls, coyotes, garden snakes, songbirds, and frogs.

Paula: We are surrounded on three sides by DNR property and therefore have the good fortune to see a variety of wildlife — chipmunks, squirrels, numerous wild songbirds, hawks, herons, egrets, deer, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, frogs, salamanders, insect life, toads, too numerous to mention. When I sometimes get irritated with the bats, it is mainly that I don’t like them in the house but appreciate their contribution outside. The absolute worst time is hunting season. All I can do is hope the animals figure out that we’re the good guys.

What wildlife do you enjoy where you live? How do you share your space with them?

Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net

What ways have you found to help animal rescue organizations?

Early New Year’s Resolutions

Today, we had an invigorating breakfast meeting where we talk and about new goals for the new year. In this tough economy 2009 was hard on just about everybody. But the animal shelters and animal welfare organizations experienced undue hardships.

So many people’s houses went into foreclosure that animal shelters were deluged with frightened, confused pets who suddenly became homeless overnight. The shelters have become overcrowded. Not as many people felt they could afford to adopt a shelter pet.

We’re exploring ways that we can help animal shelters and organizations. We’re looking at possibilities for doing fundraising and speaking engagements to increase awareness and funds for homeless animals.

Just a reminder that in this season of giving, please be sure to remember how much your local animal shelters (and even the national organizations) need your donations of time, materials, and money. Shelters with websites often list the types of donations they need. Things like blankets, food, toys, and crates go a long way toward helping them to survive.

The animals will thank you. They always do.

What ways have you found to help animal rescue organizations?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

What Does Your Choice of Pet Say about You?

Question: Why would the University of Oregon College of Business Administration be profiling 667 pet owners?

Answer: People with pets are major players in the world of business.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reports in its National Pet Owners Survey that 62 percent of U.S. households now welcome at least one pet into their homes. These humans are fueling $31 billion in pet products, more than people spend annually on human toys or candy. Add to products the popular pet services — massages, chiropractic, acupuncture, liposuction, gourmet dinners, and hotel accommodations — and you get an industry that is vitally interested in what will make you buy that designer dog dish or French day bed. (“New Survey Shows America’s Love Affair with Their Pets Stronger than Ever” by Tierra Griffiths and Julie Rowe)

So Oregon’s College of Business Administration graduate students, under the leadership of Lynn Kahle, head of the marketing department, tried to figure out what your choice of a pet tells about you. With that essential information, marketers can appeal to your sensibilities and convince you that Precious really does need a plastic bowl with a lid that doubles as a Frisbee.

Here’s what they found with their questionnaire:

–Dog owners tend to be more honest and forthright than most other people. They are loyal and religious;
–If you consider yourself to be a cat person, you probably are a bit of a loner yet have fairly high job satisfaction. You tend not to toe the line when it comes to the rules and rituals of an organized religion;
–People who are primarily attracted to fish as pets are more optimistic than most and not as materialistic or concerned about social status.

Kahle concludes, “A more thorough understanding of the motivations, values, and lifestyles of pet owners can help marketers design more effective advertising approaches, both for pet products and in advertisements for nonpet products.” (“We Lavish Love, Money on Our Pets Study Reveals Psyches of Animal Owners” by Ranny Green, Seattle Times, 1993)

So the gathering of this kind of data is how pet commercials are targeted directly at what excites and interests you — not your animal companion.

Well, we have a slightly different take on the subject. We think that not only do animals often reflect a person’s psyche, they also mirror their souls, or the amount of love in their hearts. It’s our opinion that a person who says, “I don’t like animals,” is experiencing a disconnect between the heart and the mind. Ask any animal lover and they will tell you: Animals are our hearts.

To take the Angel Animals “Pet Personality Quiz” and have a little fun, go to http://angelanimals.net/quiz.html

How do your pets reflect your personality?

We welcome you to answer this question and the “Something to Think About” question at our blogs and forums, so everyone can see your comments.

***

The launches for our new book, HORSES WITH A MISSION are on Tuesday, October 6th, 7:30 p.m, CDT, at Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Saturday, October 10th at Borders Books & Music in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Hope to see you there!

Go to www.horseswithamission.com to read excerpts of the book, see video clips of stories, and join in the fun of launching this exciting new book.

***

Consider HORSES WITH A MISSION: Extraordinary True Stories of Equine Service (New World Library, September 1, 2009). It’s available, autographed, at Angel Animals Online Bookstore, www.shop.angelanimals.net, Amazon.com (http://is.gd/2idLM), Barnes & Noble (http://is.gd/2iHQy), Borders Books & Music (http://is.gd/2iHWO), New World Library (http://is.gd/2iI1P) and other online and independent bookstores.

“HORSES WITH A MISSION allows up to travel into the world of the horse from so many unique perspectives and introduces horses that have touched and changed the lives of many people. To have our own writer, Cooky McClung, featured in this wonderful work makes it all the more fun. It’s a fabulous read.”
–Mason Phelps, Jr., president, PhelpsSports.com

* * *

Don’t forget to enter the Dogs and the Women Who Love Them True Story Contest described in the announcement below. We’re looking forward to reading your stories. CONTEST DEADLINE — SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 — IS FAST APPROACHING.

Meet the judges for this contest by going to http://www.angelanimals.net/contestdatwwltjudges.html
Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net

A NEW contest will gather true stories that demonstrate the extraordinary nature of relationships between women and dogs.

A BizRate research study found that over half of the women surveyed believed their pets are more affectionate and cuter than their partners. A new contest will gather true stories that demonstrate the extraordinary nature of relationships between women and dogs.

We’ve all seen them – those tiny women tugging on a leash attached to a big, burly dog or the ladies who carry their little pooches everywhere.

What’s the big attraction between women and canine companions? Allen and Linda Anderson, best-selling Angel Animals series authors, plan to spend six months sponsoring a contest to gather true stories of dogs and the women who love them. Linda Anderson says, “We’re looking for experiences women have that show the benefits of finding unconditional love, acceptance, and fulfillment with dogs. Women and dog teams often become outstanding partners, giving service in extraordinary ways. We want to find their stories for possible publication in our next book.” Full description, rules, prizes, and entry form for this free contest are at www.angelanimals.net/contests.html

The contest the Andersons are sponsoring is designed to find life stories of remarkable women who are fulfilling their purpose in life with the help of dogs. From dogs as protectors to partners in the dance of life the winning stories will honor a relationship that is like no other.

Any contest entries, but especially those of the winners, will be considered for possible publication in the new book Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson to be published by New World Library in Fall 2010. Previous books in the Angel Animals series have included many stories that were contest entries.

The Andersons suggest considering the following questions and entering the contest by writing about profound experiences:

• Has a dog been there for a woman during challenging times or major events in her life?

• Have there been times when a dog has protected people or warned them of possible danger? Has a dog performed an act of compassion, protection, healing, or heroic courage?

• Have a woman and a dog teamed up to fulfill a life purpose and/or perform acts of service?

• Did a dog lead awoman to finding her purpose in life? Has a dog taken on the mission of giving service?

• Has a dog brought people a message of love, acceptance, gratitude, or inner direction?

• Has a relationship with a dog been a catalyst for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing?

• Has it been apparent that a dog was meant to be in a woman’s life at a certain time for a special purpose?

• Has the example of a dog caused a woman to become a better friend, spouse, parent, or family member?

• Are there examples dogs have shown for how to handle life’s challenges, deal with change, heal, trust, or creatively solve problems?

• How has a dog’s ability to live in the now helped a woman or others become present to their own life?

• Has a dog been a mirror to a woman’s life, health, or attitudes by reflecting them back to her in some way?

• What have dogs taught a woman about death, dying, grieving, and the afterlife?

Allen and Linda Anderson are a husband and wife writing team, founders of the Angel Animals Network, and inspirational speakers (www.angelanimals.net). They are authors of the popular anthology series that includes Angel Dogs with a Mission (New World Library 2008) and Angel Dogs: Divine Messengers of Love (New World Library, 2006).

They founded the Angel Animals Network to use the positive power of story for the benefit of people and animals. They donate a portion of their book revenues to support animal shelters. Their work has been featured on NBC’s Today Show and on ABC’s Peter Jennings Nightly News. They have been the subject of numerous national magazine and wire service articles and have been interviewed for London newspapers and BBC Radio. They write Reader Blogs for the online Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Houston Chronicle and host the Angel Pets Fan Club at Beliefnet.com.

Press Kit for Allen and Linda Anderson and Angel Animals Network at www.angelanimals.net/media.html and more information about the contest at www.dogsandthewomenwholovethem.com

How do you share your space with animals in the wild?

wildanimalsa

On June 18, 2009, we posted the question above on our Facebook Angel Animals Fan Club page (www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Angel-Animals/84755854844?ref=ts) and our Linda-Allen Anderson profile page (www.facebook.com/angelanimals?ref=profile). These are some of the answers we received. We thought you would find them fascinating. They have been edited for brevity.

***I live in Western Maine along the Androscoggin River in Canton. We have deer, moose, eagles, some fox, beaver, woodchucks, ground hogs, and the list goes on. I have worked really hard to create somewhat of a wildlife sanctuary for the wildlife to visit.

We have a lot of land and grow various plants, fruit trees, etc. We also have a brook and the river. All of our plants and vegetables are grown organically, and we use no pesticides. We do our best to protect the land, wildlife, and all animals.
–Katherine Mikshenas

***We have a squirrel’s nest right outside our upstairs window. All winter when the wind was blowing, I wondered how he/she was doing. We were happy to see him/her out running around again in the spring. And the squirrel had another squirrel visitor. No signs of little ones yet.

We think of him/her as our very near neighbor. I fed the squirrel an apple once, but she/he ate all of it, got too full, and had to rest on the tree branch. Since then, I just let him/her eat natural food, of which there is plenty. It makes my son and I so happy to watch the squirrel’s goings-on.
–Patrice Reynolds

***We have all kinds of animals. We live by the river, and they feel safe here and do not run from us. We have the only trees in the neighborhood for them to hide in for cover and make nests. We have a bald eagle, robins, deer, raccoons, skunks, fish, snakes, and birds of all kinds. We have many feeders out for them so they stay year round. We have a fishpond with 100 fish in it too. They love it here and have been with us over 20 years.

A robin or eagle builds a house from nothing and it can withstand the high wind and storms. Man has tried many times to do what birds and animals do. Look at beavers build a place to hold water back so they can fish. Smart man can’t. Look at Mother Nature at work. Man tries to change the course of a river, and Mother Nature comes in and takes it back in one day. If all the animals die, so will man.

We feed year-round because we are here all year. And if we go on vacation, we have people come in and feed the animals for us. If we see one hurt, we go to a place that will fix wildlife, so that the animals can get back to the world. The wildlife place does a great job and they charge nothing.
–William E. Wasylk

***We have “domesticated” hummingbirds, meaning we feed them, and they take over our deck. We also enjoy many waterfowl and see beautiful Baltimore Orioles everyday in our yard. I don’t feed the birds because I don’t want to make them dependent on free food since we are not here in the winter.

I’d love to see deer, but the dogs must scare them away. We also have several wrens in nests. They peep and squawk at us when we get too close. We love Nature and respect it all as God’s gift to us in this physical world. There are so many lessons to learn in observation of nature around us.
–Donna Lupinacci

***The neighbor thinks I’m either St. Francis or Dr. Doolittle!
–Joseph J. O’Donnell

***My backyard is 26 acres, and we have deer, turkey, raccoons, groundhogs, owl, whippoorwills, turtles, hummingbirds, snakes, lizards, coyote, many songbirds, frogs, dragonflies, field mice, butterflies, and probably some other things I’m not aware of. Also, I use to feed Wow Koi at the Botanic Garden.
–Joy Lemmons

***We live in the desert and constantly are lucky enough to see jackrabbits, desert ravens, lizards, and occasionally, coyotes. I wish their living space was not shrinking so quickly, though.
–Kathy Bergeron

***On our three-and-a-half acres I have planted over 300 trees since moving here ten years ago. We’ve let the greenery grow wild around the big pond, and the koi pond looks lush. So far this year, we have more wildlife than before. Behind us is a small wildlife
area with eagles, herons, geese, ducks, woodpeckers, owls, coyotes, garden snakes, songbirds, frogs, and poodles. Too many dogs in the neighborhood for deer to come, though.
–Becky McClure Federico

***We are surrounded on three sides by DNR property and therefore have the good fortune to see a variety of wildlife — chipmunks, squirrels, numerous wild songbirds, hawks, herons, egrets, deer, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, frogs, salamanders, insect life, toads, too numerous to mention. When I sometimes get irritated with the bats, it is mainly that I don’t like them in the house but I appreciate their contribution outside.

The absolute worst time is hunting season. All I can do is hope the animals figure out that we’re the good guys. Most of them seem to avoid our two dogs with no difficulty
–Paula Reynolds Nees

What are your experiences with sharing your corner of the world with wildlife?

Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net
angelanimals@aol.com