Saturday, June 13, 2009

Soul Agreements

In our books we often write about the sacred agreements animals and people make to find each other and be together. Those of you who have been chosen by an animal know what we're talking about. You've experienced the certainty an animal has about being with you.

But it's also true when we, as humans, do most of the choosing. A connection is made, sometimes love at first sight, that cannot be denied. We look into the eyes of this animal and just know the relationship was meant to be.

The animals who have blessed our lives brought confirmation of our spiritual agreements to give and receive love, to learn and teach each other. But one of our many pets over the years keeps drifting back to mind as a most gentle companion and soothing family member. Her name was Sparkle. She was a gray cockatiel with bright orange spots on her cheeks.

Unlike her mate Sunshine who thankfully is still with us long past what is supposed to be the lifespan for these birds, Sparkle had a patient, humble nature. Sunshine likes to strut his stuff, screech at the top of his lungs if there's any disturbance in The Force, and let us know that he's the boss of the living room. Sunshine speaks. Sparkle never uttered a word.

When she was out of her cage, she'd perch on our shoulders and venture down our arms to peck at buttons on our clothes. It was lovely to watch her bend her head so that we could massage her feathery neck. While she walked along the living room mantel with Sunshine, she would thoroughly take care of her man, slipping his feathers through her beak until he was shiny and clean.

Only a slip of a bird, Sunshine had tremendous will and determination to live. Struck down at a much too early age, she had to endure our giving her hormone shots, as we tried to save her. It was amazing to watch her level of trust. Somehow, she knew we only wanted to help, even though it must have hurt.

How is it that so many years later, we still miss this elfin creature? She taught us that enormous love pours from the tiniest hearts. She made the soul agreement to love Sunshine and us, grooming his feathers and our hair, blessing us with her compassion. We made the soul agreement to care for and love her till her little body could no longer be with us. What a win-win situation.

Who have you made soul agreements with?

Allen and Linda Anderson

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Leaf Gives a Gift of Love

Allen or Linda takes Leaf to the dog park once a day after work or during a lunch break. Often it is only for 20 minutes, but with the throwing of the ball, running, and playing Leaf gets plenty of exercise. He has a blast!

It was Allen's turn the other day, and the 20 minutes had lapsed, so he was heading for the gate. Only one lady and her small dog were left in the park. The dog had medium length white hair and looked like a terrier mix. They would be alone after Allen and Leaf's departure.

Normally Leaf runs to the gate when it's time to leave. He carries his ball in his mouth and looks ready to go home and enjoy a nap. That day, though, he stood about twenty feet from the gate near the other dog. Up to that point he had mostly ignored the dog.

Leaf looked at Allen and at the dog and then looked at Allen once again. Allen held the gate open and wondered why Leaf was not running over to leave.

Feeling an inner nudge Allen decided to close the gate and see what would happen. He walked over to the lady, and she started talking about this dog named Murphy whom she described as newly rescued only 24 hours ago. Murphy looked traumatized, scared, and alone even with the woman's constant reassurance that he now had a forever mommy. Since the time when she had adopted him, Murphy had been so distraught that he had not yet gone to the bathroom.

Murphy looked at Leaf running after his ball once more. His expression conveyed that he wanted to join in the play. Allen bent down and said, "Murphy, you look very handsome."

Murphy came over and gently touched his noise on Allen's hand. Allen then rolled Leaf's orange ball, and Murphy ran after it. Then he stopped after running five or six feet and hurried back to where his mommy sat. The lady was so happy to see Murphy play and praised him for chasing the ball.

Leaf sat, watching this scene. His tail wagged with energy. He came up to Murphy, and the two dogs stood nose to nose for at least thirty seconds with both of their tails wagging. Leaf seemed to sense that it was still too early for him to play with Murphy. Any sudden movements from him would scare the timid dog even more. But they had made a dog-to-dog connection.

Like Murphy, Leaf had begun his young life in a puppy mill. Also, like Murphy, Leaf had been abandoned and left to fend for himself. Both dogs had wound up at the same animal shelter from which the lady had rescued Murphy and we had adopted Leaf.

After Allen talked about Leaf's past some with Murphy's new mommy, she seemed reassured that healing would take place. She watched Leaf's healthy and strong personality as he chased the balls Allen threw and strutted around the dog park.

The lady said, "Murphy has a bright future in front of him. He will be spoiled, loved, and safe in his new home." Allen told the woman about a great doggy daycare in the neighborhood that has helped Leaf be more socialized and also to heal.

Allen and the woman watched as a more relaxed Murphy walked a few feet away to a grassy area that Leaf had used earlier for his restroom needs. Murphy sniffed, circled the area, sniffed again, and at last, was relaxed enough to eliminate.

At that point Leaf seemed to know that his gift of love had been received. He had played with the scared dog, refusing to leave the little fellow alone in the dog park. The concern the dog's human had expressed over Murphy's physical needs had now been answered by the call of nature.

Allen and Leaf walked to the gate once more. Leaf carried his orange ball in his mouth. They both knew that now it was time to go.

When have you seen a dog or other animal give service to an animal in need?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


By Betty Seligman

I was in the bookstore with my son and grandchildren when I saw your book ANGEL CATS. Seeing the book reminded me of the first time I saw my cat Diva and how we made an immediate connection of love.

Diva is my miracle cat. Not only did she want to come home with me, love me, and enjoy my company, she encourages me daily to get up and continue living. Diva became part of my life as a direct result of an accumulation of life events, which I found myself trying to process.

My life had always been a series of wonderful experiences, but when my husband died in 1998, I found myself a newly independent person trying to understand how to live in a world without my companion. I quickly discovered that my roles of stay-at-home wife and mother as well as volunteer did not bring in a great deal of income.

Both my children were grown with families of their own. I had only to be concerned with providing for the family cat Kiki and myself. This was definitely something I had never experienced -- I was in charge of making all the decisions.

At the age of 55, I went to work for a start-up company. After seven years I discovered life had once again changed. At the time of my departure from the company, I was a very sad, confused, and angry person. I knew my emotions needed to change, for they were not only affecting me but Kiki, as well.

The environment in our home was so sad; it could not have been healthy for either of us. I cried daily and had a good case of "poor me". My true wake up call came when Kiki died at home in December 2006. Seattle was experiencing a very severe ice storm at that time, and most businesses were closed on the day Kiki died. I was unable to get to a vet so I spent the day with Kiki, watching as her spirit left her physical body.

The next few months my family tried to encourage me to get another pet. Those seeds were definitely planted, but I felt an overwhelming void and did not know if I had enough love to share with another being. Once I felt my sadness and anger subside, I discovered there was room for love to enter. Nine months after Kiki died, I went to our local pet store and thought I would just look at the cats.

I walked over to where a local cat rescue group had a variety of cats available for new families. There was Diva. She was six years old, a long hair cat, possibly a Maine Coon. We made eye contact. At that moment the adoption was complete, and my healing process began.

Everyday Diva is here is a blessing, and my ability to love becomes stronger. When she first came to live with me, I was very hesitant to love again for I felt in doing so I would somehow not be loyal to my previous cat Kiki or to my husband. I didn't want anyone to take their places and reminded Diva of this daily for about 3 months. She would just look up at me.

Whenever I sat down, she would jump up on my lap and wait to be petted. Kiki had never been a cat who desired long periods of affection. I was amazed the first time Diva sat on my lap for about 3 hours. She would have stayed longer, but I felt the need to get up and move about.

Diva definitely has won me over. Now I have become in touch with a part of my spirit that has long been neglected. I am able to love again. The sadness that was so much a part of me has given way to joy and peace. She makes getting up each day an adventure that I thought was gone forever.

Visit to view a picture of Diva.

Betty Seligman lives in Seattle, Washington. She has been a stay-at-home wife, mother of two children, and volunteer.

When has an animal taught you to love again or to love more deeply?

First published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week on May 30, 2009. All rights reserved.

Allen and Linda Anderson

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week, send a blank message to

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Raising Rabbits

We don't know anything about raising rabbits so we are always happy when something comes along to enlighten us. Two of our books, ANGEL ANIMALS and ANGEL ANIMALS BOOK OF INSPIRATION, contain some great rabbit stories. Over the years, we've talked with people who are devoted to their pet rabbits. A lovely site for rabbit lovers and the curious, like us, is

Recently we received a book about rabbits. In the letter accompanying the book, one of the authors, Kathy Smith, wrote, "I am passionate about rabbits! Every rabbit who has shared my home has had a profound impact on my life. Your Angel Animals books helped inspire me to team up with Lucile Moore to create the enclosed volume. We hope you will enjoy our book as much as we have enjoyed yours.

"Our goal in publishing this book is to help reduce the number of discarded Easter bunnies by sharing stories about both the joys and challenges of living with rabbits in an entertaining format. Our vision is to reach out to non-bunny people so that next Easter they will think of rabbits as wise and gentle teachers rather than as disposable pets.

"Lucile and I are committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from every copy sold to animal organizations. We are actively seeking a national multi-species nonprofit partner to help us gain exposure beyond the "rabbit world" in exchange for a portion of the profits. If you have any contacts in this area -- or other suggestion on how to promote our book to the general public -- we would be most grateful for your advice."

TOUCHED BY A RABBIT: A Treasury of Stories about Rabbits and Their People by Lucile Moore and Kathy Smith (Infinity Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 0-7417-5275-8,, www.buybooksontheweblcom, (877) BUY BOOK or (610) 941-9999)

The back cover describes the book like this: "TOUCHED BY A RABBIT acquaints readers with the third most popular mammalian pet, the rabbit. The anthology includes a selection to suit every taste, from light-hearted vignettes featuring a single aspect of rabbit personality to longer stories that explore the depth and impact of the human/rabbit bond. Readers will delight in this rare glimpse into the true nature of the widely recognized but little-understood 'bunny' as presented in this volume of heartwarming and thought-provoking stories."

Sounds good to us! What about you? Any rabbit stories you'd like to share with our readers and us?

Monday, May 25, 2009

FedEx or FedCat - Animals as Messengers

As we work on this article, our cats, Speedy and Cuddles, are sprawled out in the office chair, patiently watching us work. Leaf, our intelligent black cocker spaniel, bats a bouncy ball around and looks over to see if we have it in us to play with him. Our cockatiel Sunshine perches in his large cage probably wondering how he's survived one more year, living in a home with so many natural predators. It seems that each of the Andersons approach life in our own way.

If you live with an animal or animals, you've probably noticed what we have: Sometimes, when we're too thickheaded to listen or learn any other way, God sends an animal messenger-an angel animal, as we call them-to help us figure out our next steps. So, as the typing on this article continues, Allen writes the following sentence: "When a human tells you that he or she loves you unconditionally, the very fact that it had to be said means the person knows nothing about unconditional love."

Cuddles jumps up near the keyboard, presses the backstop, and erases this line. Allen realizes that what he's wrote would have taken the piece in a whole different direction - maybe a little too harsh; maybe a little off the point.

Was Cuddles simply playing a role or is she a spiritual being, guided by Spirit to help us write a better article? One which doesn't pass judgment on people or animals? Or is Cuddles's erasure mere mischief and coincidence?

You decide.

We've had enough of these experiences to conclude that, if we're open to receive, animals definitely deliver messages. We have no idea what they know or how they think. We just appreciate how the Divine uses them as vehicles for helping us in more ways than we can count.

Animals are spiritual messengers for people but they also assist each other. Amy Berk from Minnesota writes, "When Belle & Ruby were kittens, they'd snuggle up to me in bed on winter nights. I still kept several doors closed to keep them in a more confined area while they were getting used to the house. One night, as I lay in bed, Belle kept jumping off the bed and walking down the hall. Suddenly I heard this unearthly scream coming from the usually silent Belle. I jumped up to find her sitting in front of my closed office door. I swung the door open, and there sat Ruby, her golden eyes flashing in the light. I had unknowingly shut her in this room. I praised Belle for coming to her sister's aid.

Why do you to have a pet?

We sometimes hear or read the argument that living with a pet isn't a reasonable or logical lifestyle choice. The financial cost of vet bills and food, the additional cleaning that is necessary, and other responsibilities seem prohibitive to some. And why would people willingly put themselves through emotional loss, when they know that someday a beloved animal will leave or die? Many who have never lived with animals question the motivation (and sanity) of those who share their homes and lives with pets.

For those who haven't experienced the human-animal spiritual connection, sincere animal lovers seem to lack common sense. Pet lovers are accused of having emotional weakness and immaturity springing from their lack of "real" human contact and companionship. They must be severely bored to need animals as their source of amusement.

When Allen types this line at his computer, Speedy looks at the screen as if to ask, "Do you think that's true? Do I amuse you?" Allen strokes his hand down the cat's back and replies, "Yes, you do, but that's not the only reason we love you."

Speedy seems to know exactly what to do when we need encouragement. His special way to offer comfort is to touch his paw ever so gently on the shoulder of the one who needs a little extra T.L.C. His eyes peer straight into that person's heart and without one word spoken say, "You are loved."

Do you notice when an animal gives you a gentle touch and wide-eyed, innocent look of unconditional love? If you ignore these signals that love is all around, may we suggest you become more observant and grateful? You'll be glad you did.

Andrea Vivian wrote to us about an animal whose gentle touch and compassion helped her cope with pain and loss. She writes, "My husband and I adopted Inky from the Humane Society in 1990. When our last dog, Cocoa, passed away, we went back to SPCA to look for another dog. On that Sunday morning, the workers opened Inky's cage, and he immediately jumped into my husband's lap and started kissing and licking him.

"All that I now have left of their wonderful relationship is memories. You see, my husband, Joe, passed away. Since then, Inky and I are inseparable. He has been my shadow, as if he's protecting me from the outside world.

"Inky is over twelve years old. He has a cataract and is going deaf. But he still seems happy and alert. He adores me, and I adore him. This little guy is so special. I can't even put into words what he means to me. When I'd be up crying all night, missing my husband, Inky would climb in my lap and kiss away the tears. His unconditional love is unbelievable."

Can you make a decision to develop a keener sense of spiritual communication with people and animals? Could you resolve to accept more love into your life when you hear the song of a bird, the bark of a dog, or the sweet meow of a cat?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Soon after we adopted our black cocker spaniel Leaf from the animal shelter we started taking him to a nearby dog park, so he could get some exercise. He was young, maybe a year old, somewhat uncoordinated, and getting used to his new home and us.

One day, when we arrived at the dog park, many dogs ran around the fenced-in outdoor area with its woodchip and grass floor and picnic benches for human observers. After settling in for the dog park show, we noticed that there seemed to be a pecking order with one alpha dog, Chief, ruler-in-charge.

It was fun watching the dogs play and take turns at tug-a-rope using an old, dirty, four-foot rope that had several knots tied at different locations through its length. Chief always ended up winning the tug-a-rope game and would often run around the park on what appeared to be a victory lap with the rope in his mouth.

Other dog park patrons told us that Chief was the undisputed king of tug-a-rope. The dogs viewed the alpha Chief with the highest regard as the game's champion. At 85 pounds with a brown shiny coat covering a muscular canine body, he outran and out-played the other dogs. He was magnificent. People mentioned that they had seen Chief catch two tennis balls in his mouth at the same time.

Leaf glanced at Chief standing on the other side of the rope. Our dog wanted to play too. His face reflected determination and focus for getting what he wanted. At this time, we knew little of his background and were often surprised to discover different aspects to his personality.

His recent visit to the groomer had given him a gentlemanly appearance but today, Leaf seemed intent on showing the world he was more than a cute face. Even with his red neck scarf, roly-poly physique, and coordination lapses, the only thing that mattered to him at this moment was gaining control of that rope.

We did not want our new family member to get hurt with the Chief being so large and in charge so we watched carefully as Leaf sniffed the rope. We were kind of proud of his ability to show no fear and wondered how he might work this game to his advantage.

With no rules, no starting bell, and no umpire to oversee the battle, it was two tails wagging and two hairy contestants determined to win the grandest prize of the dog park -- the cherished tug-a-rope. The thick, dirty rope lay lifeless, seeming to beg for action. Without a gesture or sound, both Leaf and Chief each knew it was time for the battle to begin.

As Leaf approached, Chief pounced on the rope. He grabbed the knot nearest to him and pulled with amazing power and control. Leaf's leap was a little slower as he fell over his front feet onto his chin. He had failed at this first attempt to bite the other end of the rope.

Displaying a brilliant comeback move, Leaf's second attempt allowed him to place a big chunk of the rope firmly in his mouth.

Leaf's opponent feigned that he didn't even notice that this pint-sized opponent had invaded his territory. Chief started to run his traditional victory lap around the dog park, holding the prized tug-a-rope in his mouth for all to see. With Chief dragging him, Leaf held the other end of the rope in his teeth, using all his strength.

Chief stopped running and yanked hard on the rope to force the interloper to let go. Leaf clung to the rope even tighter with his powerful jaws. Chief noticed the other dogs had stopped running and playing and were watching what was shaping up to be a battle of the century at dog park. Now, with his pride and alpha-maleness at stake Chief had to get things under control.

But Leaf would not give up. No matter how many yanks, pulls, and growls Chief employed, Leaf refused to surrender his end of the rope. Finally Chief stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts.

Leaf immediately saw this pause for reflection as an opportunity. He moved closer to Chief. With war strategy worthy of a military hero, Leaf stepped on the giant dog's front foot. Chief was so surprised at this maneuver that he dropped his end of the rope.

Leaf ran off with the entire prize firmly in his mouth. Chief chased after him. Leaf managed to keep the rope to himself for only a few moments, but it was good to see him prevail.

In the two years since that experience Leaf has shown us that he's a winner in spite of the hard start he's had as a rescued dog, or maybe because of the survival skills he had to develop. His intelligence, ability to strategize, and determination give him the upper paw in life among dogs of all sizes and over people who aren't nearly as smart as he is.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leaf's First Picnic

Our dog Leaf often goes to a wonderful doggy daycare center that offers many services including webcams so people can watch their dogs in action. Sometimes Leaf stays an hour and other times he is there for an afternoon.

He loves it and shows his enthusiasm as he enters the front door. For him doggy daycare means visiting his friends, playing, taking a dip in the pool, and just hanging out with the attentive staff.

Today we went to the doggy daycare's one-year anniversary picnic with cake, food, doggy "beer" and doggy games. This was Leaf's first picnic, and he loved it.

He celebrated with the other dogs by bobbing for dog treat "hotdogs." It offered a great opportunity for friendship, family, bonding, and love.

See the fun by visiting

Have you ever sent your dog to doggy daycare or arranged dog play dates? Want to share your experiences and observations?

Allen and Linda Anderson