Domesticated animals want to feel important, vital to their family. Even animals in the wild who live in packs, herds, clutches, etc. assign responsibilities amongst their group. Be assured that your beloved animal companion will self-assign his/her job if you don’t. My cat Yogi was the best example of this. About a year after we rescued him, he decided that being the creator of laughter was the reason for his existence. Well….that and eating.
He’d follow me around the house performing goofy antics, hanging upside down from his cat tree while staring intently at me, racing up and down the stairs whilst making fake ferocious sounds and sitting at the window, talking to the birdies outside…wishing he could hunt them instead. If he didn’t make me laugh out loud at least once a day, he’d find me and do something outrageous just to get an affect.
I never asked him if he wanted this job. But one day when I was in my studio, working on a challenging painting and engrossed in concentration he started goofing off at the top of his favorite cat tree…..muttering to himself, doing flips, crashing to the floor and clowning around until he got my attention. When I finally looked up, he’d settled into the bowl shaped bed at the top where his well-fed roundness spilled over the sides. He said “You’re too serious. It’s not going to work if you don’t lighten up. I need to help you”.
I learned over time that Yogi was right….my best paintings happen when I am light and excited, not tight and concentrating. His heart-felt teaching goes way beyond my studio…..it’s a poignant message to lighten up in life too.
Our animals LOVE their jobs…..give them the chance to do something important even if it’s just to be the house clown. You never know what invaluable lessons they may want to teach you.