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Our Pets Are People Too

Updated on December 21, 2014

We as humans more often than not see ourselves as the most social/compassionate creatures on the planet, but are we ? Human beings seem to crave companionship, this interaction aids us in developing healthy, normal relationships. These relationships cross over into our abilities to function with others at school, the work place or just everyday life. But is companionship something that is craved only by us or does it seep over to the animal kingdom as well. Hubber justinevondall said it best and I quote "Almost every human on earth has experienced an inter-species relationship. Whether your best friend is a dog, cat, horse, hamster or lizard, people are quite aware of the positive affects the love of an animal can have on us".

Who said you can't play with your food ?

Animals are people too...?

It was once believed that people were the only ones capable of feeling complex emotions, but history shows different. These Inter-species relationships are being seen at the zoo, animal sanctuaries as well as our very own homes. Cats forming relationships with birds or dogs, leopards forming relationships with dogs, turtles with hippos. The predator and the pray as well are lying down differences and forming long lasting friendships. One major point that I did observe was that this inter-species pairing did not occur in the wild. This pairing was formed between orphaned animals who were sharing the same environment. Once removed from their natural habitat a new form of nurturing must begin; you have to replace the missing parent, or group that they belong to if you want them to have as normal and healthy a life as possible.I do not doubt that if they had never been removed from there natural habitat (if their health issues did not dictate removal) that the predictor and prey relationship would still be in effect.

Our need for companionship

I believe that it is the desire not to be alone which has helped to form these unlikely bonds. If a big cat such as a lion cub in the wild were in it's natural habitat it would be called a Pride. They rely solely on their mother for their first six weeks of life. While in the pride they learn and play. The games they play imitate behavior that they will need as adults to defend themselves as well as survive. Play not only helps to teach cubs survival skills but it helps to build strong social bonds as well. Just knowing that mom and dad will protect them from predators helps to provide a home of security and comfort. All these things could not take place without a social bond. Be it the human race or the animal kingdom we all need these social bonds to grow, learn and survive.

Companionship nurtures us all (people and animals) physically, mentally and emotionally. Even those who are socially isolated could not start off that way, at one point they were not able to feed or care for themselves. Someone had to teach them how to eat or build a home. It seems that a lot of things that we expect as a way of life do not end with us. Our pets/animals also are in need of these bonds. All my life I have had dogs, cats, fish, birds.... around me; it wasn't until adulthood that I realized the impact that these relationships had on me. They (my pets) needed me and I needed them and we were happier and healthier because of our relationships. We formed bonds that grew into strong, lasting friendships.

Cross-species / Interspecies communication

It is said that animals can sense fear, I believe that fear is not the only thing that they can sense. They are also capable of sensing "need" in a very compassionate way. Once believed to be incapable of complex emotions, the following examples will force you to rethink that thought pattern.

  • Stroehen, North Germany's zoo house an unusual pair. A Dachshund named Bessi has become mom to a baby tiger. Bessi began nursing the tiger when it's mother died. Even tho the baby may be too young to realize that it is not a dog, Bessie knows and adopts the tiger none-the-less.
  • Three baby tiger at a zoo in the Ukraine have been abandoned by their mom. A pig on a farm in eastern Ukraine takes on nursing responsibilities for the three tigers even tho she has dozens of piglets of her own to feed. This pig could very easily reject them as it's mother did but she must sense their need and is compassionate enough to step in.
  • A lion instead of eating her dinner adopted an antelope.
  • Lion cubs making friends with baby tigers in the Jinan Wildlife World in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province. In their natural habitat they are enemies, but their need for companionship and to cooperate or compromise seems to trump all else.

Zoos in China have been using dogs as surrogates for some time. It is a common practice in Chinese Zoos to use dogs as surrogates for lion cubs, bears, tigers and other newborns. Animals have been placed with other animals of different species for the sake of building bonds of friendship not just in China but around the world. But would these relationships happen on their own. So far they appear to be manipulated by others.

Charlie and Jack

A bond not manipulated by human hands:

Charlie is a 40 year old horse who was rescued to live out his days in peace. Jack is a 16 year old goat who lives on the same ranch as Charlie. When Charlie lost his eyesight, his adopted parents chose to be compassionate and put Charlie down. It would be hard for a blind horse to function on his own, especially with the many years of age that he carries; but something happened that they did not expect. That something's name is Jack.
Jack sensed Charlie's need and stepped in, forming a bond that only death could break. No human knew of this bond of friendship but Charlie must have known, he knew that his friend would guide him and be his eyes.
When Charlie first lost his sight in one eye Jack would walk on the side where Charlie still had sight to guide his friend to his favorite grazing ground on the ranch property. In time Charlie lost his sight in both eyes and Jack being the friend that he was would walk 10 - 15 feet in front of him, making sure that Charlie stayed on the path by the sound of his hooves.
For years Jack watched over his friend, who would have thought that two different breed of animals could have possibly formed such a bond without words. Jack did not get paid for his compassion or dedication. He simply did what needed to be done, knowing that he was the only one to get the job done. This bond lasted until Charlie eventually passed leaving old Jack the goat behind, but I don't doubt that they will see each other agin; but that is another story.

Being social works

We can learn a lot from the animal kingdom. If they can separate their differences and see the universal need why can't we. Maybe it is time for the lamb to lie down with the sheep. Sooner or later we all need a hand up, and not a hand out.

© 2013 loveofnight


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    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      You are not alone, I do as well.

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 4 years ago from South Africa

      A great hub - voted up. I personally get on a lot better with animals than i do with people.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      They have more layers than we know....

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 4 years ago

      Your photo caught my eye. Just too cute! We are a family who is a rescue home for dogs and cats. We appreciate the love and loyalty , laughs they give us, just by loving and caring for them. A great article! Shared, tweet and Up ++++ all the way!

      I really enjoyed reading this. :-) Shalom

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      They do touch your heart. It just lets me know how much my pets are family to me.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I completely agree with this hub! I have witnessed this among my cats and dogs. When Herschel, our zen master Schnauzer died, even the outside cats gathered for his burial ceremony.

      I, too, especially loved the story of Jack and Charlie. Thanks for this sweet hub.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      I know-right

    • LEGold profile image

      Lisa Eva Gold 4 years ago from South Florida

      What a precious picture of love!

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      They truly are, for me they are like family.

    • CreeViking profile image

      Robin Olsen 4 years ago from Rural Canada

      Dogs are incredible creatures.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Oh ya, they are smart and can sense things humans cannot. My two black labs are my babies. I can't imagine not having them around. Their a very important part of the family.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      a lot of our pets are so awesome i hate calling them animals, they know more than we give them credit for.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I have goosebumps from that story of Jack and Charlie. I giggled picturing the two of them walking around. What a beautiful odd pair. Animals are amazing and so loyal and full of love. When I was going through chemo, my dog Joey would walk right next to me as he sensed I was weak. One day he was acting really weird and even tried getting in the shower with me (he hates the shower, it scares him). Turns out my blood count was really bad from the chemo and he knew things were gonna get bad. I was taken away in an ambulance. I still get choked up thinking about how worried my little furry buddy was that day.