Animals Who Work Together
By Allen and Linda Anderson
Some businesses allow employees to bring animals to
work because they've found that the practice boosts morale and increases
productivity. Executives credit having pets when they were children with helping
them develop leadership skills. Architects duplicate wasp nests in their
designs. Psychologists observe animal behavior for clues to better
problem-solving and stress-handling skills.
Animals have been showing people how to work together
more productively and effectively for centuries. The only problem is, people
have rarely gotten the messages.
In our household, the animals form committees. If
you're like us, you've probably served on many committees. Often they tend to be
unfocused and waste a lot of valuable time and energy. As people discuss and
debate the issues, sometimes breakthroughs occur. Sometimes the problems loom
larger as more energy is put into solving them.
Not so with animals.
For a few months Linda was traveling on a book tour.
She'd been visiting many cities and usually only stayed away from home a few
days. On this trip she'd added some vacation time. One day, while Linda was
gone, the Anderson animals must have decided that enough was enough. They formed
a committee to study the situation.
Speedy, Cuddles, and Taylor filed into the living room,
one-by-one, and stood before Allen. As clearly as if they were speaking out
loud, they asked, "When is she coming home?"
Before Allen could think about how odd it was to be
interviewed by an animal committee, he answered, "Tomorrow."
One-by-one the Anderson animal family members filed out
of the room and stood, staring into the birds' cage. No doubt, communicating to
their feathered brother and sister that Mommy would be home soon.
Problem. Solution. The simple, animal way of working
together without all the human mental gyrations and emotional
Chicken Love Brings Neighbors
We've collected stories from around the world about how
animals help people in amazing way and miraculous ways. These "angel animals"
often seem to effortlessly provide the release of tension and good humor that
defuses volatile situations. Are they messengers to help us find a way to bring
unconditional love to whatever tense situation we're facing?
Bert and Cynthia from Hawaii were giving constant home
care to Cynthia's ninety-nine year old, bedridden father. One day a young, white
chicken with black-tipped wings wandered into their yard. They noticed that the
chicken was limping so they took her to the veterinarian for an x-ray. The vet
told the couple that this chicken would remain crippled. But Cynthia and Bert
wanted to keep her anyway. They named their new pet, Rosie.
Bert built a pen for the chicken in the couple's back
yard. She ate as if she were starving, rested, and in two days was walking
normally. Rosie flew out of the pen but decided to stay with the humans who had
helped her. She even answered to her name and came when Bert and Cynthia called
her. As the couple watched Rosie from Cynthia's father's bedroom window, they
found that the chicken's name fit her perfectly. Her antics, even in such a
stressful and trying time of their lives, made them feel "rosie."
Rosie Made a New Friend
Soon Rosie decided that she had more love to give. She
began to wander into Mrs. Lee's yard, an elderly neighbor who Cynthia and Bert
didn't know well. Mrs. Lee was very proud of her immaculate house and garden.
She didn't appreciate when Rosie began walking around in her marigolds. She
threatened to turn the bird into chicken soup.
But Rosie wasn't going to let Mrs. Lee's heart remain
untouched or to become chicken soup for her neighbor's soul. The chicken took
upon herself the task of guarding Mrs. Lee and the neighborhood. If rough boys
approached Mrs. Lee's yard, Rosie made such a racket that the elderly woman was
alerted to possible trouble. Mrs. Lee began returning the favor by chasing away
cats and other predators who might want to have Rosie for dinner.
When Bert called Rosie and tossed food to her, Mrs. Lee
began to stand at her window and watch Rosie's as the chicken pranced and
danced. Because of the deepening relationship between Rosie and Mrs. Lee, Bert
and Cynthia were able to get to know their neighbor better. They developed a
lasting friendship with the woman who they discovered had become fearful and
lonely after her husband had died. Mrs. Lee started giving the couple the tasty
bakery goods that she was a master at making.
Rosie, the chicken, had built a bridge of trust between
these neighbors that lasted until Cynthia and Bert had to move away.
Could Rosie inspire you to break through barriers that
surround coworkers, neighbors, or others who need your love? Could extending
your hand in service or kindness bring about the miracles in your workplace,
neighborhood, or relationships that only unconditional love can produce?
One of our favorite stories came from Monica, a health
care product saleswoman in Minnesota. Her heart full of sadness and anguish,
Monica stood in the pasture of a farm she was visiting one day and cried.
Suddenly she saw a herd of fifteen calves and cows approaching her from a wooded
area near the pasture. She had been feeling alone and bereft of all human
support. When these cows headed toward Monica, she welcomed an animal presence
to assuage her loneliness.
Some of the cows formed a circle around Monica,
stopping a few feet from where she stood, as if to keep her from feeling
fearful. Then a white-faced cow walked closer and faced her. Monica says, I
watched, transfixed, as a tear formed in one of this cow's eyes and spilled down
the side of her nose. I wondered, Could this cow be empathic--sympathizing with
my own tears?
Later, Monica remembered that before the cows came to
comfort her, she'd prayed to God and asked, "Somebody please be with me!" She
believes that God's answer was to send her a collective cow hug, reassuring her
that she is never alone.
Is there someone you work with who needs to know that
you understand and empathize with their pain? Has an angel animal been a
messenger to bring comfort when you needed it most?