I have always felt sensitive towards people, plants and especially animals. From a very early age my instincts were always to listen to my heart, and my heart always told me to be kind. Naturally, I wanted to treat others the way I really wanted to be treated. I believe that everyone, at their core, wants to be treated with kindly and with gentle and loving intentions, by those they share a life with.
My first family pet growing up was a dog named Candy. She was a gentle yellow lab mix that loved to eat. Candy would eat anything and everything. In particular, she had a real taste for the baseboards in our home. On one occassion, she ate an entire pin cushion that was full of pins. It is truly amazing that she lived to the age of sixteen. Candy was my first friend and I loved her so. Her and I basically grew up together because she was just a puppy when I was born. Our connection was strong, and to me, at the time, it was because we had just always been together. I am very thankful for the friendship that we had in my early childhood years and today understand that there was much more to the dept of our connection than I realized back then.
My grandparents, on my mothers side, were very loving and gentle people with whom I spent a great deal of time while I was growing up. They always had dogs and a deep appreciation and respect for nature. They loved to feed the wildbirds, chipmunks and the odd squirrel that would show up with their young. In addition of course, they would also feed the odd human straggler that came along for a visit and a lunch. As I saw and shared in this mindset, I too embraced this approach of being helpful and kind to those in need. It seemed natural to me and I liked the way the world looked through those lens. It made me feel good, and at that time in my life, I was drawn to all the good feelings I could get.
My grandfather was a big kid and I loved his youthful antics. He was always joking and teasing. Especially when he could get a really good laugh. He loved to make himself and others laugh that hardy laugh that comes right from the belly. We would laugh until it hurt. It was so much fun and felt so good. I admired his love and respect for the woods and everything in nature really. It was plain to see, for anyone who knew my grandfather, that being in and surrounded by nature is where he belonged.
As a child, I spent a great deal of time with both of my grandparents at their camp in beautiful Albert County, New Brunswick. This would eventually become the location for their home in later years when they retired. It’s a place that still feels like home to me. A beautiful country home filled with warmth and positive energy, carved into the hillside, looking down on the winding brook, leading to the pond below. If I close my eyes and quiet my mind for just a moment, I can still hear the wildbirds singing and the sound of the babbling water flowing into the pond. It was my favourite place in the world. Alot of the time, I could be found in the kitchen with grammy. I would be helping with the preparing of meals, baking bread or making preserves.You see, Grampy had a huge appetite and loved to eat well. Her kitchen was well known in the community and they would frequently have folks popping in for a visit. She always made sure she had some tasty treats to offer when visitors would come calling. Believe me when I say TASTY! She was the best cook I have ever known! I think that might have been a big part of the allure for the nearby neighbours and visitors. Even the dogs would line up, in hopes of retrieving a tiny morcel or scrap from the floor or maybe even having something thrown to them by Grampy, when Grammy wasn’t looking of course. They had to wait on the outskirts of the kitchen though, she would not allow any unnecessary traffic in her kitchen, and no one questioned Grammy. I can remember hearing Grampy refer to her as the “Warden” a time or two, in a most loving way of course, and only from a distance. When there was absolutely no danger of her hearing him. LOL. At other times, I would be out in the shop or in the yard helping Grampy with one of his many, many projects. He was a brilliant man and could build or fix anything! I just loved spending time with both of them! They always made me feel so special and like my suggestions and opinions were important and mattered.
The camp, for me, was a magical place. We were surrounded by nature and wildlife. Grampy would have wild birds land right on the top of his hat. While he was wearing it! I think it was because they knew he was no threat. I was completely in awww of his connection to them. He had even tamed a squirrel. Or, so I thought at the time. However, looking back now I realize that he had an ability to comminicate with these beautiful creatures. Without me realizing it at the time, Grampy passed his gift on to me. It was the gift of being an animal empath. Grampy showed me how to quietly observe, communicate with and earn the trust of a chipmunk. We got to a point, this chipmunk and I, where he would eat right out of my hand. I was about six years old at the time. Well, I thought it was a “he”. So, I called my new friend Henry! Then, one day Henry showed up with her young ones and from that point on, Henry would be known as Henrietta. LOL
I did not know that I was an animal empath at the time, or that there was even such a thing. Or that others could possess the same or similar gifts. I believe that it was this time spent with my grandfather that helped me to realized how special my connection with animals could be. A bit later on in life, I felt a calling to work with animals and trained to become a pet groomer. It was a profession I worked in happily, for twenty five years. There was a period of time, after my heart attack, when there was very little I could do physically other than feed and attend to our pets and the wildlife at our home. This gave me such joy and a feeling of purpose. Not to mention that it was very good therapy for me at the time. Both physical and mental, I believe. It was a time when I felt I had very little. I had lost a great deal of my independance and felt very low.
Now, after all these years and some most challenging times, I still live here in the country, surrounded by nature. Right where I belong, just like my Grampy. Quietly observing, communicating with and earning the trust of the wildlife around me. I am forever grateful for my many blessings and animal companions. Thank you very much for the lessons you taught and the example set for me Grampy! You will be forever loved and missed!