A while back, I read a book on Animal Totems. While I know that anything can be taken to extremes, I liked what it had to say about animals characteristics.
The idea originated with the Native Americans. They believed the creator had placed animals on this earth to help and to teach us. They lived close to nature and animals were a large part of their life and gave them knowledge of their environment that helped them survive.
In a survival situation, animals could lead them to food. If they observed behavior, a bear, might show them where honey or fish could be found and a wolf might lead them to deer or other game they needed.
They also believed that animals came into their life at certain times when they needed wisdom to handle something or to give comfort, for example:The wolf could teach them about honoring family and loyalty. The owl could teach them the value of being observant, whereas an otter might remind them of the need to play. A mouse saw the small details and it was after reading this, I came up with the name for my store. For them it was a way for the creator to communicate to them.
For a lot of modern people, I think the power is taken from the Creator and given to the animals to the point where the animals themselves are worshiped, but that is not how the original Native Americans believed.
In modern times, many stories have been written about a dog, cat and even pet bird that comforted a loved one left behind after a death or how they've rescued a person by letting someone know their owner needed help or even alerted people to fires.
This generation has also learned to use animals for therapy in senior's homes and hospitals. A few years ago, I took care of a group home for people with physical disabilities and I never saw more joy expressed by any of them then I did when I brought in an wild duckling that had been abandoned by it's mother on the hot pavement in town.
Growing up on a farm with dogs, cats, cows, goats, chicken, ducks, geese etc, I always knew animals had the power to calm and heal so I was happy when research revealed that pet owners live longer and are better able to handle stress. This new idea that they could teach us something was even more fascinating to think about.
As I studied more about this, I came to the realization that each animal has their own characteristics and unique way of dealing with stress, loss and the difficulties we all face in life. I recently watched a video showing crows mourning the death of one of their own. The whole family gathered at the site and it was easy to see how upset they were.
Later, when my daughter developed an interest in horses, it was at a time when the equestrian world was discovering how horses could be used as therapy animals. Apparently, horses work very well for women who have been in abusive situations as the two find a common ground quickly because horses are prey animals and women often feel like prey animals too.
So thinking along that train of thought, I developed a line of products with the characteristics we can learn from and here are some examples:
Who knows what more we will learn in the future about our relationship with animals.