Last year was a great year full of changes, challenges and a big loss too. After eleven years of being with us we lost our dog Biba. We've found her in a shelter and since the first moment she made an inseparable and very significant part of our family accompanying us wherever the path took us. She’s always been a very happy dog ready for any kind of action no matter the time, weather conditions or circumstances.
She taught our kids the responsibility for another living being. Yes, it was her doing to teach and to keep watch of our home and ‘our pack.’ She taught all of us how to be happy each and every day, she taught us what a real compassion means, she was watchful and mindful of all and she took her responsibilities with great care.
Biba was always my companion when I practiced Tai Chi. But her ‘Tai Chi’ was a natural one, one of the best – she always went with the flow, never resisting (unless necessary) when running or playing with me or other dogs. Her ego was prominent only when food was involved but never with other matters. She was persistent in barking against cats, birds or bikers no matter how we tried to silence her.
During long strolls in the nearby forests I never had to watch where she was. Biba always found me and followed me but with a much more broaden coverage of area then mine had been. Small river streams were too inviting for her, whereas with the bigger water such as lakes or sea she was pretty much cautious. Biba also adored snow the way many animals do: jumping and playing joyously on and in it.
Her fur was thick giving sufficient warmth during a winter and cooling her during the summer heat. And just by losing or changing it Biba was much more exact in predicting weather than any weather man on TV. For days in advance we had been warned on approaching change.
With a leash in my hand Biba always strived to be a step in front of me but without it she always walked behind me. She practically ‘allowed us’ to have her on a leash because at any moment she was able to extricate herself out of it. Whenever enmeshed by a leash and shrubbery she knew how to un-enmesh fast and easy. Quite often she used a leash to surround all of family members if anyone was keeping behind or was walking too slowly. Biba was always concerned with gathering the pack together and not leaving anyone out of the circle.
Food was the vital element of survival. Biba very early learned to do any trick for food. She was able to open a freezer or a cupboard or pull out the garbage bin drawer and helping herself to a delicious treat. And believe, all the food was delicious for her, no discrimination there! And no sharing either: she did not anyone to approach while eating, although whenever she grabbed something outside Biba let me take it out of her mouth. She was not happy, but she respected that that was wrong.
Comparing all Biba’s attitudes with leadership attitudes I always felt that she, and probably all animals, is much better leader than we are able to accept. They have empathy, they have will, they have strength to push forward for important and relevant issues, they follow when necessary and they lead when it is right. I believe that we could learn much also from the qualities animals have and not be so convinced that we, humans, are above them. They instinctively and naturally know and feel what true leadership is!