Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sharing space with animals

They've become such good friends
We have two dogs sharing our home, as well as two guinea pigs and three gerbils. Lots of traditional and pagan belief systems talk about animals as guides and companions, and I definitely think that letting animals into your home has enormous benefits, although I don't really incorporate them into my spiritual practices in any way. Unless, of course, you count letting the dogs sniff and otherwise interfere with my tarot spreads (they are really quite interested in the cards).

Interestingly, I remember being told by a psychic at a fair once that there was a spirit dog circling my legs and keeping me safe from negative energies. The dog she described was my childhood pet, who was a mongrel so it wasn't an easy guess...

The smaller animals really belong to the kids, and they are largely responsible for their care. Looking after a dependent creature is a valuable lesson for them, and a responsibility that they have really stepped up to (well at least our older daughter has - she has had gerbils since the age of ten and has been really good at caring for them; our younger daughter - 9 at the moment - has had less opportunity for full responsibility so far). In the picture, two of the gerbils have rushed down the ladder to investigate a treat made for them by the girls.

The first dog we got, a Patterdale Terrier cross (bought as a rescue from Dogs Trust three years ago) is the family dog. She immediately enriched our lives enormously. Suddenly, getting the kids to go on a walk was not as tough as it had been :) She's also very sensitive and brilliant at comforting you by snuggling up on the sofa just when you need it. She also loves to play in water, as you may be able to see here. In the picture, she's waiting for someone to come in after her and play (it hasn't happened yet, but hope springs eternal).

The second dog, also purchased from Dogs Trust, was bought for our older daughter. He is a lurcher and we've had him almost 18 months now. He's also loving, but mostly what he brought into our lives was fun. Watching him run for the sheer joy of it is a genuine pleasure that can't fail but brighten your day. Here, he's enjoying the sun on a Cornish beach, having captured the Evil Frisbee Ring of Doom and wrestled it to the ground.

I feel that having pets - the dogs in particular - has massively improved our lives. Our fitness levels have increased, due to the need to walk daily and that regular exercise, as well as the pleasure we get from the dogs themselves has definitely been good for us emotionally and mentally.

Do you share your space with animals?