By Robert Koenig, New York

Those who love animals, especially pets, know a special bond can form when keeping one in the home. But would most animal lovers consider that a reptile can give love?

My family has a bearded dragon, a lizard named Cathail, who is thirteen years old. My veterinarian knew I was upset when our iguana lizard passed away with ovarian cancer. He suggested I meet with a lady who raises bearded dragons. She came to our house and introduced us to Cathail.

The woman had given Gaelic names to each of the egg clutch that was born in 2005. She named our new family member Cathail (pronounced Kay-hull). The woman saw there was a bond between Cathail and me and felt happy to give him to us. Cathail has proven to me that what others see in pets such as dogs or cats can also be witnessed in a reptile.

Getting to Know Cathail as Soul

Near where my wife and I sit on the sofa is a long fish tank atop a replica of a cave. Cathail usually sleeps inside the cave and stares at us. It seems to be his way of letting us know he’d rather come out to be with us on the sofa.

Cathail loves to crawl and sit on people. When my wife’s cousin visited our family, their daughter, Bella, enjoyed letting Cathail sit close to her shoulder. He climbs under my neck and rests over my heart—the part of me he wishes to connect with most. Can this lizard sense my heartbeat? Does he get a certain warmth or a vibration from being close to another Soul?

We can learn from our pets even when our everyday lives are filled with anxiety. I think most people would feel this way with a dog or a cat but would not expect a lizard to be comforting. Yet, if we look at Soul, the essence of God within us, we can connect to the ECK, Divine Spirit, in other Souls. I see the ECK in my lizard, and he teaches me that I can see the ECK in others and sense the God in us all.

Animals are God’s creations. They deserve respect and love as much as anyone does. I thank Eckankar for showing us a spiritual purpose for the love of our pets.

—Photos by Robert Koenig