What Animals Teach about Dealing with Women’s Issues
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We have a houseful of female animal energy with a dog, Taylor, a cockatiel, Sparkle, and a cat, Cuddles. As we watch the female animals negotiate their space with the males in the house, we often learn about handling issues such as making time for yourself, dividing labor, and offering special help when life gets too tough to deal with it alone.
When we began working together on our Angel Animals’® projects, we decided to take a year to devote full time to collecting stories about “angel animals,” spiritual messengers who touch people’s lives in amazing ways, and publishing them in our newsletter and book. Although we had been married for fifteen years and even worked at the same office for a while, this was the first time we had ever spent twenty-four hours a day together.
Cabin fever set in swiftly.
Our two cockatiels, Sunshine and Sparkle, are the only other mates in our home. They share a cage and twice a day, after we’ve put all their natural predators safely away, they come out to spend some time walking on the mantle. They usually eat some crunchy food that we keep for them there and they take a bath in a shallow bowl. These are activities that Sunshine and Sparkle have always done together, chirping to each other over whatever it is bird-mates talk about.
After Allen and I had spent several weeks at home working together, we noticed that Sunshine and Sparkle had changed their routine. Sparkle had initiated the new procedure. After the two birds ate and bathed on the mantle, Sparkle had started moving to the opposite end of the mantle to look out the window and spend some quiet time grooming her feathers. With a withering look that told Sunshine not to bother her, she was instructing her mate to move to the opposite end of the mantle, where he also silently groomed his feathers.
After we had noticed this new behavior for the third time, we finally got the message that our birds were reflecting something that could help in our new schedule. It went something like this: If you’re going to spend twenty-four hours a day together in your cage, you’d better take some time to groom your feathers—alone. Grooming your feathers, they were communicating, is a great way to maintain sanity and relax from the intensity of working closely with someone you love. This was a message that especially meant a lot to Linda whose many to-do lists often kept her working double time. Sparkle had taught her the importance of taking time alone for herself.
Could an angel animal be reflecting something that would help you find more balance in your life?
Division of Labor
One of the issues that often irk today’s ultra-busy woman is the need for an equitable division of labor. She longs for her husband and children do their fair share in keeping the household or workplace operating efficiently. Complaints abound when the major part of the responsibility falls on female shoulders.
The Anderson animals have figured out how to handle this prickly issue.
We have no idea how the animals who share our home have decided what chores they should do or how they’ve figured out which of them should have certain responsibilities. We just know that they do.
The division of labor goes something like this.
Taylor sleeps near the door on the ground floor of our house if Linda or Allen is out of town, as if she’s waiting for them to return. This isn’t where she sleeps at night when her two humans are both home. She also has ultimate responsibility for knowing where Allen is at all times. She perks up her ears and alerts Linda when Allen is returning home or even if he’s phoning home.
Cuddles, our black kitten with white-mitten paws, is Linda’s guardian angel. Cuddles follows her charge everywhere and won’t even take a nap until she knows exactly where her female human is. Cuddles has taken on the task of waking up Linda a minute before the alarm rings by licking her human’s fingers or biting them, if Linda won’t get up right away.
Food preparation comes under the watchful eye of our pudgy, food-loving cat, Speedy. What meal would be complete without this cat rubbing against the chef’s legs and purring his satisfaction.
Sunshine and Sparkle are the household’s watch-birds. If anyone approaches our home, they screech at the top of their lungs. No one could ever sneak past their vigilance.
Not too much for any one creature to handle. Some silent communication about who is supposed to handle each task. No visible signs of a household supervisor. Just a smooth animal operation at the Anderson’s which its humans struggle to emulate.
Perhaps angel animals are demonstrating for you how to work out equitable arrangements for vital chores, jobs, and power positions.
Angel for a Single Mom
Judy Guarino from Branford, Connecticut, wrote to us about an angel animal who has helped her cope with unique responsibilities of single parenthood. Judy says that her son, Tony, has had seizures for sixteen years. When Tony was only a year old, a cat named Salty came home with the boy and his mother from a local animal shelter.
Judy writes, “For sixteen years, Salty watched over Tony. Whenever the cat sensed that Tony was going to have a seizure, which in those days was often, Salty would tear through the house, calling and leading me to my son.” While Tony had his seizure, Salty would sit on top of the child so he couldn’t hurt himself by trying to stand. After Tony’s seizure, Salty would purr into the boy’s ear to help him revive.
Two years ago Tony had brain surgery that cured him. Salty seemed to sense that his spiritual mission as the child’s guardian angel had ended. Recently the cat died in Tony’s arms, while the youngster and his mother whispered words of love to their beloved friend.
Maybe angel animals provide spiritual comfort to mothers. Perhaps single mothers with animals nearby aren’t as alone as it seems. Maybe furry or feathery angels are helping them with the special job of raising healthy and happy children.
Animals can demonstrate ways to handle almost any situation. They inhabit much of the same space as humans do. Yet they view life from their own perspectives. When we begin to observe angel animals, we can find some pretty amazing solutions to life’s issues.
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-editors of the Angel Animals® Newsletter. For a free sample, call 1-888-925-3309. The Anderson’s new book, “Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals” (A Plume Book) is available in local and Internet bookstores. The Angel Animals Web site is www.angel-animals.com . Donations are now gratefully being accepted by the nonprofit Angel Animals Foundation, dedicated to changing attitudes toward animals through the power of stories. Send them to P.O. Box 26488, Minneapolis, MN 55426.
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