A Dog Who Talks in his Sleep

Allen was sitting in our dog Leaf’s favorite chair in our home office. He was catching up on some reading while Leaf sprawled out on the floor, sleeping.

Allen heard some noise from Leaf’s location and looked down at him. Suddenly, our little cocker spaniel was talking in his sleep. Leaf made the same sounds as when he and Linda are talking about his day or something that might be bothering him. There was a mix of “ra ra” and grumbles coming from the back of his throat; short moans and then an “arf,” as if he were giving his statements an exclamation point.

This dream conversation was longer than Leaf’s regular talks with Linda when he is awake. Allen sensed there was a back-and-forth with someone in Leaf’s dream talking back to him. Leaf would listen and then respond with a series of different noises.

After a few minutes, Leaf stopped talking, took a big deep inward breath, and started snoring with gusto.

Do your pets talk in their sleep? What do you think they’re saying? Who do you think they are talking to?

Visit <http://www.angelanimals.net/nlimage124.html&gt; to view Leaf on his favorite dreaming spot.



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?

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.

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?

Allen and Linda Anderson

Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family


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Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?


A family of coyotes has taken up residence in our quiet city neighborhood. They live in the wooded area of a nearby park. We see them roaming up and down alleys and between houses early morning and late at night.

Because our little cocker spaniel Leaf is a tiny fellow, it concerns us that he could get hurt if one of the coyotes attacked him.

As many of you regular readers know, Leaf has a unique personality and a mind of his own. He’s the kind of guy who needs explanations. It doesn’t work to give him a command. He’s like a teenager in that he requires a reason. When he understands what you want and why, then he complies (usually).

So we have been looking for an opportunity to tell him about the coyote. Every night one of us goes outside with Leaf before bedtime to stand guard in case the coyote is roaming our neighborhood.

Last night, the coyote walked down the alley behind our house while Leaf was in the backyard. Our alpha dog barked at him. The coyote wasn’t fazed by Leaf’s bark but saw Linda watching him from our back deck. Her glare persuaded him to walk in the opposite direction.

Linda called Leaf back to her with urgency in her voice. He stood on the porch while she explained about coyotes. She said something to the effect: “He is a dangerous animal. He will hurt you. If you see him, run to the deck as fast as you can. Bark and bark and bark.”

Leaf has a way of looking deeply into the eyes of the human who is talking, if he’s interested in what she has to say. Last night, he was interested. He saw the coyote for himself and got a good whiff of his scent. He instinctively knew that this predator spelled trouble with a capital T.

Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?

You can post your answers at our Angel Animals Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/angelanimalsnetwork and “Like” Angel Animals while you’re there.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family


When has Nature presented you with a reminder of a divine presence?

Animals and the Mystical Side of Life

When we walked around the magnificent Lake Harriett in Minneapolis with its Victorian-era bandshell, our dog, Taylor, used to often reveal the mystical side of life. Strangers grinned as they passed by after looking at this dog with her head held high and her tail wagging.

In this setting that transported us back to another day and time, Taylor acted as regal as if she were remembering some past life when she surveyed her kingdom from a high and mighty perch. She inspired our fellow walkers and us to savor each moment and live life with joy. Taylor, assured and confident in the now, communicated that cares and concerns are as transient as the breeze rippling across the sunlit, glistening waters of this serene lake.

One day, since we were a bit worn out that day, Taylor allowed us to stop and rest on a park bench overlooking the lake. There, we basked in the sun and beheld a sight so sweet in its simple truth that we continue to marvel at it.

Industrious spiders had woven tendrils of webbing across an expanse of lake water about the size of a small movie screen. The web spanned from the branches of one tree to another. In its center danced a diamond-shaped branch, which was about six inches long.

The wind swirled this branch like a ballerina. It appeared to be suspended in mid-air with no support. The branch floated in the breezy air with a breathtaking beauty, grace, and resilience.

As we gazed at the spectacle, which had entranced Taylor, we began to talk about how this image reminded us of a truth most people tend to forget. Especially when life deals almighty blows.

The branch, held high above the water by the nearly invisible threads of a cathedral-like spider web, was a heaven-sent image. It said that divine love keeps each of us supported even during times when it feels as if we’ve been left to dangle and blow in the wind.

This, too, is the message that the animal kingdom delivers. Animals remind people that an invisible presence sustains them with unconditional love, even through the most precarious circumstances.

When has Nature presented you with a reminder of a divine presence?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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What does your choice of pets reveal about you?

With the start of 2010 we wanted to once again ask the basic question “What does your love of animals reveal about you?”

The following are a few highlights of a study done at the University of Oregon.

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 pet supply industry is vitally interested in what will make you buy that designer dog dish or French day bed.

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 says 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 people 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 non-pet 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.

Have a little fun with two surveys we wrote that will help you gauge which type of pet most mirrors your personality.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/quiz.html for “Pet Personality Quiz”.

Visit www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Pets/index.aspx for “What’s Your Pet’s Personality?”

On another note, in consideration for animals who struggle to stay alive and be rescued in Haiti, remember the animal organizations that are going there to help.

To keep informed about the animal side of the situation, subscribe to the newsletter provided by www.kinshipcircle.org.

United Animal Nations and other animal welfare and rescue organizations are sending their rescue teams to Haiti. They have formed an umbrella organization called Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). To learn more about this and donate, go to www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=670
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Finding a New Home

When a person must separate from a pet who has been a member of the family, it can be heartbreaking. It eases the pain if the person helps the animal relocate to a new home.

We often get calls from people who must give up their pets. They are heartbroken, and the only solace they have is that someone responsible will love and care for their animal friend. Sending a beloved pet to an animal shelter, where his or her fate will be unknown, is unbearable.

This week, we received a call from a young woman who is being deployed to Kuwait in early February. She had made arrangements with someone to care for her Great Dane while she would be out of the country. The deal had fallen through. Now, she has only a few weeks to find a new home for the dog.

By now, she has enough leads to help her with this dilemma. But we wanted to share one with you in case you know someone else in her situation. Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pets, www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org is set up specifically to foster pets of soldiers who are leaving to serve their country.

As people age and have to move to assisted living or places that don’t allow pets and with housing foreclosures that force people out of their homes, the displacement of pets has intensified.

We encourage you to look around in your communities, churches, and neighborhoods for those who could use a paw up in finding new homes for their animal companions. It may only take a few phone calls or a bit of internet research. You could save some lives and ease the burden of those whose hearts are aching.

On another note, in consideration for animals who struggle to stay alive and be rescued in Haiti, remember the animal organizations that are going there to help.

To keep informed about the animal side of the situation, subscribe to the newsletter provided by www.kinshipcircle.org.

United Animal Nations and other animal welfare and rescue organizations are sending their rescue teams to Haiti. They have formed an umbrella organization called Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). To learn more about this and donate, go to www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=670

Have you been able to help a pet find a new, safe, and loving home?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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

Spring Housecleaning with Pets

Speedy, Sunshine, Leaf, and Cuddles

Speedy, Sunshine, Leaf, and Cuddles

This has been spring housecleaning week in the Anderson home. Each of our pets reacts to the changes in their environment.

Our cocker spaniel Leaf has the most difficult time with anything that isn’t normal — a word and state of being that he absolutely requires. He spread out with a mournful look on his face while we cleaned the bedroom carpet, which meant moving his dog bed into the living room temporarily. “Not normal,” he seemed to be saying.

The cats take things in stride, as cats tend to do. They hide in their favorite cubbyholes while the vacuum and carpet-cleaning machine roar across the floors. No trembling for these two. Just a wait until this is all over and these people come back to their senses sort of attitude.

The bird has to be moved behind the closed bedroom door while we take apart the living room where he usually views the world from atop his high perch. We don’t like him to have to be near where we use cleaning supplies. We always worry about those tiny lungs taking in fumes. So deep cleaning the living room is accompanied by the sound of Sunshine’s insistent screeches of protest.

Soon things will be normal. We’ll ask the cats not to track kitty litter onto the carpet. We’ll ask the dog to put his toys back in the basket where we’ve placed them so nicely. We’ll ask the bird not to shoot birdseeds out of his cage onto the floor. We’ll ask ourselves to put away what we take out and clean as we go.

All of us will remember, for awhile. Till next spring when somehow, the winter’s accumulation of stuff will find its way to garbage bags and charity pickups.

Ah, spring!

How do your pets respond to cleaning frenzies?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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What is it about women and dogs?

Awhile back, there was a poll that found women preferred the company of their dogs to their spouses or significant others. Guess the human males growled more than their canine competitors for female affection.

To be serious, though, over the years since we have been collecting and writing stories for Angel Animals books, etc. we’ve observed how deeply women and dogs bond. They seem to bring out the best in each other.

Now, we’re giving all of you the chance to enter our Dogs and the Women Who Love Them True Story Contest. We’re looking for stories about canine-female teams that formed deep bonds of companionship and led to compassionate and courageous acts of kindness or service.

Think about some of the following scenarios that you may have been part of and see if you want to write a story about any of them:

* Has a dog(s) been there for a woman during challenging times or major events in her life?
* Have there been times when a dog has protected people from danger or warned them of possible danger?
* Have a woman and a dog teamed up to fulfill a life purpose and/or perform extraordinary acts of service?

This contest hopes to find life stories of remarkable women with dogs who are fulfilling their callings to the benefit of themselves and others. It will also focus on finding the best stories about dogs’ unconditional love and acceptance. From dogs as protectors to partners in the dance of life, the contest 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.

We’re looking forward to reading your stories, so go to the website, www.angelanimals.net/contests.html and fill out the contest entry form. Send in your stories.

What have dogs taught you about love, life, and yourself?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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

What would your pet say if he or she could Twitter?

For those of you who might not know what Twitter is, it’s a social networking site on the internet where people have 140 characters to reply to the question: What are you doing? It’s the latest rage among folks with time on their hands and a wicked sense of humor. You can become our friend at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=711934289 and follow us at www.twitter.com/angelanimals

We asked the question of our Twitter followers and Facebook friends, “If pets could Twitter, what would they say?” We thought you would enjoy reading their answers.

Sarah: Mine would say, “Loving this sunny patch.”

Greg: A dog could say “arf” 46 1/2 times.

“Going outside.”
“Going inside.”
“Waiting for breakfast.”
“Eating breakfast.”
“Going outside.”
“Going inside.”
“Searching trash cans”
“Nap time.”
“Going outside.”
“Going inside.”
“Waiting for dinner.”
“Eating dinner.”
“Going outside.”
Going inside.”

TreZa: Ever read the children’s book “Martha Speaks”? It’s about a dog that starts talking after eating alphabet soup : ) One of my favorites!

Tona: Pet me, pet me, pet me!

Stephanie: “Please be patient with me.”

Why isn’t anyone scratching my tummy?
I just taught my owner a new trick.
I’m in the market for a new water dish. Any suggestions?

Greta: Why did she put the treat jar up so high?

Pat: Sam would say, “Stop wasting time with Twitter and get me a treat.”

Rita: Emily would say, “Thank God, Mom finally stopped petting me and left for work. I need my beauty sleep.”

Susan: Dinner, oh boy out, woof, woof, shake that blankie.

What would your pet say if he or she could Twitter? Remember, in 140 characters or less.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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Dog Park Relationships



It is a delight to take your dog to the dog park where all sorts of people mix with a variety of dogs. This often causes the most interesting moments, collaborations, alliances, and spiritual growth experiences. It’s been our experience that closer relationships between humans and dogs develop at the dog park.

One recent afternoon we were rushed and had little time to spare. Yet we knew our black cocker spaniel, Leaf, needed at least a short time to get some exercise. We raced over to his favorite play place — the dog park.

This time, we forgot Leaf’s favorite red and white rubber ball. He loves to chase, catch, and bring it back to us. Assuming a ball is just a ball, we thought it would be okay to throw old tennis balls that were lying around in the park. This one change would turn out to bring about an enlightening experience for us all.

Over the past few months, as we’ve gotten into our routine visits to the dog park, we would always bring Leaf’s favorite ball to throw for him. He had picked out these balls at pet supply stores. It was amusing to watch his focus on the checkout process, keeping an eye on his new possession as it went into the shopping bag.

In the car on the way home, he would tear into the bag to retrieve the new ball. He knew it belonged to him. At the dog park, acting more characteristically like a retriever than a cocker spaniel, Leaf would chase the toy and drop it at our feet for another throw.

Even after letting it go long enough to have a good run, Leaf remained very protective of HIS ball. He’d tightly grip it in his mouth and run around to the dogs, making sure they all saw that this was his own special bouncy toy. It seemed to us that some of the other dogs were jealous and wanted to take Leaf’s new red and black ball away from him.

Sometimes he would tempt the dogs by quickly dropping his ball in front of them. But he was always too fast and grabbed it away before the dogs could take it. He’d run off, looking over his shoulders at the less fortunate dogs who were too slow to keep up with him.

When Leaf played with his personal ball, he seemed to have less fun. There was always the underlying concern that he’d lose his property. He took pride in owning something that the other dogs could not have.

Dog Park Without Leaf’s Ball

This day, when as we arrived at the dog park without Leaf’s ball, the entire experience took on a different tone that brimmed with spiritual significance. Leaf was about to learn one of the toughest lessons on the path to enlightenment — detachment.

At first, he looked impatiently, staring and waiting for us to throw his ball. We showed him our empty hands and pockets. We said, “No ball today! Go play with the other dogs.” So Leaf, deprived of his normal routine, resigned himself to finding something else to do.

He started looking for the other tennis balls to pick up from the ground and bring back to us. But for him, there was a big difference in playing with balls that didn’t belong to him or any of the other dogs. He no longer had the responsibility of ownership. We noticed that he was starting to relax. He stopped looking over his shoulder to see if another dog was about to steal his property.

Our cocker picked up the communal tennis balls one at a time. He brought them to us, dropped the balls at our feet, and waited for Allen to play. (He chooses Allen for this task, since Linda’s throwing is just too wimpy for our macho little guy.)

Detachment Is More Fun

We observed that Leaf started watching other people throw tennis balls for their dogs. Occasionally their balls bounced off with no dogs in pursuit. Leaf would find one of the balls that got away and carry it over to a person with a dog. He’d drop the ball at the person’s feet as if to say, “Throw this one for your dog. It’s fun!”

It was interesting to see how much more entertained Leaf became when he managed to get the people and their dogs playing with each other. No longer concerned about his property rights, he could enjoy the dog park and orchestrate its games.

He knew that none of the dog park balls were his and he didn’t try to keep them for himself. Like a little party-planner, he attempted to get everyone to participate and play together. Soon, people were throwing tennis balls every which way. Their dogs loved it and were running with great energy and focus to catch them. Leaf’s gift of service and his lesson in detachment had manifested in a much more joyful bonding and relationship between humans and dogs than we had ever witnessed on our regular outings.

Often people at the dog park get involved in conversations with each other. Except for an occasional pat on the head for their dogs, they pretty much ignore the animals. Leaf caused the people to engage with their dogs and deepen the human-canine relationships on this one special afternoon.

Leaf demonstrated and reminded us life is much more rewarding when a person, or dog, places attention on service without the burden of attachment. He showed that giving without expecting a return creates harmony for all.