How I Almost Touched The Sacred
I have always felt a unique connection with animals and, until recently, had always had them in my life. Cats, dogs, hamsters and even pigeons have shared space with me throughout the years. That is, until now. You see, since Ansel, our German Shepard mix died some years back, there has been a black void in my world. Our life style no longer made it practical to have another dog and my wife, sad to say, is highly allergic to cats. So, I went without and lived with the emptiness......until a few days ago.
I don't know why, but I had never had among my animal family a guinea pig. So, it was a pleasant event when I went down to Illinois to spend some time with two of my grand kids who happen to have a pet guinea pig named Katie. Mostly white with some brown markings and piercing black eyes, Katie seemed immediately comfortable on my chest and lap. I don't know if was the texture of my fleece jacket or if she just sensed that I was a safe and kindred soul. At first she sniffed a bit and, when she settled down, I began to stroke her rich fur coat. Down her back and around the base of her ears, over and over I moved my hand as I slowly began to sink into a calm revelry.
I have read how stroking a pet has health benefits and I have seen how visiting animals can produce a magical joy in nursing home residents. Most of all, I remembered how I used to lay on the floor next to Ansel while stroking his fur, looked into his eyes and talked to him about my life. He would look back into my eyes and just listen, like any good therapist. The deep calm that I had experienced then began to revisit me as I sat in silence and stroked Katie. Then, something happened that I did not know was possible. Katie began to purr.
I didn't know until I read about it later that guinea pigs often purr when content. Moreover, she began to chirp. Over and over, a sound reportedly made when guinea pigs are in an altered state. It was magical. I stroked, she chirped and purred while I sunk deeper and deeper into a meditative state that did not seem of this world.
Nothing could have possible been more blissful. At the time I was prepared to spend eternity there stroking Katie while going into a deep trance. So we sat for a while and, as the sun outside the window worked itself to where it was to announce the end of the day, Katie peed all over my shirt.