Happy holidays, precious viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants where we will celebrate the birth of the great enlightened Master, Jesus, with true stories of animal angels sent by God to teach us about love. These tales truly demonstrate the nobility and devotion of our animal companions. The first story begins over 100 years ago.

Dorsey the Mail Dog

One morning in 1883, when Jim Stacy, the US Postmaster of Calico, California opened his front door, he discovered a hungry, footsore black-and-white Shepherd dog lying on his porch. Something about the helpless animal touched Mr. Stacy’s heart, so he adopted him at once and named him Dorsey. Jim Stacy had an interest in a nearby mine, and one day he needed to get an urgent message to his partner there, but was unable to make the rugged, nearly two-kilometer trek himself. So he decided to tie a note to Dorsey’s back, and asked the dog to deliver it to the mine.

Dorsey perked up his ears, listening carefully to his caregiver’s request. Then, without hesitation, he turned and set off in the direction of the mine. Dorsey soon returned, carrying a reply from Mr. Stacy’s partner. Soon Dorsey began taking messages back and forth to the mine on a regular basis. Then one day, Jim Stacy had an idea. Why not have Dorsey help him with his job as a mail carrier? So he had a special jacket made for Dorsey, with pouches to hold letters. The Shepherd appeared to love his new duties. As soon as Mr. Stacy fastened the jacket on him, Dorsey turned his mind unwaveringly to his work.

Three days a week, the bright, hardworking canine faithfully carried mail from Calico to the town of Bismarck, about 5 kilometers away, becoming the first four-legged mail carrier to work for the US Postal Service. Dorsey never missed a day of work for the next three years, including the delivery of the Christmas mail! Many people admired Dorsey, and someone once offered his caregiver US$500 for him, a huge sum of money at the time, but Mr. Stacy refused.

Over the years, Dorsey’s intelligence, benevolence and dedication have continued to warm people’s hearts. In 1972, the renowned American band, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, released a ballad about him called, “Dorsey, the Mail Carrying Dog.”

Willow the Traveling Cat

The Squire family of Colorado, USA is looking forward to a particularly merry Christmas this year. Five years ago, their beloved calico cat companion, Willow, became lost when a door to their home was inadvertently left open. Although the Squires posted signs all around the neighborhood, and even advertised the missing cat on the Internet, no one seemed to have seen her.

Five years passed, and then one day the Squire family received a phone call from Animal Care and Control in New York City, almost 3,000 kilometers away! The agency had found Willow, and had been able to locate the Squires from the cat’s microchip, which had been inserted when she was a kitten. So Willow will be home for Christmas, and her stocking, which the Squires could never bring themselves to throw away, will be joyfully hung up once more alongside those of the other family members.

Ben the Tuxedo Cat

And then there was Ben, a stray black and white or tuxedo cat who has made a big difference in the lives of Julia Romp and her son George of Isleworth, west London, England. George was born with autism and by age 10 became extremely withdrawn; he seldom spoke, and showed no signs of affection. But then along came Ben, a dirty, sick and injured stray. Seeing his condition, Julia Romp did not want to adopt him. But for some reason George immediately bonded with the cat, and within a few weeks of Ben’s arrival, changed remarkably.

He began to show his first signs of love, stroking Ben and burying his face in the cat’s fur. George also became calmer at school, and got along better with the other children. He began to learn to read and write, and one day, for the first time in his life, George expressed affection by telling the cat that he loved him. Then, as suddenly as he had arrived, Ben disappeared and George became distraught and withdrawn and no longer smiled. Desperate to help her son, Ms. Romp posted thousands of fliers in her area in hopes of finding Ben.

Days passed, then weeks, and soon the Christmas season was at hand. Julia Romp said, “George worried about Ben. He’d say, ‘It’s cold tonight. Ben will be cold.’” And then, four days before Christmas, Ms. Romp received a call from Brighton, England. Someone had found Ben! When George and his beloved cat companion were re-united, the boy’s smiles and laughter returned and, for the Romp family, Christmas was indeed joyous.

Abbey the Dog

Next, we’ll hear about Abbey, a black-and-white dog tenderly cared for by Greg and Joy Scrivener and their three children in San Antonio, Texas, USA. When Abbey passed away at the age of 14, the family was filled with sorrow. Four-year-old Meredith was so disconsolate that she asked her mother to help her write the following letter to God.

“Dear God, Would you please take special care of our dog, Abbey? She died yesterday and is in Heaven. We miss her very much. We are happy that you let us have her as our dog…. I hope that you will play with her. She liked to play with balls and swim before she got sick. I am sending some pictures of her so that when you see her in Heaven, you will know she is our special dog. But I really do miss her. Love, Meredith Claire.”

Ms. Scrivener and Meredith placed the letter and two photos of Abbey in an envelope and addressed it to “God in Heaven.” Meredith put several stamps on the envelope, explaining that it was a long way to Heaven. Several days later, a package wrapped in gold paper arrived on their front porch, addressed simply, “To Mer.” Inside was the book, “When a Pet Dies” by Fred Rogers, a famous American children’s television host, along with this handwritten note:

Dear Mer, I know that you will be happy to know that Abbey arrived safely and soundly in Heaven! Having the pictures you sent to me was such a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. You know, Meredith, she isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me, just like she stays in your heart, young and running and playing. Abbey loved being your dog, you know…. I hope the little book helps.

Thank you for the beautiful letter. Thank your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have! I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am in Heaven and wherever there is love. Love, God, and the special angel who wrote this after God told her the words

The Scriveners were grateful and little Meredith’s heart was soothed by this tender act of compassion from some kind soul at the US Postal Service. Indeed, even after her passing, Abbey continued to bring love into the family’s lives.

During an April 2011 videoconference in Los Angeles, California, USA Supreme Master Ching Hai shared a beautiful story she had read about the power of love. A woman found four abandoned kittens and took them home. As she already had a dog and three cat companions, she promised her husband that she would take care of the babies, but, as soon as they were old enough, she would find all of them good homes.

There was one kitten, the smallest one, the ugliest one, and the most slow and dull, and it doesn’t, seem to be interested in life or anything at all and he’s always at the bottom when they come to drinking milk or feeding or something. He’s alway laying at the bottom and everybody else on top of him. And now this lady, she wanted to make an experiment in love. So she was wondering whether love will change him. So she especially picks him up and gives him a name, and every day talks to him and carries him around, and even washes dishes and all that with him.

And then he picked up, then he grows fast, and he’s more lively and answers to his name, and now he doesn’t stay at the bottom anymore, but whenever she calls him or whenever she came near, he climbs on top of everybody else, of all the four kittens, he climbs on top of them, so that to climb onto her, and he became so loving and so intelligent and he understood every word that she said.

So now, every other kitten’s already been adopted, one after another, this one’s left. And every day she carries, she talks to him, and she feeds him love and attention and teaches him a lot of things, talking to him, and he understood absolutely everything. And then there comes the day her husband came home, announces that somebody wants to adopt him. That was a heartbreak for her, but she already promised him that she will give away all these kittens.

So she had to keep her promise, even though heartbroken. And then she wrote a note to the adopter person like, “This kitten is hand-raised with lot of love and attention and he understood everything, and he’s very gentle, very kind, very intelligent and he can go on the car. He is absolutely very, very obedient and good. Make sure you give him the great love because that is what he will give you.”

And she was crying inside, of course. But then the husband, reading that note, knowing how much the kitten meant to her, even then she’s still big enough to give him away. So he agreed to let the kitten stay with her. You know, that was Christmas and he put a red ribbon on the kitten and handed it back to her. That was a very, very interesting story, don’t you think?

And so it is that animals bring a very special gift to our world, the gift of love. Their presence here enriches our lives and makes our planet a more inviting, beautiful place to live. Thank you for viewing today’s edition of Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. May you be blessed with happy holidays enriched by the love of our animal friends.