What can Animals Teach us about Humanity

When we think of what we can learn from pets and animals we may think of scientific facts, such as their diet, their habits, and so forth. We can also think of things they can teach us about understanding ourselves as human beings and our role in the natural world.

One thing pets and animals have definitely taught us, although we still struggle with, is that bullying is perfectly normal. In just about every animal species there is a pecking order. There are animals at the top, and those at the bottom. Certainly this is not nice, nor is it fair, but it is natural. Some human societies have formed the caste system whereby people fit into one level of society, often that of their parents, and stay there. This ends the bullying that occurs when people try to move up the social ladder and are met by others who wish to maintain their own position. As infuriating it is to be bullied, or to watch somebody being picked on, pets and animals, can show us that this is a normal occurrence.

Pets and animals can also show us things about relationships. Many species of animals, from giraffes to penguins have been found to have homosexual individuals. We have also learned that these animals often have a wish to be parents, as homosexual pairs of penguins will sometimes try to hatch rocks.

Again, along the lines of relationships, we can learn that being pregnant does not automatically mean a female wants to be a mother, and nor will she necessarily be a good one. Many pet owners are distraught when their pet refuses to care for its young. We also treat pregnant woman who do not want to keep the baby as though there is something wrong with them. From our pets and other animals we should learn that is a normal thing.

We can learn that we do not have to judge based on looks. Naturally we have to determine if somebody is a threat to us, but once that is done we should be able to live happily with each other. Dogs do not judge each other based on appearances. They look for compatible personalities and make friends far quicker than we do.

We can learn from our pets and animals that we should do what makes us happy as we will be better at it. This is particularly true of our domestic dogs. Border Collies, for example love to herd, and have been bred to do just that, as a result they are terrific at it, but would make lousy lap dogs, they would simply be too bored. Equally you will not see many Shih Tzus competing in advanced agility, but they make terrific house pets. We humans need to learn to allow ourselves to work at what we enjoy best, and need to allow people to do the things they are suited for. Sadly we let our lives be ruled by money, some take jobs they hate because they pay well, and others cannot get the job they would love because they cannot afford the education needed.

We can also learn compassion. Pets and animals are mostly at our mercy. We control nearly every population on earth, yet, we do little to control our own. We exploit many species for our own selfish desires. We own them as status symbols and confine them to horrible conditions before killing them as food. We consider ourselves to be the most intelligent species on the planet, yet when we look at the other animals we seldom note that they have not destroyed nearly as much as we have.

We have much more to learn from our pets and animals, sadly our egos will probably prevent us from learning, or accepting, some of the lessons they can teach.