Throughout life we may stop to think about all the things that we can teach animals. We could teach dogs to sit, stay, fetch, and potty train them. Cats can be taught to catch the pests that invade our homes, trained to use a litterbox, and other cool things. Other animals can be taught a multitude of tricks as well, but have you ever stopped to think about what animals can teach us? What do we have to learn from them? We could learn their traits, life lessons from what happens to us when we’re with them, and many other things. Walt Whitman had an amazing quote that illustrates the simplicity of an animal:
“I think I could turn and live with the animals; they are so placid and self-contained. I stand and look at them for what seems like forever. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things; not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago; not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.”
Dogs can teach us compassion, loyalty, and the meaning of family. We’re taught compassion through the way they care about us and how when something is found on the road, they gingerly paw at it to make sure it’s dead (although they generally pick it up and eat it after it’s confirmed to be dead, but that’s beside the point). They teach us loyalty through their actions; if you’ve ever seen a dog with a homeless person and can still see the love in their eyes after all they’re going through, then you know the loyalty of a dog. The meaning of family is taught through their pack mentality; they eat together (or at least at the same time), sleep together, and even flea bite on one another. Dogs are also really great listeners and the human population could definitely stand to learn that. Humans are too caught up with what they’re gonna say next and have a mentality of “The world revolves around me” that they’re not there to be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on; the world would be a much better place if they were.
Cats on the other hand are more independent, adventurous (although dogs are too), and a little stuck up to an extent. We learn to be independent and lean on ourselves for most things, but cats do still need love and affection as do humans no matter how independent we get. We learn to have an adventurous spirit; cats are always looking near trees and tall grass waiting to find a small rodent or a cricket. They frolic through the fields and I once even had a cat that liked to go walking in the woods; he was a very sweet kitty and every time we got too far away from him he would meow as loud as he could until he caught up to us. To an extent cats can seem stuck up as well, but they’re only like that because they know exactly what they want (aside from whether they wish to be inside or outside) and they won’t take anything less than that. Humans can learn this trait because we often settle for less than what we want or deserve and it’s hard to get out of that mentality, but I hope everyone starts to realize that they don’t have to settle for less when, with a little patience, you can have more.
So next time you look at your family pet, realize that there’s a lot you can learn from them instead of all the things that they can learn from you. Love them while they’re still here cause you never know when they may be taken from you. I only have one more week left before all my hours are up for the paper, but it’s been a blast and I shall miss being able to write about things for you guys. If you’d like to suggest my last topic for the column, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you a shout-out in the column if I pick your topic; just leave your name, topic idea, and where you’re from (that part is optional). I look forward to your ideas. Have a great day and stay safe.