Animals DO Understand – Everything They Need To Understand

Two things will never settle in me:

  • Human ignorance about how to share life with animals
  • Human abuse of animals

The ignorance rips my heart.   Animals know a lot more about living than (too many) humans realize.  Even science is catching on – after years of insensitive “using” of animals to test their theories.

It’s not loving to treat animals like human babies.  How is that different from putting them in a zoo in the name of entertainment or education?  Make the effort to learn about animals in their own turf.  Watch animals as themselves.

It’s not acceptable to train animals to perform human acts or live like humans.  It’s a form of abuse.  Pets are meant to be cared for and loved, but not as a replacement for a human.  Love them as an animal.  They need nature to exercise their animalness.   How would it feel to be kept only inside, contained under someone’s rule?

Worried about what animals do to the balance of nature?  Look at the imbalance caused by humankind.  I remember my shock over seeing lock systems where salmon are trying to swim upstream to spawn.  Humans decide how many to allow through the locks in the name of “management”.  Fisherman have had to experience  with the consequences of so-called management.  For thousands of years, before governments created Ministries of Fisheries, the salmon managed admirably and managed to feed man and beast alike.  Sure, nature gets itself out of balance – according to our perceptions – but it ceaselessly does everything to bring balance back.

Someone talked about seeing an elephant in a zoo.  Did they believe they saw authenticity?  They viewed a majestic creature driven neurotically docile by humans after being ripped away from its herd, habitat and happiness; in other words, from its soul.

Animals encroaching on us?  Who was here first?  As a child, I freely roamed the wilds of Alberta with my little dog.  I was never bothered by a bear, cougar, lynx, coyote or moose.  Only one creature scared my heart into overdrive:  that happy dog darting freely in and out of the bush.

Animal abuse forces me to face my rage.  One part of my shadow side is a hope that abusers live a long, slow, lingering and agonizing process when they finally face their ugliness.  The need to dominate can be applied to dominating their journey into a healthy respect for nature.

Yes, wild animals can be dangerous.  They’re stuck in the middle – between human’s territorial ignorance and protecting their young, food and territory.  Of course they’ll attack if provoked or starving.  They don’t want to dominate us.  They simply want to eat, sleep and raise their young.

Ignorance and abuse can take subtle form.  A few years ago, a Woman told me she had ordered a very expensive cat from a breeder in Toronto.  The breeder was putting the kitten on a plane so it could be picked up at the Victoria Airport.  I bit my tongue as I thought of the process this kitten would undergo.

A few weeks later, I ran into The Woman, “Did you get your kitten?”

“Yes, we picked him up, but I don’t know what we’re going to do.  He won’t eat.  I’ve had him to the Vet, we’ve tried all sorts of things.  I’m really scared he’s going to die.  Poor little Scruffy…”

“Scruffy?  Is that his name?”

“Yah, you should have seen him when we first saw him in his carrier in the airport.  Hair standing in peaks, looking half drowned.  He looked so funny! I decided we’d call him Scruffy.”

“I think this little guy has a story to tell.  Would you like me to see if I can tap into his world and find out what’s going on?”

She’d been to an animal whisperer presentation a few years before so I knew she’d be receptive.

“Would you?”

Fortunately, it was as though Scruffy had been waiting for someone to listen.  He described his shock over being taken from his mother.  He panicked over the carrier as hecarried outside into winter weather.  Cold during the car trip to the airport, it was nothing compared to being in the belly of the plane.  He nearly froze as water continuously dripped and splashed over him.  The noise frightened him and he panted with panic throughout the flight.

Plus he hated his name, Scruffy.  He pointed out how it sounded like a snarl and a hiss.  Saying his name made us sound like enemies.

He was heart broken.  He couldn’t eat.

I phoned The Woman and told her,  “Here’s what you need to do.  Apologize to him.  Make sure you’re sincere and that your tone matches your words.  Tell him you are sorry for this whole messy ordeal.  Promise him you will never do that to him again.  Promise him he will never be put in an airplane again or have to travel without you being by his side protecting him.  Let him know how beautiful he is and how you want to love him for a long, long time.  And give him a new name.”

“What name does he want?” she asked.

“I don’t know.  You’ll have to observe him carefully so he can show you.”

“I promise to do it all.”  She did.  She was obviously sincere because after a few minutes, the little cat went to his bowl and began lapping milk on his own.  Soon he accepted a bit a food.  And then he curled into a ball and slept.

Months later, she described how one frightened and heart-broken kitten turned into a trusting, healthy, happy and loving pet – living under a new name: Zeus.

Tissue alert:

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23 thoughts on “Animals DO Understand – Everything They Need To Understand

  1. This week I came across this trailer for a documentary called The Ghosts in Our Machine (on CBC next sunday night at 10 p.m. Pacific time) about mistreatment of animals on a global scale, especially in the areas of mass food production……..it is based on the book We Animals by Jo-Anne McArthur. In the vidclip she says she believes people are compassionate. I try to believe that too. I applaud the making of such films as the more people become aware of how animals are treated, the more we can move towards change. And since corporations only care about money, it will take us choosing to only eat food that has been ethically and healthily produced that will help turn the tide. This will be better for the animals and also for those who work in the food industry who can have clearer consciences than they must have now, as they try to make a living. Also we will stop ingesting the animals’ trauma at our dinner tables.

    The trailer is here: http://vimeo.com/theghostsinourmachine

    p.s. your banner photo is spectacularly beautiful!

  2. Amy this is just so beautiful – you were right about the tissues – what glorious people, and what utterly beautiful creatures
    How my heart aches for all the unloved misunderstood creatures in the world who all have their feelings and their souls unacknowledged….
    I’ve got a blog already written about this !!!
    Thank you for the wonderful video much love Valerie

  3. What an amazing video!
    I have a love/hate relationship with zoos. I think they have changed a great deal in the last 20 years…at least some of them have and others are working toward change. The laws governing how zoos acquire animals have changed immensely. While things are not perfect in zoodom, there are benefits. Research, education, and species preservation are funded, in part, with the proceeds from zoo admission.

    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing the video.

    • To me, Linda, confinement, even done 5 star, is confinement. Research is most valid when it’s done in a natural habitat. EG, panda bears may be reproducing because they’ve finally learned how to inseminate the poor creature in captivity. However, who caused the decimation of the panda in the wilds in the first place AND what causes the pandas (and other creatures) to not want to mate in captivity? Doesn’t take a scientific study to know those answers. I’ve watched animals in the zoo that I’ve observed in the wild. I know the difference.

      Educate kids with all the videos online showing animals living naturally – narrated by people who know how to respect the animal.

      As you can see, I really am adamant about not having creatures in captivity. As a teen, I had to walk out of Water World in California. Seeing those dolphin/porpoises perform in that manner turned my stomach. You can see I’m pretty passionate about this.

      Here is a great video from Cologne that speaks beautifully to what I’m saying so poorly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUZ1YLhIAg8

  4. I’d tell ya, in some aspects, we truly have done leaps and bounds in the arena of compassionate treatment of animals. Sadly, we’re JUST getting around to “trauma informed care” for human beings. I’d like to think we’re about even between animal and human beings…but I’m not so sure that’s true. *sigh*
    That’s tissue material.

    • For certain, Mel! There’s been a lot of hearts shut down in the name of money, profit and progress. Poisoning people with chemicals is one thing. We humans can quit buying those foods. We can get off our duffs and take consequential action. What can animals do when profiteering means animals suffer? That’s not stewardship. It’s abuse.

      I am well aware that we need to keep bouncing and leaping towards advances in both worlds. Show me a human who has no compassion or care for animals and I’ll see a heart that needs re-opening for both man and beast.

  5. I loved this Amy, thank you for bringing awareness. I am very suspicious of those do not like animals at all, and those who abandon and abuse them make me really angry.

    • Don’t be a female lion. The females do all the hunting AND let the males snack at the kill first. Far as I can see, male lions just lay around watching other male lions until mating season. They’ve fooled all the other wild beasts into being scared of them when it’s really the women they have to watch out for. I never knew any of this until I went to South Africa. I couldn’t believe that no one else thought this was…well…just a little chauvinistic!

  6. Humans insist on rearranging the world to suit our needs and wants. We keep forgetting that we’re part of the world. As our numbers continue to increase, it’s hard to imagine things getting better.

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