What does my animal family know about my life?
It may be a lot more than you realize.
Meet Mylo. He's now in spirit. That doesn't stop him from communicating with his person Kerry.
Why are animal family members such good judges of character?
I'm often asked this question. Followed by, "Is it body language?"
It's deeper than that.
Finnigan's plush hedgehog
Never underestimate what an animal knows or understands.
Recently, a friend posted a video of a wild, native hedgehog walking the grounds of a cemetery in England. I smiled seeing the hedgehog. A happy memory came to mind.
Six years ago, (my dog) Finnigan and I went on a week-long animal companion training (out of province) in Quebec. Several other participants brought their dogs, and one participant brought their companion hedgehog Tink. It was the first time Finnigan had ever met a hedgehog.
Yesterday's daily morning walk gave me more than exercise.
Finn was recently diagnosed with the first signs of osteo-arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Within weeks (even with treatment) his mobility has been dramatically affected.
For years we have walked together every Monday to Friday morning with our dog friends. On this morning, I suspected that we would be unable to stay with the group for the first time.
Within minutes we were trailing the group. They kept pausing to allow us to catch up. I felt the juxtaposed need of the group to move forward and Finn's need to slow down. A firm believer that nature walks are Finn's time, I checked in with him. He was willing and ready to do his own thing. I texted the group, now far ahead, to let them know of his decision.
The walk unfolded and as it did so did my lessons and understanding.
Animals, with dogs especially coming to mind, excel at "beginner's mind." The concept that each time is like the first time: the repetition of an event, situation, or experience never gets old, tired, boring or dull, yet brings the same exquisite delight of joyful discovery as the initial experience.
Dogs display a beginner's mind approach greeting their animal guardians. Whether you've been away all day at work, on vacation for seven days, or outside taking out the trash for seven minutes, dogs greet you with exuberance, enthusiasm, joy, excitement, and appreciation. Young children, like animals, are also expert's of beginner's mind, able to express playful delight at each new experience.
Perhaps beginner's mind is the most powerful example of being present, of being in the now? Today, let's greet our animal family with equal attention, of presence, with a beginner's mind.