For the Love of Animals

We are born into this world with a love for animals.  As babies, we share the same innocence and many similar vulnerabilities.  As we grow, we often have animal playmates that grow alongside us.  I’ve met many service dogs who regularly visit nursing home residents.  I’ve known cats living in a hospice facility that won’t leave the room of a patient who is very sick or dying.  I have witnessed horses who adore their owners and caregivers.  And, as a small child, I felt a loving kinship with our cows, pigs, and chickens, and sensed that love returned.  Animals seem to embody a spirit of loving oneness with us.

In a study done in 2012, researchers at the University of London found that  dogs are more likely to approach an individual who is weeping than one who is simply talking.  The submissiveness they display in these situations indicates that they have a primitive understanding of human distress, according to the study.  I have experienced this sort of behavior first-hand, but from a cat, surprisingly!  Have you witnessed this type of behavior from an animal?

Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

As mentioned in my first post on animals, 69 scientific studies on human-animal interaction reviewed by The National Center for Biotechnology Information show that interacting with animals can be quite therapeutic. Some of the benefits shown in these studies include improved mood & behavior; reduced stress, fear & anxiety; improved heart health & immune function; and reduced aggression.  Over the past month, I have set up both a hummingbird feeder and a regular seeded feeder in our front yard.  Watching these precious (but sometimes possessive!) little birds has touched my heart in a way that brings back the sweetness of childhood.  Watching them feed, I’m overcome with tenderness and exhilaration.

Is this a common effect of the pandemic, do you think?  Have you made a deeper commitment to animals, or Nature in general, since the onset of the virus?  Or do you know anyone who has?

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

What about eating animals: do you find that you’re eating fewer meats these days?  I have seen many news articles over the past several months about how the popularity of fake meat items has boomed.  According to the meat paradox, as discussed in an article from Current Directions in Psychological Science entitled The Psychology of Eating Animals, most people care about animals and do not want to see them harmed but engage in a diet that requires them to be killed and, usually, to suffer.  What thoughts or feelings surface when you read that statement?

Before covid-19, I can’t remember ever hearing the word zoonotic.  Now I’m seeing it used repeatedly.  The term refers to diseases, like covid-19, that are spread from animals.  According to Wikipedia, there is increasing evidence . . . that measles, smallpox, influenza, HIV, and diphtheria came to humans this wayTuberculosis and even strains of the common cold, the article goes on to say, originated in animals.  I’ve read information from several sources suggesting that the sad state of factory farming practices in this country could lead to more frequent outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.  Can policy makers do nothing to protect us from these looming threats?  In light of the many sacrifices we’ve made due to the pandemic this year, (and who knows how much longer it will continue) shouldn’t this be a priority?   

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. ~ Abraham Lincoln

We come into this world treasuring animals, but learning to disregard that love, at least for farm animals, often seems part and parcel to growing up.  With all the benefits animals confer on us when they are loved and treated well, perhaps an examination of our current belief system is in order.  Learning to embody the same sense of loving oneness they often display may very well contribute to not only our happiness but also our health and longevity.

Blessings for Animal Love,

Lisa

67 thoughts on “For the Love of Animals

    1. Wow, thank you, Kamal! I read a little about it, and it appears to be your own initiative, which is quite impressive! Protecting our environment is at the top of my priority list, because the Earth is the only home we have. Kudos to you for creating such a beneficial project! Again, I extend to you my deepest gratitude! 🌞

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    1. Wow, thank you, TK, I am honored! I have followed your site & see that you have received many awards! Congrats to you! Looking forward to getting more familiar with your blog. I am driving cross-country right now, so as soon as I get home, I will get started! Thanks again! 🌞🙏🦋

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  1. Hello Lisa! I’m coming to you from a comment you left on Deb’s World. I do love animals. Our dog, Charlie, passed away last spring, but he was very in tune to our moods. If you were sick or sad, he was by your side. If you were happy or excited about something, he would be running around your legs–excited too. We miss him so much. I also enjoy watching humming birds…and other birds. I get excited if I see a deer or a rabbit in nature. I am in awe of big cats, like tigers and lions.

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    1. Hi, Christie, thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. I’m sorry to hear about Charlie. It is hard to lose a beloved pet. Blessings to you for healing that hurt. Like you, I also get excited to see wild animals. They are all so beautiful and precious, even the fierce ones! Enjoy your weekend!

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  2. Great post and loved the pictures. Don’t pictures speak volume, when we are tongue-tied with the beauty, the nature has to offer? It is high time we start preserving our nature, for the future generation might not be blessed with even half of what we are enjoying!

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  3. Ha – that bear in the tree looks like he might be living me too, Lisa – like, with a nice barbeque sauce!
    But seriously – love the depth of this article and the love you show. I’m a vegan (with a weakness for chocolate) and so the animals are safe from me. 😉

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    1. Yay for veganism! I was once just a couple hundred feet away from a momma and baby bear, taking pictures. When my friends saw how close I got without momma coming after me, they said it was because she could tell by her powerful sense of smell that I didn’t eat meat, and therefore I was not a threat to her baby. 🌞

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      1. Haha – that’s a great story! I’m glad you didn’t get eaten by the bear (or fed to her cub). 🙂 As for your vegan diet saving your ass … well, yeah, I suppose it could be true. But then again … 😂

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  4. As soon as I began reading this post, tears began flowing down my face. As you know, I had to put my beloved Paco down on October 25, 2019. I got him shortly after Mama passed away in 2008 and he was my best friend. He was left abandoned in a car lot as a kitten and a friend of mine gave him to me. He did not like going outside at all so I never had to worry about him slipping out the door. He was always at the back door waiting on me to come home and I could hear him meowing after I would get out of the car. He snuggled up to me every single night in bed and loved playing various games with me. We had a very unique connection, none like I’ve ever had before. I had him cremated and he is still with me each and every day. I would like to get another cat, but am just not quite ready yet. Thank you for this heartfelt blog on “For the Love of Animals”. This particular blog reached deep down into my soul.

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  5. As soon as I read your entry, you had my full attention. Animals were here, long before humans, and now we are destroying our planet, Earth. A recent study found that humans are to blame for 96 per cent of all mammal extinctions over the past 126,000 years. Human-caused climate change and other human-related threats pose a large risk for many species. By the end of this century, a further 558 mammals species could be gone forever.
    About food – don’t eat anything with a pulse.
    If you can look up my blog naturetails.blog tomorrow. The new post about discoveries has a part devoted to wildlife photography. Unmissable.

    Joanna

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    1. Hi Joanna, thank you for visiting and commenting with great information. I checked out your blog, and it looks as though I should have nominated you for the Great Achiever Award. I guess I can still do that if you’re willing to accept in this manner? It’s all about peace & environmental matters. Check out my latest post for the details. By the way, I was unable to find an About page on your blog. Are you a teacher? I would be interested in learning your background! Enjoy the weekend! 🌞

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  6. Yes, Lisa, I have experienced animal empathy. When my grandfather lay dying far away and I couldn’t go to see him, I was distraught. I lay face down on the carpet crying. Our cat came over and lay down beside me. She was a great comfort to me.

    Our dog got very excited, and maybe a little jealous when family members hugged each other. He would come over and vocalize until he was petted! This was a very empathetic dog who understood quite a few words and was frustrated when he could not make us understand what he was trying to say.

    When this dog was a puppy and I was lifting my quadriplegic husband into bed at night, the dog would stand and wait to “wash” my husband’s face. Once my husband had a sore on his toe that medicine from the doctor had failed to heal. Our dog kept trying to lick the wound. Finally, my husband decided to let the dog try, and the toe healed. The dog checked the toe and cleaned it every day until it was completely healed.

    Our dog was very depressed for a month when my husband died, even though my husband had died in the hospital, the dog knew he was gone.

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    1. What a lovely, touching story. We placed my father’s favorite dog on his death bed. I’ll never forget his hand touching her and trying to pet her. Both are gone now, but I know they are together in heaven.

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  7. Just now I’m watching a small skinny fox eat the food I set out for it; the deer have come with their fawns (who have recently lost their spots) to eat the corn I tossed in their spot; tonight the raccoons will forage for whatever I set out for them. During the day I feed the chipmunks, squirrels, and a huge variety of birds. I’m not telling my family how much I spend per month in food to watch these wonderful creatures. Yesterday two house sparrows and a red cardinal spartled in the bird bath – the variety and activities are never ending. Tonight I’ll feed the guppies and a tiny mouse, who prefers a dried cranberry to cheese. It’s getting harder and harder to eat meat, including fish. I ate no meat today, and this habit is becoming more regular, knowing what miserable lives we assign to cattle, pigs, chickens — all the animals we harvest for food.

    And then there’s the destruction of their environment. This year I saw no monarch butterflies and just a few bees. We are destroying nature and the web of life. Just now, being with animals and watching them reduces my COVID stress. The family dog knows when to cuddle with me. The deer watch and wait patiently (just a few feet away) for their morning and afternoon treat.

    This is a lovely post, one that speaks to my love for animals and reminds me that they do more honor to our planet than the human species. Every living thing is interconnected. We as humans have largely forgotten this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your precious comment, Vic, thank you for sharing your routine & thoughts. Yes, I agree, every living thing is connected! That is one of the most important concepts we could ever embrace! Blessings to you, my likeminded friend – your visit is an honor. 🌞

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