My animal friends have been, and continue to be, the most constant blessing in my life. The love and companionship they freely give has seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. They make me laugh when I need it the most, and I believe that they provide the purest of love that one could receive. Who could want more in a true friend? These true friends have kept me from making decisions about whether or not to continue on, in this life… After all, who would care for them and love them the way I do? They need my love as much as I need or needed theirs.
Jam is the oldest living animal friend that I have and she is nine years old. I believe she picked me, rather than I picked her, in a barn full of kittens. She was sitting all by herself on a piece of plywood close to the barn window. She looked rather sad, and had a nasty eye infection. But, looking through her good eye, she saw me. I mean really saw me. I felt an instant connection with her. She was definitely coming home with us. There was no question.
The barn was full of cats and yet she was the one that spoke to me with her soft and loving gaze. As the other kittens played aggressively, they paid no attention to the people or the cows around them. It was like Jam was a kitten with an old soul.
I could not help myself, I had to pick her up. Once I did, there was no going back. She would be part of my life from this point forward. She might have only been six weeks old but the farmer said that she had been drinking some of the cow’s milk from a bowl, so she would be fine to take home. It appeared that the mother had been weaning the kittens off of her own milk and really did not want to be feeding them anymore. Jam would get better nourishment once I got her home. I, like my grandmother, have this want to make sure individuals, whether animal or people, are well fed. She made no fuss when I would treat her eye infection and it only took a few days of antibiotic cream to clear it up.
From the first day, until this day, she silently speaks to me. Every single day she tells me that she loves me just the way I am. She never judges. She is always direct with her wants and needs and she accepts what she receives lovingly. Who could want more in a friendship, I ask?
The hardest part about having my heart attack, for me, was being away from her and my other animal friends at home. I felt so lonely being away from them. All I could think about was getting home to be with them all.
After being away for months, I was very worried the first time I got to go home on a day pass. Would they know me? Would they remember me? I smelled like the hospital, I weighed 80lbs less, and my voice did not sound the same.
As I stepped through the door, my eyes filled with tears when Jam came right over to greet me. It was like she was saying, “where have you been?”, “these kittens you brought home have been a real handful!”. For the most part, she acted as though no amount of time apart could break our bond. She was the same with me then, as she has always been. Well, maybe she was a little more attentive and clinging, in the days to come. But, that’s what we both needed and it suited me just fine. I felt, in that moment, like my heart was once again full and whole. Even the broken part felt like it was beating and pumping just like it had before my event. Finally, I was home with her and the rest of my animal companions. Right where I belonged..
My husband and I also enjoy feeding the wild birds. These amazing creatures talk to me and are not afraid to be in our presence. They will fly very close to us and land on the feeders right beside us, chirping like they are greeting us or carrying on some funny conversation.
We also have a beautiful pure black cat, who I have affectionately named Missy. She decided that she wanted to live here, on our homestead, about three years ago. She started hanging around the barn in the warmer months and eventually found a comfortable spot in the lean-to, that is attached to the back of our hen barn. I openly welcomed her, as I always do, with any animal. She does a great job at keeping the rodents away from the barn.
She started to follow me to the garden one day and when the neighbour across the road saw us together, he made the comment that Missy used to live at their farm. He said he was glad to see that she was well but was sad that she no longer wanted to live in his barn, as she had made a nice addition. Personally, I think that she simply was not happy with the name they gave her. I tried calling her by her previous given name, Sparky, that same day. She did not look happy, at all! So, Missy it is. Lol
She now lives in one of our heated outbuildings, which of course, now has a cat door installed, so that she can come and go as she pleases. Thank you DW! The farmer across the road had her spayed and now I feed her and give her treatments to prevent worms and fleas and cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles. She never leaves our property. I don’t believe she has any desire to leave. My husband says that she knows how good it is to live here. Why would she leave? If I go outside, she comes running right to me. She is a beloved friend and part of our pack now.
We have two other indoor cats, who we named Berry and Jelly. They are litter mates, who have very different personalities. They are both very active and, at times, certainly do add a lot of comic relief to our days. Jelly is a very energetic and silly boy, who seems to frequently annoy his sister. She has very little tolerance for his tomfoolery and has no issue with putting him in his place, when he steps out of line. She is a very small and compact little girl but has the heart and will of a lioness. At times, I wish that Jam would do the same with him because he continually pushes her personal space boundaries. Mostly, I think this is because he is completely infatuated with her. If he’s not with her, he is looking for her. She is very smart though. She has found some very good hiding places. In fact, there are times when even we have a hard time to find her. For the most part though, she is very patient and tolerant with him. Until she’s not!! Lol
We got the dynamic duo, pictured above, from another farm in the area, when they were just young kittens. At the time of my heart attack they were only six months old. I am very glad that Jam had them as companions, as they were all mostly home alone, everyday, for a few weeks. They are loving little kitties and our bond with them is very strong.
We have not had a dog friend on the homestead since our little mix breed, Jessie, passed away, just before my heart attack. We have tossed around the idea of adding another dog friend, but considering my health issues it has just never seemed to be the right time. Between the wild life, our two laying hens, Waffles and Tiny, our three indoor cats, Berry, Jelly and Jam, and Missy in the “guest house”, it would seem that the homestead is well populated. One day, I am sure, another friend will find his or her way to our little piece of heaven. The funny thing is that 99% of the animal friends we have or have had, have been rescues or individuals who have chosen us, as their human companions. I believe that if it is meant to be for us to have another member added to our family, it will happen all on its own. Just like it has so many times before.
I am an animal empath and I am very grateful that I am. Especially now that I understand it! I am not some kind of freak of nature. Or someone who is being ridiculous and making things up. Or someone who needs to “grow a thicker skin”. I have a wonderful gift and every day is a wonderful new journey for me and my animal friends and companions. Getting to this point has been a process that has taken time and requires doing the work to gain more understanding. I am doing the work and I am enjoying the benefits and happiness that comes with it
For those of you out there who understand, I know that you can relate to the very special bond that can exist between two beings. To me, there is nothing in this world that feels any better than to give and receive true love, compassion and respect from another like yourself. I believe the feeling that comes with being authentic and real, in an environment free of all judgment, is a true gift.
I am so grateful for the bonds I have had throughout the years with all my animal friends and I know that one day I will be reunited with those who have passed on. They may be gone from this realm but they are not forgotten and they are truly missed. I think about them every day. There are times when I get sad that they are no longer with me, here in this life. When that happens, I remind myself that I will see them again someday and it will be a reunion like no other. Until such a day comes, I will hold the precious memories of them close to my heart!
Love Tanya Jean