and the Art of Having Fun
By Allen and Linda Anderson
The black and
white kitty sat in the window ledge, looking out at squirrels
skittering by and birds swooping down from the sky. Only her
white whiskers twitched as soft spring air breezed past her
face. Occasionally her tail, with the tip looking as if it had
been dipped in vanilla ice cream, waved back and forth, charting
the movement of a neighbor out for a jog or a mother pushing
her baby's carriage on the sidewalk. Nothing disturbed this
cat. No muscles twitched in her body as she rested on her chest,
paws tucked like a monk's hands within the folds of long black
This is a cat who has mastered the art of having fun. She has discovered the
joy of letting life pass by without needing to participate in
or control it.
Most of us have
had memorable experiences with animal companions who have shown
us how to play by throwing a ball, chasing a string, grooming
feathers or hair, or playing hide and seek. Their antics have
added much to our sometimes overburdened days and nights.
As part of the
spiritual and deeply loving connections people and animals make
with each other, one agreement that seems to be universal is
that when we most need it, animals will show us how to become
more balanced. Through their friendship and creativeness, pets
enrich our lives by bringing smiles to our faces.
Let Us Entertain You
In our home we've learned that
animals serve as messengers when God or Life is trying to let
us know that it's time to dump the workload, release our attachments
to getting things accomplished, and relax.
Our Labrador retriever, Taylor,
is an example of an animal who knows what is good for heart
and soul. She sits, ball in mouth, ready to run, catch, run,
catch, run. If we're not paying enough attention to the rules
of her game, she throws the ball for herself with gusto until
one of us gets the message. If we still don't figure out that
it's supposed to be playtime, Taylor will even throw her ball
to the cat, Cuddles.
We've observed how Cuddles
can make almost anything into a toy. She sits like a princess
for long periods of time and then without warning attacks a
paperclip, rubber band, or Q-tip that has fallen to the floor.
The object becomes a monster that she has to stalk, hunt, and
conquer. This cat can see the most innocent objects and with
her creative imagination turn them into playthings. If only
we could amuse ourselves that well, we wouldn't feel the need
to rent videos or go to movies to entertain ourselves.
Jake and Jill
We've received many stories
from people who rescued animals and, in turn, felt rescued by
them. During times of hardship, animals help people move past
their emotional turmoil into a brighter outlook.
Jill East from North Carolina
sent the Angel Animals Network a story about how a special dog
friend named Jake taught her to slow down and enjoy each day.
"The first time I saw
Jake, I fell in love. I knew he was meant to be with me. A three-month-old
border-collie mix, this ball of fur and love needed a home.
I had recently moved into my first house and was happy to adopt
this dog to share it with me.
"Jake and I had a strong
spiritual connection on every level. I could think about something
and he'd respond. Many times I'd look at him and his love would
engulf me. He'd wake up from a sound sleep and look at me with
so much love in his eyes that it would overwhelm me.
"Everyone who met this
dog saw his uniqueness and loved him. We visited a rest home
for five years together and there, Jake impacted many lives.
He brought smiles to faces of people who otherwise no longer
responded to anyone. He knew who needed special attention and
gave it with love and tenderness. Jake was a ray of sunshine
for their darkened lives.
"One of the things I loved
most about Jake was that he knew how to have fun. He was a comedian
and prankster who loved to make people laugh. No matter how
down I felt, he could make me grin.
"Once we were going to
visit my parents and I put Jake in the car. I was running late
and getting stressed. Then I had to go back in the house to
get something I'd forgotten. By the time I came back to the
car, Jake had gotten in the driver's seat and put his paw on
the steering wheel. It looked as if he was saying, 'I think
I'll drive today.'
"I couldn't resist taking
a picture of Jake driving my car, so I ran in the house for
the camera. While I was gone, Jake stayed in the same position,
still posing and grinning. This was a dog who always let me
know when I needed to slow down, not take it all so seriously,
and have a good laugh.
"Another time, Jake got
bit by a snake on his back paw and was very sick for several
days. When I brought him home from the vet, I must have been
overdoing the special attention and "poor Jake" talk.
He would hold his head down and limp around like the most pitiful
creature in the world.
"Several days later, he
was still doing the "poor Jake" routine. I let him
outside to potty and looked out the window. That's when I saw
him tearing through the yard without the slightest limp.
"I went out and called
him to come. He ducked his head and limped back to me. I said,
"OK Jake, I'm onto your game. I know you're not hurt anymore.
"He seemed to sense that
the gig was up. He never limped again. What a character!
"Throughout our time together,
Jake taught me to have fun, enjoy life, savor the moment. He
was a wise soul and a great teacher."
Have animals been trying to
teach you to stop the frenzy, live in the present, and fine
more joy in your life?