“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France
Cosmos and Mana, our 6-year old Indian dogs, patiently wait for our return at the gate. Its only been an hour since we were away to the market to buy supplies, but the ‘welcoming dance’ (the frantic jumping around and sounds) we received at the gate makes it look like ages have passed since we were gone. The thrill and the joy, not to mention the innumerable licks we get, no matter whether we reciprocate or not, always makes me wonder how do they do that?
How is it possible to have such unconditional love for someone, and no matter what they are always there to put a smile on your face? A valuable lesson for us to learn from our four-legged friends. Animals and humans share this deep connection incomparable to any other relationship one might have. In fact dogs were the first species to be domesticated by humans — and vice versa of course, at least 32,000 years ago.
They have this uncanny knack of sensing your vibe whether you are excited, sad, depressed, or angry; they can read your thoughts and mind. Like for example, when its bath time, Cosmos tries his best to run away from us because he hates to bathe, and he just knows when we are coming to leash him. He knows which stranger to bark at (possibly he can see their aura or sense their intentions) and which ones are our friends. This connection runs much deeper than we think.
Rupert Sheldrake in his book, “Dogs That Know Their Owners are Coming Home” talks about the telepathic connection between humans and animals, particularly dogs. He documented several cases that showed dogs and cats anticipating the return of their owners by waiting at a door or window; anticipation of them going away; the anticipation of being fed; cats disappearing when their owners intend to take them to the vet; dogs knowing when their owners are planning to take them for a walk; and animals that get excited when their owner is on the telephone, even before the telephone is answered.
Sheldrake explained this further, “When a dog is strongly bonded to its owner, this bond persists even when the owner is far away and is, I think, the basis of telepathic communication. I see telepathy as a normal, not paranormal, means of communication between members of animal groups.”
Personally I have experienced some of the unexplained behaviour; like our dogs know when we are going away or traveling for days. They start to look sad and gloomy and won’t respond to us when we call them, or they know when we are going to take them to the fields for a walk, they patiently wait for us to open the gate. These incidents are something which perhaps cannot be justified by science, but was surely felt within.
Sheldrake also documents animals’ abilities to sense an impending catastrophe; he mentioned the devastating tsunami that struck Indonesia, during which animals of every species fled the coastline and desperately raced for higher ground.
The life savers
“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
Dogs are also known to have saved lives of their guardian. Few real life stories show pet dogs being able to detect tumours/cancer in their guardian by alerting them or nuzzling them that something was wrong and required the attention of the guardian. Due to their robust sense of smell, dogs have the ability to sniff out cancer. Typically, Labradors and Working Spaniels are trained as cancer detection dogs as they have good noses and about 30% of their brain is dedicated to analysing odour, including the minute smells associated with many cancers.
Everything is connected to everything else
The relationship we share with our dogs goes beyond just giving commands or taking them for walks, there are moments when a single gaze is enough to communicate in an unspoken language. When your bond with an animal is strong sometimes even the thought of a command is enough for the animal to respond to it.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~ Martin Buber
When our son was just a toddler and exploring his surroundings, our dog Mana always stayed with him whenever we weren’t around or in the house. She made sure he was doing fine; our son is 5 years old now and shares a very special bond with her. Its a heart-warming experience to see them play together, a true reflection of purity and innocence, which we, adults have lost with the deeply ingrained layers of conditioning and beliefs.
There was another instance when during my pregnancy I slipped on a mossy step while taking Cosmos for a walk, and he instantly lifted his paw in a way to comfort me, like his way of asking me, “are you ok?”
My husband, Clyde had an intimate moment with an Oriental Garden Lizard. The little fellow had fallen into a dry pool and couldn’t get out. He used a bamboo stick to help him get out, but the lizard kept running away. Finally Clyde spoke to him and said that he was trying to help him and that he just had to sit on the stick.
After another failed attempt, finally the lizard sat on the stick, and the coolest part is after being rescued he sat there for a moment without running away. Clyde asked him for permission to touch him and as soon as his finger felt the lizard’s rough scale, the lizard ran away. An experience like this shows that we have a much larger connection with nature than what we’re aware of.
When you tune in to this space and feel the love for everything around you, you suddenly realise how everything is interconnected and that we are all part of nature.