Our Animal Soul Companions

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The Life Theme we will be exploring this month is Pets.  I regard my pets as Animal Soul Companions and always have. I was the child in my family who would bring home a box filled with a mother cat and her six kittens and put them in our garage. I cannot remember a time when I did not have at least one dear animal friend.

Once I closed the garage door after a pigeon flew in. Pidgey remained my confidante in the garage for many months, flying outside in the morning when I left for school and then returning to the garage when he saw my school bus arrive home.

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Pets are such wonderful companions!  My current home family includes my dog Sophie and my cat Emily. Without them I do not know how I could have left all my friends in Colorado to relocate to where we now live in New York state.

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Emily (in Colorado)

Sophie, my Shorkie (Shitzu/ Yorkie girl) is my co-pilot in life; she has traveled with me seven times across country, bless her Soul. We walk 2-3 times a day. She and Emily are my constant companions and I am thankful every moment!

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Sophie (on a road trip)

I do believe that all animals, including humans, are Soul using our carbon bodies to get around in this Physical world. What we all share is love or the capacity to give and receive Love in the form of unconditional acceptance and companionship.

What about you? Have pets provided a Life Theme of companionship for you?

I welcome YOUR story and comments!

Your Pets Lifemap

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For our Better Endings Life Maps Activity this week, you can start by listing all of the pet friends who have shared their life with you. Using your own intuitive guidance, list your pets’ names, the years they have been in your life, and something unique or characteristic about each pet and about the time frames they shared with you. You might use an adjective or a phrase describing each one. Then create a Mapping that shows in a way that is meaningful to you an arrangement of how these pets have ‘patterned’ in your life journey. The Bubbles chart shown here is my own mapping of individual or groups of my pet friends who have been in my life in different time frames. As an example for your own creative mapping–which might take another form for you–let me describe my mapping:

The first time frame shown in the orange bubble to the right represents Special Animal Friends from my Childhood, from about 8 years old til 18. Reviewing the list of some of my favorite animal friends from that time, I see some patterns. I befriended a wide variety of animals, both wild and domestic. I was always bringing animals home: frogs, white mice, a pigeon who flew into my garage and stayed for a year. I rode wild colts with my neighbor friends at local horse farms. I had a parakeet, Petesy, who was a close friend to talk to for many years. There were many cats…most of which I also brought home and only a few of which my father let me keep; and Queenie, a great companion beagle-poodle, who was ubiquitous as my special friend until and even after I left home at 18 for college.  These childhood friends exposed me to my own wildness and unconditional love. Animals were my special family, my Friends.

Reading my Pets Lifemap from East to South to West to North (yes, like a Medicine Wheel!), next came my heart throb of 11 years, my first solo pet away from home in college: Chela. I described her in my pet ‘reincarnation’ story Wednesday. What a great friend and constant companion Chela was. She accompanied me on my Big Move, from East to West; from Buffalo to Phoenix, Arizona. I would say she was a lifeline for me. CONTINUITY has always been one of my most valued and important values in relationships, and Chela was there for me–and I for her–as a thread of continuity linking my Childhood to my later life Journey in graduate school, dissertation research at Zuni,and beyond.

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After Chela left, Ariel, shown here, moved into my Heart.  She was a dear Soul companion (absolutely I believe that Animals are Soul, Too), for 20 years!  Reflecting on her qualities that were a big part of my journey with her and other pets we also had while she was with me, I see attributes of their special characters that mirror archetypal character aspects  of myself: Intelligent/ Artistic Ariel; Freedom loving Skyway (a brindle dog who was an escape artist and loved to run!); Quiet/ Timid Ellie (an orange boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who was Skyway’s life companion and mine but who was very timid; a one person dog); and Expressive Loki (still in my life; a beautiful, all-white cat who is very communicative; he was quite the mischievous kitty and is such a SOLID friend!).

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All but Loki passed–by their own life stories–before the next Ensemble Set arrived. I now live with Loki-Emily-Arthur (3 cats) and Sophia (Sophie, my Shorkie buddie; shown above with my mother, Elizabeth).  All of them are always there and I am there for them. They are my refuge, the Family I return to daily and spend the nights with between having to be out in the world. As a most naturally quiet and introspective sort of person myself, my pets are my touchstones. I am entirely humbled by their magnificent unconditional love and companionship. They are constant and true, whatever hardships or complexities have come into and gone out of my life among other Humans.

So try mapping your animal friends in relation to your life history. When did which of them enter and exit? What QUALITIES did they exhibit for you; what relationships did you learn about through them? People say we tend to resemble our pets. I would say there are no accidents and each of our special friends has had a special affinity with us; an archetypal synchronicity. Take some time if you would then to pause and APPRECIATE the wonderful LIFE GIFTS each of your animal–and human too, of course!–friends have shared!

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I invite you to compose your own Pet Life Mapping. And do feel free to share your insights–or pictures!–with us!

Chela and Ariel–A Better Endings Pet Reincarnation Story

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Ariel

I know that not everyone accepts or is interested in the idea of reincarnation. If not, that is fine, but please humor my story today. I want to tell a true, Better Endings story which I associate with pet reincarnation, but you are welcome to interpret the story however you like.

Chela was an orange tabby/calico cat that I shared my life with for 11 years. Chela was an amazing feline friend. She would ride around the house with me, draped across my shoulders. Outside, we would play a game where I would chase her in a big circle around the back yard; then I would turn around, and Chela would chase me! We were very bonded. Chela relocated with me on my “Big Move” from Buffalo to Arizona (see that story here from Feb.5). She also came with me for my dissertation study year at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She was my touchstone there, or should I say a refuge of the Heart.

When I returned from Zuni to Arizona, I spent 6 months as an intern at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Chela couldn’t be with me then, so she stayed with a friend in Phoenix. At night in Flagstaff, though, I would close my eyes while sitting up in bed playing a recorder instrument to the tune of “Greensleeves”. I would imagine that Chela was with me then.

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Chela developed a severe arthritic condition in her spine, so I had to let her go when she was only eleven. She appeared to me about a week after her passing. In a dream just before waking, I went to pull an envelope with a picture of her from my chest (heart) pocket. Instead, Chela energetically walked out from the envelope, as if to say, “Don’t remember me as a dead form; I am here with you now; I am still living, as Soul!” Chela then led me to where she was staying on the ‘other side’. She brought me to a beautiful, verdant clearing in a wooded valley, full of trees on the perimeter, and colorful flowers, and animals of all sorts! There was a small, wooden stage in the middle of the clearing.  Chela jumped up onto the stage and addressed her animal friends:

“This is Linda; she’s the one I’ve been telling you about!”

So, I went onto the stage with Chela and said hello to her animal friends.

Around 11 months later, I had another dream one morning. I was returning in the dream from a castle where I had been visiting a friend who had been a mentor for me before she herself had passed on, my philosophy teacher from undergraduate college, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (Toni). She had been the person who had introduced me to Chela one day when I went to her college office for an Independent Study session.

               “So, do you want to see the most beautiful Being in the Universe?” she had asked.

               “Yes!” I answered, and little kitten form Chela, who had been delivered to the Philosophy Dept. office in a box from a student, slept in my arms during our session and came home with me that day.

So, 11 years and 11 months later, in my dream I was leaving this castle area after visiting with Toni, and I saw at the entrance gateway a beautiful little female, fully grown, black-and-white-with-orange-splotches cat. I knelt down with my heart full of gratitude to greet and pet her as we felt like very old friends.

That very morning, I went to my university in Tempe, AZ  (ASU), where I met with my main mentor there, my Ph.D. advisor, Betsy. The first words out of her mouth to me that morning were:

               “Could you possibly take a kitten?”

               “Only if she is black-and-white-with-orange-splotches!” I laughed.

                “One of them is!” Betsy answered.

Ariel (that kitten-cat) was a Harlequin, tortoise shell, Calico. She had Chela’s orange-white tabby stripes etched lightly on her forepaws and temples! Ariel and I were close companion family for 20 years. Whenever I would play “Greensleeves”—as I often did—on the same recorder instrument I had played on in Flagstaff, wherever Ariel was and whatever she was doing, she would jump up onto my chest and purr loudly, rubbing affectionately. I played “Greensleeves” also on the day she departed again; this time, she passed away at home, in my arms. I felt she was graduating from the Physical plane altogether this time, progressing as Soul to become an angelic spirit-form. I have seen her since, but in forms I shall not venture to share here. As I say often to all of my pets now, our love is Forever, “twenty-four seven, times Eternity”!

Pets ARE Better Endings

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Animal companions are, to me, Better Endings incarnate. How can they not be, with their amazing capacity for unconditional love and acceptance? A pet is for Life, with the only hard part being that, as humans, we tend to outlive them.

My pets certainly bring Better Endings to work days or basically to any time away from and then returning to our house. They make of our household a Home, just by being there. Coming home to my beloved pet companions lightens my load and helps me more than just about anything else to keep an open Heart.

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Sophie en route to New York to see her Grandmom

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Loki (with Arthur above)

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Arthur and sister Emily

Currently I live with four animal friends, three cats and a dog.  Cats include Loki (8y), all white with golden eyes, and Emily (4y) and Arthur (4y), orange tabby siblings. Emily is petite and short-haired while her brother Arthur looks like a Lion. Sophie (3.5y)–or, Sophia Grace Jade Wattsida [that’s Zuni for ‘dog’, and a pun on my name]–is my Shorkie (Shitzu-Yorkie) buddy. She is small of height but huge in her energy and a totally loving character. I have driven cross-country 3 times already with Sophie. She is a magnificent, all-round companion who loves to vacation at “La Quinta!” hotels. I am humbled to think of how these Souls (Animals are Soul, Too) have sacrificed other possibilities to live with me; especially my “indoor cats” whose whole ‘outer’ life anyways is in our house with one another, me, and our sometimes housemate Gianmichele.

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Okay, so there you have a narrative slideshow of my family (the  3 photos together above are They). Pet stories abound in my life. I invite you to send some of your own along, too, so we can swap some Better Endings pet tales this week!