"Dear God, you have given us care over all living things; protect and bless the animals who give us companionship and delight, make us their true friends and worthy companions. Amen."
This is the story of a fish named Falstaff and Chino, the dog who loved him. The two met three years ago, when Chino’s owners, Dan and Mary Heath, traded Portland for Medford and a house with a backyard pond.
Falstaff, a 15-inch orange-and-black koi, lived in the pond. Chino, a 9-year-old golden retriever, did not. But every day, Chino would pad out to the pond and peer into the water, waiting for Falstaff to appear. Falstaff would swim to the surface, offering what seemed like a finny greeting. Together, the inter-species pals forged a strong bond.
“Chino just got real fascinated. He would lie there on the rocks and just watch the fish,” says Mary Heath, 58, a retired environmental quality worker. “This is one of the few things that’ll get him to wag his tail.”
The fascination continued when the Heaths moved to a new house and built a new pond. The fancy 2,200-gallon digs made a perfect home for Falstaff — and a perfect perch for Chino.
Today, the dog spends up to half an hour at a time following the movements of Falstaff and a small school of goldfish. Belly flat, paws wet, nose an inch from the water, Chino watches intently as the fish swim close enough to touch.
“Falstaff comes up sometimes and will nibble on Chino’s paws,” Mary Heath says.
How cute is that?!!
The 12-week-old macaque was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province, China, after being abandoned by his mother.
Taken to an animal hospital, he was weaned back to physical health but still showed little appetite for life.
It was not until a fellow patient, a white pigeon, took him under her wing and showed him love and affection that he perked up.
Now the two are inseparable, say staff."
I've also seen this photo posted under the title "If they can overcome their differences, why can't we??"
Anyway... I wonder how the two are doing today??
An illegal immigrant was allowed to stay in Britain because he had a cat, it was revealed yesterday.
The unnamed Bolivian was spared deportation after he told a court that he and his girlfriend had bought the animal as a pet.
Immigration judges ruled that sending him back home would breach his human rights by interfering with his family life.
Court papers on the case have kept secret the name of the cat alongside that of the immigrant as part of its privacy procedures.
Some years back volunteering at a cat shelter, I met one extraordinary cat named Jessie. Well, she didn't actually have a name when she arrived at the shelter, but the girls decided to call her Jessica. To me she became Jessie... I thought it sounded gentler and she was such a gentle little soul.
Whenever I turned up for my shift I would be updated on all the 'newcomers' and this particular day (during the freezing winter months), I was told about a cat delivered by the national animal rescue. It didn't sound good at all. She was badly emaciated, didn't eat, didn't move, couldn't do her toilet and I was told that she smelt like death (these were the words!) and was suspected of having cat aids. I was told that no one really wanted to touch her because of the suspected cat aids, but now that I was 'filled in' I could go see the cat. And what a heart breaking sight. Apparently she had been spotted by several people in the neighborhood where she was picked up, for at least a couple of months. Most people had spotted the little emaciated cat with a limp, but no one had done anything about it. It's very unusual in my part of the world! Cats are generally considered someone's pet and strays is a rare phenomenon.
I found her sat upright with her head positioned exactly like the picture above. Although this picture is not Jessie, she looked a lot like this cat. Grey and white. She just sat very still with her eyes closed... obviously in pain and with not much further strength to go on. She quite clearly would not have made it had she not been brought to the shelter that day. I quietly opened the lid to her cage and stroked her a couple of times. I then (completely intuitively) put my forehead up against hers, so we sat forehead to forehead. Meanwhile I put my hand around her little neck and stroked her real gentle. With my mind I just embraced her with love and care and mentally wanted to let her know that she was now alright and in a safe place. I felt that she took it in, but she didn't make a noise. Apparently, for the next couple of days no sound was heard from her, although she did start eating and it seemed that her will to live reappeared.
Then, a few days later, when I came by just to check in on how Jessie was doing, something magical happened. It gives me goose bumps even when I think about it today. As I made my way down the corridor to where Jessie was sat, the girls told me that she seemed better but still not a sound, not a purr from her. When I stood outside the room with her cage and could see her, I called out to her. And then she let out a loud miauw!! The girls were amazed and excited... it was like the first sign of the little 'person' in there. We all squeaked with delight.
From then on Jessie slowly (very slowly) began her recovery. After she had a thorough check up by the vet he declared that she didn't have cat aids, but probably had been run over by a car some time ago because she had a broken her hip. And was extremely emaciated. It was a mystery how she'd managed to survive for as long as she had in her condition.
Many weeks later we discovered that on top of it all she was also pregnant, and as it turned out, already in quite an advanced stage. This really said something about just how emaciated she'd really been. Never in a million years would you have guessed that she was pregnant. Everyone had by then gotten completely caught up in looking after Jessie and I believe that just about everyone was involved (in one way or another) the evening she began to go into labour. It became an evening of great drama that I think none of us had quite seem coming. Jessie kept resisting the actual birth because the pressure gave her agonizing pain in her broken hip. Her unborn kittens were suddenly in great danger of dying because the birth took so long. The vet was called and after a lot of extreme pain for Jessie, she gave birth to two kittens. One stillborn due to the prolonged birth process. But the one kitten survived and a few days later Jessie even fostered a tiny kitten that had been rejected by it's mother.
After Jessie made a full recovery she and her kittens found a lovely and safe home with a kind family.
In spite of a truly gentle nature, Jessie had an amazing fighter spirit and she left a deep impression in me that I'll never forget.
It is no wonder then that ancient cultures have a remarkable degree of respect for all life. Experiencing all animals and plants by being able to communicate with them would make it much harder to severely damage the environment.
Developing a theory
I began to wonder if this really is a long lost human capacity and not just a superstitious ancient world view. The best way to explore this, I figured, would be to personally experiment.
But I was brimming with curiosity, and at the very least I’d have some interesting adventures.
Secondly, if our “normal” state includes communicating with other living beings, we would need to be tuned into something other than our normal communication channels.
As far as we know, animals don’t share our higher capacities for language and reasoning. The channels where we could meet animals have to be with the more “primitive” aspects of being alive. These include physical and non-verbal domains.
In order to communicate with animals, we’d have to shift our moment-to-moment experience of ourselves, mostly in ways of how we experience our bodies. This could mean that through rediscovering how to be in relationship with animals, we might discover a different, perhaps older and more natural, way to be in our own bodies.
Thirdly, if indigenous cultures live in a zone or frequency that is in relationship to the other-than-human-life forms, it would be possible to observe that they have different ways of “being,” such as how they move, sit, walk, talk, make eye or physical contact, than modern cultures.
In short, these cultures would feel different. It would not be a theory. It would be something that we could experience when we were around them.
Experimenting with communication
I spent time with Native Americans in North Dakota, with the Bri-Bri tribe in Costa Rica, with Bedouin in the Negev desert in Israel and Egyptian Sinai, and old cultures of Zimbabwe.
I focused on the most “primitive” aspects of being alive – my breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, how my eyes focused and the most subtle physical sensations.
Wild animals absolutely responded to my experiments with shifting these physical aspects of my being. In many situations, it led to the animal feeling safe enough to make physical contact.
There is a “zone” that is natural for us, but rarely experienced in the modern world, that animals and indigenous cultures can help us reconnect with.
In that zone, we are often less verbal, often slower, often more “intuitive” and always more tuned in to what is going on within ourselves and around us.
There’s a state of exquisite connection with all living beings that is ours to rediscover.