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The Illusion of Natural Differences
By Allen and Linda Anderson

     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. These animals, who shared our home, 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?"

     Prana gently played with and mothered Feisty, raising 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 it in a state of pure ecstasy. When Feisty cam over, Prana without hesitation 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 he back with her mouth open. Feisty would stick his head in her mouth, waking up his playmate.

Allen had a special experience with Prana and Feisty that showed how their love enabled them to communicate with each other and us when Prana needed a little divine intervention.

Allen's Story

I had a job which required that I open and close the grounds of a beautiful building that was surrounded by a rolling prairie. One of Prana's greatest joys was to accompany me. While I did my job, she ran through the fields of flowers or snow, chasing squirrels, birds, or deer. She was so gentle that, even though members of her breed are natural hunters, she's slow down if it looked like she'd actually catch up with another animal. She enjoyed the game but wasn't interested in capturing anybody.

     One day, I'd just vacuumed my car and decided not to take Prana with me because she was shedding. Both Feisty and Prana sat side by side looking at me as I walked out the back door. Seeing the dejected look on Prana's face, I tried to explain why she couldn't go with me this time. Her ears and head drooped.

     Feisty looked at her sad friend. They he ran upstairs where Linda was working in her office. Feisty meowed in a way that sounded more like he was yelling at the top of his lungs and immediately got Linda's attention.

     He continued to fuss as he ran back downstairs. Because of so much alarm in his voice, Linda followed him, thinking something dreadful must have happened. She found me at the garage. I told her that I'd have to leave Prana behind this time. That explained to us why Feisty was so upset. He knew how much these trips meant to his pal.

     I went back to the house to find Prana, her head still slumped down. Feisty stood next to her and glared at me.

     He won.

     Prana went to the temple that night and played with even more gusto than usual after having almost lost one of her greatest treats. I vacuumed my car again. A small price to pay for placating Feisty and giving one of life's simple pleasures to such a golden-hearted creature as Prana.

     Prana and Feisty are examples of what we call "angel animals." These are creatures who walk, hop, crawl, fly, or swim. They share our homes or can be observed in the wild. "Angel animals" love, help, protect, and bring comfort.

     Is there an "angel animal" in your life? Have you gained physically, emotionally, or spiritually form your relationship with an animal?

     Prana and Feisty, two creatures who were suppose to be naturally antagonistic toward each other, taught our family invaluable lessons in selfless giving, unconditional love, and the joy of friendship. What are "angel animals" teaching you?



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