By Donna Lupinacci, Connecticut and Florida

My husband, Tony, and I have been very blessed in this lifetime. I think of us as soul mates because when we first met, over thirty-six years ago while exploring the teachings of Eckankar, we shared our experiences and realized how similar our love for life and beliefs in God are.

We married and became a blended family. I was a widow with two young girls, and Tony was divorced with a young son. Through the years of our marriage, we raised a family of three children and six beautiful grandchildren.

Tony and I both had pets while growing up. As adults, it was natural for us to include animals in our lives. I consider it a privilege to have enjoyed the human-animal bond that can form between loving Souls.

Our Minifarm

One of the ways we experienced this bond was by having a minifarm when our kids were young. The farm included llamas, goats, chickens, peacocks, and as my husband would say, “A partridge in a pear tree.” Always, several dogs and cats lived harmoniously within our family circle.

Living with animals and children is similar in that both give adults different perspectives on life. Viewing the world through the eyes of children and animals offers a unique way to see love in action. The interspecies respect our animals had for each other taught the people in our family how important it is to work together even when you are different.

Humming Llamas

I loved lying in the hammock in the afternoon, watching the llamas grazing and the chickens walking between their legs. The dogs stood nose-to-nose as the llamas gave them a friendly hello. I found the harmony among these animals to be touching.

Watching them relate to each other created the perfect climate for a spot where I could contemplate and relax. Often I’d do a spiritual exercise on this hammock, singing HU, an ancient name for God, and be joined by the llamas’ gentle hum of contentment.

The years passed, and farm work grew to be too much for us. I searched for a new home and guardianship for our herd of creatures. Eventually they made their transition to another farm. A loving couple, eager to have the family-farm experience, adopted them. Even so, it was difficult to say good-bye to our charges.

Now it was time for us to retire. But animals had not left our lives entirely. Two furry friends were about to reveal the spiritual purpose dogs could serve as family members.

(Part 2 posted: January 8, 2019)

—Photo by Crary Brouhard

Donna’s story about animals in her life is in two parts:

Part 1: “Our Minifarm Family” by Donna Lupinacci (posted November 13, 2018)

Part 2: “It’s All about the Love” by Donna Lupinacci (posted: January 8, 2019)