Human beings did not evolve to live alone on this Earth. Yet unless we are part of a culture bound to animals in a pact of survival, such as a Bedouin caravan with its camel train trudging across burning desert sands or a Tibetan tribe negotiating the treacherous foothills of the Himalayas with a herd of shaggy yaks, we seldom give credence to our connection to the other travellers on this planet, paying little attention to how human and animal consciousness touch and blend. Shortly after my father died after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer, I had an incredible experience that confirmed this sacred bond.
I was sitting alone one evening quietly watching television while waiting for the other members of my family to come home, when an immense wave of grief suddenly swept over me. This unexpected and devastating feeling of loss did not come from anywhere in my conscious mind as I had not been thinking of my father, and I don’t think my facial expression changed in any way.
However, as this flood of deep emotion washed over me, our family pet, a big, black dog named Maxi, who had been sitting some way away from me on the other side of the room, got up and came over to me. It seemed that somehow my deep feeling of sadness had communicated itself to her, and she started whining and began violently nuzzling me as if she was trying to comfort me in the only way that she could. I am convinced that somehow she felt what I was feeling, and in her doggy way she reacted in a manner that may be perceived as being concerned or compassionate.
Who can really know for sure where human and animal consciousness touch and blend? It is quite possible that the threads of connection binding us together are stronger than we can ever imagine. Indeed, our world would be a lonely place without other living creatures, for on our lonely planet in our enormous galaxy they are a source not only of wonder, but of a healing and helpful companionship that is vital to our human psyche.