Well, many of you who know me might be surprised to see a post on felines and canines when I’ve never owned a pet in my life, save a few fish that passed away more quickly than we could name them. But, weirdly, pets and hospital chaplaincy have crossed paths for me this week in a few significant ways.Friday morning, while watching CNN, I saw a story about a cat named Oscar who has a sixth sense. This cat “makes rounds” in a nursing home, pausing only briefly in each room to check up on the patients. However, on 25 separate ocassions, when Oscar has curled up on a patient’s bed for long amount of time, he has also predicted that this patient is about to die. Apparently, he is so accurate that nurses notify the family when he curls up on a patient’s bed. I find it amazing that an animal understands, can sense, or feel beyond our limited human capabilities, that a patient is about to die.And then on Friday during our lunch hour, our chaplain at the hospital had us watch a couple episodes of the Dog Whisperer. As we watched the show, we realized that Cesar Millan actually uses dogs as a medium to help people. Where many of the owners lacked confidence or lacked stability in their lives, their dogs were acting out for a lack of these qualities in their owners manifested as a lack of discipline. The dog-dog owner relationship is a complex one just like our relationships with one another, where we are looking for one another to provide distinct things and when we do not get those, we have reactive emotional responses. As a chaplain, while one needs to listen and act questions, patients are also looking for guidance, and the chaplain must fulfill that role as well.Who knew animals could teach us so much about our human lives and relationships?