Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Loving Our Pets and Other Creatures

Knowing who we are and our place in the world can involve more than understanding our relationships with other people. Animals, birds, fish and other creatures have always been known to bring peace and love into our lives. How do pets and other creatures give us an insight into our spiritual dynamic as we develop our relationships with them? What value do they bring into our lives?

According to Linda Kohanov, author of the Tao of Equus, and founder of Epona Equestrian Services, where people explore the potential of horse/human relationships: "Through a holistic approach to the equestrian arts, people explore assertiveness, stress reduction and emotional fitness skills, strengthening self-esteem and personal empowerment in the process. Consensus-building relationship models teach people how to take the reins of any situation without lapsing into the pitfalls of dominance, alienation, intimidation or victimization."

Anne Rudloe, Ph.D. is the Managing Director of Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory where she has led its transformation into an award winning non-profit environmental center and public aquarium. Rudloe has made a career of exploring the sacred nature of the relationships between people and the creatures of the sea. According to Rudloe, in her book Butterflies and Sea Wind: "Our place in this life, our only place, is wherever we find ourselves in each instant. An effort is made and results arise. The energy will go where the energy needs to go. The only thing to do is live life without any resentment toward life and to pay attention to whatever teachers arise."

What do YOU think?

Artwork by Shirley Rappaport Many thanks.


Kathleen said...

I think this is one approach that speaks to our disconnect from nature. We have come to view the world a bit askew because of our fascination with technology, because of industrialization and simply because we spend so much time indoors; not looking at the world around us. It is thought to be the cause of many ills.

I have been taking a close look and study the benefits of natural systems thinking. Unfortunately, not everyone does view pets, nature and other living creatures as part of our family. They don't see the webstring attachment anymore, focusing on dominating and controlling the environment.
This is a great way to reduce stress and help us reconnect.

Christine said...

In the past, I've had more domesticated and "wild" pets than Grizzly adams can shake a stick at. They all are "teachers", some more relevant than others. That said, I feel that much of the excessive "ownership" of animals is more about selfishness, greed, and insecurity than learning. I fear that many pet owners are more about dominance than not. I think a lot about this... have chosen to not have an animal in my life other than the ones I encounter out in the open. I learn more about what the animal kingdom needs for a healthy diverse environment by encountering them on their own terms, than forcing one to live by my terms.

Molly Brogan said...

I know what you mean. Other than those that I raised with my children, all of my pets found me in one way or another. All were such lessons in unconditional love, loyalty, patience, etc. I was shocked when my last vet kept asking if I had health insurance for my dog. A new trend here in the states. If so, they had many treatments to suggest. So as not to be continually disillusioned, I told them that I was Christian Scientist (not) and did not believe in medical treatment other than life saving measures. That seemed to back them off. I did wonder at the attempt to fit even our pets into the current medical model.

Urso said...

Why do scientists and others feel the need to study why Love Our Pets and Other Creatures instead of just accepting that we do? Our pets are part of our family so we don't need to figure out why we love them.

Christine said...

Very Funny statement to the vet! Though I am vegetarian and believe in animal "rights" and too have learned some invaluable things from them, I still don't understand all the money people will spend on an animal that they can't let go of. Meanwhile, (extreme case this last year) children die because a parent can't afford to fix an tooth infection that spreads to the brain. To a family like that, a pet is an extreme luxury. As a culture as a whole, I think we still need to learn to let go of animals humanely. I think we also need to learn to balance the money we spend on making ourselves happy (luxury pets, cars, more, more) and the money we spend on our fellow human beings with legitimate needs.

Not saying pets aren't good for people. I just think they are fast becoming a disposable, expensive, inhumane commodity.

Neil said...

Our dog and cat are great companions, as long as you don't mind doing a lot of door butleing for them. Tom is asleep on my foot in front of the fire. Tigger is on the computer chair he regards as his own. Not been able to switch that machine on in days! Later today I will get to see Zak - Pete's guide dog (Tom was the old one). Zak will greet me with a hug and pester to get to the shop across the road where he gets his weekly sweet from an Asian woman. These guys have a sense of fair play and the cat has joined the 'pack' or whatever we are. When I see animals so able to adapt and appear to be happy, non-aggressive and so on, I wonder what we humans would be like if we got rid of the stresses of having to work and so on. I mean working for all the wrong reasons here.

Molly Brogan said...

sounds like a peaceful co-existence at your place, Neil, all creatures respecting the others right to be who they are. My last dog and I struck a chord like that. He a gift, and at the time I thought "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, thanks, a puppy............" But he taught me about respecting the natural rhythms of each individual, about holding a space for someone you love to become the best they can be, no matter how low they go, and about enjoying all the love that comes your way. Everyone fell in love with Curley - even folks that did not like animals. He had a way of communicating appreciation and respect.

ornamentalmind said...

RE: Animal harmony