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We can learn a lot from animals.

Here is Salter, my current favorite resident of our local animal shelter. This friendly feline was surrendered by a family after suffering for days, if not weeks, with an open infected leg fracture. When I first met him, he’d just had the leg amputated, and was curled up in a cage. I expected him to be hissy and surly, so I was a little anxious when I opened the door to his cage to clean it and feed him.

When I gingerly, slowly reached in for his bowl, he lifted his head and struggled to rise, to move towards me. But any fear of attack I had melted away with his chirpy meow and loud purr. Here was an animal with a large fresh wound and multiple staples, who had no doubt experienced great pain at the hands of humans, who only wanted my attention. Before he would eat anything, he managed to crawl forward and nudge my hand, quietly demanding head rubs and chin scratches. He purred endlessly.

He’s been as affectionate every visit since, and he’s getting around on three legs pretty darned well. He’s just an amputee cat, but he’s also the picture of resilience and faith, and quite frankly, I find the little guy inspiring.

I doubt that I’m as resilient. I wish I had such faith.

More importantly, I want to teach my kids to face challenges like this. I know I’ve wasted far too much time on guilt, regret, and anger in my own life. I want my kids to see the positives when life doesn’t go as planned. Optimism and belief will not only help them to go far, but also, to be happy. And it’s all attitude.