Animals are capable of so much more than humankind often gives them credit for. Things like intelligence. Love. A moral compass. And even gratitude and reverence.
A few months ago, I talked more about this in my article on the four truths of animal sentience. What’s so amazing is that as we continue to witness animals’ very real range of emotions in the wild, we can choose to learn from them, to be inspired by their heartful, compassionate souls.
When animals are rescued, for instance, they often give big, loving “thank yous” to their rescuers. Here are just a few examples of animals showing gratitude (be prepared to smile!):
Though a majority of scientists today agree that animals are sentient, that hasn’t stopped outmoded beliefs from persisting. This editorial published by Psychology Today claimed (in basic terms) that animals don’t speak, laugh, cry, think, get depressed, fall in love or have spiritual experiences. (We’ve all met people like this; the essayist isn’t alone in his beliefs.) Luckily, a few weeks later, Mark Beckoff—author, scientist and behavioral ecologist—followed up with his own essay, knocking down each one of these misguided statements.
Why do so many people continue to discount the worth of an animal’s life? Perhaps because “going there”—where your food come from, where your makeup, handbags and fancy leather couches originate—is too painful and awkward to face. But the truth about animal sentience is out there for those who will listen: