One of my Facebook contacts, who runs a pet therapy charity using dogs, frequently posts about relationships between animals and humans. One of her more recent posts, involved the reason that abused animals are still happy to see their abusive owners – the man who beats his dog, yet the dog remains at his heals tail up and wagging. The thought of animals being abused is an awful thought, but if we look at it from the dog’s side – their capacity for forgiveness and unconditional love is endless.
My feeling is, that as humans, we can learn a lot from the way that animals behave around us, and with each other. At our home, we have many different species, many of whom cohabit successfully – skunks play with cats, dogs curl up next to cats, ferrets share cats beds. These animals display bonds and respect for each other, that many humans find difficult – and we are the same species. There are humans that are racists and cannot see past colour or creed, humans who discriminate against people with mental and physical disabilities and more. Just because somebody is a little different, they can be cast out, relegated by their peers, and therefore isolated.
Animals do not care about differences in colour or even species – they have no prejudice. I read a lovely article last year, about a lioness who came across an orphaned baby gazelle – being an predator you would think that the lioness’ initial thought would be food, but her instinct was to look after that gazelle until it was able to survive on its own. She led it to green pastures where it fed, to water holes where it could drink. The lioness would not leave the gazelle’s side, protecting it from harm, to the point where she went without food for the sake of the baby’s safety. The lioness came close to starving, until the gazelle was self sufficient.
A video accompanied this article showing clips of the baby’s development and the lioness’ caring nature – it was beautiful, and as the gazelle left to continue life as a gazelle, the two species rubbed noses in a way that was so touching it brought me to tears. This unbelievable bond, built between predator and prey, shows us up as the “dominating species” on Earth – I was embarrassed to be human. The lioness only kills when she is hungry, but in this case, by the time the lioness had become hungry, the bond was built and she cared for the gazelle.
If we, as humans could learn from lessons like this, would the world not be a much better place? As these animals demonstrate, we all have a right to our place on this Earth, and we should respect and love each other unconditionally – not fight over religion, land space or colour. Very recently, one of our seven cats, Bubby, went to live elsewhere (personal circumstances) – he was away for around three months. The other day, as circumstances have changed, he returned to the house. Immediately, he walked around saying hello to his old friends sniffing them and letting them know he was home. The other six cats immediately accepted he was back, and welcomed him. You could see the recognition in their eyes and their actions towards him – its not this easy with new cats, but within two or three days they just become a part of the group.
By learning from the lessons that animals teach us, we can learn about love, acceptance, loyalty, forgiveness, sharing. Animals can help us to make this world a better place – we are humans, we should know better! Thing is we have the media (in the form of TV shows, newspapers, magazines, films) teaching us about how we should not accept each other – time to pay no attention to those messages and “learn from the animals”!
Critterish Allsorts undertake animal assisted therapy sessions, with their critters (who are all family pets), on an individual or group basis in your home, hospital, care home, foster home, or school. Visit their website for more information.
This blog is written by Dale Preece-Kelly from Critterish Allsorts, if you would like to find out more about them check out our previous article 'Meet the Critterish Allsorts'.