Have you got animals in your life? Did you ever wonder what they thought of the strange association between you and them? Can you imagine a friendship between two totally different animals occurring in the wild? Is this what humans were put on the planet for?
The Dog and I often have extended conversations on a variety of subjects. She tends to be non-committal mostly. I often wonder just how she sees our relationship. We see her as part of the family. Does she see us as part of the pack or, as she has no direct experience of living with a pack, are we her family?
In a previous life, we had a dog and a cat. While they were very particular about their individual perquisites and insisted on the maintenance of the established pecking order, never-the-less we would often come home to find them sitting on adjacent steps of the staircase (a position that gave a good view of the front door), just keeping each other company while we were out.
Sometimes, on our walk, The Dog and I come across the cows making the daily trek from milking shed to field. The farmer walks on ahead of the herd calling out to them – and all thirty or forty cows plod along behind him, following him into whichever field he has selected.
This guy was a bit irritated as we passed the stables. Someone had come and saddled up one of the other horses and the two of them had gone off for a ride. It was plain that he felt it was grossly unfair that he hadn’t been chosen for the outing. Horses seem to value human company. Do they see their riders as fellow herd-members – or is it something more than that, do they value human friendship?
Are we here as mediators, protectors, carers or is there some deep natural instinct within us that drives us to commune with the animals around us? If animals don’t do this in the wild – is this actually what makes us different from animals?