Just as we are the guardians over animals so they are for us. Not only do they provide food, but they also can give us clothing, protection, tools, wisdom, companionship, and healing.
I recently met Mickey Hatcher, professional baseball player now retired. At one point in his long career he played for the Minnesota Twins (yea!). At the Twins Fantasy Camp he was sharing about his pet duck, Daffy. Mickey found the chick barely alive in a pond in front of his house. There was no sign of the chick's mother so he picked it up and took it back to his house. Mickey and his wife fed it a little with an eye dropper, warmed it up, and sent it love from their hearts. Over the next two years Daffy became a member of the household returning to the pond when he chose to, sleeping in the Hatcher kitchen at night, and becoming a friend to all the neighbors. Daffy is their "watch-dog" and companion.
We all know about the wonderful ministries dogs provide as service dogs to so many disabled people.
Did you know that dogs and cats have been shown to "sniff out" cancer? They can smell human urine or breath and react if there is cancer cells present.
Even the small (and pesty) fruit flies have antennas that are sensitive to illnesses, including cancer. In the trials, compounds applied directly to the fruit flies' antenna lit up with the increase of calcium, indicating cancer cells via a fluorescing sensor.
Rats and honeybees have proven to be effective in detecting explosives hidden underground. Can this skill be used to detect diseases like cancer?
Scientists are working on a robot with the qualities of animals for sniffing out cancer.
A very important role for the animal and the human is that of companionship. Pets of all kinds provide love, purpose, protection, and health. Our skin is our largest organ and is affected by every other sense (smell, sight, taste, hearing). To me it is the most important sense. The healing that takes place from loving touch is immeasurable. I have witnessed it in nursing homes, hospitals, and homes. When a person strokes a pet endorphins are released in both the animal and the human. Endorphins are the chemicals that decrease anxiety, fear, and pain. They are healing!
When we have a pet it requires us to be involved with them: feeding, bathing, exercising, giving love and attention. But our pets also protect and help us.
I remember with happy memories I had from earliest childhood up to ten years ago: dogs, cats, horses, a white rat, birds, goldfish, and horses. They each brought me great joy (even the white rat!) and I hope I brought equal joy to each of them.