What Pets Teach Us

Last Friday (February 24th), I said goodbye to my Sammy Jammy. He was at 14 years old and had been declining from kidney failure for the past few years. Sammy came into my life on March 2, 2000 from an animal control shelter in Michigan. We truly chose each other. I gave him a loving home filled with everything he wished for; he was my heart and forever will be. He passed one week shy of our 12th anniversary. I will still honor him on our anniversary. Sammy was my talker who always greeted me with a “monroe” or “mwow”, and he always wanted to burrow into my lap. When he was happy, his nose dripped and he cooed like a dove; and when we cuddled, he would bury his head into me.

As his inevitable death was nearing the past 6 months, I spent a lot of quality time sitting with him, reading, meditating, and watching movies (he particularly liked Harry Potter movies). Despite the demands of my work and many projects, I put much on hold in order to be with Sammy and I’m grateful that I did.  I did not expect him to live to Christmas, but he seemed determined to hang on.

Although I am coping with his loss (as are his cat siblings Oscar and Lucy), I am taking comfort in the countless lessons that I learned from Sammy.  Pets teach us so much if we simply take the time to listen and learn. Pets teach us kindness, compassion, generosity, and love. I truly believe that Sammy held on longer than expected because he had lessons to teach me (and he needed to make sure those lessons stayed with me).

What were those lessons?

  • Be a human being, not a human doing. I tend to work too much, especially work to help animals. When Sammy started declining last October, he taught me to stop working at dinnertime. No matter what was left to be done, it could wait for the next day. So each evening, Sammy and I (and his siblings) spent time together. That is one lesson that I know he wanted me to understand and I will continue in honor of Sammy.
  • Be present; recognize and appreciate all that is around you rather than going through life at a fast pace. Animals live in the present; they do not get wrapped in what happened in the past (which cannot be changed) or what may come in the future (which may not materialize). When you live in the present, you can marvel in miracles and messages that unfold around you.
  • Be quiet and still. This helps you to hear your inner voice and the guidance it will provide. Slowing down will help you recalibrate to a healthy vibrational energy so that you feel better. Slowing down helps you to match your energy to your pets (who are always emitting nonjudgmental and unconditional loving vibrations).
  • Be joyful, and do not worry. Pets don’t worry and they are always happy to see their family. They live with the understanding that each day is a gift, for you never know what will happen the next day.
  • Speak your truth. Sammy was a Siamese who conversed with a beautiful voice. He never hesitated to tell me what he wanted, which was usually “sit down so that I can lay in your lap.” When you speak your truth, you are authentic. And being authentic is important to living your best life.
  • Sunshine is healthy. Sammy always found a space on the couch where the sun would radiate upon him. Sunshine is a vital life force for the planet and all beings. Enjoy the sun each day that it is present.
  • Share your heart with those who will cherish it, whether human or animal.

The lessons that Sammy taught me are countless and have left pawprints on my heart. I hope that I will do him proud by practicing what he taught me for the rest of my life. I share his teachings with you because they are important for all human beings to slow down, be present and enjoy this life we have been given.

You taught me well Sammy. Rest in Peace my little angel.

8 Comments to What Pets Teach Us

  1. Kevin's Gravatar Kevin
    February 29, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    We had a little Kitten for almost six months and had to put her down before her 1st Birthday. When we adopted her from a Shelter we thought she was fine and just needed some TLC.
    We found out she had FIV AND FIP and after all our efforts and two Veterinarians she was put down. She suffered so much and yet life seemed so precious to her that it felt like a Family member died.
    I only wish that people would be more concerned about animals and try to adopt more from the Shelters. We had three other cats at the time and didn’t need another one but felt the cat wouldn’t be adopted and put down.
    it sounds like you are a good person and had a great cat and I’m very sorry for your loss. Thank You.

  2. Dawn Buff's Gravatar Dawn Buff
    March 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. And thanks for the reminder to slow down. My jack russell, Sierra, is getting older. She is also a rescue and I cherish my time with her.

    Thank you also for all that you do. Here’s to pet therapy, in all its forms!

  3. Pamela's Gravatar Pamela
    April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Allie… I’m so very sorry for your loss. As I read this, I couldn’t help thinking of one of my own sweet angels, Arthur, whose passing on February 23, 2000 was much like Sammy’s. I can’t believe it’s been twelve years; still seems like yesterday.

    I’m also reminded of something written by Suzanne Clothier: “There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.”

    Blessings to you.

  4. LA VIE's Gravatar LA VIE
    April 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Allie, boy is it obvious that you understand the gifts that so many of us have been given with our 4 legged buddies.

    I`ve had some great dogs, but LA VIE has not only taught me so much about life, he has allowed me to do things I never thought was possible. Working with kids and dogs and the magic that takes place so often is just amazing. And although there will never be another LA VIE, I`m sure there will always be another animal that can take me to the next level of life.

  1. By on November 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

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