CAUTION! THIS POST CONTAINS CUTE PICTURES OF ANIMALS, INCLUDING SOME YOU MAY HAVE SEEN BEFORE ON THIS BLOG! I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LIKE A COUPLE OF THESE PICTURES! I MAY USE THEM AGAIN IN FUTURE POSTS! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
We and cats and dogs share the majority of our DNA. We all yawn and stretch. We all sneeze. We all do this --
-- when we're confused and/or intrigued. We all occasionally want to can haz cheezburgr. We all like to snuggle:
We all scratch ourselves when we itch, and we all get wide-eyed when we're startled.
It's not just we who can learn from other species. To give just one example of them learning from us: every single one of those totally-adorable "unusual animal buddies" stories, in which animals from 2 or more different species form a close relationship --
-- and by the way, can we agree that there's actually nothing unusual about it any more? -- every one of those sweet friendships between a cat and a duck or a seal and a penguin or a dog and a deer or what have you -- every one of those relationships has happened when all of the animals involved were under the care and protection of humans. [PS, 22. February 2016: That's not true. Since posting this I have learned of animals "in the wild," as it's sometimes called, who have adopted abandoned infants of other species. Including a lioness raising an orphaned baby antelope, protecting it form other lions and giving it milk.]
When I'm urging people to appreciate animals more deeply, I am most definitely including humans among those animals. Not every single interaction between humans and other animal species harms the others, that's every bit as obviously untrue as saying that other species don't have emotions or memories. The belief in the supposed wonderful quality of things "untouched by man" is just the irrational flip side of the more traditional irrational belief that humans are the "pinnacle of creation." Both rest upon an assumption that there is a fundamental difference between humans and other species, that the others are "natural" while we humans are "artificial." Nonsense. We're a part of nature. I urge you to ponder that the next time you look into the eyes of a dog or cat or some other friendly non-human creature which has eyes.