Your Spiritual “Fur Person” and the Environment
and Linda Anderson
If you think of animals as spiritual companions, as we do, it’s easy to recognize their presence in our
lives leading to a higher regard for nature. In general, animals help people to
become more loving and compassionate. They are angelic instruments and
messengers who stimulate spiritual growth and love for all life, including a
respect for the environment.
No matter how loving, spiritual, and intelligent
you animal companion is, he or she also affects the environment. According to
CarbonOn.ME in the article, “Your Pet’s Environmental Footprint”
a couple of facts and taking on a few tasks can help anyone with a pet to
offset the pollution their animal companion makes. For example, the article suggests such things as using recycled
cardboard and newspaper as bedding for small animals — rabbits, hamsters, and
And don’t forget about those biodegradable poop
bags for dogs and cats. The average dog produces about 270 pounds of feces a
year. Even if dog waste and kitty litter are disposed of correctly, they can
add to landfills.
Consider offsetting the carbon footprint of your
pets by participating in environmentally-friendly activities. Donate to forest
or wetland restoration, plant trees, and recycle. Simple methods of
paying-it-forward are effective ways for giving back to nature, not only for
you but also for your pets.
Overcoming a Fear of Dogs
But what if the environment you are trying to
replenish and enrich is not only a physical landscape? When Allen did a radio interview recently, he found out that spiritual connection with animals
helped to restore emotional balance for the program host and her son. Allen
tells his story below.
I recently did a radio interview and got to do
what I love, which is to talk about my book, A Dog Named Leaf. I always enjoy sharing with anyone who will listen to me about how my
little cocker spaniel and I survived challenging times as a spiritual team.
Both Leaf and I became better and more loving because of our experiences
together. I talked about the joy and comfort a person receives by having the
unconditional love of a dog and gave examples of how Leaf’s presence made my
and his life better.
On the air, the host said she had grown up in an
environment where her mother taught her to fear dogs. To this day, she would be afraid to have a dog as a pet. She added that without knowing
better, she had instilled that same fear in her son who is now 10 years old. As we chatted during the interview about the
book and my experiences, the radio show host began to understand how much she
and her son are missing out on by not having a dog join their family.
I talked about how animal shelters are always
looking for volunteers. Volunteering often helps people who cannot have a dog
for some reason or may be concerned over the cost of adoption.
The host said that, as we talked, she realized it
was time for her to move forward and past her deep, lifelong fears. Both she
and her son were going to volunteer a couple of hours each week at their local
animal shelter. They could become more accustomed to and less fearful by being
around all kinds of dogs and experiencing firsthand the different characters
and doggy personalities.
What a satisfying interview that was for me, the
host, and hopefully,
for her listeners. What a tribute it was to the power of pets to open up a world of love.
Animals Inspiring Preserving the Environment
Animals instill love for
the environment just by their examples of living full lives within their natural surroundings. Most people
would agree that Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most respected naturalists.
Spending years of her life observing chimpanzees and writing eloquently about her experiences with them has inspired millions to renew respect for the earth, all its creatures, and
the ecosystems that support human and animal life.
When people love animals and are determined to
express it, they can become invincible in their pursuit of wisdom about life. Jane
Goodall’s love for chimps in the forests of Gombe catapulted her into becoming
a respected spokesperson for protection of endangered species and advocate of
animal welfare causes.
The pristine Tanzanian forests offered Jane an
and tranquility. In a passage from
her classic book, Reason
for Hope, she writes about the spiritual benefits the close contact with animals gave to her. “On an
open, grassy ridge the chimps climbed into a massive mbula tree, where Fifi, replete from the morning’s feastings, 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 in 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, I
could feel myself as in the early days, a part of nature.”
Humans turn to animals for comfort, playtime,
serenity, unconditional love, and a number of other spiritual qualities we
can’t find as readily from any other source. We nourish and rescue animals and
receive blessings in return. Whatever we do for nature and the environment sews seeds of golden nourishment for us — and the
and Linda Anderson are co-founders of Angel Animals Network and authors of a
series of books about the spiritual connection between people and animals, www.angelanimals.net. Their newest book is A Dog Named Leaf: The Hero from Heaven Who Saved My Life, www.adognamedleaf.com