What is reality?

Whatever it is, is there a single reality covering all humans, or is reality a personal, individual matter? And is it only subjective?

I have pondered this question for a while, and read a few articles. But I would not dare to ask any professional concept-splitters, as I feel that I may be swamped semantically.

While I kept pondering, I wondered what reality might have been for my former canine friend, Kao the German Shepherd. I had him trained from when he was 3 months old. He had lived with me until age 12 months, when his best mate (my daughter), with whom he had bonded for life at age 6 weeks, returned from overseas.

Since I had not told him that he is a dog, could his reality have been that he was one of us? Big, with a placid nature, never fussy, never aggressive, he kept company with the family. When my granddaughter began to crawl, he allowed her to climb all over him, rest on him, and (for a short while) to poke his eyes and nostrils. When she was asleep during the day, he kept watch. He was a caring companion.

On an outing at a beach, the child led him on a walk one morning, holding his lead. What was amazing was that Kao kept a step ahead of the 2 year-old, and walked at her pace! He was more careful than mothers I have observed dragging a child at the mother’s walking pace on footpaths.

Was he self-aware? Did he create for himself a reality based on experience? I suspect that he did.

Do we humans also create an individual subjective experience-based reality? Then, how many realities do we create? I envisage a physical reality, as well as a mental reality reflecting our thoughts and memories.

Since I have been exposed to the realm of spirits, do I then not have a third reality? Then, if there is an ephemeral realm beyond the realm of spirits, and were this to engulf us at all times (as I feel it does), would this be a fourth (but generally un-noticed) reality?