The Wise Frogger
My Wet Pet
(c)2008 Suzan Vaughn
(no reproduction without permission)
My beloved chow-chow Rusti had been a spirit dog for a year when thoughts of hooking up with a new animal friend crossed my mind. But a deal I’d made five years earlier caught up with me, making animal companionship an illusive notion. And anyway, the Divine Unseen had other plans for my next animal companion. Moving headlong into a difficult situation I couldn’t foresee would mean my new house guest would arrive with synchronistic Native American symbolism.
Before we were married, my husband asked me if I would consider living without my dog and two cats. When he asked me that, it was practically our first date and I said I would consider it if we got serious, thinking nothing of it. I insisted then that it definitely would not happen until my chow-chow Rusti and my two cats, Bosley and Batgirl, had passed on.
After we were married, he was wonderful with the animals, cared for them tenderly, and loved them deeply. But he keenly felt a deep personal responsibility for the animals, believing they should completely fulfill their karmic debts without euthanasia, and the inevitable loss and end of life struggles were too hard for him to take. Severe allergies along with a resistance to taking medication, added to his perspective.
Seven years later, all my animals were spirit helpers from the other side, and in all fairness, it was his turn to have his way: to live without the daily care and consideration that animal companions require.
A move three states away as well as his retirement meant that our new living situation didn’t support having animals either. It was far less than ideal for a cat or a dog to join our tiny new living space. To complicate matters more, we were battling each other in the cramped quarters while we redefined ourselves as business partners in what was previously my home based internet retail business. His concerns about living on half the income we’d had, as well as his desire to optimize our e-commerce strategies came with the biggest challenge our marriage had faced. Trying to find our loving marriage in the day to day battles for control, too much togetherness, and a critical loss of my own autonomy left me in tears way too often.
“So what would be the perfect animal companion in my current situation?” I asked my Higher Sources, and the answer was right in front of me, or more precisely, on the north side of the house.
The north side is the one adjacent a culvert that carries rainwater and other runoff to the ocean. Teaming with life, it’s filled with all manner of creatures that come and go seasonally including dragonflies, ducks, a variety of insects, and tiny frogs.
That was also the side of the house where there was a problem with the door frame. A half-inch gap underneath it allowed spring breezes to waft in and it wasn’t long before something else squeezed in under the door: tiny frog visitors.
At first they seemed to come in small families of four. A couple of them would hop on in, sometimes loitering behind the bookcase for awhile, sometimes climbing the wall with their little sucker feet. One of them would scale the wall half-way up, jump into the cut out eyes on a wooden giraffe mask that hung there, and hibernate behind the wood. Eventually, they all ended up in the water-filled vase with the lucky bamboo plants where they could lounge on a stalk half in and half out of the water.
For several weeks each night around dinner time, a mama frog would squeeze underneath the door and wait just inside. After a few minutes, a couple of juvenile frogs inevitably appeared from inside the house, and followed her out.
I welcomed them in, marveling at their chameleon skin, watching it change colors right in front of my eyes whenever they moved from clinging to a bamboo stalk to the light wooden table the bamboo arrangement sat on. As a professional inter-species communicator (aka Pet Psychic or Animal Communicator), I naturally opened the lines of discussion immediately.
Our initial communication was about what parts of the house would be safest for them. I let them know that humans are not always cognizant of their feet, which can injure tiny amphibians. Their listening skills were impeccable, and rarely did they make a mistake and venture outside the area I asked them to stay in. Once in awhile when a newcomer did, we herded him gently back to the safe zone.
Our second conversations revolved around relieving themselves outside.
After a month or so, I began to recognize their energy, and one of them in particular visited daily. I called him Frogger, and delighted in his company.
This is what human love and respect feels like, I told him, sending those sentiments his way.
He took it in. He came back for more on subsequent days and told his friends.
I really want to touch your body, I said to my Frogger friend one day, as he floated in the plant water. Humans love to touch. Will you let me? I asked. He didn’t really want to, but my enthusiasm trampled down my desire to respect his space.
Frogger jumped a little to the side of the bowl as my finger came gently into contact with his back, saying his instinct was to hop away, but he stayed and I apologized for not being able to resist touching him.
I also shared worry with him.
I’m concerned there’s nothing for you to eat here, I told him.
There’s plenty for me to eat here, he said, you just can’t see it.
The next day I noticed a tiny nest of gnats I hadn’t seen before.
I admired Frogger’s efficiency when it came to swimming, a sport I also enjoyed. He treaded water without having to wave his arms around like me. He just naturally floated.
Settling in further in the new location meant repairs, and as the weather got cooler, we installed weather stripping at the bottom of the door to keep the cold out. I was greatly saddened that Frogger would no longer be able to visit spontaneously and it weighed heavily on my mind for a few days. Then one morning I got up and looked in the lucky bamboo only to find his little head poking above the water!
Frogger! I said. I’m so happy you found a way in!
But had he? I was concerned. What if he had been hiding in the house for a couple of days and he couldn’t get out? I had to know, so as soon as he began hopping along the wall toward the door jamb, his normal exit strategy, I asked him.
Please show me if you need my help getting out of the house and back to your frog family, I said.
Frogger was slow. He hopped. He stopped. He changed direction a few times and hopped around, but didn’t go out.
I guess you’ll need a little help then, I said, and with that, I opened the door. He could easily feel the cool night air, smell the fog, and hear the sounds of his fellow frogs in the culvert outside. Yet he hopped away from the door once it was open and waited patiently nearby.
I closed the door and sat back, waiting to hear what he was trying to convey. Then, after a few minutes, he proceeded to a tiny separation between the weather stripping and the door jamb, flattened his body, and wiggled his way out through the small crack. It was an amazing magical feat in which he reduced his body size by half! It took a great deal of effort and I congratulated him, thanking him for showing me his escape route and setting my mind at ease.
Frogger was so clever and our communication was going so well, my joy at having him as a companion increased until one day I offered him a proposition.
How would you like to be a star and contribute to inter-species harmony? I asked him. I’m going to write up our story and I need some photos. What that means is that there will be a flash of light and I’ll be getting pretty close to you. But you’ll be safe. I’m only admiring your good looks.
I thought I heard Frogger agree to pose, but I wasn’t sure. (It’s harder to be objective once you’re emotionally involved!)
The photo op would prove challenging when the new camera I used was difficult to focus correctly. I informed my wet companion of my dilemma, told him that it might take more than one try, and asked for his patience.
He sat quite still for a full set of more than a dozen flashing photos. I plugged the camera into the computer and waited. All blurry. Drats.
When I returned from viewing the photos on the computer in another room, he hadn’t moved a muscle. Sorry, Frogger. But I failed this round. I need to try again, I told him as I geared up for another round of photos.
Another dozen more flashing photographs was also problematic.
Sorry, again, I told him, returning from viewing the pictures. He still hadn’t moved as I proceeded to shoot a third round of photos.
Three times was a charm as the pictures materialized on the computer screen. I laughed and laughed at seeing Frogger’s face up close. He had Andy Rooney eyebrows, a wide smile, and he looked like a Chinese scholar. My respect for his ancient species humbled me, but my smile was ear to ear as I looked at his close-ups.
Approaching the bowl where he was floating in the water, I told him I had gotten the photos and thanked him for his patience. I told him what fun and amusement it was to see his wise face. At that, he immediately dove down into the water in the bamboo bowl with a plop! He had agreed to allow me to get the photos I wanted, no matter how long it took me, but once it was done, he went swimming.
We made agreements that worked for many months. One or two frogs in the house at a time, do your business outside, stay in the living room along the wooden flooring, come over anytime, and bring the kids if you want. After years in the business, I’m still not beyond being amazed at these negotiations, and I was especially pleased when he went out every night to relieve himself. After just a few weeks, there was no sign of froggie poo in the house.
Months after Frogger became my animal companion, I was drawn to a book that helped me understand the Native American symbolism of his species. In Spirit Animals, Victoria Covell writes that frogs are all about adaptability. “If frog has chosen to appear to you, it is asking you to encourage that part of yourself that is not only open to change but understands its benefits,” she says. “Frog spirit reflects the fundamental principle that all life evolves and that nothing ever remains constant. Frog knows that what seems strange today, may very well be a comfortable reality tomorrow.”
Those words gave me great comfort that my husband and I would once again find our love for one another. That we would eventually be successful in redefining our roles, sort out our new business relationship, and experience a new depth of comfort with one another. Things were settling into place.
After weeks of quiet harmony, I found Frogger early one morning outside his designated area. I was alarmed and mentioned the safety issue to him, telepathically asking that he return to the safe zone. He complied but said he had a message and was trying to get my attention. He looked a little older and more gray in color, said he had to go for a season, and that he had work to do outside. Wishing him well, I invited him or another frog friend of his choosing to experience human love, respect and a home in the lucky bamboo.
I’m full of gratitude for my new friends and their nightly chorus, which rises like a wave of a million croaking voices, then crashes into silence all at once. Frog lullabies rock me to sleep and for now, I enjoy the perfect animal companionship with my amphibian friends and the many animals I work with in my daily practice.
Suzan Vaughn is a Pet and People Psychic Counselor with 20 years experience, a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Communication. She works internationally by phone and in-person when appropriate. She is the owner of www.telepathictalk.com and www.goddessgift.net (celebrating ancient ‘herstorical’ wisdom), and author of Dispatches from the Ark: Pages from a Pet Psychic’s Notebook.