Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Animal Love" (on interspecies animal relationships)

animal love


Throughout most of the year, I strongly resisted writing anything about interspecies animal relationships, mostly because it is usually represented on the internet through a never-ending barrage of absolutely “cute” photographs of animals paired with other species, some of which appear to be “staged” by the photographers and others of which, even if more credible, are attributed to very specific conditions, generally involving a baby of one species adopted by a nursing mother of another. In other cases, it appeared that the interspecies relationship was beneficial to both animals, and was not representative—as these posts generally imply—of some altruistic instinct of one animal reaching out to give pleasure to another.


 It may be simply that, just as our own animal species of human beings enjoys having other animals around us, some animals find it pleasurable to make friends with, or dare we say “pets” of other animals, even when they might normally be at the other end of their dietary needs. Humans, after all, make pets of pigs, cows, and even chickens (my sister and I had a pet rooster, Gilbert, which I describe in My Year 2006).

     Let us just conclude that the possibility that animals reach out to other species arouses some kind of emotional response in us that, perhaps, is just as interesting if not more, than the evidence of interspecies relationships. We love the idea of animals loving animals, and that suggests, I might argue, that we would like to believe in the possibility of all species living peacefully together in a kind of global Noah’s Arc in a time when our own species often is busy killing off our own kind.

     I’ve picked out just three of the numerous cute photos of which I have spoken of above. Check out sites like Buzzfeed if you want more of these admittedly adorable images.


Los Angeles, August 17, 2014

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