A lot of people consider animals to be stupid. There is a long-running debate about whether animals can think and feel emotions on any level that is remotely like human’s ability to do so. Although nothing concrete has been proven yet, as an animal lover I believe that animals can indeed think and feel emotions. In fact, I think animals can teach human beings a lot about love and loyalty.
Although humans are intelligent creatures we can also be hostile toward one another. Not every aspect of human nature is pretty and the same can be said for animals. However, people can also be kind and compassionate and take great strides to help others, as can animals. Many people also show a great deal of love for their pets and most pet owners will tell you that their animals return the favor through loyalty, friendship and company.
Yet, can animals really feel emotions? Do they understand compassion? Can they be accepting of other species? I would say that the answer to all of these questions is “yes.” Animals can connect to other species, hence the close bonds that pets have with “their people.” Furthermore, many animal species have complex social structures in the wild and clearly understand the need to form bonds with others. Sometimes, animals can even form bonds outside their species.
Inter-species animal friendships are an interesting topic. Mother Nature Network (MNN) listed “16 Unlikely Animal Friendships” that included a dog and a monkey, a kitten and a chick, and a toad and a mouse. National Geographic has a web database full of videos that document unusual animal bonds. Caesar Milan, the famous TV “Dog Whisperer” includes a page on his website that tells about the various inter-species friendships that dogs are capable of making. Furthermore, a blog called Let’s Be Friends allows users to upload photos and stories documenting inter-species fraternizing. Considering the number of incidences reported, animals showing compassion toward each other is not nearly as “unlikely” as one would think.
So, what does this have to do with homeschooling or education? For starters, children who want to be vets or zoologists should consider studying animals as part of their homeschooling curriculum. Secondly, noting how animals like dogs and monkeys can connect to creatures outside their species, we humans should instantly realize how ludicrous our prejudges are. Human beings can be extremely exclusive. We sometimes choose to stay away from others who are different from us in background, social status, or opinions. Despite the fact that we are all human beings—the exact same species—we sometimes view other people as so totally different that we are uncomfortable being around them. Animals like the ones in the article above show us how silly this behavior is. Hence, sometimes human beings can learn valuable lessons from animals which should teach us to appreciate all earth’s creatures.