"Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one's soul remains unawakened".
I had a dog when I was small. He was my best friend. He even rode on the back of my bike with me. I cried the day my parents sent him away. He was my confidant, my pillow for tears, and my friend. All of my children have been raised with animals. We have had cats, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, dogs, and even a desert tortoise. My children loved animals. They were good with them. The took care of them. They loved them.
One of my favorite stories from their childhood is when they had a mama cat. There were six children, roughly 3 to 10 years of age. This cat got pregnant and was following me around that day. Now, for some strange reason, no matter what type of female animal we had, they liked to follow me when they were getting ready to deliver. So, I always knew it was close. I kept an eye on her and had the kids watching too.
She disappeared from us and shortly thereafter and while I was looking for her, the kids disappeared too. I went looking as I did not want her having her kittens outside. I went through each room until finally walking into my daughter's small room. There I found six pair of legs sticking out from under the bed. I asked them what they were doing and they let me know that they were watching the new kittens being born. The oohing and awing got more intense as each new life entered the world and the mother would lick them clean with the kids using old t-shirts to help.
The process took a couple of hours and when it was finished there were five new baby kittens. I had to crawl under the bed and get the mama cat and the kittens to put them in the bed that had been prepared for them. She was content to let them stay there as long as the kids did not bother them too much.
What a blessing it was for those small children to experience that moment. They loved that mama cat and we had her for several years. I think it is important for children to learn to love and care for animals. They depend on us for food, shelter and companionship. They teach responsibility and compassion. I still smile when I see in my mind the picture of twelve legs sticking out from under a twin bed.
"Our treatment of animals is important
to our own internal state.
If we are to expand our horizons,
to grow to understand what the relatedness
of each and every thing means,
then our love and appreciation of all life is essential.
Our respect and reverence for all living things
will be reflected in our own living.”
(Bill Schul, Author)