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.


It’s Valentine’s Day! For some people, it is a day of love-filled joy; for others it is a day of misery. Valentine’s Day is about more than romantic love and “the one” who makes your heart sing. It is about love, all kinds of love for all kinds of people and circumstances.

Let’s experiment today and focus not on romantic love, but on love in general. No matter what your circumstances are, there is always something that you can find to love.

Love is a requirement in this life. For without love, we would be unable to manifest anything good in our lives. As humans, all of our emotions stem from love or fear. If you spend your days in hatred, dislike, disgust, judgment, criticism, self-loathing and misery, what do you believe that you will draw into your life? What if you spend your days finding love in everything and sending loving vibes to all? The Universe will return that love to you through wonderful circumstances, people and tangible things.

When you woke up this morning, did you think “Wahoo, it’s Valentine’s Day … a day where I can send and receive love to anyone and anything without anyone looking at me strangely”? Or did you awake with dread and hesitation to face the day? Not many people start the day with a heart center that is full, balanced and ready to be shared with the world. So how do you become one of those people that, currently, you may snarl at because they are “one of those happy people”?

It all starts with your heart, the source of where love originates. A heart center that is full, open and balanced will see love in everything and send out love to everyone. Outside people and situations will not shake you from your heart center because you are living at a very high vibration of love. Here are some practical steps to open your heart center:

  • When you awake, focus on something that makes you smile. Maybe it is your spouse, your child, your pet(s), your comfortable bed, the sun streaming in through the window, or the fact that you are alive to live another day. Make your first waking thought about something that makes you smile.
  • As you go throughout your day, be present and observe things through the eyeglasses of love. As you drive to work, even in gridlock, look out the window and appreciate the trees, birds, and sunrise. Realize that you will never relive that minute again, so fill it with appreciation for all that surrounds you. As you drive past people, send them good vibes. As I drive past people, I verbalize “Have a great day” or for the road workers I say “Be safe and thank you.”
  • As you go to work, smile! Smile because you have a job and income in a struggling economy. Even if you have co-workers who you do not resonate with, send them happy vibes and well wishes. Find something genuine in them to appreciate, and tell them. Because what you send out always comes back to you. And wouldn’t want more loving energy flowing your way?
  • If you are unemployed, be thankful that the Universe is perched and waiting to help you find employment that will make your heart sing. So do a little dance around your house (I like to grab one of my cats for these spontaneous dancing moments) and fill your energy field with joyous, hopeful and expectant energy for the job that is already out there and is coming to you.
  • Ask the Universe to send you wonderful coincidences throughout the day and every day. Coincidences are not unintended accidents; they are the Universe placing you in alignment with what your heart center desires and what you are meant to experience. So if your heart center is full, balanced and open, and if you go through your day being present, you will receive and notice many coincidences that will bring you even more joy. Think back to a coincidence that made your smile or resulted in something fantastic.
  • Invest in a beautiful Rose Quartz crystal. Rose Quartz is a powerful energetic stone whose earthly powers send unconditional love, open the heart center, and fill you with peace and love. It is difficult to feel anything but love when holding a Rose Quartz. Place Rose Quartz next to your bed side so that you are filled with this loving energy through the night, wear a Rose Quartz necklace or bracelet, place a Rose Quartz stone in your pocket, or fill your environment with Rose Quartz’s radiating energy.
  • Send love and thanks to the sun, the moon, the sky, the wind, the squirrel who is enjoying its morning acorn, the bird that caught your eye to remind you that you can spread your wings and fly too, and to the dog walker who handles 8 dogs at the same time and with a smile on his/her face.

Everything around you is a gift … your Valentine’s Day gift. So whether you receive flowers, candy and cards this Valentine’s Day, know that you have the power in your full and open heart to have Valentine’s Day every day. These ideas are not simply to be practiced on Valentine’s Day … they should be a part of your life, like breathing.

So from me to you, I appreciate you reading this and I send you my love this Valentine’s Day. And as the late great Whitney Houston said, You gave good love.