The Divine Life of Animals

The Divine Life of Animals



I know that animals have a connection to the Divine because over the years the animals in my life have changed me: They have been my teachers, my healers, my guides; they have forced me to grow as a spiritual being.


I know because when I was 19 and lost, a white dog was left on my doorstep, a dog whose light shone so brightly, it burned a hole in my heart and saved me.


I know because 20 years later, a horse came to me in my sleep and set me on a new path, a horse I didn’t meet in the flesh for three years, who then turned me upside down, emptied me out and said, “You were headed over there; we are going this way, now.”


He brought me to my work with animals, assisted me with healings and with classes, and continues to do so, years after his passing from this world.


I know because 11 years ago, another white dog came into my life, told me she was mine, that she would teach me about my “wild nature.” When I resisted—because she was, after all, a little, white dog, she said, “You want a big, quiet dog.”


“Yes”, I said.


Her reply? “What will a big, quiet dog teach you about your wild nature?”


This little dog, Elika, is the beat of my heart. She assists me with my classes—or maybe it’s me who does the assisting. She has taught me to laugh more freely, to find joy in the ordinary, to play with wild abandon.




About 10 years ago, a woman called me for help with her cat, who had been urinating on the woman’s possessions—not her husband’s, only hers. The problem had become so severe—the cat had recently destroyed a shearling coat the woman’s husband had bought her for Christmas—that the woman was seriously considering relinquishing the cat to a shelter.


When I asked the cat about her behavior, she became indignant. She said that the woman had been treating her like a pet. She said that she was not a pet; she had come into the woman’s life as a guide and teacher. But the woman wasn’t listening. The cat was trying everything she could to get the woman’s attention.


I shared this with the woman, and shared ways of opening her heart so that she could hear what her cat was saying. Two weeks later, the woman called me back. She said she’d been sitting on the couch with her cat every evening, listening. She was deeply moved by this experience. She didn’t share with me what they said to each other, but the peeing on her belongings had stopped.




Leroy, a beautiful but severely underweight Belgian draft horse, was rescued by a woman in Connecticut. He had been an Amish work horse, worked until he was just about used up, and then sent to a feedlot—the first stop on the way to the slaughterhouse.


At his new home, he stood immobile, completely turned in on himself. He refused to eat or drink or join the small herd. He would not allow the woman, who had rescued many horses and knew what she was doing, to touch him.


When I shared my Reiki hands with Leroy, I was almost overcome by the density of his grief. He had given up. He was all alone, lost.


When I spoke with him, I apologized for the way he had been treated. I promised him that he would never, ever have to work again, that this was his forever home, that he was safe, that he was loved.


But by the end of the session, he had completely given up his grief; he had allowed himself to let go of all of the abuse he had suffered in the past. He allowed himself to step into the light of the present. His human caregiver was able to touch his shoulder. He ate. He joined the herd.


Leroy only lived for nine months more. One morning, he simply died. I will never forget him. He taught me how easy, how incredibly easy it is to walk away from pain and not look back.




After my beloved Nikos died, the horse who awakened me one night and led me to this work, I didn’t work for several months. I was devastated and needed to heal before I could assist others.


The first horse I worked with, Mikey, was living with my friend and hoof trimmer, Erika. She had rescued Mikey the day after I had to put my Nikos down. Ownership of Mikey had been in dispute in a divorce case, and the judge had ordered the horse put down. Nikos, at about the time of  his death, told Erika to rescue Mikey.


So several months after Nikos’ death, standing in Erika’s barn, I began to work with Mikey’s body and to explain what I was doing. But very quickly, I found I was unable to speak. My words felt like wet clay in my mouth; I was speaking in slow motion. I remember a brightness above Mikey’s head. When I found my voice again, and looked at Mikey, my work was done. His neck, which had been pencil thin from muscle tension, had released and was full and strong. The tension in his back was gone. And his coat, which had been a dull brown, was now brightened with red.


“What happened?” I said.


Erika answered, “Nikos was here.”




One summer afternoon, when I was still living in Chicago, I took a walk to the lake. As I sat on the rocks, I noticed a creature swimming in circles just off the shore. I dismissed it as a duck, but there are no ducks in Lake Michigan. I soon realized it was an injured seagull, its broken wing dragging behind him. I could not bear the thought of him dying alone, and so I spoke with him and asked him to follow me to the beach about half a mile away, the beach where I knew a flock of seagulls lived.


He followed me—he in the water, me on the rocks along the shore—staying a few feet behind me. There were obstacles along the way that I helped him to navigate. When I got too far ahead, I would sit and wait for him to catch up. He would pull up beside me, face me, treading water. Then we would continue, and he would drop behind me again.


It took us close to an hour to reach the beach. When we got there, he ran up on shore, his wing dragging. My instinct was to move towards him, but he ran me off. I spoke with a young lifeguard who was going off shift in a few minutes, and who promised to ask his boss what to do. I knew that by the time I got home, researched who to call, called, and got someone out there, the chances of evening finding the bird were slim. He was a kind young man. I trusted that he would do the right thing.


That night, as I sat at my computer, writing, I felt a strong presence in the room, a presence demanding that I get up from my desk, go into the living room, sit on my couch, and lay my Reiki hands on his body. It was the seagull, Sydney.


I shared a treatment. And he left.


The next night, at the same time, he came again. And I shared my Reiki hands again.


The third night, at the same time, he came again. This time, instead of just leaving when he had received what he’d come for, I saw him spread his wings and flap them with great power. Then he was gone. I knew that I would not see him again.


Up until that moment, I had been a person who struggled with needing answers to questions that could not be answered. But Sydney changed that for me. I didn’t know if his wing had mended or if he had died. I didn’t know if he had died days before. I would never know what happened to him. But I knew that he was healed.




I know that animals have a connection to the Divine because the things they teach us, share with us, have nothing to do with money or power or prestige or even recognition. The things they teach us












these are all faces of the Divine. The animals teach us that they are reflections of the Divine. And, if we listen, they teach us that we are, too.


I hope you will be moved to share your thoughts.

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4 Replies to “The Divine Life of Animals”

  1. Pam,

    What a beautiful post and so true. Animals are such wise and patient teachers–if we’d just get over ourselves and see them for what they are instead of as “pets” or “working animals”. I’ve come across some cats and dogs that like to communicate and teach through a quirky sense of humour, too.

    I confess I did have a chuckle about the cat’s literal means of expressing how P’d off she was that her person kept treating her like a mere pet–and I can also see how the lady might have arrived at the conclusion that the cat had it in for her since it was only her belongings that were being ruined. I’m glad the cat’s person called you first before making the decision to relinquish her kitty and that she took the time to start listening to the cat.

    1. Thank you, Sue.

      I hadn’t thought of the cat as being “P’d off.” Ha!

      This happened over 10 years ago, but I still remember it vividly because of the intensity of the cat’s message, the intensity of the healing that took place between her and the human. I was very moved by it.

      My Nikos would often teach me with humor. But his jokes were so very subtle that I can’t remember them now. I just remember laughing heartily and then getting over myself.

  2. I am so moved by reading this and am not surprised as I talk and work with animals and the people they have chosen to help.

    They have taught me so much, especially to just listen.

    Keep it up and write some more I love to read your pasts and especially loved what you said about Sydney. Not needing to know what happened. Trust in the outcome

    My dog Nikolas and horse Gideon brought me to this work.

    1. Thank you, Candace. I am honored that a fellow practitioner is moved by my words.

      Yes, my experience with Sydney was profound. He taught me something so incredibly important. I will be thankful to him always.

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