The Raccoon by John Cali

Strange title for a spiritual newsletter article, isn’t it?

My spirit guides often say animals can be our best teachers. Even most of those creatures who’ve been horribly abused by humans rarely seem to lose their capacity for joy, love, and simply being fully present in the moment.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates in California took a raccoon under her wing after authorities found the poor creature in a two-by-two-foot cage. He’d been imprisoned there four years, without adequate food or water. It’s a miracle he survived.

Mary turned the raccoon to another animal rehabilitator, MaryEllen Schoeman. MaryEllen took him home, named him “Harbor,” and became his permanent guardian.

Despite enduring four years of unimaginable cruelty, Harbor is now a happy, joyful little guy, as you’ll see in the following two short videos created by MaryEllen.

Here’s Spirit.

Animals and humans, at birth, are naturally joyful creatures eager to explore their new surroundings. Most animals retain that joyful nature. Most humans lose it.

That is one reason so many of you are drawn to animals and their uninhibited, joyous approach to life. Most of them remain that way from birth to death, no matter what their circumstances. They remind you of what you once had, of what you once were. That is, until the world brainwashed you out of it all.

Your world, your lives would be much poorer without the animals, particularly your domestic pets. They bring their joyous energy and their zest for life to you, to your homes. They know how to live fully in the moment with joy.

That is the reason many humans with pets live happier, healthier, longer lives.

You would be wise to take some time each day, just a few minutes, to observe an animal — your own pet if you have one, or a wild animal, even a bird or a bunny.

Watch them closely. You have much to learn and to remember by simply observing them. Your life will become more joyful, more fulfilled.

It’s so simple. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.


Dr. Albert Schweitzer often urged reverence for all life. As he put it, “We reject the idea that man is ‘master of other creatures,’ ‘lord’ above all others.”

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

10 Responses

  1. Martha

    Oh, I have such a deep love for dogs. I love them with tenderness and devotion.
    My connection to dogs is one of the great joys of my life. The more I live, the more I have come to appreciate them for who they are and the gifts they are here to share with us.
    Dogs are great beings.
    They teach us how to BE.
    They bring out the love in the humans.
    They love us unconditionally (Now what human can do THAT?!)
    A dog just knows how to BE with you. They are really tuned into us and know how to be a true friend.
    I bow to the dog tribe!

    They have a great sense of humor, they smile, they play, they love to kiss and cuddle and they live in the Oneness. THANK YOU DOGS, FOR COMING TO BE WITH US HERE!

    What time is it when you ask a dog what time it is??

    ” NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!! ”


  2. Micki

    Hi John, the world would be a very sad place if it wasn’t our wildlife and domestic pets. Not only do they give us great joy, but your pets give you unconditional love. A house becomes a real home when you have a ped, whether it is a cat, dog, bird or fish, they make everything really worthwhile.
    Our pets really tell it how it should be 🙂

  3. Emma Marie

    Approximately 14 weeks ago, I saw a plea on Craigslist to foster or adopt this dog and figured someone would call to help. A few hours later there was a 2nd plea as this male dog would have to be placed in at high kill animal shelter the next day. I called to see if anyone had stepped up to help this boy, no one had, I was the only one to contact them.
    He was found crossing 5 lanes of traffic in Phoenix, he had no tags so nothing is known about him. The vet figures he is 2 yrs old and was used for breeding. He had sores on his body from being in a kennel and sleeping on a concrete floor. He is a Stafford-shire Terrier/American Pit Bull.
    I named him Phoenix Sunshine. Phoenix is slowly learning how to play, the first time I took him to the doggie park and threw balls and frisbees at him, he could not understand why I was throwing things at him. He does not understand how to play with other dogs, but is again, slowly learning.
    I am learning how to be a pack leader which means being strong and confident. Phoenix has had to learn to trust that I will return whenever I leave the house without him. It took him awhile to not drop his head and his eyes turn all sad whenever I did put him in the car with me, we think he thought he was being taken some where else, that he would not be coming back to his new home. It was sad!
    He is a wonderful soul who loves me like there is no tomorrow! Talk about staying in the present moment!!
    The point is, I am learning to play, and to trust, not only myself but Spirit and life.
    It is interesting to see how most people feel afraid of him when they see him…there is nothing to fear. It’s best to not judge what we see because sometimes we are not looking within at the other person or in this case, dog. Phoenix is one of the most sweetest and gentle dogs I have ever had the privilege of caring for in this lifetime.
    I do get the strangest looks and double takes when we are out walking. There are men that yell out the car window to me, “beautiful dog you have there!”
    I am grateful to our new friends Val and Raffie who rescue and rehabilitate pit bulls for training me to be a good pack leader.
    Much Love,
    Emma Marie

  4. Michele

    Thank you John, animals really can inspire us. It seems so simple, good old fashion JOY!

  5. Karolyn

    Absolutely. I lived alone for 10 years and had a job and a lifestyle that required a lot of travel so I had no pets. A year ago I was sent a picture of an Irish Short Legged Jack Russell that was running out of time at a shelter. It was one of those instances when your intuition talks to you. My son drove 200 miles to pick her up as she was scheduled for euthanasia the next day. She had been a back yard breeder and treated very poorly. When she was no longer a valuable breeder, they dumped her. I would say that although she clearly loved people, she had some feral habits from being kept in the backyard for 7 years. Fast forward 14 months and she has become one of the most interesting things that has ever happened to me. I call her the clown dog because she is so funny and has so much personality. It took her a few months to feel safe and to understand that she didn’t have to fight for food or shelter but after that she became my constant companion. She makes me laugh every single day. She was definitely brought into my life for a reason; I have learned a great deal from her about living in the moment and gratitude.

    • John Cali

      Thank you, Karolyn, for sharing this wonderful story. Dogs are great teachers for us!

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