What Animals Teach about Dealing with Women's
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We have a houseful of female animal energy with a dog,
Taylor, a cockatiel, Sparkle, and a cat, Cuddles. As we watch the female animals
negotiate their space with the males in the house, we often learn about handling
issues such as making time for yourself, dividing labor, and offering special
help when life gets too tough to deal with it alone.
When we began working together on our Angel Animals'(r)
projects, we decided to take a year to devote full time to collecting stories
about "angel animals," spiritual messengers who touch people's lives in amazing
ways, and publishing them in our newsletter and book. Although we'd been married
for fifteen years and even worked at the same office for a while, this was the
first time we'd ever spent twenty-four hours a day together.
Cabin fever set in swiftly.
Our two cockatiels, Sunshine and Sparkle, are the only
other mates in our home. They share a cage and twice a day, after we've put all
their natural predators safely away, they come out to spend some time walking on
the mantle. They usually eat some crunchy food that we keep for them there and
they take a bath in a shallow bowl. These are activities that Sunshine and
Sparkle have always done together, chirping to each other over whatever it is
bird-mates talk about.
After Allen and I had spent several weeks at home
working together, we noticed that Sunshine and Sparkle had changed their
routine. Sparkle had initiated the new procedure. After the two birds ate and
bathed on the mantle, Sparkle had started moving to the opposite end of the
mantle to look out the window and spend some quiet time grooming her feathers.
With to a withering look that told Sunshine not to bother her, she was
instructing her mate to move to the opposite end of the mantle, where he also
silently groomed his feathers.
After we'd noticed this new behavior for the third
time, we finally got the message that our birds were reflecting something that
could help in our new schedule. It went something like this: If you're going to
spend twenty-four hours a day together in your cage, you'd better take some time
to groom your feathers--alone. Grooming your feathers, they were communicating,
is a great way to maintain sanity and relax from the intensity of working
closely with someone you love. This was a message that especially meant a lot to
Linda whose many to-do lists often kept her working double time. Sparkle had
taught her the importance of taking time alone for herself.
Could an angel animal be reflecting something that
would help you find more balance in your life?
Division of Labor
One of the issues that often irk today's ultra-busy
woman is the need for an equitable division of labor. She longs for her husband
and children do their fair share in keeping the household or workplace operating
efficiently. Complaints abound when the major part of the responsibility falls
on female shoulders.
The Anderson animals have figured out how to handle
this prickly issue.
We have no idea how the animals, who share our home,
have decided what chores they should do or how they've figured out which of them
should have certain responsibilities. We just know that they do.
The division of labor goes something like this.
Taylor sleeps near the door on the ground floor of our
house if Linda or Allen is out of town, as if she's waiting for them to return.
This isn't where she sleeps at night when her two humans are both home. She also
has ultimate responsibility for knowing where Allen is at all times. She perks
up her ears and alerts Linda when Allen is returning home or even if he's
Cuddles, our black kitten with white-mitten paws, is
Linda's guardian angel. Cuddles follows her charge everywhere and won't even
take a nap until she knows exactly where her female human is. Cuddles has taken
on the task of waking up Linda a minute before the alarm rings by licking her
human's fingers or biting them, if Linda won't get up right away.
Food preparation comes under the watchful eye of our
pudgy, food-loving cat, Speedy. What meal would be complete without this cat
rubbing against the chef's legs and purring his satisfaction.
Sunshine and Sparkle are the household's watch-birds.
If anyone approaches our home, they screech at the top of their lungs. No one
could ever sneak past their vigilance.
Not too much for any one creature to handle. Some
silent communication about who is supposed to handle each task. No visible signs
of a household supervisor. Just a smooth animal operation at the Anderson's
which its humans struggle to emulate.
Perhaps angel animals are demonstrating for you how to
work out equitable arrangements for vital chores, jobs, and power
Special Angel for a Single Mom
Judy Guarino from Branford, Connecticut wrote to us
about an angel animal who has helped her cope with unique responsibilities of
single parenthood. Judy says that her son, Tony, has had seizures for sixteen
years. When Tony was only a year old, a cat named Salty came home with the boy
and his mother from a local animal shelter.
Judy writes, "For sixteen years, Salty watched over
Tony. Whenever the cat sensed that Tony was going to have a seizure, which in
those days was often, Salty would tear through the house, calling and leading me
to my son." While Tony had his seizure, Salty would sit on top of the child so
he couldn't hurt himself by trying to stand. After Tony's seizure, Salty would
purr into the boy's ear to help him revive.
Two years ago Tony had brain surgery that cured him.
Salty seemed to sense that his spiritual mission as the child's guardian angel
had ended. Recently the cat died in Tony's arms, while the youngster and his
mother whispered words of love to their beloved friend.
Maybe angel animals provide spiritual comfort to
mothers. Perhaps single mothers with animals nearby aren't as alone as it seems.
Maybe furry or feathery angels are helping them with the special job of raising
healthy and happy children.
Animals can demonstrate ways to handle almost any
situation. They inhabit much of the same space as humans do. Yet they view life
from their own perspectives. When we begin to observe angel animals, we can find
some pretty amazing solutions to life's issues.