What we learn from our pets

Welcome to the Two Dogs and a Parrot: What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life photo gallery.

In anticipation of the arrival of Joan Chittister's new book, Two Dogs and a Parrot, we invite you to share a photo of your pet (living or deceased) and tell us what you learned from your pet. Your name is required and will be displayed with your post. All posts will be reviewed and made public when we have verified that you are a real person and not spam.

Click here to add your photograph and memory. Photographs can be viewed full size by clicking on the photo thumbnails.

Two Dogs and a Parrot will be available mid-October. Joan Chittister's Prayer for Animals card is available now.

Jasmine, also known as Jazzy
Jasmine shows us what unconditional love looks like and is ALWAYS happy to see us whether we are gone for a few minutes or for several days. We are reminded that we should always greet those we love with hugs and smiles. She is easily frightened and has taught us how to be even more gentle and understanding when it comes to calming her fears. She is almost 16 years old and has some health issues...but we are glad she's been with us a good long time.

Posted by Yvonne Orton

Rosie Greene
Rosie my girl was adopted from the vet shortly after I lost my two 18 year old cats. She is a very sensitive being, a horti torti. Well she has taught me to sit quietly with her, and I would meditate. This cat lifted me up and stopped me from becoming depressed after my loss. I know she loves me, but she is a jumper and very disobedient. But I think I am fortunate to have her in my life.

Posted by patricia in perth

Tami and Kaiko
Tami (chocolate point) and Kaiko (seal point)are totally devoted to each other and to my Husband and myself. Their "fun and games", love and devotion reflect back to us God's love for us. They are so trusting, reminding me to trust in God, they ask only to be loved, reminding me that I need to love just as unconditionally. They gentle any rough edges I may have. I thank God everyday for them.

Posted by Judy Sheppard

Lilybelle
Lily was a starving stray and had lost her coat to an advanced flea infestation when animal control picked her up; from the day I took her home from the pound she forgot and forgave the people who abandoned her. I've let my own grudges go because of Lily's example, this has let me be open to so many positive aspects of life that were unrecognized by me because of my being closed with negativity. What precious beings they are!

Posted by Joan Bestudik

We brought "Bailey", our Cavachon, home when he was a puppy. What a true blessing he is to our entire family. Waits patiently for us to return and always seems to sense when we need someone at our side. We try to follow his example of eating only enough for energy & greeting everyone on walks. Definitely a furry angel.

Posted by Nancy O'Brien

This is Maya facing Monday morning with vigor and valor. She has shown me what a workaholic I can be and also what a time-waster. She has shown me how to be in the moment, savoring all its flavor without wasting time or being distracted by all that awaits to be done.

Posted by Fr. Ted Chase

Oreo teaches mr the love of God
Recently holding my 9 lb beloved dog in my arms like a baby, looking at his sweet face and I thought how beautiful he is and how much I love him and it came to me that God holds me in his arms, loves me tenderly and thinks I am beautiful from the inside out I cried with that knowledge and as I continued to reflect how precious Oreo ( my dog) is to me, God said how precious I am to him and I wept with that experiential knowledge. ! Praise God!

Posted by Lois Walker

MY LITTLE YORKIE (ONLY A LITTLE MALTESE) WILL BE 17 YEARS OLD ON SEPT. 27TH. SHE IS UP IN YEARS FOR A DOG. SHE TEACHES ME PATIENCE EVERY DAY. SOME DAYS I FAIL. I GOT JAZZIE WHEN SHE WAS ONLY TWO MONTHS OLD AND SHE WAS SO FULL OF LIFE. I ALWAYS TOOK HER FOR WALKS AND SHE LOVED PLAYING WITH HER FAVORITE TOYS. NOW SHE IS NOT VERY ACTIVE AND WILL NOT LET ME PUT A LEASH ON HER OR GROOM HER. I HAVE TO TAKE HER TO A GROOMER. I MISS THE TIMES WE HAD BEFORE AND TAKE THE BEST CARE OF HER I CAN.

Posted by LINDA REID

Friends
Blackie and Tigger were utterly devoted to one another. We have learned what devotion entails: forgiveness, overlooking differences, sharing space, learning from example and watching out for one another. They were friends who could be at odds one minute and snuggling together the next.They have both gone to animal heaven but their influence on our lives is indelible. Elise Hanrahan, snjm and Jean Morningstar, snjm

Posted by Jean Morningstar, snjm

Willy the cattle dog
Our willful cowboy dog. Our little heel nipper, chuck it champion, demanding little beggar. Our joy. And toward the end, unable to walk our labor of pure love for he, still our small brown dog. These little souls that come into our lives open our hearts. We become the stewards of their lives thinking it is we, who only care for them. When they pass, we realize just how much they have given us. A heart with a capacity to feel and love more deeply. Through love and loss is love that bonds. Still.

Posted by Terry & Andree

Vinny
Vinny has taught me to never let an opportunity to relish a moment pass by. And it doesn't matter if you look foolish while doing so.

Posted by Jeanne Panella

Minnie Pearl
Minnie Pearl came to my house about four years ago on a rescue transport from Oklahoma. Despite the ordeal of leaving the only home she had ever known and spending days on the road in a trailer, she emerged with her head up and her tail wagging. Minnie Pearl has taught me to savor the day, to enjoy the journey, to be a kind presence to all I meet, that attitude speaks more eloquently than words and that small gestures can make an enormous difference. She is wise beyond her years.

Posted by Anna Mae

Siena - The Dominican Kitty of Peace
SIENA, a beautiful Siamese kitty, arrived in our Dominican home after sharing our lives with two other wonderful kitties - OP and DOMINIC. Being entirely different in personality than the first two, she has reaffirmed our belief that we are all different and have been given many wonderful gifts.. Every day we give thanks and praise God for the unique gifts that each one of us shares with our family, community and world! Michelle Sherliza, OP ~ Chris McManus, OP Dominican Sisters of Peace

Posted by Michelle Sherliza, OP

Maggie
Maggie taught me to stop and smell the flowers, to savor everything around me. She explored everything during a walk and when she stopped, I would take a minute to do an exercise, or do a short meditation so I would resist the urge to rush her along. She taught me to walk my dog with intention! My sweetie pie, 2005-2013.

Posted by Barbara Litrell

Oreo - baby picture
Oreo teaches me! Her curiosity, determination, stubbornness, playfulness, etc. encourage me to be attentive. A kiss, head butt, swipe of the paw, or ear splitting “woof” are daily reminders to pay attention to her, myself and most importantly the world around me. She knows when I need encouragement or companionship, or a listening ear. I would not be the person I am without her.

Posted by Jane Marie

Three loves
My eldest son's cats. All we unwanted. He took the three hoping to find a home for them as he had an older cat already. He ended up keeping two. They comforted the older cat who was dying. She ended up living another year we believe by their presence and love. They taught us a home is built on love.

Posted by Karen O'Neill

Samson visited.
Samson belongs to my son. He visits every week, sometimes stays. He loves us, simple pleasures, like just sitting, walking, playing. We could do the same thing every day and he does it with love and enthusiasm. If (we) leave him alone for a few minutes, an hour, when I (we) return it is as if he has not seen me (us) for a very long time. Happy, tail wagging. He taught me he loves me just as I am, warts and all. I now look at all creatures in the same manner, love, warts and all.

Posted by Karen O'Neill

Harper
This is Harper who we adopted from the shelter. In this hectic world where we go, go, go, she has taught me to "be". Her favorite thing is to smell the flowers! What a wonderful teacher she has been. Slow down!

Posted by Darcy Johnson

Molly, Abbey and Riley
Molly, Abbey and Riley…two terriers and a hound! All very different but always themselves. They don’t care what we look like or what we do as long as we treat them with kindness and respect. They are always there for us, making us laugh out loud when they play with such energy, relishing every moment of fun! They are near when we are unwinding at the end of the day, ready to listen when we need to talk, and they never repeat what we say to others! They are comforting when we don’t feel well and not only give emotional support, but they wouldn’t think twice about protecting us physically if we were threatened. These girls have taught us the quiet language of love…

Posted by Jo and Nancy

My Feline Family
Harold, Rascal, Tucker and Junior and all my pets who have passed on before me have taught me that they do not ask or want for much but give so much back in return, their unconditional love is immeasurable. I have learned that the world may/would be a much better place if everyone only knew the love of a pet.

Posted by Patti Eichen

Hedwig our rabbit
I thought, at first, that our rabbit, Hedwig, would be much less interactive than dogs I have lived with. And communicate less. I've learned that she has a different relationship with each member of the house. She may seem to be asleep, but she's noticing everything. And then letting us know. She's helped me to be more attentive to nonverbal clues, and to appreciate/anticipate antics from seemingly silent observers.

Posted by Anne McCarthy, osb

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