Feeling exhausted after a few busy days, I recently decided to go and lose myself in the forest and unwind. Sometimes when I go out with my camera I bring my chocolate Labrador Milo along with me. Being just two years old, Milo can sometimes be a handful. He really likes to make new friends and sometimes, just as I am set up somewhere to take a few shots, he might decide to do some exploring of his own.

Milo loves to wait until I am positioned in a difficult location, mounted my camera on my tripod and have adjusted all my settings moments before capturing a shot. This is when Milo thinks its best to leave me and wander off to where I can’t see him. During these moments I am left with two choices. Do I lose the shot and go chase him? Or do I trust that he will return? I use to chase after him. Looking like an absolute fool I would call out ‘Milo! Milo! Come back here!’ The more I yelled and chased him, the faster he ran with a smile on his face and his tail wagging. It’s those moments in life make you realise that you don’t own a dog, the dog owns you.

As time has gone on I’ve learned to just let him go and, to my surprise, Milo always returned. During our adventure in the rainforest I really saw Milos loyal personality bloom. Without a leash, I let Milo walk on his own the whole time. He was so excited and took the lead as we weaved through the narrow trail, he would never go more than ten steps ahead, always looking back to make sure I was still following. Whenever I would wander off the path he would follow me without hesitation. At one point I stood in the water for about 15 minutes as I was trying to capture a shot. I was shocked to see him patiently waiting at the creek bed. He faithfully stood by, waiting for his master to instruct him.

Chocolate labrador in the forest

When someone does an indecent act they can be labelled a ‘dog’. But the more I see of dogs and their natural characteristics, the more I think they have good personality to emulate. I think if we were all like Milo, the world would probably be a much nicer place. Perhaps a little unhygienic, but nicer nonetheless.

In the bible, the apostle Paul speaks of the characteristics a believer should bare. These are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I think Milo possesses all of these characters. Sure some come a little more naturally than others. And some such as self control he is still working on. But what matters is that he is growing all the time.

Sometimes when life gets a little rough or when I may be feeling a little short tempered, Milo’s smile reminds me of the man I should be striving to be. Sure we can’t change over night but like Milo, we can grow over time and by doing so perhaps shed a little light into someone’s day. WP

Sun beam within the forest.