Got a problem? Ask your dog. The Authors Collection.

Christina Carson
Christina Carson

I have had a love affair with animals my entire life. Though it took many years of pondering, I finally came to understand why. Of course, there is the obvious. They are generally the jolliest creatures in a household, the most temperate, constant, and accepting. What confused me, then, was how the people around me assessed their value: cute, but lesser. Since my pets were the ones that could see and hear what I couldn’t and sense real danger versus speculation, I found that assessment quite confusing. When I asked, as a kid, why people thought animals were dumber than human beings, invariably the answer I got was, “Because they can’t think.”

Sitting here now, six decades later, I shake my head, chuckle softly and muse, If only we humans could see that it is thinking that holds us apart from the totality of ourselves, maybe we wouldn’t give it such a royal seat in the kingdom.

Here is what I have come to accept to this point in my life. There is only one energy in this multiverse, and I use the word energy only because we have no other word that comes close to describing something of substance with the power to create an effect yet remain unseen. I call the energy, Life Force—that which fills all the spaces of our universe when unseen and, when coalesced, appears as objects which are visible. Now, if that is the case or even remotely so, it implies that all that can be seen is a manifestation of that energy.

9The only real difference is the container through which it is being expressed. If you buy any of that, then your dog and you are of the same energetic nature, the same Life Force, just a different configuration. Putting physical bodies aside, that difference is most evident at the level of intellect, humans having one that can generate a unique form of consciousness referred to as thought. Whatever else thoughts are, they are definitely a challenge to us, demanding our attention and focus such that we often mistake what we’re thinking about for reality itself, an error no other life form could ever be accused of.

If we were to use as a measure of evolution one’s degree of awareness of reality, I suggest that human beings would actually be toward the bottom of that scale. Though thinking is a complex endeavor, it actually diminishes our awareness of the world around us. And in the fog and confusion it creates, we stand behind a certainty of who we believe ourselves to be, not because we know, but because we are afraid to consider that perhaps we don’t.

Ours is not an easy route, so I am not being critical. And what occurs to me is that we are at least wise enough to surround ourselves with creatures far more grounded than we, to help alleviate the stress of our human challenge.

My respect for animals, their wisdom and awareness has only increased over the years as I have become more observant. So when I write novels, I attempt to find a place for animals as characters in the stories, not just placeholders, as a constant reminder that they are different but not lesser.

My Tigger
My Tigger

From Suffer the Little Children, meet the 100 pound bouvier, Timber, who shares Anne Mueller’s life. He protects her and bestows on her his joie de vivre and earthy wisdom, both of which sustain her as her life begins to unravel. The voice is that of Anne’s:

He [Timber] came tearing round the bottom of the bed; his stubby tail wagging so hard it wagged his whole body. I once heard it said that if there were only small children and animals on this planet, it would have remained the Garden of Eden. I was inclined to agree. The way I figured it, if I lived even half as spontaneously and unconditionally as Timber did, people would be carving my likeness in stone.

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