An Animal Hero And A Human Who Is An Animal
Intelligence Beyond Credit
In the news recently there was a story that truly touched my heart. This past November, a parrot saved a little girl’s life. When Hannah began to choke on her breakfast, Willie frantically called for her babysitter. “Mama, baby!” he repeatedly cried, flapping his wings wildly. While the babysitter, Megan Howard, was the one to administer the Heimlich maneuver, had it not be for Willie, Hannah would’ve died. Last Friday, Willie received his local Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award for his heroic act.
Though many people will brush this story off because it involves an animal, I believe it to be one of the best stories I’ve read in awhile. While people will say that it was all luck and that animals aren’t intelligent enough to call for help, thankfully I know that there are people out there who will see this story for what it really is. Animals rarely get the credit they deserve.
Until I was eleven, my family had a cat named Chauncey. He was this big, Maine Coon cat who was fierce and intelligent. He was a great protector and despised having his tail played with. When my brothers and I were little, before baby monitors were the latest rage, our guard cat would go get my parents when we would start to cry. As we got older, if we tried to sneak out of bed, he would be there, waiting at the door to give us the look that meant “Get back into bed or I’ll get your mother.” He was known to claw at people if they got too close to him, but he never harmed the three of us. As he was an old cat by the time I came into the picture, I never really regarded him as a pet. He was more of a grandfather to me, wise and loving with killer breath.
My Eliza, the brown and white English Springer Spaniel/Beagle mix that you may be familiar with from past hubs, nearly had to serve time in the local pound due to her protecting skills. One of our neighbors, a violent man who finds ways to sue people and collect on fishy insurance claims instead of working, always used to come to our house to voice one complaint or another. (For example, when we wouldn’t allow his children to swim in our pool, he came to complain about the noise we were making in our pool though we had yet to be in it that day. In general, just baseless complaints spewed from a foul mouth and a scrambled brain.) As with every bully, they always look for your weak spot and jump on it. Our Eliza was our weak spot. When we would walk Eliza, he would yell things from his porch to provoke one of us into saying something. When Eliza would be out, he would either walk by the house or send one of his children to walk by the house to taunt her into barking. When she would bark, he would come to complain, usually armed. Fearful, we would call the police.
Our Eliza was a daredevil who would often escape from the house or from her leash. Our neighbor would always be there, baseball bat in hand, ready to cause trouble. One day, he brought his son along and Eliza, knowing I was scared, began to bark at them. Though I tried to protect her, the man managed to scratch his son so he would bleed. Needless to say, he blamed it on Eliza and the police were called. He managed to blame two more cuts on Eliza over that summer. While on a walk, he swung at us (Eliza and I) and Eliza pushed him away to keep him from hurting us. On another, his wife kicked Eliza in the face and ended up nicking her leg on one of Eliza’s teeth. We were sued. (Our insurance company has a nuisance clause or something.) He got his new toys. He backed off...to a degree.
It needs to be noted that during none of these police visits did Eliza get taken away, harmed or penalized. The police knew he was nuts and, only after legal action, did we manage to get him to stay away. Through all of this, Eliza never backed down. She protected us until the day she died.
Why do people doubt the intelligence of animals? Is it a fear of being seen as inferior or that they don’t want to be replaced by an animal? Through out my life, I have known animals that were far more intelligent, ethical and humane than many humans I’ve met. As I was raised to love and respect animals, it always frustrates me when people don’t see animals for all that they are. Our society commits crimes against each other. Our society has ruined our environment. Our society has gotten into a hole of debt that we may never be able to get out of. To the people who think animals don’t deserve to be valued, show me an animal that has done so much harm and I’ll shut my mouth and cross over to your side.
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