Love Is All Around
By Allen and Linda
one of the most frightening sights a human with an animal companion can see.
One Thursday morning, we reached for our two cockatiels, Sunshine and Sparkle,
to take them out of their cage. Then we noticed stains on the floor and around
their food bowl.\
At first, we thought it was the
remains of some berries Linda had fed the birds or food they hadn’t digested
well. Then we examined Sparkle’s distended tummy and observed that her head
drooped. We remembered that in the past few days she’d been sleeping more and
flying less. Her energy seemed unusually low.
been traveling out of town consistently for about a month but this week, the
computer software training class he was scheduled to teach had been
unexpectedly cancelled a day early. This meant he came home on Thursday instead
of Friday. Linda had a hair appointment for Thursday, but when she arrived for
it, her hairdresser had gone home sick. As a result of these “coincidences,” we
were both at home on this Thursday afternoon when we discovered more blood in
the birds’ cage. We decided to call the avian vet. A technician told us that if
we could get Sparkle to the animal hospital right away, the vet would see us
driving Sparkle in her cardboard carrying case on Linda’s knee, we reflected on
how much this little bird meant to her mate, Sunshine, and to us. When we took
Sparkle from the cage to bring her to the vet, Sunshine had screeched as if we
were tearing his heart out. His fear, apprehension, and blood-curdling screams
increased as we placed Sparkle into the box. These two with their “old married
couple” routines depend on each other for companionship and protection in a
household where they are surrounded by natural predators. (Even though our two
cats and dog don’t seem to want to eat their family members, we’re careful not
to tempt the natural order of life on the food chain by letting them mingle.)
was Sparkle? Would we lose her? How could we bear the loss of one so sweet,
aware, and affectionate as she is? Would Sunshine’s grief be inconsolable?
These were all questions we pondered on the trip to the hospital.
greeted by a lovely woman veterinarian, who used to raise cockatiels and is an
expert on the breed. She examined Sparkle and told us the bird had yolk
peritonitis. She explained that an egg had tried to form, and its yolk had
broken. This had caused an infection which enlarged Sparkle’s liver and
possibly her kidneys. The vet would have to take an x-ray while we waited at a
nearby coffee shop for news of whether there was another egg forming or if
organs were severely damaged.
to the vet’s office, we held hands and tried to prepare ourselves for whatever
news might come. The vet explained that although the liver was enlarged,
antibiotics should heal the damage. If all went well, we could give Sparkle
injections at home. She explained how to make an incubator so Sparkle would
stay warm. If she took and responded well to the medication, Sparkle would have
a good chance of fully recovering. Rather than keep her at the hospital, the
vet advised us to take the bird home, because Sunshine and Sparkle were a
“bonded pair.” Later, we chuckled at how hard it is for most vets to simply
say, “They love each other.” But this might sound like they’re committing the
terrible sin of anthropomorphism—attributing human characteristics to an
up our little bird and returned her home to the other half of her bonded pair.
Our hearts melted at Sunshine’s reaction when we placed his beloved Sparkle
back by his side. He turned his head to her with immense love and concern on
his face and in his eyes. He whistled and sang to her, listening while she
chirped softly, probably telling him all about her ordeal.
Delivering Sparkle’s dose of
medication became our next challenge. How would we convince this bird, who had
been traumatized at the vet’s, to open her beak so Allen could squeeze a
syringe with the foul-tasting liquid antibiotic down her throat?
We decided to use some of the
animal communication methods we teach in our workshops. First, we raised the
whole situation into the spiritual realm by softly singing a holy name for God
that is used by Sufis, some Native American tribes, and is taught today in the
modern-day religion of Eckankar. HU, it is said, is the sound of God’s love
flowing through creation. When sung as a mantra with love, HU is a prayer that
raises spiritual awareness without directing an outcome or petitioning for
anything other than acceptance of God’s will. We sang HU (pronounced “hue”) to
Sparkle. She turned her head to us and watched, listening intently.
Would this love song to God calm
our little bird and help her know that we were acting in her best interests by
giving her the medication?
Then we visualized how Sparkle
needed to cooperate. Out loud and inwardly we explained that the medicine would
help her heal and feel better.
Did she get the message?
We thought it might be best to
bring Sparkle out of the cage and leave Sunshine inside so he wouldn’t try to
protect her from us. He let us know that he wanted no part of that strategy by
raising a ruckus. So we decided to let him watch what we were doing. He sat
quietly on Linda’s arm, while Allen held Sparkle and administered the dosage.
Although Sparkle had fought the vet, now she raised her little head, opened her
mouth, and accepted the medication without any protest.
It was amazing. Our communication,
carried on the wings of HU, had connected with Sparkle spiritually and eased
her fears. We’d communicated soul to soul.
Animal consciousness, the souls of
animals, animal emotions—we witnessed all of these intangibles through the
experiences with Sparkle and Sunshine. A Divine hand had orchestrated the
entire experience. The synchronicity was incredible. We had both been brought
home unexpectedly. An avian vet, who specialized in cockatiels, was available
just in time to save Sparkle’s life. Sunshine and Sparkle had caught on to what
she needed to do to heal and had cooperated. These two little birds were loved
and protected beyond anything we could have imagined. We were shown one more
time the interconnectedness among all of God’s creatures.
Later, when we discussed how to
express what we’d learned from our experience with Sparkle and Sunshine, we
read excerpts from the wonderful book by Allen M. Shoen, D.V.M., M.S., “Kindred
Spirits,” (Broadway Books, 2001, $23.95). Dr. Shoen wrote about how his dog
Megan took care of an injured one-week old goat by licking the animal and lying
by her side, breathing against the goat’s chest. Dr. Shoen had to hurry off to save
the life of a wounded kitten and wondered if it would be all right to leave the
goat in Megan’s care. The dog looked into the vet’s eyes and seemed to assure
him that she’d take care of the kid while he was gone. He writes, “Megan had
intuited and understood my role in life, and now she had adopted that
responsibility for herself. She was becoming a healer—just as much as I was.
Although I had been very close to many animals before, this connection moved
beyond any I had ever made. In a moment’s time, my sense of the human-animal
bond had changed forever.”
Love is all around. Awareness is
all around. Divine guidance is all around. Sometimes it takes furry, feathery,
flowing, or flying creatures to remind us.