Whilst growing up I was never around animals and when I was, I was afraid of them. I have no idea why I was scared of them. I must have been incorrectly wired to believe that animals can hurt me so I always kept my distance. Besides, living in the city I did not have much opportunity to be around them so my lack of exposure limited me in knowing and understanding them. 

Fast forward to today. I’m in love with animals. Especially in the last year. I am stunned at how little I knew about them. My ignorance got me curious to learn about the many beautiful species and so my journey began. 

One of my favourite animals are dogs and specifically border collies. I have been lucky enough to get to know Lily. Lily is 4 years old and shes is a quarter labrador but she has very distinct border collie characteristics. Lily loves being around people and when she is stroked or itched, her facial expression can melt one’s heart. I know because it did mine. I am learning valuable lessons from Lily. 

Lily is authentic. She waits by the stairs because she knows that we walk down the stairs and she gets attention; love. She is not embarrassed to display that side of her. It reminds me how I used to find it hard to ask for love. I masked what I wanted hence made it hard for others to know when I needed support or comfort. But if I showed what I felt then there would not be any issues in getting the love that was needed. Lily reminds me of this. We as humans mask what we want from others expecting them to know what we want and then get annoyed when we don’t get what we want. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? 

Unconditional love. Lily displays love like I have never seen. Her eyes glow and glisten each time she sees me. It is like her love grows each time we interact. With humans it’s sometimes different. People take each other for granted far too often. Seeing Lily, it inspires me to love more unconditionally and wholeheartedly. To have that sparkle in my eyes for those that I care about. Lily’s love grows. She makes it apparent every day which goes back to her authenticity as well. 

Being in the present moment. When Lily is playing, her entire focus is on playing. When she is eating, that’s all she is doing. Watching her, I notice how single focused she is. I used to take pride in multi tasking when really other than being able to get lots of things done simultaneously, I did not benefit from the process. Solely focusing on one task sharpens focus, creativity, calmness and productivity. Lily does it naturally. 

It isn’t just Lily that has taught me these valuable lessons. Being around nature the past few days, I have had the chance to see how squirrels, flies, ladybugs, cows, sheep and butterflies behave. Being in nature I have had the privilege to stop, think and reflect on how I want to be. These beautiful species have shown me the way to live a more authentic and mindful life and for that I am forever grateful. 

“On the intimate level, anyone who has loved a companion animal knows the uniquely wonderful experience these ‘other nations’ provide, and their important presence in our shared lives. In their very local way they show us the global truth of our wealth, our biodiversity.’ — April Gornik