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Pet Corner

When Women Love Animals
By Allen and Linda Anderson


When women love animals and are determined to express it, they are invincible in their pursuit. A classic example is scientist, author, and inspirational speaker Jane Goodall. Her love for chimps in the forests of Gombe catapulted her into becoming a respected spokesperson for the protection of endangered species and animal welfare causes. The pristine forests offered Jane exquisite peace and tranquility. In a passage from her book Reason for Hope (Warner Books 1999), she writes about what close contact with animals means to her. “On an open grassy ridge the chimps climbed into a massive mbula tree, where Fifi, replete from the morning’s feasting, made a large comfortable nest high above me. She dozed through a midday siesta, little Fanni asleep in her arms, Frodo and Freud playing nearby. How healing it was to be back at Gombe again, and by myself with the chimpanzees and their forest. I had left the busy, materialistic world full of greed and selfishness and, for a little while, could feel myself, as in the early days, a part of nature.” Women turn to animals for comfort, playtime, serenity, unconditional love, and a number of other spiritual qualities they can’t find as readily from any other source. They nourish and rescue animals and receive similar blessings in return from them. Leslie Robinson lives on a small farm in Bell, Florida with her husband Ric and a large animal family. She is an RN home health nurse. For our Angel Animals Story of the Week, July 12, 2009 newsletter, Leslie wrote about her mule Candy Mae and the amazing relationship these two females forged with each other.

Her BFF Is a Mule
I had just thought about looking for another mule to add to our family. It already contained a donkey, two horses, and a mule. Nothing set in stone, just a thought.I was attending a clinic taught by a mule-trainer from Montana. Just for fun, I asked if he ever sold any of his mules and he replied, “Nope.” So, that was that! Later in the weekend, he approached me and said that his wife was selling her mule and asked if I would be interested. I was thrilled but I needed to know more, namely how much would she cost? I figured that a mule trained by a good trainer was going to cost a lot. After all, she lived in Montana, and I lived in Florida. But the price was right.. I bought a plane ticket and off I went to Montana to meet Candy Mae.
I liked her right away. I knew when I boarded the plane I was going to buy her. Six months after meeting Candy, my husband and I hitched up the horse trailer and headed to Missouri where we were to pick her up. When I went into the barn for the first time in Missouri and she brayed at me (mules bray instead of whinny), I got chills. How did she remember me after only meeting me once six months prior in Montana? We made the trip back to Florida and ever since consider ourselves blessed with the dearest friend, Candy. Candy was born in Idaho and owned by a lady who loved her a lot. The lady came upon hard times and had to sell Candy to an outfitter who put her on a pack line. She didn’t last but a few months at that job when the mule-trainer bought her for his wife. When I came into the picture, it had been five years later, and Candy’s life had changed. Candy is 22 years old with long eyelashes and the kindest eyes you have ever seen. She isn’t a big mule, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in heart. Nowadays, we are learning the art of dressage and hope to make it to a show someday soon. We also enjoy riding in the beautiful woods in North Florida. As two middle-aged ladies, Candy and I are in tune with each other every step of the way. Candy is part of a veterinary acupuncture school here in Florida. She is one of the animals the vets practice needling techniques on. She is very willing to help them, standing still and allowing up to ten people to work on her at a time. I tell her that it is her job to teach the veterinarians, and she understands what she has to do. People are drawn to Candy, especially her long soft ears. It is surprising how many people aren’t sure of what a mule is. Some people ask, “What do you do with her?” I consider Candy to be a Mule Ambassador. I am a nurse, so I understand the healing qualities animals possess. I started thinking about how helpful Candy would be to people who were sick. I came upon information about the Delta Society and its Pet Partner Program. Animals serve in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc. to help people feel better. Usually these animals are cats, dogs, or birds. I took the Delta Society class to start the process of Candy and I becoming Pet Partners. Just a month ago, we were evaluated by Delta and passed our test with flying colors. We are now able to visit people who need some animal healing and love. A couple of places are interested in Candy visiting, and I am sure we’ll have more. We have to visit outside, of course, but I don’t think that will stop us. If we can make one person feel better, we will have done our job. The Delta Society is a wonderful organization that opens the doors for human/animal interaction. I am proud of Candy for being one of the few equines, if not the only mule registered with the Delta Society as a Pet Partner. My husband and I are very thankful that Candy is part of our family, and I am so glad to be sharing her wonderful personality with others. Candy found her forever home and I found my best girlfriend.

Who are your animal best friends and how are they helping you become more aware of the blessings embedded in each of life’s experiences?
Allen and Linda Anderson are founders of the Angel Animals Network and authors of a series of books published by New World Library about the spiritual connection between people and animals. “Horses with a Mission: Extraordinary True Stories of Equine Service” is their new book of inspiring stories. Subscribe to the free, online newsletter at www.angelanimals.net and participate in the Angel Animals forums and blogs. Become fans of Angel Animals on Facebook and follow @angelanimals on Twitter.