The Choices Animals Make
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We recently had lunch with Jane, a blind woman who has a story in our book, Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with
Animals. She was accompanied by her new guide dog Marko, a black Labrador
retriever with soulful, attentive eyes. Linda commented that Marko seemed much
more devoted to doing her job than Fuller, Jane's previous Seeing Eye dog had
been. Fuller, also a Labrador, had done his work dutifully but without
enthusiasm. His eyes would wander to anyone who might be tempted to come over and pet him-a no-no when he was on duty. His little nose would touch tabletops to sniff food a little too closely. His happiest moments were when Jane took off
his harness and let him romp around.
Unlike the frolicsome Fuller, Marko is focused on Jane like a laser beam. He never takes his eyes off of her. His big heart is totally
devoted to Jane alone. Marko holds his head high when Jane puts on his harness.
He guides her with a confident air of pride in his accomplishments. Marko
chooses to be Jane's constant companion. Fuller had done what he'd been trained
to do, but would rather not. This is why Jane now has Marko, and Fuller is with
someone else who doesn't need him as much.
Marko and Fuller are examples of what we've
consistently observed in our relationships with animals and in the stories we've
collected from people all over the world. We've concluded that animals are
conscious beings who make choices. They aren't always free to have it their way,
but they sure do try. And they do everything they can to deliver their
The Cat Who Chose Beds
In a radio interview we did for a
province-wide station in Saskatchewan, Canada a man named Van called in to tell
us about the choices his family's cat Smokey makes. Van says that every time a
family member has a problem or is in any kind of distress, Smokey chooses to sit
or sleep on the person's bed or in his or her bedroom.
Although in retrospect, Van realized that
the cat has been doing this for years, he'd never noticed Smokey's behavior
until his daughter moved away to stay in a college dormitory. One night, Smokey
slept on his daughter's bed, looking very morose. This made Van think of his
daughter. Missing her, he called the dormitory to find out that she'd been
admitted to the hospital that day after being very sick with the flu. Van's
daughter hadn't called her family because she didn't want to alarm them. Smokey
delivered the message though.
According to Van, if he ever comes home from work
feeling overwhelmed or upset, Smokey follows him around and won't let Van out of
his sight until the man feels better. Now the family recognizes Smokey's signal.
If they see him on a family member's bed, even the ones which his son and
daughter use when they come home for a visit, Van calls the person and finds out
what is troubling them. Smokey has never been wrong about his diagnosis of their
condition. When all is well with everyone, Smokey peacefully sleeps on the couch
in the living room.
A Bear Makes a Choice
On that same radio show, a woman called in to share her
story of the choices animals make. She said that she and her husband were
driving to a camping ground in a national forest when they had to slam on their
brakes. A huge grizzly bear stood in front of them with his arms folded across
his chest. He'd decided the road ahead belonged to him.
As the caller and her husband sat in their car,
thinking about what to do next, another family drove up behind them. The
Canadian caller said that this family "must have been Americans," because they
had no idea what a frightened or angry grizzly bear could do. Unaware of the
danger they were putting themselves in, they jumped out of their car, started
flashing a camera in the bear's face, and throwing food at him. The caller said
in an understated way, "I thought I was about to see my first
The bear's next actions surprised her and her husband.
They watched as this animal became increasingly annoyed with the "ugly
Americans." Then a look of utter disgust swept across his face. He shrugged his
shoulders, gave them a parting withering glance as if to say, "You're too dumb
to eat," and stalked back into the forest.
This bear made a choice not to have the tourists for
dinner, thank goodness.
In many spiritual writings and teachings it's mentioned
that before a soul enters a body, the soul make agreements to meet and interact
with other souls. When they meet in this life, the two souls have a sense of
rightness about being together. We believe that animals are souls in furry,
fuzzy, and feathery bodies. They make soul agreements to enter a person's life
at exactly the right time and to leave it when their spiritual mission is
completed. These animals become our spiritual partners in this life and meet us
again in heaven.
We've received many stories from people who adopted
animals and came home feeling that the decision had been mutual. Others have
written to us that they've rescued animals who, in turn, rescued them.
What do you think? Have you had experiences with an
animal who has chosen to be part of your life, perhaps to adopt you? Is there a
special animal who had a spiritual purpose for choosing to be with you? Has an
animal let you know that his or her time on earth is finished? If so, please
send us your stories at the address below. We'd love to include them in future
We think there's a simple explanation for why animals
choose the people and families they do.
They love us.
And that's the best choice of all.