Before we get to planning for creatures, here’s a quick recap. The virtue of friendship relates to the development of excellence in relationships, and this combines aspects of household, relationships and spirit as a result of the values rethink. Last time I suggested that friendship is a mutually beneficial, trusting relationship that develops over a period of time. I also suggested that while some friends are more special than others, we should give equal consideration to all.
The friendship matrix in shown below.
I trust and treat other beings as well as I want to be treated.
|Establishing a safe and fun space for my dogs that includes safe haven for native creatures|
|Maintaining and improving relationship with significant other. (Not mentioned further)|
|Maintaining and improving relationships international and e- friends, making new friends, especially local.|
|Managing and constraining relationships with family.|
|Giving something back to the community and the planet.|
And now we get to planning for creatures!
In my daily life, I come across two kinds of creatures.
my pals (shown above)
You already know I have companion animals in the form of two Labradors. As I mentioned last time, I believe we give each other pleasure. I give them food and they give me protection, amusement and an early morning wake-up call.
If I was a true friend to them, I would provide appropriate care that met their specific species needs. That suggests an appropriate diet, weight control and exercise. It sounds a lot like my list for taking care of my own body. Plus cuddles. My vet would add annual vaccinations, worm and flea treatments, and the odd chewy thing for their teeth. I need to find out some more specifics, but it’s a place to start.
We have a range of birds, mammals and reptiles that we share our little piece of Australia with. I supplement their food in winter, and they give me pleasure, and control the insect population.
They all have their own particular needs. They are all native to this region, so to an extent, all I need to do is to replant flora native to the area. This will feed the local nectar eating birds, and attract native bugs to feed the carnivorous birds and lizards. Give them some protection from my pals and the next door neighbour’s cat. A bit of water. Provide some sort of competitive advantage over non-native species in the area.
A few years ago a hive of bees made their home in a birdhouse on the deck, but we had to have it professionally relocated as it was too close to the dog’s space (and the door). Rumour has it they are very particular about where they set up home so I was quite flattered when they moved in. I’d like to set up space for them too.
So, moving forward, the goals for befriending creatures are all about finding our what they need and then providing it. And then enjoying their time with me – or mine with them seeing as so many of them have long lifespans – this Spring’s young cockatoos will probably outlive me.
I feel like it’s a pretty poor excuse for a plan – what are your thoughts? I mean I don’t think I can really do anything until I know what it is I need to do. But I think I have to put a time limit on the research or it will never end. Perhaps one species at a time.
Next time I’ll be looking at human friendships.
Maybe instead of gauging your interspecies friendship research in terms of time limits, you can gauge in terms of attempts/successes/failures. Just jump right in and try things v putting it off by studying, etc.
For example your log might read like this:
Set out water for x, y, and z animals. Seems to be gone. Must be drinking. Will continue.
Set out bits of fuzz for n bird nest building. Still there. Will try something else.
That way you might discover a new way to enjoy things and it would feel more interactive.
OR—this is a really crazy thought: Stand out there on your deck or porch or whatever and ASK the creatures what they want/need from you…! And let them know what you want/need from them!
(I tell the fish in our pond they are good fish every day when I feed them. I don’t know if they listen or not but every day when I start jabbering they come out from wherever they are hiding and swim crazily about…which I interpret as fishly joy at being recognized!)
Thanks CND. I did ask the cockatoo chicks not to eat my kangaroo paws and so far they have obliged, but I’m not sure that my fuschia will survive their interest. Some of them also play with the toys we put up in the hope they wouldn’t eat the house, so that’s good too. “Our” magpies have been stripping the dog beds of hessian thread, and the dogs have been allowing it. It’s too early for the lizards but my tiny research suggests piles of rocks for cover are about all they need – seemingly they LOVE snails so all good there too – just need a pile of rocks by the vegetable garden. I guess I just want to get it right – not be accidentally killing them, and making sure that they aren’t driven away by the non-native species. So I have been accidentally following your approach and it is working so far.