Speed. It’s a quality. Is it a value? Is working fast always better? No, of course not. When I feel the temptation to value speed over being gentle, patient and careful, that’s when I find out what I’m made of. Animals can’t talk. They can act out their frustration or discomfort, but they can’t tell you that you’re being a jerk.
What will I do when I feel time pressure? Will I brush a little too hard? Will I hold the cat too tightly? Will my body tense up, so that the cat feels nervous? Cats can feel the tension in your body, just as we can feel the moment when their body tenses up. We instinctively know that tension means trouble.
Will I reach my higher goal, which isn’t speed. It’s character development. Will I be the person I want to be? Will this animal be the vehicle — a better word is “guide” — taking me toward my best nature?
Everything we do is an excuse to develop. Stocking shelves in a warehouse is an excuse to develop, but the stakes are lower. If you work with animals and don’t aim high, the animals will pay a price.