Animal Free Will
By Allen and Linda Anderson
an ABC Nightly News broadcast, news anchor, Peter Jennings, said that with
their partner, beliefnet.com, ABC News had polled visitors to the Web site.
They’d asked the question: Do animals go to heaven? To their surprise, this
poll received a tremendous response. 47 percent of people, who live with pets,
think they will meet the animal in heaven\
We were surprised and delighted, as
Jennings led into the segment about the debate over whether or not animals have
souls, when the camera panned a set of books on the subject. Our book, Angel
Animals, Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals, was included.
that so many people see animals as souls was pretty exciting. What felt sad to us,
though, was the fact that 53 percent can look into the eyes of an animal in
their home and not see a soul there. That’s pretty amazing, as far as we’re
those of you who already recognize the spiritual nature of animals, we’re
asking you to consider another aspect of the soul. We’ve observed that in
addition to transcending death of the physical body, as souls, animals also
make choices. Because free will is a characteristic of the soul, animals also
have free will.
Even though their bodies are
constrained, you’ll see animals definitely making decisions. They show us what
they want, prefer, and like or dislike. Animals may not always be able to
exercise free will, just as humans can’t do or have everything they want, but
free will exists in the souls of animals as surely as immortality does.
following stories offer examples that might cause you to notice animals using
their free will.
Don’t Duck When Someone Asks for Help
Reuters Wire Service recently ran a
story about a duck in Vancouver, British Columbia, who knew what to do when she
needed help and set about doing it with great panache.
Imagine being a police officer,
minding your own business, walking you beat down the neighborhood street, when
you feel a tug on your pant’s leg. You look down and see a duck!
That’s what happened to Officer Ray
Peterson. At first, he pushed the duck away, but she kept pulling on his
trousers. Each time the duck got his attention, she’d waddle over to a sewer
grate and stare at him as if to say, “Aren’t you going to be just the least bit
Finally Officer Peterson followed
the duck. When he looked down the grate, he saw the mother’s eight little
ducklings. They evidently had fallen into the sewer and were bobbing around on
top of the water.
To the rescue, the kindly cop
called a tow truck, which helped to pull away the heavy metal grate. Armed with
a vegetable strainer (instead of a pistol), he rescued the babies and returned
them to their mother. The mother and her adventurous children then waddled away
to swim in the much safer pond nearby.
Thanks and quacks to you, Officer
Peterson. And thanks to a mother duck
who made the choice of who should save her baby ducks from drowning.
To Work or To Play
Our dog, Taylor, teachers us a lot about how animals use free will AND
their powers of persuasion.
We’d been leading very busy and stressful lives. We work hard, travel a
lot, and spend whatever time we have outside of our day-jobs working on Angel
Animals Foundation projects. Sometimes,
play seems not to fit into our current lifestyle.
One warm June day, Linda had just
returned to Minneapolis from California after working with a client out
there. Since we have five pets, we try
to arrange our schedules so one of us is always home. This has meant that often
Linda’s arrival corresponds with Allen’s departure on a business trip. So, it
was a treat on this summer afternoon for Allen to pick Linda up from the
airport and for us to know that we’d have a few days together.
When we got home, our animal family
greeted us warmly. Taylor, our yellow Labrador retriever, wagged her tail so
hard that it pounded against the wall. As if sensing what we needed, she ran
into Allen’s office and found a yellow tennis ball he often uses to play catch
with her. We looked at Taylor and at each other, and Linda said, “Lets take a
break before we get back to work. Why don’t we go for a walk by the lake and
have some frozen custard?” Those were the magic words—Adele’s frozen
custard—one of our favorite treats.
Off we went with Taylor in the back
seat of our car. Sensing something fun was about to happen, the dog squealed
all the way. She shifted from one side of the car to the other in anticipation
of which way we were going to turn on the drive to the lake. We were so amused
by Taylor’s joy and anticipation, we forgot to talk about all the things on our
“to do” list. Along with our carefree and playful dog, we took delight in
imagining a tennis ball, a lake, a place to run free, and of course, frozen
By the time we arrived at the lake,
the afternoon was turning into a beautiful summer evening with fading sunlight
glistening off the water’s surface. We stopped and bought three custards--two
in cups and one on a cone for Taylor. She ate her treat in three bites with
gusto and slathered the custard all over her mouth and the car’s upholstery.
She was having so much fun, slurping it with her big, pink tongue, that we
didn’t mind at all.
As we walked along the lakeside
with a gentle breeze cooling us, we began to release all our anxieties. After
Allen threw the tennis ball, Taylor carefully climbed over the slippery rocks
along the shore, then hurled her body into the water and swam out to retrieve
it. Since fishing the bobbing green ball out of the water is a game Taylor can
play endlessly, it soon became mechanical for Allen to throw it and let her
swim back and forth. While we waited on the shore for her to retrieve the ball,
our thoughts returned to work, and we began to talk shop again.
Soon, we were telling each other
that we must get home to start working. Allen stopped throwing the ball and
signaled for Taylor to come with us. Without hesitation, she knocked the ball
from Allen’s hand, ran with it in her mouth to the water’s edge, swung her
head, and threw the ball into the water as far as she could. Then she gave us a
look as if to say, “This is what YOUR’RE supposed to do.” She jumped in the
water, swam for the ball, brought it back to where we were standing, and
dropped it at our feet.
Her eyes said it all: “See how
we’re going to have fun. Your turn.”
She had such sincerity in her gaze,
trying in her doggy way to teach us how to play, that all we could do was to
laugh. Again, we felt the tension drain from our bodies. Taylor was showing us
that the stress we felt was of our own creation. We’d been using our free will
to choose work over play. Taylor used her free will to choose play over work.
Thank goodness, we have such a good teacher to show us how to find and keep
more balance in our lives.
forget to use your God-given gift of free will to create a better life for
yourself. And consider looking to the
animals for tips on how to make better choices.