Animals have a special, revered role in man’s life. Often appearing as “totems,” or representatives, carved into art icons or “totem poles” in Native American culture. Or Shamanism. But regardless of culture, animals often appear in dreams, meditation or real life on an “as needed” basis.

We may not know how or when to summon them. But, more importantly, THEY know. We’re far too busy – posting recipes or micromanaging unneeded advice for our disinterested children. So, the moral of the story here is “be observant.” Don’t be what Motivational Speaker Zig Ziglar warned of — being a “wandering generality.” There are lots of revelations waiting for you. Don’t be preoccupied.

In the world of Animal Spirit Guides there is a ton of information, from categories such as land, sea and air animals [even insects] to their role in appearing. Are they messengers, coping mechanisms, inspiration to action? In your own review and research, you will probably be drawn to things most meaningful to you. But in the interest of a brief overview, and popularity of certain categories, here are five categories that might interest you.

Dogs: Since we first started domesticating wolves back in our cave days, then pulled them close for warmth on a “Three Dog Night,” man has been closest to the canine. Literally, “Man’s Best Friend.”

It’s a combination of loyalty, companionship and protection that dogs offer – all without asking anything in return. And a high degree of service. Seems as if every breed has a particular job to do – from guiding hunters to herding livestock to retrieving a “squeaky” ball. They will perform till they drop.

If a dog shows up, it means you need their assistance and devotion. Could be a stray or a friend’s dog you are visiting. They know you need them.


Cats: It’s often said you are either a “cat person” or a “dog person.” Some can be both I suppose. Not surprisingly, cats represent independence. Maybe your need for it. They also represent insight – as do many Animal Guides. We need time to rest, reflect – eliminate the “busyness” from our lives – that seems to accomplish little, except add stress to our lives.

Another unique thing about cats is their appearance as “familiars” to witches, to assist in the practice of magic and spells. Familiars also often appear in artwork or literature, and there’s a certain mysticism and power associated with them.


Horses: For such a long time, until the industrialization of our society, horses were used for transportation and work. The mark of a true rider was their ability to manage the power of a horse, and effectively get from Point A to Point B. Both speed and destination, a horse helps you accomplish both.

Strong, silent laborers for plowing fields and pulling drays to market, horses were partners who never complained. If you are facing a huge task, don’t face it alone. The horse is there to help.


Birds: Let’s start with the observation that bird-watching is hugely popular. And there’s a reason – we’re naturally drawn to them – want and need to see them, for their color, their freedom. Birds are often messengers that help with decision making. But it varies greatly by species.

Blue jays are loud, raucous birds that are extremely territorial. They often appear as a reminder it’s time to get some backbone and exert yourself. Cardinals are messengers from The Other Side, probably sent by somebody who is thinking about you – much as you think about them. Crows are highly intelligent, who carry on in their own society and will teach you to do the same. Even a chicken [weird, I know, but appeared in meditative state so I really couldn’t control it], where “scratching out” an existence is at work. Birds are versatile, ubiquitous guides.


Bears: The news on bears is infrequent, but usually bad – just due to their size, power and relentless nature. Especially if you wander into a mother out for a springtime stroll with her newborn cubs. Watch out!

On the upside, bears [like cats] are valuable for reflection, stillness, a retreat to hibernation in the cave. Preparing to move, deliberately and powerfully. Maybe with a growl to announce themselves to the world, then climbing a tree to get a better view before deliberately proceeding.

So there you have it, for five common partners at least. Hopefully, this article has intrigued you to want to learn more about these [and other] Animal Guides. Something unique and important to you – during a walk, meditative state or a dream.


A cricket, perhaps. You heard one [or some] on an evening walk. As in Disney’s “Jiminy” or Dickens’ “on the Hearth.” It’s also in the Animal Guide listing. It means good luck. And couldn’t we all do with a little bit of that?



Todd Winninger is a Freelance Writer, specializing in volunteer assignments with non-profit organizations. His online portfolio is at [] He lives in South Florida.