Some people like to think animals are just animals. They think animals don’t think or feel or have emotions.
If animals didn’t have emotions, would they take orphaned animals in and nurture them as their own? Even when they’re different species sometimes. Would they cower from thunderstorms or snakes if they didn’t feel fear? Would they mourn the loss of their babies or even their people when they die? Would they show signs of depression? Would they smile when they’re happy? How could they do any of those things if they didn’t have emotions?
I get viral emails all the time about creatures demonstrating emotions.
The most recent was one from my friend Brenda. The subject line read “Pork Chops.” The pictures and story that followed was of a tiger who’d given birth to triplet cubs who had died.
Her health started to decline, and, believing she was experiencing depression at the loss of her cubs, the zoo keepers started searching for orphans for her to mother.
Trouble was, there were no tiger cub orphans to be found anywhere. But there were piglets.
They didn’t know if it would work, but the mama tiger needed cubs to nurture and the piglets needed a mama to nurture them.
Wrapping them in tiger skin, the zoo keepers put the piglets in with the tiger and crossed their fingers.
The mama tiger didn’t reject her new babes. Nor did she eat them. She started nursing them and tending to them and a bond was born. Bye bye depression.
This wasn’t a new story to me. I’ve heard of other animals slipping into a depression after losing their litters, but coming out of it by nursing orphaned animals. I’ve also heard of cases where they were nursing their existing litter, happened upon orphans in need, and incorporated them into their litter.
It’s just one example of animals having emotions. But there are a ton more of them showing happiness, sadness, fear, depression, anger, and compassion.
How anyone can believe animals are “just” animals and don’t have feelings is beyond me. I think the people who feel that way are the simple ones.
Courtney Mroch writes about animals great and small in Pets and the harmony and strife that encompasses married life in Marriage. For a full listing of her articles click here.
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