As my ten-minute struggle ended–the cover finally lifting off the food canister–Zack, an African Grey parrot who had been watching me from his perch, erupted into laughter. At the end of a long, difficult day, I found myself laughing too.  It was a joyous, uninhibited surrender to the day’s events.

I often find myself laughing when I am caring for people’s pets. I also do things I don’t typically do–singing, dancing, and just acting silly. Mickey, an old, one-eyed hound dog, often made me me howl–literally.  Sometimes he would start the howling sessions,  at other times I would. We’d alternate howls, each getting louder and introducing various warbled effects. I swear Mickey would smile at me when the game began.

The animals often make me laugh, but there are times that the laughter comes with a great sense relief. One day I walked into a home to find that the resident Maine Coon cat had climbed to the top of a stepladder that had been left standing next to the Christmas tree. As I opened the door, his large paw was reaching for the twinkling star atop the tree.  He scampered down at my loud, “Ahhh, NO!” I had to laugh.

I fear the day a nanny cam is present and my antics show up on YouTube. But the daily presence of animals has lightened my spirit in a very profound way. I take life a little less seriously and often find myself LOL.

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