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What Animals Can Teach Us

I have long ago learned that fellow humans will let us down in life, but animals rarely do. I have been blessed with many animal friendships in my lifetime. I wish they could stay with us longer than they do. They are always beside us, loving us, adoring us, showing unwavering loyalty. Recently I have lost three of my beloved pets I brought here to Colombia with me. Colleen my collie was the first to leave me. She was getting old, showing many signs of old age when I finally made a decision to let her rest. She is so missed by all of us here at Villa Migelita. I had the comfort that her last years of living were with unlimited freedom and wide open spaces. She carried so much love in her heart, and to the end she was my loving, faithful pet. She let me know it was time to go, and I saw her leave with peace in her heart. She taught me about my truth. The truth of love that I carry inside, the love that unfolds when it is returned unconditionally. She talked to me with her eyes, which showed her soul deep inside her. She taught me to let go when it is time, she showed me with those eyes she was ready and I listened to her.Goodbye Colleen 001

My second pet to leave me was Taz whom many of you know I lost on Christmas Eve in Cali, Colombia. You can read about his loss here: Taz was still young, he was part of my heart, and I was not prepared to lose him the way I did. He was killed by a car after a woman who is evil let him out in the streets on purpose. I still think about how awful she is and if eventually karma will catch up to her and the horrible thing she did to my beloved dog. I try to think about the lesson to be learned by this situation. It has to be forgiveness. I must forgive this woman, or carry hate where there should only be my love for Taz that matters. Hate is a bitter pill to carry around inside of ourselves. So once again I am back to love, it seems that our animals teach us in so many ways about love even when it is a situation that is sudden and unexpected. Over my many years with Taz, and the enjoyment I got from his quirky personality, I learned to accept unconditionally his little mannerisms and nuances. He was a nervous dog, but super smart. He could do high-five on demand and always had his little paw up in the air if there was food to be had. He showed me that once again animals tell us all they feel with their eyes, they speak to us that way. He spoke to me the last time I saw him with those eyes as he looked at me through the window that night. That is my last memory of him, watching me walk off his eyes following me with only love radiating from them. I can only hope my animals feel the return of that unconditional love from me when I look back at them with my eyes. href=””>Taz , farm where wedding 007

My third pet I just lost was Cloudy my cat of many years. Cloudy was the first pet I got for my children along with his litter-mate Midnight who had died many years before Cloudy. Cloudy lived a long life for a cat. He was always so affectionate and loved to sit in anyone’s lap. He came with me to Colombia on the airplane and just took it in stride. When I first arrived and was renting a house before I bought Villa Migelita, Cloudy would hide in one of the rooms for the longest time. I called him the cave dwelling cat because I thought he would never come out and be part of the household again. When I moved to Villa Migelita, Cloudy got a new lease on life. He became an outdoor cat for the first time in his life. He no longer used a kitty litter and had his own little basket house outside in the laundry area. He loved it. He would sit for hours outside enjoying the sun. I have never seen a cat transform like he did. He was so happy. Cloudy taught me that no matter how old we might be, it is possible to change. He accepted the change of his living conditions with such happiness and I know his last years on this Earth were filled with love of life and surroundings. He slowly was losing weight in the last few months and started staying inside the house again and I knew he was not going to live much longer. He was in his 18th year of life and he was wanting to be with me all the time. He lay with me at my desk, and in my lap the last few months. He occasionally would bask in the sun, but stayed inside once again. I would find him in the mornings sleeping next to my dog Orion. Then he would follow me into my office to keep me company. When I recently went to the States he just gave up. I feel guilty as I know he died from missing me. It is with tears in my eyes I write this, as he was found in his little basket house outside not breathing, but looking like he just went to sleep. He left this world without me, and I am so sad about that. I am not sad about the life I gave him. His death has taught me to appreciate every second I have with my animals, especially the older ones as they can go so quickly. He taught me that when it is time to leave this Earth to do so with dignity. He taught me to cherish the moments I have with any of my animals as they can leave us without warning. Cloudy taught me about kindness and the loyalty of love that transcends and embraces us even when they are no longer with us.

Cloudy and Poco 016

So now I have acquired two new babies at Villa Migelita. I needed to smile again and laugh from the antics only pets can give to us. I adopted a baby kitten and named him Tommi and an Amazon parrot and named her Luci. They both are fun as only the young of the animal kingdom can be. I am learning that with my new additions I can embrace the memories of the past while smiling for the future. We might not have a long time with our animals while we are lucky enough to have them, but we have a long time to remember them and accept what they can teach us. My new kitten has already taught me she is quite resilient and can adapt to the dogs quite well and holds her own with all of them! Luci is showing me that she has quite the personality for such a little girl and feeding her by hand makes my day. I had actually waited to take her as I was worried about the hand feeding. Now she thinks I am her Mommy, her actual mother abandoned the nest and she was found by a neighbor. So I have two more rescues to add to my list of pets, and I look forward to more lessons in life that only animals can teach us.
Lake house and Tommi 013
Luci and dogs 013



I am an American who moved to Colombia to find peace after the devastating loss of my daughter. I bought and renovated a Villa, am learning Spanish, and writing as catharsis. This blog will be like a book with chapters. Each blog will be about my life in Colombia and my adventures. I hope you will enjoy the many new discoveries I am making every day about myself and another culture.

11 thoughts on “What Animals Can Teach Us

  1. Michele, I just read your post and I was sadden to hear about the loss of Cloudy. Yes, it is true that our pets are our family and it sad that their lives on Earth are so short. But I’m sure that you will see her again one day across that rainbow bridge.

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Carolyn I was devastated to hear the news while I was away. It is hard to lose our pets, especially the way Taz and Cloudy went. I try to accept this part of pet ownership, but it is hard.


  2. Oh, Michele, what a heart warming blog. I got teary eyed about all three of your beloved pets that you have lost. They do offer us so much and we can learn from the,. I loved reading this. I know you are in love with Tommi and Luci and they will make you smile for a long time. ❤ Nancy


  3. Your writing brought tears to my eyes. Like you said,
    it is comforting to know the last part of their lives were spent in such beautiful surroundings with you.


  4. My friend Louise shared your posting on Facebook, and I’m so glad she did. I love your story and appreciate your writing. Like most here, I can relate to life’s lessons from animals, and I often say that animals never let me down, though humans do. It doesn’t seem fair that they live such short lives compared to us, but the heartbreak of loss is worth it for the unconditional love, loyalty, and joy that our pets bring. Thanks again for posting, and I’m so very sorry for your loss but looking forward to hearing happy stories of your new additions.


    1. Gabrielle,thank you for such a lovely comment! I have quite the menagerie here at and they all keep me centered including a duck named Corazon who has been raised with my dogs and he thinks he is a dog! I always find him at the dogs water bowls! I will keep writing about my animal adventures and take a look at my page as I post videos of all of them on a regular basis. My new parrot Luci is already opening her cage door to get out and be with the other animals at Villa Migelita, so yes they are all helping with my sadness. I agree animals do not live long enough lives but what they give us in return makes up for this and the memories keep us smiling. Michele


  5. Another beautiful, bittersweet post. As you know, I rescue English Springer Spaniel Dogs and I truly understand and relate to your stories. It had to be so difficult bringing all those animals over to Colombia. I love how candid you are and enjoy your blog tremendously. Thank you, Marlene


    1. Thanks Marlene. It was difficult, I need to write a blog just about that story. It was really hard, but I did it. They all thrive here, even my deceased pets. They lived the last years in Paradise. Thank God for that.


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