Animals find us

Posted December 02 2021
A question I am often asked is: “How do you find the animals who come to Edgar’s Mission?” The short answer is: I don’t. They find us.

Whether it be via a kindly human whose good heart has come upon them, or quite literally trotting down our road – they find us.

Finding our kind has been something animals have been doing for the last million years or so. Most notably some ten thousand years ago, when a curious wolf or two found their way to the campfire of humans. Such a meeting of the minds and kinds saw the co-evolution of these once mortal enemies: a meeting which kicked-started the domestication of many species, plants and animals alike, landing us, and they, where we are today.

In animals finding their way into our lives comes many a rich opportunity to hear and heed the important messages and lessons they bring: to get us out of the house and exercise; to teach us the responsibility of caring for needs other than our own; to find a greater appreciation of nature and the animal world; to teach us about life, death and impermanence; that velour should never have been invented (a lesson courtesy of the cat); and that we can be stronger, more inventive and more courageous than we ever thought we could (this is one that has been, and still is, repeatedly taught to myself). They encourage us to look at the world through a different lens, and they teach us that although differences may be pronounced, they should never divide us as they are only skin deep.

While we may be at a stage in our journey where we are not ready for any of this, yet a seed shall be laid nonetheless. Perhaps too animals find us for their own reasons, and herein is a most grounding lesson as well: that it is not “always about us”, despite many thinking and living otherwise.

For we are not the centre of the world, only our own.

I need look no further than mine to find this with the eclectic mix of both domesticated and native animals the universe has sent my way – although honestly, at times I have thought “What was she thinking?”, only to later learn exactly what the universe had in mind.

My earliest memories of this came when two cats strayed into my family’s life. And in the case of the sweet little grey-and-white one with the pretty pink nose, who we named Tiny, she strayed into my bed on many a night too. And in doing so, she ignited my love affair with this species – a species who, despite what we humans think, shall never be tamed, for they just let us think we have done so. If you are nodding now, you have learnt well the lesson of the cat. And though the black-and-white tuxedo boy, who we imaginatively called Blackie, could have ended this romance with his “prickly” nature and sharp claws, he never did, for it just caused me to love him even more.

The lesson these two brought with them was one that still sits with me today, which is that every animal is a unique and blessed being. One imbued with their own histories and rich in their emotional ways of expressing themselves.

I recall with the greatest fondness dear Lexie Good Dog, a lovable pooch, the “illegitimate” offspring of lab crossed with who knows what, save they had very short legs, who was thrust my way in my teenage years. Dear Lexie Good Dog became a part of my life when I needed it most. And although he was my “bestest” and most loyal friend and could always make me laugh he was too the greatest non-judgemental listener – alas though, teaching me the importance of being all three – he too took the title of the world’s loudest snorer (regrettably, fromboth ends) and in doing so he taught me one of life’s most important lessons, which was that in being perfect you don’t have to be perfect!

And from that day on, my life, lounge chair and so much more has always been shared with a canine who has found me.

Ruby, the most current one, who now lies curled in adulation (I truly trust I can one day be the person she believes me to be) at my feet, is best known to the world as Vet Nurse Ruby. Yet she wears another “collar” of which few beyond the sanctuary are aware. And that is of “tracker dog”, for her uncanny ability to track me down wherever on the sanctuary I may be or she knows the very instant I drive home through the sanctuary gates. Quite comical is the image of the intrepid Ruby, nose done, zipping this way and that as her tail is high and wagging, its intensity increasing as she nears in on her quarry, and beyond jubilant is she when she finds me. We often joke that if ever I were to be kidnapped, just set Ruby free and she would surely find me.

Although life can be brutal and harsh, she too can be merciful, kind and even beautiful. In coming to understand this, we can find a greater meaning for our being, as we are all souls incarnate on this earth. Perhaps too our lack of understanding of this is what has led us all to the precipice upon which humanity now stands. But with this comes the opportunity to find that deeper meaning for our bring. One that is best found when animals find us, providing us with the opportunity to reconnect with our best selves and become the helpers and the healers we were always meant to be.

Animals indeed do find us. They find us from near and afar; they find us physically, virtually and spiritually. They find us when others are watching, and when they are not. They find us when we are listening and when we are not. But one thing is for sure: they will always find us, so let us all make sure that when they do, they find us kind.