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.