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Wednesday, June 5th, 2013, 03:47 PM | Updated: 06/05/2013, 07:36:15 PM | (Anonymous) [0 Comments]

Do pets have a soul?  Read on to find out! 

I was making a quick stop at Costco the other day and found myself browsing through the store’s book selection.  Despite already owning many books about pets, I found myself on the other side of the checkout aisle having purchased two more for my reading pleasure and growing collection.

One book is “Following Atticus” by Tom Ryan; it’s an account of the author’s true adventures with his miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch as they attempted to hike to almost one hundred snowy peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire one winter.  The second book is “Oink” with the subtitle “My Life with Mini-Pigs” by Matt Whyman.  This true story captures the author’s life with his wife and four children in the idyllic English countryside and how Butch and Roxi (two miniature pigs) joined their family and added their own special charm to an otherwise ordinary life. 

As I look at these two books and the others on my bookshelf, I think about one book that preceded most of them, “Marley & Me” by John Grogan.   For animal lovers, there’s no need to explain who Marley was and what he accomplished as “the world’s worst dog” during his life.  I was one of the millions who read this book, and laughed, cringed and ultimately wept as Mr. Grogan related Marley’s story.

Mr. Grogan’s book led the pack of the hundreds of others that followed.  And what they all have in common is they tell the story of an animal (cat, dog, horse, pig, etc.) that changed someone’s life (often many lives).  They changed human lives through their unique pet personalities – their likes and dislikes, behavioral idiosyncrasies, and hysterical and sometimes dark or tragic adventures.  Upon reading these stories, it’s difficult not to think about the animal as somehow human.  This is because the author (either intentionally or not) imbues the pet with human-like attributes.  The reader can actually visualize this character with four legs situating himself/herself in the activity taking place and consciously exerting some impact on the course of events.

And so this brings me to the key theme of today’s post.  Domesticated animals absolutely do have their own unique personalities – qualities and nuances that make them different from others of their same species.  And when I think about the animals under my care, I believe they each have a soul, a being or spiritual essence that goes beyond just an endearing pet personality.  It may not be a soul in the human sense; however, it is a soul nonetheless.  As other people play important roles and touch our lives, our pets play equally important roles and touch our lives in affirming ways.  And so today I offer this Soul Food for Thought.  Every time I meet a new pet and they greet me, I first say hello and introduce myself.  Then I try to sense what makes this animal distinctive.  That’s my Ah-ha! moment!  I realize it is my search to understand their soul.

Read more about pet personalities at my website,

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