Lily’s Gifts

by | Jan 17, 2024 | Lily

There’s no doubt in my mind that Lily was an ‘enlightened’ dog – And I’d even go as far as to say that sometimes she was smarter than me. It was no surprise then that she also became my teacher.

During the fifteen years we spent together she helped me make some adjustments to my way of thinking which in the end made me a ‘better me’ – a better version of my previous self.

Not that I was messed up or strung out on drugs, but I probably needed a helping hand at that time in my life – and I now believe that’s why she came into my life.

My first lesson arrived while Lily was still quite young, and I can only assume she decided to use her stubborn technique to put my self-awareness to the test.

Noticing it was getting late and dark outside, I called Lily in from the garden one evening, I could see her sitting on the grass but she didn’t respond when I called her in. I called her several times but she didn’t respond. I tried raising my voice to a more assertive tone but that didn’t work either. She could clearly see me and hear me, so I why was she refusing to come in.

I began to feel frustrated and angry – I was supposed to be the ‘alpha’. – the leader of the pack and she wasn’t listening to me.

Feeling frustrated I decided at that moment I was either going to keep getting angry and possibly kill her (not that I’d do such a thing) or I was I going to find another way to communicate with her.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I could try a different approach; I could look at her ‘through the eyes of love’ instead of anger/blame etc (an aha! moment) I stepped outside and slowly walked towards her. I bent down and stroked her soft, smooth little head and felt nothing but love for her.

We sat together for a while and then I asked her to come inside. She followed me in and seemed happy. She knew she had taught me something about myself – that we don’t always have to be right or be in control of situations – we can stop things escalating by backing down and choosing to see love instead.

A lesson in “A Course In Miracles” states that “I can choose to see things differently”. It is a simple and yet profound lesson, which I understood for the first time that night. Usually I would not give in or back down with a dog but this time I did.

Now I sometimes wonder if the reasons Lily used to lie on her back and look up at me was to remind me that we can always choose to see things differently. We don’t have to be right or always in control. We can choose to believe if the other person (or in this case dog) is the problem or not. It’s not what happens, it’s how we respond to it. That was a great lesson for me. This also ties in to ‘forgiveness, but more about that another time….

A few days after my first revelation I bought Lily some coloured balls and began rolling them towards her as she sat outside on the grass. She stared at them as they rolled by, and looked unimpressed. I was surprised because i knew Jack Russells were playful and loved their toys, so I carried on gently throwing the balls towards here hoping she’d take the bait, but she didn’t. She just sat there looking bored. Finally, she stood up in an effort to make her point. She grabbed one of the balls in her mouth, held it there for about ten seconds and looked towards me. After making sure I had seen the ball in her mouth, she opened her mouth and let the ball drop to the ground.

Lily was demonstrating to me as clearly as she could that she knew how to catch and run with balls she just didn’t want to do it.

It turned out she preferred chasing and catching mice instead.

I’d watch her outside in the long grass, as she would pounce on the mouse, grab it and then shake it to death. She’d then take the mouse in her mouth and gently but firmly break its neck just to make sure it was really dead. In her mind it was the humane thing to do. Better to finish them off than leave them wriggling around on the ground.

One cold winter afternoon Lily and I walked into the barn to get some horse feed and hay bales to feed the horses. I opened one of the barrels of grain and saw six mice running around inside. I tipped the barrel sideways, just far enough that the mice could escape and run out onto floor.

Lily wasted no time picking them off.. She chased and caught every single mouse in turn and then flung them against the side of the barn to kill them. They sounded like rocks when they hit the wall and fell to the ground, dead.

I have no idea how she came up with the idea of flinging’ them instead of shaking them in her usual manner but perhaps she needed to find the quickest way to deal with six mice in the quickest time possible. (they were gone in about thirty seconds) She had this amazing ability to think on her feet and adjust to any situation.

Lily’s methods of rodent extermination might seem cruel to some, but it was quicker and much kinder than laying out mousetraps or poison bait. Poisoned rodents die a slow, painful death and then their poisoned bodies kill the hawks and owls that feed on them. On the other hand a good “mouser” can kill rodents quickly and efficiently, without harming any other creatures.

And Lily was one of the best.

Here she is looking for mice under the log pile.