MONDAY MEDITATION - THE HEALING POWER OF ANIMALS

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Hello beautiful goddess.

I find the energy of animals to be incredibly healing. Their unconditional love and curiosity for life is truly special. If they're not exactly your cup of tea, perhaps I can help to open your heart to the joy and nourishment they can bring.

12 million Australian's are already pet owners. Being woken up by a gentle lick or snuggling in front of the television is motivation enough for a lot of people. But science is increasingly proving just how beneficial they are towards our mental and physical health, perhaps even extending our life span.

My senior parents would attest to this with their beloved Luna, who is now 15 years of age. She is a great motivator for them to get up in the morning, keep relatively active and take the focus away from their aches and pains. 

Dr James Serpell, who founded the Animal Research Group at Cambridge University, followed the health of people with recently acquired pets. "After just one month, there was a very significant reduction in minor health problems among pet owners. And after ten months, general health had improved."

Professor Annette Dobson from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland was part of a study among 894 adults in New South Wales that showed dog-owners walked an average of 18 minutes more per week than those without pets.

But before you run out to your local pet store... take a moment to consider the millions of cats and dogs who have been rescued and are waiting for you to take them into your home, to be loved and shown some TLC.

The photo above is of our 7 month old Labrador x Dachshund, Sakura. Her unusual name means "cherry blossom" in Japanese. My husband and I spent two weeks in this amazing country for our honeymoon. When she came to us, she was shy and reserved... over the coming weeks and months, she came into her own, and really blossomed into the little personality she is today. The name was incredibly appropriate, even if we didn't realise at the time.

I came across this picture of a timid looking little puppy, with big brown eyes on Pet Rescue (www.petrescue.com.au). She had been saved by a local group in Wagga Wagga called RADAR (www.radarescue.org). I asked Cheryl, who runs the group, to tell me a bit about her story...

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She had been found late in the afternoon by the local council, wandering alongside the highway, near a housing commission area. No collar, and in need of a good meal or two. She was taken to the local pound, but no microchip had been implanted (I cannot stress how important this is to do). The council is required to hold animals for 7 days to allow pet owners that grace period to call up and reclaim them. As no one came forward, she was placed on the "put to sleep" list. Thankfully, Cheryl and her group saved her and started to look for a home for her.

A kind volunteer from the group offered to fly her to Sydney, as he was heading over here for the weekend. Understandably, when I picked her up from the airport, she was shaken and very nervous. However, the real love story was about to take place. When she met my husband that evening, they connected at first glance. It was as if they had known each other before, perhaps even in a previous life. Although we have always strived to have a healthy household, dear goddess, I cannot stress just how much change she has brought into our lives. We fight less. We laugh more. We sit in front of the TV less. We spend time moving and in nature more. Our overall quality of life has changed so much, I wonder who really rescued whom...

The work of rescue groups is so invaluable and selfless. As we get closer to Christmas, and there is the trend for families to purchase pets for their children, I really urge you to look into adopting. All pets are temperament tested, meaning the rescuer can tell you if they are suitable for an apartment, children, other animals etc. 

I often talk about the need to take time for yourself, to fill up your own cup from within. Walking a dog through the park, fresh air on your skin and sunshine on your face, is such a soothing balm after a stressful day at work. Look out for a cameo of Sakura and I doing exactly that in the introduction video on my website (www.thenourishinggoddess.com)!

As always, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Do you have a four legged friend in your family? Have you rescued a pet before? And what difference have they made in your life?

xFiorella