When I moved to Germany in 1981, the first thing I
needed was a cat. Having no cat, I was an unhappy camper. So, I went to
the shelter and found a beautiful, blue-eyed Siamese, about two years
old. What attracted me to this lovely cat was not that she was a
Siamese, but that she was so very, very vocal. Like me.
But she had just come in the day before and the shelter
needed to keep her exactly seven days before they could release her. It
was the dead of winter in the Black Forest, and this Florida girl had no
car, no coat, no boots and no mittens! More importantly, I had no phone.
I had been in Germany a week. I needed a cat, the phone could wait. I
had a priority list to follow.
So every day I would trudge down to the bus station and
catch the bus to the city. I walked several blocks in the snow, uphill
(both ways, of course), to the shelter. The hardest part was not knowing
if she would be there for me. Ideally I should have been hoping that she
was reclaimed by a loving guardian. But I am not all that selfless, and
she was my soul mate, so I was hoping she was there. By the third day,
she recognized my voice when I entered the lobby and she would howl in
her Siamese-German voice as soon as I asked about her. I spent the
better part of most days there.
Finally, on day seven, I was given a small cardboard
carrier that held the love of my life. I brought her home on a sunshiny,
bitter cold day. I placed her on my lap on the bus (no stupid laws in
Germany saying animals are “verboton” on public transportation). We
arrived home and I fussed over her and loved her for twenty-one years.
Sometime during her fifteenth year, my heart stood
still. I felt a lump. She had mammary cancer, and needed surgery. The
vet was kind, he told me she was very sick. “The tumor is arachnid”, he
said. “I took out what I could, but it’s wrapped itself all around her
vital organs and I can’t get it all, she’ll be gone by Christmas.” He
had just given my beloved Sable only two more months with me.
I rushed home and grabbed a vial of Holy Water that had
been brought to me from Lourdes. I dribbled the water over her incision
and prayed very hard. I lit a candle. I called a prayer chain, and
others prayed too. And instead of two months, Sable was granted another
As a state-certified cruelty investigator I see a lot of
terrible sights, and I hear a lot of terrible stories. Sometimes, it
gets to be too much. “I can’t save them all,” I cried to a counselor one
day. “I just can’t do enough.”
It was then that I learned about intervention. My doctor
gave me advice that made sense. She said that there are animals in this
world of whom I know nothing. There are animals suffering in ways I will
never know. But there are also animals that I do know of but can’t help
with money, medicines, adoptions, euthanasia or any conventional rescue
method. “Pray for them,” she said. “Ask for intervention.” Like the
water from Lourdes, I can ask for miracles for other animals.
This is the story of the birth of the Prayer Alliance
For Animals. I have been praying for animals ever since I first learned
of St. Francis’ of Assisi being canonized because of his love for
animals. If God saw fit to bestow upon St. Francis a unique love for
animals, and that love for animals defined him, then surely animals are
important in the eyes of God.
But prayer is stronger when multiplied by two, four,
forty or a thousand. So I asked a few friends to join me in prayer for
the animals. And those friends asked a few more friends, and on and on
We once prayed for stricter laws for manatee protection
because so many were dying. The next week, a device was installed in the
nuclear plant where they were dying. The device is meant to detect the
presence of manatees so as to protect them from closing gates. We prayed
for a bill of rights for animals, and the following week the papers
announced that Harvard and Georgetown Universities were installing an
animal-rights law department.
We prayed for the dogs in Korea, and soon after PETA
announced that they were initiating a huge media blitz to raise
awareness of the plight of the Korean dogs.
We prayed for animals in labs, and Al Gore backed off his LD50 testing
Coincidences? I don’t know. Do you?
Animals need prayers. They don’t care to whom you pray.
They don’t care how you pray. Some light votive candles, some say the
rosary, some meditate, some do research on the issue of the week. But
all focus, energy and spiritual intensity is brought together for one
issue. We pray for wolves, cats, fishes, bugs, cows, rats, and more. We
pray for the people who are helping them. We pray for them all week. I
envision a huge show of force streaming towards the heavens, like a
petition with billions of signatures, we pray hard for the animals that
we cannot touch, cannot rescue, cannot comfort. This is our virtual
animal-rights demonstration. This is our spiritual prayer meeting. This
is what we do.
Do animals have souls? Are carnivores and hunters and
experimenters all sinners who are going to hell? Are animals our spirit
I don’t know. I just know that a miracle happened to an
eight pound Siamese cat who should have died. I know that. That, I know.
[Editors note: To join the Prayer Alliance for Animals
please visit their website or send an e-mail to [email protected] You
will receive a one-paragraph letter announcing the petition of the week
and offering websites where to visit for independent research of the
Go on to 9 August 2000
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