A Natural Leader

As I was reading an article on anthropomorphism and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy in the EGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) monthly, I reflected on the amazing animals here at Montara.

It is easy when you watch our horses, dogs and cats interact with guests and with each other to ascribe to them human qualities, motivation and emotions.  They do seem to plot, plan, and act to some playful or diabolical purpose.

Our wonderful alpha dog Zorro, a stray border collie, had more things on his agenda than the average  CEO.  He had the responsibility for training the other nine dogs on farm protocol… be nice to the guest, don’t chase the cats, poop in the woods not the yard, don’t beg or annoy the guests, and of course be available to sit quietly and listen.  He governed with confidence and compassion, mentoring each new stray into the community, never having to growl.

He had the role of chief security officer and daily patrolled the farm perimeter for invading hordes of bunnies and terrorist coyotes or bears.

A skilled facilitator, Zorro led groups of humans on hiking and running trails and always led the trail rides, prancing proudly in the front.

He anticipated the guests’ need for excitement and adventure, rounding up deer and herding them toward unsuspecting horse riders.  On occasion, he would deliberately lead a group on a wild goose chase when they thought he knew where the clues were hidden during a team building game.

Always the team leader, an I/S on the DISC personal inventory, even the horses recognized his quiet leadership style.  He rounded them up into the corral without even a bark or snarl.  Always loving, caring and good humored, he never showed aggression even when provoked, and was never moody.

Zorro came to Montara when he was two or three years old and never strayed a day afterwards.  He never missed dinner and snuggled close to us in front of the TV at night.  For fifteen years he brought comfort and joy to all who met him.

His intelligence, his grace, his style, and his loyalty are qualities to be admired.  What an amazing role model for us humans aspiring to be leaders, even if it is only anthropomorphism.

Zorro died about three months ago, in his sleep, in his owner’s bedroom as always, and with his best buddies, Monte and Lucy by his side while the other seven dogs of his community slept nearby.