It’s that time of year again, when gratitude is in the spotlight. Between you and me, I find that being thankful for what one has is an important part of living well each and every day of the year if one wishes to live a joyful, balanced and fulfilling life.
And I am so grateful for everything animals bring to my life!
For example, I feel tremendous joy and comfort by being in their presence. Interacting with animals helps me to be in the present moment and connect more deeply with the powerful and gentle rhythms of Nature. I’ve learned firsthand that animals have a way of opening our hearts and sharing so much wisdom about how to live in love, peace, harmony and mutual respect if we’re willing to listen.
I think one of the qualities I admire most in animals is their authenticity. Animals are true to themselves. They are who they are – unapologetically. They live in the present and express what they’re feeling in the moment. From my experience, animals age and adjust. They get sick and adjust. They accept death as a part of Nature’s circle of life.
Talya’s Tough Talk
I was blessed to meet and spend time with many wise and wonderful animals while I lived on the BrightHaven sanctuary property in Santa Rosa, CA, for over four years.
One of those special beings was Talya. Born in 2007, Talya’s back was broken when she was hit by furniture thrown from an apartment window above. Throughout her life, Talya suffered occasional and serious bladder and kidney trouble, but her spirit remained strong and tough!
This beautiful girl can best be summed up by adjectives such as strong, vibrant, feisty, tenacious, loving and passionate. Many visitors to BrightHaven were charmed by and lost their hearts to this incredible being with her inherent sweetness and surprising gymnastic ability as she scooted faster than most can walk, climbed the highest cat trees, adored her life with a passion and never hesitated to bite if she felt her wishes were not being respected.
Talya was having a bout of bladder trouble and I wanted to offer her healing animal Reiki. I sat close to her and did my best to quiet my mind so I would be present during our Reiki session. However, my thoughts kept returning to my concern at the time: I wished I was back in San Francisco, where I had lived for many years. Life in the country, particularly without a car, was much different than the walkable, convenient lifestyle I once knew!
As I looked at her, I suddenly heard a slightly impatient, no-nonsense voice enter my mind. Her message was along these lines: Carol, what ARE you thinking? You’ve wanted to live close to BrightHaven for years and now that you’re here and actually living at the sanctuary, you’re wishing that you were back in San Francisco? REALLY???
Of course it was natural that I missed what was most familiar to me, but Talya’s direct words helped me to quickly return to the present moment and appreciate all that I had, particularly that I was blessed to live at BrightHaven!
Rescuers, Healers, Teachers
When I saw the design BrightHaven’s Blanca Walker created for our Bonfire T-shirt fundraiser back in 2018, I knew it was the perfect way to honor animals for the many ways they help us humans.
For example, how many times has a special animal shown up in our lives just when we needed them most, essentially rescuing US? I know this happened to me when a beautiful dog named Silver magically appeared in my life 3 weeks before my beloved husband Martin’s death back in 2006.
And how often has the unconditional love and reassuring presence of an animal friend healed a tired or aching human heart? In fact, Silver’s healing effect inspired me to help animals live their best lives, which sent my life in a brand-new direction. (You can read more about our bond and her end-of-life journey in my book Walking with My Dog Through (End of) Life, available on Amazon, which shows how BrightHaven’s animal hospice principles and holistic approach greatly helped Silver and me find our way.)
You can purchase one (or more!) of our “Grateful for Animals” shirts from our online store at https://www.bonfire.com/store/the-brighthaven-store/. Every purchase helps us help more animals!
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. –Anatole France
BrightHaven Resources to Help Your Animal Live Well Each and Every Day!
- Do you have questions about how BrightHaven’s holistic healing or animal hospice care approaches can help your animal? Book a consultation with Gail by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- GAIL’S LATEST BOOK! Follow Your Heart: Navigating a Terminal Diagnosis – helps you walk this often-challenging path with a deeper sense of peace, confidence and clarity.
- The BrightHaven Guide to Animal Hospice – learn how to care for your animal companions in their Golden Years and through the end of life (Author: Gail Pope)
- Disponibile in italiano su Amazon: http://amzn.to/2f8cTcl
- Soar My Butterfly: The Animal Dying Experience – a simple guide to the signs and symptoms you may encounter during the final stages of the natural dying process (Author: Gail Pope)
- BrightHaven Online Learning – Help your loved one live the best life possible each and every day! We share what we’ve learned about holistic healing and living and dying well by following the wisdom of the animals since 1990.
LATEST COURSE! BrightHaven Holistic Animal Hospice: Fundamentals
- Walking with My Dog Through (End of) Life – an intimate look at a profound life passage, from terminal diagnosis through hospice care and natural death. (Author: Carol Howe Hulse, BrightHaven Education Program Specialist)