I don’t have preferences. Life fascinates me and I’ve been a student of life as long as I can remember. I don’t have a favorite animal as such. I have enjoyed equally the many days (and nights) I’ve spent studying dogs as those I’ve spent studying horses, ducks, bees, sea-horses or wolves. All have taught me invaluable lessons that I carry with me, within me.
I favor none, yet one comes closer to my heart than any other. For reasons still unknown to me, perhaps well kept in my millennial inheritance, this one animal talks to me in a way none other does. It’s been a love story since the moment I, still a boy, first met him in the forests on my natal mountains. I wasn’t afraid though I should be, for they—the adults—had told me scary stories about this bloodthirsty and merciless beast. He looked at me with his deep eyes, and for a moment we stood still, barely daring to breathe and break the magic—as if time had ended and we were mere memories of an era bygone. We looked at one another for a moment barely, one which remains imprinted in my memory, one that made me what I am. I have no idea what my eyes told him, but his told me a story of freedom and eternity, of togetherness and solitude. I went home with my secret, and a strange, warm and good feeling like when you made a new friend, I reckoned, for I didn’t know, then, how it felt to be in love. I never told my parents, my grandparents or anyone. I knew he was in danger and you don’t betray a friend, do you?
A few days later, maybe more, there was some commotion in the village. I went down with my grand-daddy to find out what all the fuss was about. Laying on the ground, dirty and bloody, there he was. A farmer had shot him, my friend, the wolf. His eyes were open and tranquil. They had lost that spark I guess is the gift of life, but they talked to me nonetheless. For a while, I listened, until my grand-daddy grabbed my hand and led me away. I listened to my friend the wolf’s stories, stories I carry with me, within me, and made me what I am.
If animal behavior fascinates you, you will enjoy "Ethology—The Study of Animal Behavior in the Natural Environment," the book and course by ethologist Roger Abrantes.