Manapa wrote:would it be unwholesome to include oneself, family or friends in standard practice?
But I've just never heard or read of animals being included. Hence why I asked.
Have a read of the Karaniya metta sutta
Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, The great or the mighty, medium, short or small, The seen and the unseen, Those living near and far away, Those born and to-be-born — May all beings be at ease! Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state. Let none through anger or ill-will Wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded, Freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down Free from drowsiness, One should sustain this recollection.
there is a related one on snakes but cant think of the exact sutta to provide a link, but the reason I asked was because pets tend to fall into one of two catagories friends or family members, I know my cat while she was alive was part of my family, and she is my little sister, every time I have a hard time with metta for myself I bring her to mind laying belly up on my knees, or me scootching allong the floor on my bum to get the remote because she is fast asleep on my knees or simply refusing to move, or sticking her tongue out while she was sleeping.