Amy Weiss thinks of animals as so much more than just our tirelessly faithful companions — she sees them as souls. The author of the novelCrescendo, Weiss is also a licensed clinical social worker who has this to say about what first drew her to the cause of animal welfare. “Like children, they are vulnerable and need us to be their voice and advocate for them. As much as I’d love to take in every homeless animal off the streets, that isn’t feasible. I discovered that I could help animals in other ways”. She volunteered at Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary and adoption center in Pennsylvania, and describes the experience of playing with them to socialise them as a joyful way to help. She also recently sponsored the care of a rescued turkey, and routinely spreads the message through social media about adoptable pets that are in need of homes.
“There is a wealth of scientific literature about how pets can benefit us physically, such as by lowering our blood pressure and reducing stress levels”, she says of what animals do for the people in their lives. She highlights the example of her own senior cat Schnitzel, observing that they are an affectionate and intelligent species. “My cat is a tremendously devoted companion who has filled the last 15 years with so much love, joy, and laughter. He likes to play fetch and follow people from room to room and lick them. He brings an incredible spark of life into my home”.
Weiss believes that the bond between a human and a beloved pet is eternal. “I believe that animals are souls, just as we are. Dogs, people, owls — we are all the same soul-stuff, taking on different physical forms. There are so many stories about animals performing outrageous acts of sacrifice, courage, and love for their owners. To me, that must come from somewhere more profound than the personality of the animal.”
Most importantly, she finds that companion animals make good spiritual teachers, remarking that this quality of theirs surpasses all else. “They teach us about unconditional love: how to receive it and also how to give it,” she says. “What greater gift could an animal give to its human?”