Mixed blessings

October 16, 2012

Happiness, Pets

Mixed-breed animals are smart, loyal, affectionate and can comfortably wear a multitude of other equally wonderful adjectives.

by Kris Lecakes Haley — 

Teachers wear many disguises. Thoughtfully peering through them, we can find that, while well-camouflaged in fur, feathers and fins, animals are among the most masterful educators in the world. We have all read accounts of animal heroes, where stories of obvious courage and altruism are well documented. However, consider for a moment one of the most poignant lessons animals offer us … simply by being exactly who they are.

In our society, purebred animals are envied, considered the benchmark of standard perfection. Indeed, they are stunning. Books promote them, “papers” herald their births, clubs celebrate them and annual shows applaud them.

Consider, though, the plight of the mixed breed. No papers other than that on which to do their business. Books? Absolutely, but usually about why there are so many of them. No clubs — just countless shelters and rescue groups filled to brimming with them.

Even their monikers connote a lesser status: mixed breed … mongrel … mutt. Are they any less important because of dubious bloodlines? Is their essence any less viable? While we unquestionably love our animal companions, consider how, in spite of that love, we respond to questions about our four-legged family members: “What kind of dog do you have?” asks a friend. “Just a mutt,” she responds, in an almost-embarrassed tone.

Just a mutt? Is there such a thing?

Mixed-breed animals are smart, loyal, affectionate and can comfortably wear a multitude of other equally wonderful adjectives. But the most amazing things about them are our unsolicited and complete acceptance of them, and their corresponding acceptance of each other. What lessons we could glean from this heightened awareness.

Our society does not always authentically embrace differences. While we may love our mixed-breed pets, we do not seem to translate that loving acceptance into an embrace of the diversity we experience among our fellow humans. Perhaps this is one of our animals’ most significant gifts, hampered by judgment, prejudice and intolerance.

In a world where seemingly derogatory names like mixed breed and mongrel have actually been used to describe people who do not hold a perceived privileged status, let us drink deeply from the well of wisdom offered by our animal companions. Next time you see a mixed breed, see them for what they truly are — not a mixed breed, but a mixed blessing.

 

Kris Lecakes Haley is an internationally certified Bach Flower practitioner who works exclusively with animals. She also is a member of Creature Preachers, a service-oriented organization dedicated to raising awareness about the interconnectedness of all life. 480-460-1801, kris@animalsynergy.com or www.animalsynergy.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 1, February/March 2007.

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