Animals and Human Children

I am volunteering at an Orphan Children’s Hostel in Varanasi, India. I hear the young girls begin to scream early in the morning before school is to begin. I go running up the stairs to see what all the ‘fuss’ is about. Several of the girls have long sticks and are poking under the lockers. One of the girls shares with me that their are kittens under the lockers. I look over at the next set of stairs to see the mother Cat looking and meowing for her kittens.

I ask the Girls to stop, bend down, and I pick up one of the kittens. They scream, “Didi (sister in Hindi) what are you doing?” I say, “You believe in God, yes?” “Yes, Didi.” “You believe all Animals are God, yes?” “Yes, Didi.” “Me too, and I love my God. I do not want to hit my God with sticks. These kittens are scared, just like you and see their Mother on the stairs who loves them. She is like your MotherJi who loves you.” Then, one of them asks to touch the kitten. “Oh, it is so soft! Oh, how sweet! How can we help?” and all the girls take turns, sharing they have never touched one before. The girls then bring me a box, we catch the others, and take them to room with the mother Cat following. Then, a lesson begins on the five basic things every Animal needs to live and thrive.

children with dogs

This experience awakened a dream I did not know I had. I knew I love Children, I knew I love Animals; however, I did not know I had laying dormant in me a dream to bring Orphan Children and Orphan Animals together to heal each other. Teaching Compassion with Animals I had been doing, it was part of the reason I was in India as an Animal Chaplain; however, to see Orphan Children on the streets competing for food scraps, witnessing Children being taught to be cruel to the Animals or to ignore their conditions, even witnessing the homeless Children themselves being ignored, solicited into gangs,  broke my heart open to a degree which I have never experienced before.

child on railroad track

I knew then where my Soul was or IS leading me.

India UN Childrens Rights

Many of us have heard, maybe have experienced, or we intuitively know that Animals have the ability to heal. However, let us dig into the “science.”

 

Here is a list of 20 reasons (in a simple, and fun list) for benefits with Animals, which includes better health, having a friend and playmate, a cuddling companion, building higher self-esteem, lowering blood pressure, better communication skills, just to name a few from this simple list. Take a look at the list of 20 reasons for yourself.

girl hugging Lamb

Now, in the New York Times back in 1990, there are several studies showing some “unexpected psychological benefits” for Children. The Animals were significant in reaching emotionally traumatized Children, ones that are hard-to-reach, stating how the qualities which make pets beneficial to children also help in psychotherapy with building a rapport, bolstering the self-esteem of traumatized children, helping with social skills, more socially competent, feeling better about themselves, and buffering loneliness.

child bunny teaching consideration

”It made the children more cooperative and sharing,” said Dr. Sue Doescher, a psychologist involved in the study. ”Having a pet improves children’s role-taking skills because they have to put themselves in the pet’s position and try to feel how the pet feels. And that transfers to how other kids feel.”

 

In the article it shares a study of done with Farm Animals where 100 Children were part of an innovative treatment program. These Children were severely neglected or had experienced extreme physical or emotional abuse. The daily contact and responsibilities with the Animals gave them a sense of worth.

Dr Ross stated, “For many children whose nurturing has been faulty, taking care of an animal can interrupt the cycle of abuse repeating itself over generations. They can learn to be care-givers, even if they haven’t been well cared for themselves.”

 

child bowing with cow

The article also shares the study done with the tending of injured Animals was shown to be extremely powerful in teaching resilience, showing the Children an even deeper compassion and the feeling that if the Animals can do it with one leg missing, I can do it too. Please see the full New York Times article here.

youth doctoring puppy

In the Huffington Post, Dr. Gail Gross shares, “My very dear friend is a horse whisperer, who has helped many children with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) heal. One day while having lunch together, I asked her to explain to me why animals, and horses in particular, help children with PTSD recover. She explained to me that children of abuse and domestic violence, as well as children who have physical and emotional challenges, respond to horses (and other animals) because they intuitively recognize that they can trust them.”

She goes on to share how Children can naturally feel how Animals do not judge or criticize them, they love them unconditionally. See full article here.

Homeless Indian children play with puppi

Here is another source from the BlueDog.org with a clear list of benefits.

And another from School is Easy here adding Autism, helping with reading, and exercise.

The Pet Health Network shares, “This extraordinary relationship has been scientifically evaluated and a 2008 study published in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatryby Nancy Parish-Plass showed that abused or neglected children responded better to therapy if an animal was present. The therapists reported that nervous, withdrawn, or frightened children became more relaxed and engaged when a pet was present.”

The article goes on to share, “Families considering adopting a child should seriously consider adopting a pet. Dr. Deanna Linville conducted a study and followed 20 American families who adopted children from Russia or Romania. She found it interesting that all 20 families had pets, most of them rescues.”

child loving chicken buddha quote

What do all of these benefits have in common……Compassion. The Children learn to nurture their Compassion. The Animals bring it out because they give it naturally. We want a more compassionate world, then we need to live it, give it, share it, TEACH it, and most of all demonstrate it with our Children. That is what Animals do.

children see magic

Many children, just as I did, have a natural awe and love of Animals; however, are taught to fear them, for many reasons. We as Children we are taught to ‘use’ them, whether for food, protection, clothing, entertainment, or otherwise. Basically, that some Animals are good and some Animals are bad or that we are superior to them.

child with cow buddha quote

So, my favorite benefit……compassion. And compassion leads to Peace.

caterpillar quote with child

When a Child’s natural compassion is nurtured, we create more compassionate adults.

child feeding puppies

When we create more compassionate adults, we create a more compassionate world.

children want to love

 

To help Apithan Ministries to build the first orphan child hostel at the LIFE Farm Animal Sanctuary in Mapoli, Maharashtra, India please visit www.ahowan.org to give your life-altering donation.

 

 

 

18 Nov 2014/Sacred Cow and Dog

So as I go out onto the street of Mall Ave, here in Lucknow, of Uttar Pradesh, India to feed what I call a Prayerful Feeding for the Street Dogs, I hear a Cow “mooing”. It sounds almost distressful. I cannot help but walk down the street to “see” what is happening.
It is standing in the street, seeming to took for something. As I approach the Cow, It starts to walk toward me as if It knows I have food. It is sensing that I want to connect, and that I am of no harm.
Now, the “Queen” street dog of this territory, “Chameli” sees me, and knows I have food, and she come running to me. As I try to give the Cow a biscuit, she begins to bark in attack toward the Cow. I give her a gentle correction and offer her a biscuit, and then give the Cow a biscuit. I then begin walking back to the normal feeding sight. The Cow and Chameli begin following me. As I offer another biscuit to each this begin a game of offering to both. It become a offering of gratitude to both the Sacred Mother that nurtures us, and the Faithful Dog that offers us Father-like Protection, and the Unconditional Love that the balance of the two as One give us.
Just then, a motorcycle approaches. Upon this motorcycle is a man and boy. They stop next to us and the boy gets off, making loud noises toward Chameli to scare her off. I acknowledge them with a Namaste, and the boy approaches the Cow. I understand this is their Cow, and they are wanting her to return home so they can milk her very engorged teets. The man bows with a Yes and the boy walks over to the Cow smacking her across the face. The Cow closes her eyes in a wince and turns her head. The voice in me hollers out, “No, No….what is that for? Why do you smack her?” The man says some words to the boy and moves the motorcycle over by him, and passes the Cow toward the direction they need to travel. The boy looks at me, and then get on the motorcycle. The man then offers mooing noises to the Cow, and the Cow begins to follow them. As they go around the bend in the road, the boy keeps turning to look at me, in wonder.
I continue to set up the feeding mandala for the Dogs, calling Chameli back in, and contemplating the teaching lesson that we all just received through these Animals.
If one smacks the Sacred Cow, and scares off the Father Protector, they will run off or bite you. However, if you treat them kindly, with sacredness they will follow you anywhere, care for you, offering all they have.
We have a choice in what we teach our children. We have a choice in how we treat the Sacred Beings of our Creator. If we are kind, gentle, and offer in a sacred loving way, they will come and respond in this same way. If we are aggressive or scary, they get aggressive back or run away.
We are responsible to teach and more importantly demonstrate to our Children these Truths. Especially if we want them to live in a better world that we all keep “talking” about wanting.
What we put out to the world is what the world gives back to us. In this world, maybe some of us Adults need to learn and live them ourselves, the children will follow and the world will be a much better place for all Animals.
Myshell Howler, Outreach RScP, OAC
http://www.ahowan.org

13 Nov 2014/Wasp and Butterfly

My husband, Ron, has been ill almost all of his stay in India. What they say about India, “It cannot give you what you do not already have inside you.” Also, “If there is anything inside you that you have not dealt with, it will come forward and, here in India, it will be intensified.
So, here we are, in Lucknow, India. My husband has gone back to the United States once already, where he got healthy, after contracting an illness he did not know he had till he got there. He just knew he could not take India any longer, and needed to go.
Upon his return, two months later, he immediately received a reoccurrence of the MRSA upon stepping into the Animal Ashram I had been volunteering at for several months. We leave, knowing that his health is more important, and that my work there is done.
Then, after just recovering from the MRSA, he contracts another illness. This time it is with a mosquito-borne illness, I had previously written about. (See Mosquito) Then, yet again, he contracts an illness now from the waters and food through poor hygiene. Amobeosis is the name. Once we touch base with what the Spiritual Cause is at that time, he gets better. He feels great for a day or two, then something irritates or angers him, it takes no time at all till his fever comes back and he is ill again, stomach cramps and all.
So, one can imagine, being his wife, and the Spiritual Leader of our non-profit organization, I can easily dip into the guilt of feeling “responsible” for his being here, “responsible” for his getting ill. Even when he tells me, “I’ve come willingly, and this is part of my journey.” At the same time, I feel the guilt emotions of, “Drop what you are doing, and go back to the States with him, you are his wife.”
So, with all this having been shared, we now go back to the Wasp and the Butterfly. The day before this latest strike of my husband’s illness, we were having a conversation about going to Varanasi. This is a trip we have been attempting to make for many months. for me, it is about fulfilling a promise to come back. As we are talking, a very large Wasp comes flying in the room. Ron begins to panic, and I calmly state……it will fly in, and fly right back out, please do not disturb it. The Wasp does exactly that, It flys by us, goes to the window, circles around and flys right back out the door. The Wasp is a symbol of independent feminine energy. and staying in determined focus on the task at hand. Er go right back to our task at hand, discussing about our trip, and our mission of carrying out the vision.
The very next day, Ron is back in the bed. I, however, instead of getting disappointed and reacting to the lower vibrations, stay positive in knowing his health and wholeness. I begin writing for prayer support from several prayer partners. As I leave the room, determined to stay positive, I step out of the room to see a beautiful orange Butterfly resting at the doorstep. Orange being the color or of Joy, and the Sacral Chakra; and the Butterfly begin a symbol of Transformative Flight, I know that I have come to a beautiful place in our journey here. I ask the Butterfly if I can take Its picture. Then, just after taking the picture, I hear the Butterfly share with me that I have received Its message, and It takes off to fly to the garden.
The more I stay in a positive uplighting feeling of Joy, keeping the vibrations in this higher state, the more quickly the illness will pass. Within several hours, my husband is back to feeling much better, and all the anger from before has completely dissipated.
So, instead of feeding the illness and giving it power, with our anger, disappointment, and worry, we have begun transforming it, and giving it Wings of Joy, sending it back to the garden to bring us fertile growth, beauty, and balance with our determination stay focused on the message it bring us.
MyShell Howler, RScP, OAC
http://www.ahowan.org