Pets have always been so essential in my life.
I started begging for a pet bird when I was seven years old. At age eight, a green and white parakeet named Perky arrived and we were instantly inseparable.
Over the decades (nearly five at last count), I have lost count of the number of times I’ve felt bottomless loneliness at some urban social gathering and have found comfort and communion with the enterprising grackles landing on nearby tables or wandering along strips of grass lining concrete curbs.
When I’ve traveled and felt lost and homesick, watching a hawk whirling in the sky above or a stately tree standing patiently in place has helped me remember who I am.
My own trio, Pearl, Malti and Bruce, set such a good example for me every single morning without fail. They remind me to stay focused on where I am and what I am doing, just taking each next right and reasonable step and not worrying too far ahead (or at all, whenever possible).
And quite often, I find myself saying things to them that I really need to hear myself. Some of these things are words I need to hear in that moment while others are things I have needed to hear all my life but often haven’t heard.
Here are just a few examples:
- I love you so much.
- You are wanted and needed.
- You are such a smart (bird, tortoise, box turtle)!
- I always want you (need you, love you).
- I’m not leaving you (this one to a certain nervous set of feathers every. single. time. one of us breaks line-of-sight inside our tiny casa).
- You are such a brave (bird, tortoise, box turtle)!
- I am so proud of you!
- You did a great job with your (breakfast, lunch, dinner, shower, bath, poop)!
- What a special (bird, tortoise, box turtle) you are!
- What a great (singer, eater, pooper, digger, climber) you are!
- You are such a love!
- You are my soul-bird.
- You are my sweet girl.
- You are my brave boy.
- Mommy (me) is so lucky to have you (Pearl, Malti, Bruce).
I must say each one of these at least once and sometimes one hundred times a day. And each time I say it to one of my interspecies flock mates, I am saying it to myself too.
So it just stands to reason the more time we spend together, the better we all feel.
Although truthfully, I think Pearl, Malti and Bruce feel just fine, because not a single one of them has ever shown any signs of struggling with self-esteem or self-worth.
The very first time Malti and I worked with an animal communicator (a specialist who helps interspecies family members connect), she announced, “I am a turtle. I am a very important being!”
Pearl has let both animal communicators our flock has worked with know right up front that “he helps mommy with the others.”
And Bruce, on his first day with our little flock, told the animal communicator he wanted a strong, manly, masculine name (not any of those cutesy ideas his new shell-less carer had in mind).
They know who they are. They know their worth. They know they matter.
And I need all the help I can get in all of these areas and many more.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever found that spending time with pets or nature or certain people seems to just lift your spirits and make you feel much better about being you? Do you tend to seek out those beings because they help transform life from an endurance test to an enjoyable journey? I’d love to hear your stories!