You can judge what matters to people by the way they treat their pets.

Your dog, your cat, your horse, the animals you've shared your life with, might not be people in the human sense of the word. If you are anything like me, however, you've had deeper, more significant friendships with your pets than you have had with many of the people you've known. Your search for self might also uncover your need to feel connected, if only vicariously, to the wild animals you encounter on a walk in the woods or see from your porch or patio. A cold silence always washes over me when I must say goodbye to a pet, or when I encounter a wild animal who has come to the end of its life. I'm always warmed, however, by the peace that comes from remembering that you and I may be small in the scope and scheme of things but large in life and love. Friends, whether people or pets, are saved where they have always lived: in our hearts.


Everyday, my feline friends and I
go outside to roll in dirt.
There on backs and butts,
that common ground receives
domestic fur and indoor skin.
Briefly, we are one,
a tribal quorum of man and cats
joined in holy, rolling ritual.
Everyday, this sacred moment comes,
then goes to birds and words.