Animal House

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Sugar likes to stay indoors.

I am an animal lover. I have a problem with cuteness. There’s nothing better than the sound of a cat purring or soft fur beneath my fingertips. So as I write this post about my animals, I have a sweet 1-year-old kitty named Sugar lying on my belly. She’s going to sleep. The Chihuahua, Kahlua, has finally stopped snoring in her doggie bed, and Monday the 10-year-old cat has dragged his stuffed sheep upstairs to one of the kids’ rooms.

It is quiet in the animal house. But I’ve started thinking about my animals. I learn so much from them. God did something beautiful when he created cats and dogs, didn’t he? He made them to be wonderful companions for us, and as such, if we pay attention, we might just see ourselves in their reflection, compliments of our Creator.

My kitten Sugar used to dart outside. Once out in the yard, she would freak out over everything, the breeze, a leaf, a bug. The first time she went out, she bopped a wasp down and it stung her on the mouth. I spent last summer chasing her for 20 minutes to get her back in the house. She wasn’t old enough, I told myself. She’s a baby. She could get hurt. She can’t defend herself. Well, now she’s one. I open the door and let it linger. She won’t go out. She sniffs and looks at the sunshine. She watches from the window, but she’s lost her interest in going outside. She almost seems afraid, and in a strange way, that makes me a little sad. I kept telling her to wait until she was more mature and stronger and then now that she finally is, she’s afraid to go outside anymore.

Do I do that? I wonder. Are there things I’ve always wanted to do…perhaps asked God for long ago, and He said to wait. That I wasn’t ready yet. And now…have I let time pass? Is there a world out there to be sought and explored, but I am now on the inside content with just looking through the window?

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Monday likes to go outside.

My cat Monday was a stray and found us when he was about 3-years-old. He’s always been in and out, but since we moved to this new neighborhood, he has to come in by dark. We had many vet bills when we moved here because of bites from other animals. The other day, I heard a terrible noise. A man walking his dog and pushing his baby stroller let go of the leash accidentally when the dog wanted my cat. A chase ensued and the dog got him behind the neck. He’s fine, but it could have been worse. Monday can handle himself. He’s street smart (and chubby and cuddly and the sweetest boy). He’s also a little restless. He always wants out. Even if there’s a big dog out there, he wants to go. Maybe even because there are dogs out there.

I wonder. Am I like Monday? Are you? You gotta get out and keep going even if you should take a little time to rest and heal in the quiet of the indoors for a while?

016And then there’s Kahlua or Lulu. She’s a 15-year-old Chihuahua. She can no longer go up or down the steps on her own, so I take her outside. She has accidents in her bed. She is blind in one eye and can barely see with the other. She can hardly hear and sleeps through my coming home in the afternoon. But nighttime is the worst. Every few hours she barks for me. I need water. I had an accident. I’m lonely. Where am I? I need to go out. Last night at 1:10 am, I heard barking. But it was distant barking, not at the foot of the stairs. I found Lulu in the sunken dining room. She’d fallen in and must have gotten discombobulated in the darkness, because when I found her, she was barking incessantly under a chair. The legs and wood pieces had boxed her in like a jail. She was in doggie jail. I turned on the light, but she couldn’t quite figure out who I was, so she still barked at her rescuer.

I wonder. Am I like Lulu? Do I wander off and get lost in the dark? Do I lose my vision and when someone shines the light on my difficult situation, ready to gently guide me out, do I recognize the helper who’s come or do I continue to bark and bark and bark at my little doggie jail I’ve found myself in?

Oh, the Lord teaches me so much through my animals. I see myself in their sweet little eyes. In their own animal ways, they are just so doggone…human.

Do you have a pet in your life who teaches you things about life? If so, what a blessing, and tell me about it!

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Nicole Seitz is the author of 6 novels and teaches art at a local school near Charleston, SC. Visit her website at www.nicoleseitz.com.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh, yes! Animals are a continuing education course for me, too. Right now it’s just Dixie Belle here, my totally spoiled but isanely loyal chocolate lab. The old girl has lost a step (or three) and she’s fighting hip pain but she’s still on high alert. Let someone come in this yard that she thinks is a threat to me and it’s on! I love her loyalty. I hope to be that passionate in my last days! Wonderful post, Nicole. Love you!

      • says

        Oh, how I loved reading this! I love my pets, too. When we moved to this house three years ago, we had four. Now we have one. Losing them is so difficult, but I cannot imagine my life without them, either. All the joy for a few moments of sorrow … who wouldn’t want it? We have only had rescue pets, too, even though three of them have been full-bred dogs. Why do people throw away their pets? Their “little loves?” Our two beagles, sisters, belonged to a nice couple who just could not give them the proper time so they lovingly gave them to us. What a gift they were!!!

        Thank you for sharing and allowing me to do the same!

        Eva

  2. Julie Cantrell says

    Nicole, I love this post. Animals DO indeed have so much to teach us, and you have really penned a beautiful lesson here. On a lighter note, your cat/Chihuahua household reminds me of a fun children’s picturebook series you might enjoy. Skippy Jon Jones is a cat who likes to pretend he is a Chihuahua. It’s a really fun series to read aloud to kids in your best Mexican accent, and it has songs. We named our cat JuJuBee after one of Skippy Jon’s sisters. Check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Skippyjon-Jones-Judy-Schachner-ebook/dp/B00AEBCTEA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398428582&sr=8-1&keywords=skippy+jon+jones

  3. Pam says

    Nicole, I love reading your posts. I DO believe animals teach us many things! All they want is to be loved. Isn’t that what we all want – unconditional love. I have a miniature dachshund, Saydie Mai, and she teaches me things all the time.

  4. says

    Such a cute post, Nicole! I had cat scratches whittling my arms for years upon years when I was a child. I also had a thing for turtles: snappers, painted ears, the ones the color of sand with the little witch nose. Sadly, though, I’ve fallen away from these critters, one of my first loves, in the hustle of motherhood. We do have an Akita, Kashi, but she is very, very high strung. I think she was put on this earth to teach me patience. I take her for walks with my daughter every day, and by the end, I think either she needs a dog whisperer or I do! ;) Thanks for this reminder of how precious this time with furry creatures really is. It does bring immense joy to my heart to see how much my daughter loves “Kashi” — even if she does try to run her over from time to time. Sigh….She’s still just a pup and learning, just as I am! Have a great weekend!

    • says

      Jolina, yes, patience. My dog teaches me that still after 15 years! Kashi will always be that size, but your kids will grow past her. Enjoy all of your rambunctious little ones!

  5. Lisa Wingate says

    From one mama of “fur babies” to another, I love this post. I think it’s no accident that “dog” and “God” have all the same letters. Animals teach us how to love unconditionally and to offer the best of ourselves on any given day. The don’t fret about the future, but live in the moment.

    So many lessons to learn!

    Happy Friday, Nicole!

    Lisa

  6. says

    Similar thoughts drifted through my head earlier in the week when my little Emmie Sweetpea followed my every move, close at my ankle. I don’t go anywhere that she’s not right by my side, seeking my presence.

    I think God also wants us to see in our pets how WE are supposed to be with Him. Do I crave his presence so intensely that I never leave his side, no matter what? Do I rest at his feet, knowing my daily needs will be supplied at his hand . . . food, water, shelter? Emmie Sweetpea never worries what tomorrow brings, she never stresses over finances, children, status, OR book sales.

    Hmmnn . . . a lesson to be drawn from our animals? I think so.

  7. Rachel Hauck says

    Such a great post. I often talk about how we can learn about God from our pets! Been there with my cat and dogs, too, Nicole.

    And we just took care of a stray who wandered into our backyard. She definitely didn’t want to be caught but we got her — not without a few scratches — and took her to be spayed and get her shots.

    She’s skittish but brave all at the same time. I think we’re like that with the Lord. Skittish even though we know Him. He approaches and we dart off, trying to hid. (Adam and Eve anyone?) But then He woos us, feeds us, pets us, speaks kindly to us and we purr. I want to go beyond being skittish and trust His voice and His hand! All the time!

    Thanks for the thoughts today, Nicole!

    Rachel

    • says

      Congratulations on saving a baby! Yes, I remember these same lessons my rescues taught me last year. One was from a parking lot. She was so lovey and so skittish, but so sweet. After 2 weeks, she found a home and I cried. I’d fallen for her.

  8. Lisa Wingate says

    And I couldn’t do with out my little writer-dog, Huckleberry. For one thing, he teaches me to put down my work and go play ;)

  9. says

    I was surprised but so pleased when I saw this website called Southern Belle View daily. I live in North Carolina and am an author of 5 books and working on a sequel. I wrote a book called “The Southern Belle Breakfast Club.” I love the name of your website and will continue to take a look. Thank you, Phyllis f McManus

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