Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, May 13, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, May 13, 2017 


Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


Lessons Learned From Unlikely 

Animal Affection



In a world where human beings often have a hard 
time getting along, it is encouraging to know that 
some beings are making unprecedented progress 
when it comes to bonding with creatures very 
different from themselves. In fact, many non-human 
animals are now breaking down major barriers 
by forming friendships with members of species 
historically considered to be their enemy or even 
their prey.

 I once viewed a PBS Nature documentary, Animal 
Odd Couples, and I liked it so much I watched it 
several times over. It is an awe-inspiring, well-put-
together program that tells a tale about animals of 
different species coming together for various reasons 
and choosing to be friends rather than enemies, as 
our understanding of nature might have had it.

 The unlikely cross-species relationships that can 
develop between animals has always fascinated 
me, and the particular pairs highlighted in this 
program are mind-boggling. In the past, scientists 
have refrained from using the term “friendship” 
when referring to social bonds between non-
humans, but as this documentary points out based 
on recent findings, the scientific terminology 
used to refer to animal relationships is quickly 

 One odd couple featured in the PBS program 
consists of a stunning cheetah named Kasi and an 
adorable Labrador retriever named Mtani, both of 
whom were rescued at a very young age and given 
refuge at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. Kasi was 
born a healthy cub in captivity at a nearby zoo. 
Her two siblings died at birth and her mother was 
unable to care for her, leaving her in need of human 

 Mtani was rescued from a local shelter and 
brought to the park just in time to avoid being 
euthanized. The staff at Busch Gardens embarked 
on a pioneer project when they intentionally put 
Kasi and Mtani together as babes, and as it turned 
out the two bonded immediately. According to 
the trainer who works with Kasi and Mtani on a 
daily basis, it was a choice they both had to make; 
to accept each other as friends, regardless of their 

 The interesting thing is, although Kasi and Mtani 
come from two entirely different species, in many 
ways they aren’t really all that different. When they 
play and chase together in the enormous space they 
live in, it becomes clear that the size and shape of 
their bodies are indeed very much alike. And while 
dogs bark and cheetahs chirp, they both growl in a 
similar manner, and Kasi and Mtani seem to have 
formed a language all their own, just between the 
two of them.

 My favorite story in the program 
is that of a remarkable union 
between two unlikely four-legged 
friends; a blind horse named Charlie 
and an elderly goat named Jack. The 
two met after having been rescued 
and brought to Wild Heart Ranch 
outside of Claremore, Oklahoma, 
by the founder Annette King 
Tucker. Annette shares the story in 
an interview with the production 
crew, about how Jack the goat took 
it upon himself to befriend the 
blind horse, apparently realizing Charlie needed a 
friend to help guide him through the property to 
find the best grazing spots.

 Anyone with a heart who watches this part of 
the program is bound to shed a few tears when they 
see that old goat leading the blind horse through 
the woods to his favorite grassy spot, then waiting 
patiently for him to finish grazing at which time he 
guides him back to the safety of the barnyard. What 
goat makes it his mission to assign himself official 
field guide to a horse? It is so heartwarming to know 
Jack had that kind of affection for his elderly equine 

 When Charlie passed away, Jack was a bit 
beside himself, but at the same time he seemed to 
understand it was meant to be for his good friend 
to move on. Not long after Charlie’s passing, Jack 
followed his footsteps over that rainbow bridge 
where one might imagine he is probably in a better 
place, serving another being in a loving way, just as 
he did here on earth with Charlie.

 Meanwhile, at Keepers of the Wild, a rescue ranch 
in Valentine, Arizona, Anthony the lion and Riley 
the coyote are setting yet another unprecedented 
example of what can happen when one chooses 
to befriend a creature far different from oneself. 
Jonathan Kraft, founder of Keepers of the Wild 
introduced Anthony and Riley when they were 
a month old and he has observed their atypically 
friendly bonding behavior ever since.

 As adults, Riley and Anthony are still getting 
along famously and even after having worked with 
wild exotic animals all his life, Kraft admits he has 
learned epic lessons watching those two interact. 
He finds it amazing how much nature can teach 
us through unlikely relationships between animals 
of separate species. It is clear to Kraft that forming 
friendships and showing affection to others, 
regardless of species, plays a big part in maintaining 
one’s physical, mental and emotional health. He sees 
this in full color by observing Anthony and Riley 
rousting about, playing and resting together on the 

 As Temple Grandin so aptly put it in the 
documentary, “Some people just can’t accept the 
fact that non-human animals have emotions.” 
She doesn’t buy into that theory, and neither do I. 
Contemporary observational studies of animals 
crossing the boundaries to form unlikely friendships 
blows the conventional theory that animals are 
incapable of having emotions similar to that of 
humans. I think it’s awesome that animals can teach 
us humans important life lessons and I hope we will 
all allow ourselves to learn from them.

Scientists have 
been saying for 
years that the gut is 
a “second brain” of 
sorts. A multitude 
of neurons in the 
enteric nervous 
system connects in the gut and function in many 
ways. It’s a power center for digestion of food and 
emotion. Serotonin is also said to be produced in the 
belly. Energetically, it’s a place for transformation and 
assimilation of experiences making development of 
the navel center important work in yoga. 

 Physically, having a strong belly helps support 
the lower back and paves the way for healthy 
digestion, creating a feeling of steadiness. By 
building heat and strength in the belly, we ignite 
our will to evolve and gather energy which may 
otherwise be scattered. 

 There are a number of ways to work in this area. 
Yoga poses that focus on straight up core building 
are wonderful. Plank pose or Boat pose (navasana) 
are excellent core builders. Twists are probably 
the best category of yoga asana for improving 
digestion, building clarity and power, and 
cultivating transformation. They strike a perfect 
balance between energizing and calming. Twists 
from a standing position are safest, with supine 
twists following. Great care should be taken with 
seated twists as the hips are in such a fixed position. 
Working with a qualified teacher on the energetic 
locks of the body-- the Bandhas-- is one of THE 
most powerful ways to build strength at the navel. 
Your practice will never be the same! 

 Ultimately, working at the navel center 
nurtures the internal organs, encourages healthy 
digestion and elimination, and ignites the fire of 
transformation. Enjoy the feelings of clarity and 
focus that also come with this hard work! 

 Please join us for a class at YOGA MADRE and 
we’ll help you get started. 


 Love and Namaste, 

Keely Totten, E-RYT 500, Teaching at Yoga Madre


Real Life Tips from LIfe's Instruction Manual



A few weeks ago, I reminded 
you that you should put at 
least as much effort into your 
life as you do when you go to the grocery store. 
The similarity between your life and that trip to 
the market is the activity of writing down what 
you want. Many nutritionists recommend that 
consumers go to the store with a written list, 
knowing what they want. Otherwise, there is 
a risk of being tempted to make an unconscious 
choice, that would sabotage their goals.

 The experts say don’t go to the market hungry, 
well you should approach your life with a hunger 
and thirst for living your best life! 

 Did you know that writing your goals down 
increases your likelihood of success ten fold?

 So are you asking yourself powerful 
questions? How about, what could I do today 
to make today the perfect day? Great days start 
with intentional, great minutes and hours.

 You might try this question, what is the 
challenge that is calling me today?

Ask yourself a question that inspires you 
to dream. Ask yourself questions that will 
advance your vision and turn it into the life you 
are living.

Now write down your answer, and you will be 
on your way to living a life you imagine. My 
goal is that you are living a truthful and inspired 
life. When we push ourselves, we experience 
a greater sense of fulfillment, and we inspire 
others to do the same. 

 We can make the world a better place, first by 
being our best self and living our best life.-- 

 Lori A. Harris is a lawyer and empowerment 
coach that helps women that women live their 
best lives. You can find out more about her at and download her free 
app the Gratitude Train in Google Play and the 
App Store.

Wouldn’t you 
love to have 
a BFF who’s 
always sweet, 
loving, non-
judgmental, a 
good listener, 
and happy to 
be with you? 
Then, look 
no further 
than this 
age 1, is one of 
the most purr-
fect cats ever! 
Highly adoptable. She deserves to be in a loving 
home ASAP!

 May special 
adoption fee 
is $75 for one 
female cat or 2 
bonded kittens, 
which includes 
spay, microchip, 
exam & 
vaccines. A great 
savings! Our 
cats are negative FELV/FIV unless otherwise 

 See more pictures, videos, adoption info & 
application on our website, www.lifelineforpets.
org. Call 626-676-9505 for a Meet & Greet. Can’t 
adopt? Visit our website for our easy Sponsor A 
Kitty campaign.


Twix is one of the most affectionate girls in Meow 
Manor and will come forward to greet visitors. 
Once petting starts, she will melt and ask for 
more attention. She is a 
gracious and beautiful 
2-year-old young lady. 
Twix loves hanging out 
in boxes, especially when 
they are girly pink or lined 
with pink edged blankets. 
Her play style is attack 
and capture anything that 
moves. She will chase the 
laser dot, flying feathers, 
and anything marinated 
in catnip! She gets along 
well with her roommates 
so will do well in an multi-cat household, or 
will be content as an only companion. Twix 
is waiting for her forever family to come in 
and adopt her. Her adoption fee is $99, which 
includes spay surgery, a microchip, first 
vaccinations and a free wellness check-up at a 
participating veterinarian. 
Feel free to call us at 
(626) 286-1159 for more 
information on Twix. 
ID#12070. She currently 
resides at the San Gabriel 
Valley Humane Society 
located at 851 E. Grand 
Avenue in San Gabriel 
which is located off San 
Gabriel Blvd, north of 
Mission and south of Las 
Tunas Drive. To arrange 
a ‘Meet and Greet’ with 
Twix, please stop by any time from 10:30am to 
4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday.Website:www. 

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