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Animals Are Among Our Best Friends
We have many animal friends
We have a close relationship with many animals
When we look through history, we find the human beings have had a long and often, even symbiotic relationship with animals. We have learned to live with and form mutually beneficial relationships with many animals. Among these animals we find the dog, the cat, the horse, the donkey, the cow, the chicken, the pig, the Indian elephant, the llama, the goose, the duck, the mongoose, the cormorant, the sheep, the goat and many others. Among the best of friends we find the horse, the dog, the cat, the cow and Indian elephant.
The dog is ubiquitous throughout the entire extent of the world inhabited by human beings. There are more varieties of dogs with specialized capabilities than any other human bonded species. The size range in dogs is enormous with tiny ones little bigger than a tea cup to the monster sized ones the size of a Shetland pony. Dogs have been bred to specialize in detecting scents that human beings cannot. Such dogs can sniff out concealed bombs and drugs that people would miss. As far as the bomb threat is concerned, we cannot say how many lives have been saved as a result of these dog trackers that uncovered the threats before they detonated. Several types of hunting dogs have been bred including the types and variants of bloodhounds, pointers and retrievers. These are hunting-working dogs, but there are also others working dogs, such as seeing-eye-dogs and the police dog. Both of these dogs “go to school” at great expense in order to get a thorough going and specialized education for the role they fulfill for individuals and society. We can really appreciate the service these friends and co-workers perform for us on a daily per minute basis. Today it would be hard to imagine life without them. For other cultures, the dog is essential. For the Inuit, dogs to run the sleds are essential for going to the hunting areas and returning the food back to the village. The grueling and long dog sled race in Alaska; the Iditarod, is an outgrowth of the Inuit dog sled team. There are rescue dogs that search for and uncover people buried in avalanches and in the debris after an earthquake. There are many more relationships between dog and man, showing that this versatile friend is indispensable.
Talking about friendship; the dog that bonds to you is so happy to see you after an absence that it practically jumps out of its skin to greet and show you affection. Dogs are known to be excellent protectors and alarm systems due to their acute senses of smell and hearing. There is no doubt about this today, that dogs are among our best friends and should be accorded the respect and dignity that a best friend deserves.
The way it should be, but be careful during the rut
Another great friend of humanity is the horse. Horses have many forms and sizes, though not a radically differing as among dogs. The giant Clydesdale horse, also known as the gentle giant, is spectacular and beautiful, bred for pulling large loads before the advent of the internal combustion engine. The typical individual can tower over you at about 7 feet at the shoulders. Today, their role is to pull large surreys or multi seated carriages where many tourists are taken through places like Central Park in New York and in Stanley Park in Vancouver at a slow leisurely pace. Some people object to the use of horses in this way, but that is not the only use horses are put too. Another friend of the police officer, is the horse that is used in patrol in difficult areas and for crowd dispersal. As with the police dog, the police horse also is put to a rigorous education, especially for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol horse that has to know how to march in column and column of route in the musical ride that is a joy for tourists to Canada to behold. In the 19th century, the ubiquitous American cowboy used horses to herd cattle and sheep. Where sheep were herded, there was also the presence of sheep herding dogs. Prior to the advent of the internal combustion engine, the streets of every developed country and city were filled with horses, people on horseback, horse drawn surreys and wagons. Horses having horse sense, were involved in very few head on collisions, even if the driver was stupefyingly drunk. Unfortunately, horses were standard weapons in war until the 20th century. They were also used in the conquest of the First Nations. We have a fondness for horses today and many people still ride for pleasure and keep horses as pets. Smaller horses are even invited into the household along with dogs and cats.
In India. the elephant is held in high esteem and it has been the muscle behind every massive building. The elephant has a place in Hindu religion in the form of Ganesha, the wise scribe of sacred history. The elephant is used in forestry in harvesting hardwood, used for road building, construction sites and stone hauling even to this day. The owner-tenders often treat their helpers with great care, bathing them after a hard days work and providing for their keep. For the Indian, the elephant is still a central icon of respect. We have no doubt that elephants were employed to erect the wonderful naked eye astronomical observatories found in the subcontinent. In Hollywood, Indian elephants are often used in jungle and Tarzan movies, as the African counterpart has never interacted well with humanity.
All around the world, we depend on the cow to provide milk, cream, butter and cheese. Cows, like elephants in India are sacred and have free run of the city streets. Most Indians are vegetarian, taking only milk in their diet in addition to grains, potatoes, vegetables, herbs, nuts and fruit. To them, the cow is essential. In America and Canada, cows are not as fortunate, being the victims of experimentation for the goal of ever increasing milk production. They are also incarcerated in massive factory farms where they have no liberty of movement at all. When milk production falls, they are packed off to the slaughterhouse to supply the demand for meat.
Many people are cat fanciers and the cat rivals the dog as a home companion. Intimately cats were seen as agents of witches and of the devil in the dark ages. But when people learned that they were hunters of rats and mice and that this also helped to curb the devastation of plagues, cats became a friend. There are several varieties of cats that are popular and the cross breeding of these has resulted in dozens of varieties. The main attraction to cats is the ease in their care as cats are largely independent and very clean conscious. Some cats will support themselves on a diet of captured rodents and birds. Yet, they will befriend people, probably as where there are people, there are rodents and a place that is usually warm. Other than that, cats are very independent minded.
There are of course, many other animal-human relationships that exist and some such as the fisherman-cormorant interaction is an interesting story in itself. We end on the note that we need to treat our friends with great respect, no matter what form they take and their relation with the family. This means that they are afforded all the rights and care as any other family member.
Police dogs in action
the RCMP musical ride; man and horse in cooperation
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