Connection to Animals


I have now completed one of my most important life goals: to insert animals into my home. Included in my family tribe I now have the famous Foreign Office cat called Palmerston (@diplomog) and a new sprocker puppy called Lyra.

I am absolutely convinced that Catty (Palmerston) is an Amazonian jaguar that has been shrunk to a miniature size by a witch. Catty behaves as if he rules the jungle, as if he has no predators (as if anyone would ever dare challenge his authority!). Catty only moves in an elegant superior waltz, jumping from very high places and landing like an Olympic gymnast, as if it is no big deal. Catty seeks out my most luxurious cloth (aka cashmere) and designates it as his royal bed. Doggy (Lyra), on the other hand, only moves in a wild tornado of silly energy. She gets herself so excited that she skids and somersaults and does several roly polys in a row. She is a bundle of pure unadulterated joy and energy and silliness. If the silly puppy gets too close to catty, catty lifts his perfect boxing paw ready to slap her in the face. As long as that silly puppy (and all the humans in the household for that matter) know that catty is The King, then everything works out fairly smoothly.

Sigh. Animals. They fill me up. There is something so nostalgic about them. They are – just in and of themselves – like a sweet childhood memory. As Lyra lies her warm belly on me chewing her stick and gazing into my eyes, she teaches me how to live in the present moment. There is nowhere else I want to be in those moments and no job I want to be ticking off my list. We find endless pleasure in just hanging out together in the garden. We don’t do much; we are just present seeing things, smelling things, hearing things. She is easily the best mindfulness coach I’ve ever had (sorry mum).

Animals are the best teachers all round really... Animals teach us how to listen carefully and how to heed our instincts. Animals generally have much sharper intuition than humans. Intuition is like a muscle; we need to work it in order to gain its profound insight. Animals don’t need reminding of that. It is their very essence. Animals teach us how all living things are inter-connected to each other and to the universe. They teach us how to be responsible and live sustainably. Animals are not driven by ego and power and money, they tend not to cut down rainforests for financial gain, they don’t pollute our air and water. They respect the earth that gives them life. They respect the trees that give us air to breath. They do not think they are more worthy than other species (except for Palmerston who truly believes he is superior to everyone). Animals innately understand that all of life is in a delicate balance. But most amazing of all, in my view, is that animals teach us about unconditional love. They love you when you are tired. They love you when you look a complete state. They love you when you are in pain. They love you when you fail. They love you no matter what - deeply and without conditions - and it fills me to the tips of fingers and toes with joy to experience this every single day. Thank you Catty. Thank you Doggy.

“We can judge the heart of a man

by his treatment of animals.”

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)



sherinshefik@gmail.com   |   +44 7976606696

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