Anne Mikolay

“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny. If you let them into your life and allow them to teach you, you will be better for it.”
― Kim Shotola, The Soul Watchers: Animals’ Quest to Awaken Humanity

My parents taught me to love “all creatures great and small.” When I was a child, my Dad took me to the park to feed peanuts to squirrels, and my mother and I fed the backyard birds daily. Before I was of school age, I desperately wanted a pet bird, and Mom bought me a somewhat temperamental parakeet with a penchant for escaping his cage. I adored him. Thus began my lifelong admiration for animals. I’m that “crazy lady,” who talks to most dogs and cats I encounter and names the wildlife in my backyard (the squirrel, Mr. Peanut, and the chipmunks, Chip and Dave). I love animals. Always have. Always will.

I’ve loved a lot of pets through the years, but one bird and one dog have a very special place in my heart. The bird, a lively, blue budgie so easily trained that she flew to me when called, was constantly perched on my shoulder. The dog, a timid chihuahua rescued from a horrid Texas puppy mill, was my shadow. Both of these little creatures taught me a great deal about unconditional love and to this day are an integral part of who I am. These animals spoke to the core of me and awakened that “still small voice” we all have within us that seeks a connection to something far greater than oneself. Perhaps that is a pet’s  purpose in life, to be that connection to whatever Force guides us all, to initiate appreciation for that which is simple, perfect, to help us seek and care for the gentle we so often take for granted. Each time a pet passes, I am reminded of this, reminded that one little, furry life, seemingly slight and comparatively insignificant to our own, holds far more love, devotion, and meaning than we can fathom. The life of any pet is a gift; all animals should be cherished, honored, remembered.

sunshineImage: Sunshine     Artist: Didi Didizart

With this in mind, I acknowledge the passing of my niece’s beautiful cat, Sunshine, aka Sunny. Sunny was a gentle cat, quiet, graceful, contemplative in his sweet feline way. He was completely devoted to my niece and was the light of her life and that of her husband, a joy to my sister and brother-in-law. When I looked into Sunny’s eyes, a living, prayerful soul looked back at me. I believe pets, naturally pure, go right through the pearly gates when they leave us. So, Sunny, run free. Thank you for bringing such joy into the lives of those I love. The world is diminished without you; you will be missed.


“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
Charles Dickens

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Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...