Having Things Your Way

Speedy

Speedy

One day, our cat, Speedy, took a liking to a large brown paper bag from Menards, a hardware store that sells home repair and remodeling items. After we took items out of the bag and it fell onto the floor, Speedy rushed from downstairs where he’d been sleeping. He ran into the dining room and curled inside the bag.

Thus began a ritual.

We’re not sure why. We thought we knew our unflappable, immutable, household Lion King from all the years we have shared our home with him. He has the couch, soft chairs, and the bed to rest and sleep on. But from the moment when he first discovered the bag on the floor, Speedy slept either inside or on top of it.

He even tried to carry the bag with him to pull up onto his favorite chair. When that didn’t work, he gave up the chair and returned to sleeping on top of the bag every chance he had. He made it clear that this bag belongs to him. Everyone, including our other pets, and the human family members, had to learn to live with Speedy’s new best friend.

For about three weeks, Speedy continued his love affair with the hardware bag. Then one day, we found him sleeping again in his previous favorite spots. The hardware bag lay crumpled and abandoned on the floor. Finally he had given his imperial permission for us to discard this unsightly treasure. Go figure!

We believe that everything is connected and animals are often spiritual messengers, so we decided to see if we could find a bigger picture to Speedy’s love for a Menard’s bag. Was Spirit showing us something about ourselves? Animals have a way of letting people know things they would not normally figure out on our own.

Since Speedy seems to have turned into a case study in attachment, we asked ourselves what we might be excessively attached to. Where were we rigid in our thoughts, opinions, and comfort zones?

Contemplating on the subject revealed aspects in our lives where we were acting as attached as Speedy to the paper bag. In other words, we had fixed ideas about the way certain projects should turn out. Speedy became a great reminder to stop and whisper to Spirit: “Thy will be done.”

What might the animals in your home or in nature be reminding you about yourself or about life?

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.

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NEW, ONE-WEEK SALE AT ONLINE BOOKSTORE Go to shop.angelanimals.net for a great sale. Both HORSES WITH A MISSION and ANGEL DOGS WITH A MISSION are being offered for 40 percent off this week. The sale ends on Monday, October 5th. The books will be autographed for you. It’s a great chance to buy gifts for you and your animal loving friends.

DON’T MISS!!!
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, 2:00 p.m. 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.

“Many pets are here on this earth to help humans in the journey of life. Horses, with their primal nature as prey animals, daily make choices to override their fears, get past traumas, and put themselves in danger to be one with the humans who love them. The stories in this book are great examples of the power of unconditional love, which I am reminded of every day in my work helping clients.”
–Lydia Hiby, animal communicator

* * *

LAST CHANCE!!!
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 www.angelanimals.net/contestdatwwltjudges.html

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

What are favorite animal books you are reading now?

What Angel Animals Is Reading

Being authors of animal books, we are always fascinated by what others are writing on the subject. Below are some of the books we are reading and enjoying. Perhaps they will find their way to your bookshelf too.

THE INNER WORLD OF FARM ANIMALS: Their Amazing Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Capacities by Amy Hatkoff (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009, hardcover, $19.95, 176 pages, color photos) with a foreword by Jane Goodall and afterword by Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States

The jacket for this informative, entertaining, and eye-opening book says, “Chickens can count. Pigs are smarter than poodles. Cows form close friendships. Turkeys know one another by their voices, and sheep recognize faces — of other sheep, and of people. Far from lacking thoughts and feelings, barnyard creatures demonstrate sophisticated problem-solving abilities, possess rich social lives, and feel a wide range of emotions.”

Getting to know farm animals in such an intimate way as they are presented in this book offers a perfect opportunity to love them as individuals. One of our favorite stories is “Hope and Johnny: Loyal and Loving.” It’s about two pigs from Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California. They were such loyal friends that when Hope’s leg was injured and she could no longer walk, Johnny kept other pigs from bothering her when she ate. Johnny stayed by Hope’s side day and night. After Hope died of old age, Johnny, although younger and healthier, died several weeks later, presumably of a broken heart.

Because of all the time and effort we put into writing our award-winning book RESCUED: Saving Animals from Disaster, we are always interested in good books about animal rescue. MOORE TAILS: Rescuing Mutts in the South: An Intimate Portrait of Animal Rescue & Cruelty by Maureen Burke-Horansky (2009, Ink Stain Publishing Corp., $15.00, 286 pages, color photos, authormaggie@pinehurst.net) is a unique entry in this genre.

This book shares the true story of five passionate women who managed to get a local North Carolina county animal facility to allow adoptions. The women fight animal cruelty and attempt to lower the kill rate in the facility. They are creative, courageous, and persistent.

Jane Goodall writes in a letter at the end of this book about the organization the women founded, Animal Advocates of Moore County, Inc. in Pinehurst, North Carolina. “Eight women in the village of Pinehurst learned of the euthanasia crisis from articles in the local newspaper. They met to form an organization of animal lovers, choosing to take action to resolve this grim situation. They began trapping feral cats, spaying and neutering them, inoculating them against disease. Then they offered a no-cost spay-neuter program for low-income residents. . .I support what they have achieved and urge you to support them in any way you can.”

Another animal rescue book that caught our attention is GREYHOUND TALES: True Stories of Rescue, Compassion, & Love, ed. By Nora Star, Inception by Kari Mastrocola, Introduction by Susan Netboy (1997, Lost Coast Press, Order: Nora Star, 9728 Tenaya Way, Kelseyville, CA 95451 or http://www.cypresshouse.com, $15.95, 116 pages, color photos).

This anthology of stories from wonderful people who rescue and adopt greyhounds offers insight into the once multi-billion-dollar greyhound racing industry and its tragic consequences for the six-thousand-year-old greyhound breed. It includes information on how to determine if adopting a greyhound is right for you and how to join the National Greyhound Adoption Network and subscribe to the GREYHOUND NETWORK NEWS quarterly newsletter.

On the back cover Jeffrey Moussaieff Mason, author of THE EMOTIONAL LIVES OF ANIMALS writes, “The people who tell their stories in this book show sympathy and compassion for these marvelous animals who are themselves so filled with sympathy and compassion for us, even though humans have proved to be such untrue friends. Somehow these dogs still love and trust us after all our degradation and betrayal. This in itself is a small miracle.”

What are favorite animal books you are reading now?

Have you ever found healing through a cat’s purr?

We were talking to someone this week about a terrific but little-known relief for migraine headaches — a cat’s purr.

In our book ANGEL CATS, we wrote about a study by Elizabeth von Muggenthaler. She’s a bioacoustics specialist at Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina. This researcher found that a cat’s purr is within the frequency range of 25 to 40 cycles per second (Hz). Exposure to 20 to 50 Hz frequencies increases bone density, relieves pain, and heals muscles.

There are people who claim that if they have a migraine, and a purring cat lies next to their head, it relieves the headache.

Go to this great video clip to listen to a cat’s purr — one of nature’s most beautiful sounds: http://tinyurl.com/l4292b

Have you ever found healing through a cat’s purr?

THE CAT WHO TAUGHT ME TO LOVE AGAIN

divaimage1THE CAT WHO TAUGHT ME TO LOVE AGAIN
By Betty Seligman

I was in the bookstore with my son and grandchildren when I saw your book ANGEL CATS. Seeing the book reminded me of the first time I saw my cat Diva and how we made an immediate connection of love.

Diva is my miracle cat. Not only did she want to come home with me, love me, and enjoy my company, she encourages me daily to get up and continue living. Diva became part of my life as a direct result of an accumulation of life events, which I found myself trying to process.

My life had always been a series of wonderful experiences, but when my husband died in 1998, I found myself a newly independent person trying to understand how to live in a world without my companion. I quickly discovered that my roles of stay-at-home wife and mother as well as volunteer did not bring in a great deal of income.

Both my children were grown with families of their own. I had only to be concerned with providing for the family cat Kiki and myself. This was definitely something I had never experienced — I was in charge of making all the decisions.

At the age of 55, I went to work for a start-up company. After seven years I discovered life had once again changed. At the time of my departure from the company, I was a very sad, confused, and angry person. I knew my emotions needed to change, for they were not only affecting me but Kiki, as well.

The environment in our home was so sad; it could not have been healthy for either of us. I cried daily and had a good case of “poor me”. My true wake up call came when Kiki died at home in December 2006. Seattle was experiencing a very severe ice storm at that time, and most businesses were closed on the day Kiki died. I was unable to get to a vet so I spent the day with Kiki, watching as her spirit left her physical body.

The next few months my family tried to encourage me to get another pet. Those seeds were definitely planted, but I felt an overwhelming void and did not know if I had enough love to share with another being. Once I felt my sadness and anger subside, I discovered there was room for love to enter. Nine months after Kiki died, I went to our local pet store and thought I would just look at the cats.

I walked over to where a local cat rescue group had a variety of cats available for new families. There was Diva. She was six years old, a long hair cat, possibly a Maine Coon. We made eye contact. At that moment the adoption was complete, and my healing process began.

Everyday Diva is here is a blessing, and my ability to love becomes stronger. When she first came to live with me, I was very hesitant to love again for I felt in doing so I would somehow not be loyal to my previous cat Kiki or to my husband. I didn’t want anyone to take their places and reminded Diva of this daily for about 3 months. She would just look up at me.

Whenever I sat down, she would jump up on my lap and wait to be petted. Kiki had never been a cat who desired long periods of affection. I was amazed the first time Diva sat on my lap for about 3 hours. She would have stayed longer, but I felt the need to get up and move about.

Diva definitely has won me over. Now I have become in touch with a part of my spirit that has long been neglected. I am able to love again. The sadness that was so much a part of me has given way to joy and peace. She makes getting up each day an adventure that I thought was gone forever.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/nlimage12.html to view a picture of Diva.

BIO:
Betty Seligman lives in Seattle, Washington. She has been a stay-at-home wife, mother of two children, and volunteer.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:
When has an animal taught you to love again or to love more deeply?

First published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week on May 30, 2009.  All rights reserved.
Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net

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

FedEx or FedCat – Animals as Messengers

Speedy and Cuddles

Speedy and Cuddles

As we work on this article, our cats, Speedy and Cuddles, are sprawled out in the office chair, patiently watching us work. Leaf, our intelligent black cocker spaniel, bats a bouncy ball around and looks over to see if we have it in us to play with him. Our cockatiel Sunshine perches in his large cage probably wondering how he’s survived one more year, living in a home with so many natural predators. It seems that each of the Andersons approach life in our own way.
    
If you live with an animal or animals, you’ve probably noticed what we have: Sometimes, when we’re too thickheaded to listen or learn any other way, God sends an animal messenger-an angel animal, as we call them-to help us figure out our next steps. So, as the typing on this article continues, Allen writes the following sentence: “When a human tells you that he or she loves you unconditionally, the very fact that it had to be said means the person knows nothing about unconditional love.”

Cuddles jumps up near the keyboard, presses the backstop, and erases this line. Allen realizes that what he’s wrote would have taken the piece in a whole different direction – maybe a little too harsh; maybe a little off the point.
    
Was Cuddles simply playing a role or is she a spiritual being, guided by Spirit to help us write a better article? One which doesn’t pass judgment on people or animals? Or is Cuddles’s erasure mere mischief and coincidence?
   
You decide.
    
We’ve had enough of these experiences to conclude that, if we’re open to receive, animals definitely deliver messages. We have no idea what they know or how they think. We just appreciate how the Divine uses them as vehicles for helping us in more ways than we can count.
    
Animals are spiritual messengers for people but they also assist each other. Amy Berk from Minnesota writes, “When Belle & Ruby were kittens, they’d snuggle up to me in bed on winter nights. I still kept several doors closed to keep them in a more confined area while they were getting used to the house. One night, as I lay in bed, Belle kept jumping off the bed and walking down the hall. Suddenly I heard this unearthly scream coming from the usually silent Belle. I jumped up to find her sitting in front of my closed office door. I swung the door open, and there sat Ruby, her golden eyes flashing in the light. I had unknowingly shut her in this room. I praised Belle for coming to her sister’s aid.

Why do you to have a pet?
    
We sometimes hear or read the argument that living with a pet isn’t a reasonable or logical lifestyle choice. The financial cost of vet bills and food, the additional cleaning that is necessary, and other responsibilities seem prohibitive to some. And why would people willingly put themselves through emotional loss, when they know that someday a beloved animal will leave or die? Many who have never lived with animals question the motivation (and sanity) of those who share their homes and lives with pets.
    
For those who haven’t experienced the human-animal spiritual connection, sincere animal lovers seem to lack common sense. Pet lovers are accused of having emotional weakness and immaturity springing from their lack of “real” human contact and companionship. They must be severely bored to need animals as their source of amusement.
    
When Allen types this line at his computer, Speedy looks at the screen as if to ask, “Do you think that’s true? Do I amuse you?” Allen strokes his hand down the cat’s back and replies, “Yes, you do, but that’s not the only reason we love you.”
    
Speedy seems to know exactly what to do when we need encouragement. His special way to offer comfort is to touch his paw ever so gently on the shoulder of the one who needs a little extra T.L.C. His eyes peer straight into that person’s heart and without one word spoken say, “You are loved.” 
    
Do you notice when an animal gives you a gentle touch and wide-eyed, innocent look of unconditional love? If you ignore these signals that love is all around, may we suggest you become more observant and grateful? You’ll be glad you did.
    
Andrea Vivian wrote to us about an animal whose gentle touch and compassion helped her cope with pain and loss. She writes, “My husband and I adopted Inky from the Humane Society in 1990. When our last dog, Cocoa, passed away, we went back to SPCA to look for another dog. On that Sunday morning, the workers opened Inky’s cage, and he immediately jumped into my husband’s lap and started kissing and licking him. 
    
“All that I now have left of their wonderful relationship is memories. You see, my husband, Joe, passed away. Since then, Inky and I are inseparable. He has been my shadow, as if he’s protecting me from the outside world. 
    
“Inky is over twelve years old. He has a cataract and is going deaf. But he still seems happy and alert. He adores me, and I adore him. This little guy is so special. I can’t even put into words what he means to me. When I’d be up crying all night, missing my husband, Inky would climb in my lap and kiss away the tears. His unconditional love is unbelievable.”
    
Can you make a decision to develop a keener sense of spiritual communication with people and animals? Could you resolve to accept more love into your life when you hear the song of a bird, the bark of a dog, or the sweet meow of a cat? 

Can Cats Be Trained?

petsidebar18We read an article that blew us away with how improbable (impossible) what it described seemed to be. “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Jump Through the Hoop” by Sharon L. Peters, special for USA Today, January 29, 2008 tells about the newest rage in agility contests for cats.

According to Peters there is now an International Cat Agility Tournament that held twenty-five shows at The International Cat Association clubs in the United States and one hundred shows around the world. The cats, just as with dogs, are trained with clicker training which couples a clicking sound followed by a reward when the cat does what a mere human requests.

Even with all the training and treats, some cats who make it into these shows decide to display their independent streaks. Carol Osborne, a certified ringmaster for the shows, recalls a feline who got the nickname Perimeter Cat. When he walked into the ring at the shows, he’d avoid every obstacle. The cat lovers cheered. Here was an independent kitty just like all the ones they know and love.

In these agility events, there have been purebreds, house cats, shelter cats, a blind cat, and a three-legged cat competing.

Have you ever tried to train a cat? How do you coax cats into doing what you want them to do?

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?

Why Share Animal Stories?

Speedy

Last week, we got a call from a man who had been to the Angel Animals website and read stories there. Some of the stories might have come from you. We wanted to let you know one example of how sharing your uplifting animal stories helps people.

The man had recently endured a terrible loss. He’d found his son dead in the young man’s home. The son’s dog had remained by his side for three days. He wouldn’t even leave for food or water. The dog howled when the son’s body was taken away, grieving over his dear friend.

The dog’s display of emotions and loyalty had moved the father so much that he went on the Internet to search for information about dogs. When he found our website, he read through stories. He said, “I never knew what dogs are capable of till now.”

He had called us because the stories inspired him to donate to organizations that train service dogs. Linda gave him a couple of suggestions and told him what keywords to use for finding such charities.

So there you have it — one more reason for sharing your stories in the Angel Animals Story of the Week and for our books. One more reason for telling your stories about the incredible benefits of human-animal companionship to family, friends, and anyone else who will listen.

When you make your stories public, you affect people and animals in ways you will probably never know about. But someday, when you have the opportunity to look back on your life, a Divine hand may show you all the connecting threads that came about through an animal who gave love and a human who shared that love with others.

What stories would you like to share?

The Book Betty White Says You Should Read with Your Pets

Angel Animals Book of Inspiration

Angel Animals Book of Inspiration

We are excited to be officially announcing the release of a groundbreaking book that we hope will fill you with joy at its simple truths and profound yet entertaining stories. It is ANGEL ANIMALS BOOK OF INSPIRATION: Divine Messengers of Wisdom and Compassion.

In these times of uncertainty and swirling negative energy, a book that fully delivers good news is needed more than ever. The first edition of this book was published in 2003 as GOD’S MESSENGERS: What Animals Teach Us about the Divine. New World Library has reissued it with a heart-opening new cover and updates.

It’s arrived just in time for Mother’s Day gift giving!

We are thrilled that our new book contains an original story from Richard Simmons about the incredible Dalmatians who cared for his mother Shirley. We’d like to give you a little insider-scoop on how Richard’s story came to be in our book.

When we wrote to Richard to ask if there was a special animal story he wanted his enormous fan base of millions around the world to read, he called us and asked, “Allen and Linda, how can I help you?” Then he graciously shared an experience that had deeply affected him.

As far as we know, Richard’s story is not in any of his other books or on his website. He wanted it to be in THIS book that would honor the spiritual contribution the dogs Brent and Rhett, his gifts to Shirley, had made to his mother’s life. These dogs had consistently reassured Richard that his mother was in good paws and eased his pain over her passing.

After we sent the published book to Richard he wrote to us, “Congratulations on the beautiful success of your new book. Of course, I flipped to Shirley’s story. Yes, of course, I cried. Each night before I go to bed, I read two other stories. I do love your new book.”

On the NEW website we have designed to accompany the book www.angelanimalsbookofinspiration.com you’ll find over 20 of the endorsements and reviews about it’s amazing impact. But next, are a few of the comments reviewers and celebrities have made.

“As a lifelong animal lover, I am delighted to see them celebrated in such a positive way. You and your pet will enjoy reading this together.”
–Betty White, actress and author

“Allen and Linda have taken the concepts that I share in my books to a whole new level, asking the most profound questions and finding the most wonderful, joyous answers through our animal friends. I am grateful that they have the courage to explore and share the deepest levels of our kindred connections. I love this book. Read it and open your heart, and transform into the loving beings that we all are!”
–Allen M. Shoen, DVM, MS, author of KINDRED SPIRITS: How the Remarkable Bond between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live and LOVE, MIRACLES, AND ANIMAL HEALING, www.drschoen.com (from his Foreword to ANGEL ANIMALS BOOK OF INSPIRATION)

“In this collection of true stories the Andersons show how animals serve as conduits for messages of spiritual love and help in times of despair, loss, and confusion. Meditations following each story guide those in need of some soul work, making the book even better. . .Pick up several copies as gifts for all the animal lovers on your list. Yes, it really is that good!”
— Sally Rosenthal, BEST FRIENDS magazine

Some of these extraordinary true stories will make you smile. Others will bring tears to you eyes. Each one will open your heart to new revelations of love in its many forms and shapes.

What ways do your cats show their creativity and resourcefulness?

Cuddles

Cuddles

This week, we took Cuddles and Speedy for their annual veterinarian visit. When they see the carriers come out, they know that it’s time to hide in whatever corner will best serve their escape.

After scooping them up, putting them in the back seat of the car, and driving to the vet to the chorus of their protesting mews, we arrived at last.

Speedy seemed to take it more in stride than Cuddles. She was quite vocal, letting everyone in the waiting room know that this was the last place she wanted to be.

In the vet’s office, after enduring the indignity of weighing in and being examined, Cuddles jumped off the table. Speedy had been attempting to hide behind Linda’s purse and in her coat pocket but to no avail. But Cuddles had a better plan.

Speedy

Speedy

After Speedy was placed on the dreaded examining table, Cuddles managed to jump onto a high wall shelf where the vet kept samples of medications and other items. The vet was so astonished at Cuddles’s agility that he stopped Speedy’s exam, called for his assistant, and asked her to get his camera. He wanted a picture of this cat going where no cat had ever gone before.

This is Cuddles — fearless, resourceful, and able to leap tall buildings. She had her picture taken, posing from the top shelf. She overlooked us all, while Speedy trembled below on the table and endured poking and prodding. Catch me if you can!

What ways do your cats show their creativity and resourcefulness?