Animals are extraordinary teachers who use incredible vehicles to deliver their messages to us. The night before my 80-year-old dad’s scheduled surgery, I watched TV as I ran through a last-minute list for his doctor.
While my eyes were on the TV, my ears heard only my little voice as it completed this important task.
Suddenly, a majestic barn owl appeared on the screen. She’d been trapped in a barbed-wire fence and was in the midst of being rescued. Her enormous golden eyes mesmerized me; my checklist would wait. The veterinarian treating her said there was “significant risk” as he contemplated the surgical repair of the owl’s wing. Evidently, owls can experience sleep apnea, making anesthesia particularly risky; it must be closely monitored.
CLICK! There it was. My dad had experienced sleep apnea for decades. He’d never even been asked about it before two previous surgeries. I’ll never forget the anesthesiologist’s words the next day: “This is extremely important information—it could have been quite dangerous had we not known.” So that owl, on a TV program I hadn’t planned on watching, found a way to very subtly share a message with me that may have saved my dad’s life.
Much has been written about spirit animal medicine and totems, but what of the everyday, miraculous messages right before us that we often miss? My husband recently decided to leave a job he loved, feeling a new call of service to animals. The next two days brought three very unlikely encounters with ducks, the last of which involved three ducks flying directly overhead, quacking at the top of their lungs, commanding his attention! Later, we discovered that duck medicine supports our journeys toward higher understanding and that air animals, such as the duck, particularly aid us in times of transition.
As I completed my duck research, I recalled that I’d conducted three grasshopper “rescues” over the last week, moving injured grasshoppers to a safe haven. You guessed it! It was time to see what grasshoppers held for me. And the message was stunning.
Never much of a risk taker, I’d recently decided to step into my true work, a daunting proposition but one made with a deep “knowing” that the time was right. WELL! Evidently, the grasshoppers had the same idea! Grasshoppers tell us to take the leap of faith without fear, and grasshoppers always leap forward, never backward! And remember, I never would have made this discovery had I not been researching ducks for my husband. The ducks led me to the remembering of my interaction with the grasshoppers.
The bigger message? LISTEN. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. The messages are all around us! Have you had an encounter with an animal lately? What miraculous message might he or she have for you?
Make your time with your friends and family—including your animal companions—even more meaningful.