If only we could live as lightly as animals. Taking what we need and nothing more. They live in sync with nature, can teach us so much and, as pets, bring a world of love and laughter to our lives. Their playful innocence and unconditional love can ground us in todays crazy, uncertain times.

This Wednesday is my daughter’s birthday. My gorgeous independent Tash turns 22 and, more than anything, I wish we could be with her in person. But, I know she won’t be alone.

She’s living with her boyfriend, a great guy, in a beautiful part of the High Country and she’s surrounded by lots of creatures, both great and small.

It seems only natural that she’s living where she is. From when she was little my kind hearted daughter adored all animals, many of which found their way into our home.

We had rabbits, so many cute and crazy rabbits … Roger, Sherrie, Charlie, Ruby. Over the years they all eventually succumbed to some form of bunny demise and when the last one passed away we downsized to guinea pigs.

For many years our lively, chatty piggies were a source of much laughter and a heap of fun, both for the kids (and us).img_4967

Forget social distancing. Pigs have no idea! I remember when we went on our trip to the Flinders Ranges, we left our two guinea pig girls with a minder (who also had piggies).

Weeks after we got back, Tash worriedly thought our fat bellied pig had a tumour. Turned out that while we were away our piggy had enjoyed her own fun filled vacation with Columbus.

This was the result.

We’ve had pet chooks, my “feathered girls” who scavenged and kept me company in the garden, alongside Chirp our friendly, flamboyant rooster. When all the hens died Tash and her dad went out and bought me “three new little girls” for a birthday present. They turned out to be all boys!

And then there were our dogs. Our beloved Blue, our Heeler and companion for 15 years and then, for a much shorter period of time, our disaster dog Cozzie. They both taught me lessons. One of love and one of knowing when it’s okay to let go.

I never thought I could love another dog quite like Blue, who turned our world upside down when he died.

Until Harry. My walking companion, who keeps me sane these days. Sweet, scruffy, silly Harry, who’s slightly neurotic, but who wouldn’t harm a fly. We adopted him over 13 years ago and he’s brought an immense amount of joy into our lives.

Alongside all our pets, he’s proven that, no matter how different we are and how we look, we can all get along harmoniously in this world.

Of course life’s not perfect. There are days, like one last week, when he does something to really piss me off, literally, and I could just send him right back to that shelter!

But he’s getting old, his bladder’s obviously weaker and I know he didn’t deliberately set out to have me washing for half a day! Patience, understanding and compassion is needed, for all of us, as we get older. That’s a lesson in itself.

Who could stay mad at this fur face for long?

And then there’s Lamby. Long time readers of my blog will remember the adorable orphaned lamb that Tash bought home a few years ago. We became surrogate parents as Lamby wormed her way into our home and devoured my garden. She was the inspiration for many blog posts.

Little Lamby, who thought she was a dog, became a big sheep with attitude and a zest for life that never diminished. She taught us all about being individual.

Now Tash is surrounded by three horses that keep her active and bring her loads of riding joy. Three dogs, including alpha boss, Tilly, who’s super smart and mischievous, a kingdom of gold fish in their tank and the newest rescues, Wazza and Puss Puss.

Sometimes Tash video calls me using FaceTime and we get to see them in action. Wazza likes crawling into the engine of her car and sunning on the dashboard. By the time we meet these kittens, if they survive their suicidal antics, they’ll be fully grown farm cats.

Wazza has no fear. Like most cats she’s her own boss, calm, confident and independent. Even though she’s still young, she knows there’s an amazing world out there to explore.

They know how to chill too. They live in a state of simplicity and understand the importance of rest and slowing down. We can learn a lot from them.

When I saw Frank’s prompt on ‘animals’ this week I couldn’t help but smile. It’s been so long since I’ve participated in a WP photo prompt challenge and this one was perfect timing. It gave me a chance to reminisce and wish my daughter, the biggest animal lover I know, a happy birthday.

Keep well everyone. Take a lead from an animal today and let their unconditional love, courage and unbridled faith in the now shine a bright light upon our ever changing world.

In love and light

Those who teach the most about humanity aren’t always human. Donald L Hicks (Photo by Tash)

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