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Dear Mary, Welcome. It is always wonderful to have a new voice in the group. I think you are right about animals being the teachers. I am a storyteller by avocation, and I have lost count of the number of folktales and fairy tales that have animals as the protectors and teachers of the young humans. And real life really proves that true, but not just for the young. I count myself lucky that dogs have always been in my life, and while my parents might not have expressed any opinions on dogs' place in the grand scheme of the universe our dogs were always part of our family. My first baby sitter was a English Setter, though now I can appreciate the play on words. From the time I came home as a baby he watched my crib. Cathy On Tue, 10 Jun 2014, Dean, Thomas K wrote: > From: Mary Schleifer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] > > This is the first time I have posted here. I work at a university, am not an academic, but enjoy the discussions broached on this listserv as a lover and defender of animals. > > I could not disagree more with that assessment. Frankly, both Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama have greatly disappointed me. Yet another reason I have abandoned religion to practice a spiritual way of life. People call animals 'soulless' and even 'stupid' which I find to be offensive as well as dismissive when nothing could be further from the truth. I have had dogs, cats, and horses all of my life. They have shown me unconditional love which to me is God expressing it through them. Horses in particular helped mento process emotion and they are actually quite honest and clear in their communication--if one is willing to learn their language. I can 'hear" them, which was pointed out by my therapist and I felt like I had been 'outed' due to the experiences with non-animal people described by others in this thread. Dogs and other therapy animals bring joy and a sense of connection and/or empowerment just by being around them because of their kindness and empathy. > > My family members used to express similar sentiments and thought I was odd. As an adult, I have chosen to be with like-minded individuals as much as possible because non-animal people just don't get it and I really feel sorry for them. > > I truly believe the Universe has sent animals to teach US not the other way around. > > Mary > > -- > --