Voting, Democracy, and Animals

Tomorrow is election day here in the United States, and I urge all who read this to go to the polls tomorrow if you have not already voted. I also urge you to listen to this short speech by former President Obama. It strips away “party” and goes to the heart of what has made America strong for decades and what can bring that back. I’ll wait while you listen.

The right to vote is so important, and if we don’t exercise that right, democracy loses, no matter who you vote for.

Now I have a reflection that a friend shared with me the other day. Reading it reminded me of the importance of playing positive “tapes” in our heads to tamp down the negatives. Here is part of that reflection:

“A so-so day is just a mediocre kind of nothing day. Nothing is really wrong; nothing is really right. Maybe you don’t feel bad, but you don’t feel good either. You are just weary. It’s not raining or storming, but the sun is only feebly peeking out now and again from grey, soggy looking clouds or at least that’s how you feel. You have things to do but can’t think of why you want to. Even that second cup of coffee doesn’t help.

“What are our options to change a mediocre, fair to middling day around. We probably can’t start the day over, but we can start over in our minds with a different attitude, outlook, or mindset.

“How do you change your attitude or mindset? Ask God for help to be more aware of anything that creates a positive contrast. When you ask him to show you the good that will come from this so-so day, he will show you things you normally wouldn’t pay attention to.

“If you are normally so wrapped up in busy and productive, you might not notice the sounds of children playing, people laughing or take the time to admire the light reflecting from the stained glass windows of the church you pass every day, the dog walker with the multiple dogs and leashes attached to their belt, a child drawing pictures on the sidewalk with chalk, smiling faces and friendly voices. And the possibilities increase as you begin to actually see what is before you.

“We have a choice. Turn a so-so day into a seeing experience that has potential to make you smile and bring you enjoyment. Or you can let the boring mediocrity of the day have its way.”

Last but not least, I have a podcast to share with you from The Daily at The New York Times. This was on the Sunday Read feature a week ago yesterday, and I simply loved it. Why We Take Animal Voyages by Sam Anderson.

For Sam Anderson, a staff writer, traveling with animals can lead to enlightening experience. In his essay for The New York Times Magazine, he explores what he’s learned from a lifetime of voyaging with animals, and what it means to connect with another creature: bridging spiritual, physical and even temporal distances, and reaching into “something like evolutionary time.”

“An animal voyage,” Mr. Anderson writes, “is special because it requires us to make many journeys all at once.”

Anderson highlights the importance of the human-to-animal connection and his love for his two dogs, Walnut and Pistachio comes through with much delight. He truly gets why some people, like me, can’t imagine a life without an animal in it, sharing my space and my heart.

Right now three animals live with me. Dusty, a mix of Pit Bull, Hound, and Yellow Lab. He is my walking buddy, as well as my walking around the house buddy. He follows me everywhere. 🙂

He’s also a very quiet, most of the time, steady dog, easy to take on the leash unless we are heading toward the car with his “goody-goody” special leash. Then he gets excited about maybe going to his favorite boarding kennel or to visit one of my kids who love on him a lot.

Unlike many other dogs, he even jumps up and down in his joyful dance on a trip to the veterinarian’s office.

Lily and Hermione are the two cats, left from the four I moved here with four years ago. Each is a sister to the two cats, Sammy and Harry, who went over the Rainbow Bridge last spring.

The two girls have really bonded in recent months, often sleeping together and often helping each other with daily grooming. It’s always fun to watch bath times, but, of course, they make it hard to get a photo. The minute I grab my phone, they stop and come to see what it is. Maybe a treat? 🙂

It’s easy to get a picture when they’re sleeping.

Lily is a lap hog, and wants to jump up whenever she can. Hermione doesn’t do laps, she prefers to snuggle on a pillow close to me. Or see if two cats can actually get on one small pillow.

The cats enjoy what many of us refer to as “cat TV” – looking out windows to check out the birds and squirrels. Sometimes they make little chirping noises, the cats, not the birds, and twitch the end of their tail in anticipation of the hunt. That’s part of the normal order of nature, to hunt for their dinner, but I’m happy for the birds around my house that my cats stay indoors. I give them toys to hunt and kill and hope that satisfies their natural instinct.

That’s all from me for today, folks. I hope you found something entertaining and perhaps enlightening on the blog today. Let me know what you think of the Daily Podcast. I do hope you listened to it.

And if you have a dog, take him, or her, for a walk and enjoy the outdoors for a little while. If you have a cat or two take a few moments to play, or simply pet them and listen to the sweet rumble of a purr.

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