|Perfect spot to take a nap|
I stole this from an email I just received - one of those 'take the time to smile' ones full of cute or amusing photos with tongue-in-cheek captions. And wow. It may just be me but that looks COMFY. I've used my Great Dane or Boerbull as a pillow before but never a cow.
Other than the fact that I am a tad knackered from an overindulgence of wine the previous two nights, this photo makes me glad to be seeing my animals on the weekend. They really add so much to a life. They may be a handful and require time and effort - you can't lead a lock-up-and-go lifestyle - but each pet I've known, whether they are my own or a friend's or one I met in the street, has it's own personality. Even our gander has his own special quirks. And because of a life lived amongst them, I do not know how people say that animals don't have souls.
That may take us back to the question of what a soul actually is. I don't know what it is per se but I think it's what makes us us. Indiviually speaking, not humanoid speaking. Our genetic make-up makes us human. I think our soul is the thing that stores our personality, way of thinking - the stuff that makes us different from the person next to us. If we cloned a body and made it the shell that each of us walked in, then the soul would still tell us apart. You may not like the term 'soul' so go for whatever you think best suits: soul, spirit, force, whatever.
Anyway, whatever they are, I am convinced that animals have them. Some may disagree and say that certain breeds of dogs have certain traits which have been bred into them and so it falls under the realm of genetics not the soul. I do not deny this is true. However, I have know at least four Great Danes, so that's four individual animals of the same breed. And sure, there were traits that they all had - their penchant for leaning against you as they crab walk, their gentle-giant natures and their intimidating growl. But then there were the things that each of them had that were their own special personalities. Shadow was a mothering, protective type who would sit her bum down on a couch and quizzically watch TV with us. Othello was my sister's boy, Bianca was mine - not by ownership but by favourites - they unfortunately weren't with us long enough for their full selves to bloom. And then there is Picasso with whom I have the closest bond. He is intelligent and playful - at 9 years he still dances with me in the kitchen and runs circles round me in the garden so proud of his rope that he wants you to play with it too, but won't give it to you without a game and a fight.
And those are just the Danes. There was also Grizzly (to name but one of the dogs I've had the priviledge to have known through the years) who is the Boerbull pictured above. Seeing his face in those, well, enough said. We've had a cat who loved to lick Germolene or Jik (maybe she was a closest druggie) if you had it on your fingers. We currently have three pairs of cats - pairs in that they are from the same litter. And within each pair the cats could not be more different. Some are attention-seekers and love human contact, others are more aloof and selective in who they'll sit with or when. As I said, we have a gander who I swear likes to be best mates with the alpha-male dog in the family, and who gets very protective and jealous of his closeness to it. Skittish but gentle donkeys, cheeky horses, parrots that bite your toes or love to eat from your mouth (not a good plan if they've just been fed chillies).
So yes, my point is that they are each their own animal and if you are one of the lucky ones who know the joy of having a pet with whom you have a bond, then you also will know, or will at some time know, the heartbreak that comes along when we outlive them. It's as bad as losing a human family member or best friend. It has been for me anyway. As for those of you who don't have an inkling of what I'm talking about: shame. I really do feel for you. You're missing out on a great part of life.