Pet Pause

Take a moment with a four-legged friend to appreciate awareness.

When we're with an animal, we adjust to their mode of being. We can't help but be transformed. You walk with your dog on a beach as he runs free, and part of your heart and soul goes romping too. You settle down to read with a kitten purring on your chest—and enjoy a much richer read. By shifting into being with animal presence, our consciousness shifts.

We feel how it is to be in a moment fully, to play with utter abandon, to bring our whole self to an encounter with another. In the presence of an animal, we take on the same sense of self that it exhibits—a Self that doesn't waste energy by posturing, by being "right," by trying to make an impression. With a little courage, we can bring that way of being into our relationship with people. Now that is transformation!

Susan Chernak McElroy is the author of Animals as Teachers and Healers.