Harley(left), Lulu(Right)

“A dog is a man’s best friend”, a saying every individual has heard many times throughout their lives. I have found that this amazing relationship can be found not just with dogs, but many other animals as well(although I only address cats and dogs, I have also experience it with horses as well). These relations differ significantly from those between people for many reasons, but the most significant is the lack of actual words required. An animal cannot verbally tell us how they feel, and they cannot understand every phrase we say despite picking up the meanings of a few common words. How can we still seem to understand their feelings and them ours? It is all about how we express our emotions, and my personal experiences have shown animals truly do understand.

Over my lifetime I have seen many animals come and go, but the relationships established between two of my current animals has surely been the strongest. Right now my family has 3 dogs (Border Colli named Champ, Shitzu named Lulu, Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Harley), 1 cat (Siamese named Farrah), and many horses (too many to list!). Our cat Farrah has been with us for the last 10 years, he is definitely one of the animals I am strongest tied to. Although many see cats as emotionless or almost arrogant, Farrah

Farrah sleeping in my tutu

is definitely an exception. On numerous occasions I have been extremely upset and the cat will come into my room to comfort me. At first I thought he came for the sole purpose of licking the salty tears running from my eyes, but he’d simply come and lay with me until I calmed down. This past fall my parents knew I was a bit overwhelmed with school and extra curricular activities, so they made the decision to get me a dog of my own. For years I had been obsessing over how adorable corgis are, so to no ones surprise that was what they got me. My obsession became a reality, giving me a new nickname: Corgi Girl. Many assume Harley is a boy based on the name, but she is in fact a girl. I chose the name because I found it to have a bit of a rebellious feel, and that was how I pictured her. My guess was correct, Harley has been an absolute trouble maker but I couldn’t love her more. On nights that I needed to stay up late complete assignments for school she’d be right at my feet, if I’m sad she’ll come to comfort me, when I just don’t feel up to getting out of bed she is my reason for getting up. Overall she has been an amazing addition to my life, and something good to come out of Covid-19 is that I am not forced to leave her for school this year.  My experiences with animals has overall led to an improved mentality in myself, and I know this feeling is shared by many others.

This year I am hoping I will have the opportunity to launch a project that utilizes this very special connection that exists between humans and animals. When I was in

Champ!

elementary school there was a program at my local library called “Dog Tails”, during it children would read to local dogs. This was a wonderful experience overall, I was able to meet new people and animals while also working on my reading. This program has been known to have a numerous amount of benefits, one being that it can give children who struggle with reading the confidence to keep trying. Unlike a traditional learning environment, the dog offers no judgement. Only comfort. Unfortunately the program was cancelled due to a lack of local dogs that met the requirements. This year I would love to bring this program back, or at least make plans to restart it. The Covid-19 concerns will definitely make it difficult, but I am optimistic looking into the future.

As excited as I am fo Miss Teenage Canada, a piece of me is sad to leave my animals for a week. It makes me think of how truly blessed I am to have them in my life!

Until next time,

Corgi Girl (Kealey Atkinson)

 

 

Written by: Kealey