My Wet Pet
©2008 Suzan Vaughn
My beloved chow-chow Rusti had been a spirit dog for a year when thoughts of hooking up with a new animal friend crossed my mind. But a deal I'd made five years earlier caught up with me, making animal companionship an illusive notion. And anyway, the Divine Unseen had other plans for my next animal companion.
Before we were married, my husband asked me if I would consider living without my dog and two cats. When he asked me that, it was practically our first date and I said I would consider it if we got serious, thinking nothing of it. I insisted then that it definitely would not happen until my chow-chow Rusti and my two cats, Bosley and Batgirl, had passed on.
After we were married, he was wonderful with the animals, cared for them tenderly, and loved them deeply. But he keenly felt that the responsibility for animals and inevitable loss was too hard for him to take. Severe allergies along with a resistance to taking medication, added to his perspective.
Seven years later, all my animals were spirit helpers from the other side, and in all fairness, it was his turn to have his way: to live without the daily care and consideration that animal companions require.
A move three states away meant that our new living situation didn’t support having animals either. It was far less than ideal for a cat or a dog to join our tiny new living space.
“So what would be the perfect animal companion in my current situation?” I asked my Higher Sources, and the answer was right in front of me, or more precisely, on the north side of the house.
This is the side of the home adjacent a culvert that carries rainwater and other runoff to the ocean. Teaming with life, it’s filled with all manner of creatures that come and go seasonally including dragonflies, ducks, a variety of insects, and tiny frogs.
There was a problem with the door frame. A half-inch gap underneath the door frame allowed spring breezes to waft in and it wasn’t long before something else squeezed in under the door: tiny frog visitors.
At first they seemed to come in small families of four. A couple of them would hop on in, sometimes loitering behind the bookcase for awhile, sometimes climbing the wall with their little sucker feet. One of them would scale the wall half-way up, jump into the cut out eyes on a wooden giraffe mask that hung there, and hibernate behind the wood. Eventually, they all ended up in the water-filled vase with the lucky bamboo plants where they could lounge on a stalk half in and half out of the water.
For several weeks each night around dinner time, a mama frog would squeeze underneath the door and wait just inside. After just a few minutes, a couple of juvenile frogs inevitably appeared from inside the house, and followed her out.
I welcomed them in, marveling at their chameleon skin and watching it change colors right in front of my eyes whenever they moved from clinging to a bamboo stalk to the light wooden table the bamboo arrangement sat on. As an inter-species communicator, I naturally opened the lines of discussion immediately.
Our initial communication was about what parts of the house would be safest for them. I let them know that humans are not always cognizant of their feet, which can injure tiny amphibians. Their listening skills were impeccable, and rarely did they make a mistake and venture outside the area I asked them to stay in. Once in awhile when they did, we herded them gently back to their safe zone.
Our second conversations revolved around relieving themselves outside.
After a month or so, I began to recognize their energy, and one of them in particular visited daily. I called him Frogger, and delighted in his company.
This is what human love and respect feels like, I told him, sending those sentiments his way.
He took it in. He came back for more on subsequent days and told his friends.
I really want to touch your body, I said to my Frogger friend one day, as he floated in the plant water. Humans love to touch. Will you let me? I asked. He didn’t really want to, but my enthusiasm trampled down my desire to respect his space.
Frogger jumped a little to the side of the bowl as my finger came gently into contact with his back, saying his instinct was to hop away, but he stayed and I apologized for not being able to resist touching him.
I also shared worry with him.
I’m concerned there’s nothing for you to eat here, I told him.
There’s plenty for me to eat here, he said, you just can’t see it.
I admired Frogger's efficiency when it came to swimming, a sport I also enjoyed. He treaded water without having to wave his arms around like me. He just naturally floated.
Settling in further in the new location meant repairs, and as the weather got cooler, we installed weather stripping at the bottom of the door to keep the cold out. I was greatly saddened that Frogger would no longer be able to visit spontaneously and it weighed heavily on my mind for a few days. Then one morning I got up and looked in the lucky bamboo only to find his little head poking above the water!
Frogger! I said. I’m so happy you found a way in!
But had he? I was concerned. What if he had been hiding in the house for a couple of days and he couldn’t get out? I had to know, so as soon as he began hopping along the wall toward the door jamb, his normal exit strategy, I asked him.
Please show me if you need my help getting out of the house and back to your frog family, I said.
Frogger was slow. He hopped. He stopped. He changed direction a few times and hopped around, but didn’t go out.
I guess you’ll need a little help then, I said, and with that, I opened the door. He could easily feel the cool night air, smell the fog, and hear the sounds of his fellow frogs in the culvert outside. Yet he hopped away from the door once it was open and waited patiently nearby.
I closed the door and sat back, waiting to hear what he was trying to convey. Then, after a few minutes, he proceeded to a tiny separation between the weather stripping and the door jamb, flattened his body, and wiggled his way out through the small crack. It was an amazing magical feat in which he reduced his body size by half! It took a great deal of effort and I congratulated him, thanking him for showing me his escape route and setting my mind at ease.
Frogger was so clever and our communication was going so well, my joy at having him as a companion increased until one day I offered him a proposition.
How would you like to be a star and contribute to inter-species harmony? I asked him. I’m going to write up our story and I need some photos. What that means is that there will be a flash of light and I’ll be getting pretty close to you. But you’ll be safe. I’m only admiring your good looks.
I thought I heard Frogger agree to pose, but I wasn’t sure. (It’s harder to be objective once you’re emotionally involved!)
The photo op would prove challenging when the new camera I used was difficult to focus correctly. I informed my wet companion of my dilemma, told him that it might take more than one try, and asked for his patience.
He sat quite still for a full set of more than a dozen flashing photos. I plugged the camera into the computer and waited. All blurry. Drats.
When I returned from viewing the photos on the computer in another room, he hadn’t moved a muscle. Sorry, Frogger. But I failed this round. I need to try again, I told him as I geared up for another round of photos.
Another dozen more flashing photographs was also problematic.
Sorry, again, I told him, returning from viewing the pictures. He still hadn’t moved as I proceeded to shoot a third round of photos.
Three times was a charm as the pictures materialized on the computer screen. I laughed and laughed at seeing Frogger’s face up close. He had Andy Rooney eyebrows, a wide smile, and he looked like a Chinese scholar. My respect for his ancient species humbled me, but my smile was ear to ear as I looked at his close-ups.
Approaching the bowl where he was floating in the water, I told him I had gotten the photos and thanked him for his patience. I told him what fun and amusement it was to see his wise face. At that, he immediately dove down into the water in the bamboo bowl with a plop! He had agreed to allow me to get the photos I wanted, no matter how long it took me, but once it was done, he was gone.
We’ve made agreements that work ninety percent of the time now. One or two frogs in the house at a time, do your business outside, stay in the living room along the wooden flooring, come over anytime, and bring the kids if you want.
I’m full of gratitude for my new friends and their nightly chorus, which rises like a wave of a million croaking voices, then crashes into silence all at once. Frog lullabies rock me to sleep and for now, I enjoy the perfect animal companionship with Frogger, his friends and family, and the many animals I work with in my practice.
Suzan Vaughn is a Pet and People Psychic Counselor with 20 years experience, a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Communication. She works internationally by phone and in-person when appropriate. She is the owner of www.telepathictalk.com and www.goddessgift.net (celebrating ancient ‘herstorical’ wisdom), and author of Dispatches from the Ark: Pages from a Pet Psychic’s Notebook.