After a crisis in college, I moved into a place with two females - students. (I'll write more about that in a, "Girls I Missed," post). The girl I liked had a house cat, and another wildish stray was also taken in. I think the house-cat had never been outdoors, (except when moving). The girls were wary of me, at the beginning, which is how it is. It is possible that I cried a little in my room, on my futon, one night - not sure. But, one night - another night - I was on my futon, on my back, and the white house cat, who had also been stand-offish, just walked right into my room, climbed on top of my chest, and did that deep sonic purr they do, which resonates with the bones, and has healing powers. I just lay there, looking at this cat on my chest, knowing exactly what 'it' was doing, and it was just melting me. It felt like I was being returned to humanity.
So, maybe that incident marked the end of that one crazy chapter previous, which I will one day relate to you. So, anyway, then in comes the wildish stray. Neither of these cats had ever come in my room before. Then they both left. I know that this initiated me into the circle of friends, meaning that I was now accepted and trusted. It is probable that the two roommates had talked about me and decided I was fine. Or, maybe it was the cats who took the lead, I don't know. Well, I can say, with such powers, cats don't have much need of doctors in their world. They have nine lives.
Which reminds me. SEARCH this... Denmark slaughtered millions of minks, (or minx?), because they had an offshoot of the C-19 virus. Denmark was trying to keep this strain from possibly crossing over into the human population. They didn't even keep, and sanitise, their pelts, for wonderful mink coats, eugh. They slaughtered them all, and buried them. In shallow graves. End of story? Everything now squeaky clean? No. The best laid plans of mice and men usually go wrong. Now, today, there are surviving minks crawling out of those graves, and wandering to who knows where. I'm sure some of these are painfully injured minks. Not sure, but there were reports that wood-chippers had been used to, if not kill, pulverise the minks. It just - it's just too painful to think about. But, as far as them stopping that strain of the virus, I don't think so. The world is one big idiot. China won't manage its stupid culturally important wet markets, but on the other end of the super-continent, Denmark goes completely anal on its minks. Control, control, control. Neither makes any sense.
Back to this post... My last three dogs were Northern dogs, (Spitz's). A psychic Malamute, a girlfriend Husky, and now a very Alpha but kind Akita. (Interestingly, the Australian Dingo is related to these Northern dogs). These dogs are strong and wild, as much as dogs can be, as they are not too many steps removed from the wolf. If you are a stranger, it will take a lot of time and effort before they accept you. Especially with the Akita, you have to be aware that this can only work as a partnership, as equals.
Sure, if there is a contract, the dog will let you tell him what to do, etc., because canines are based on systems of authority, and the dog knows you are on his side, with food, help, etc. Once you do finally get yourself accepted into such a contract, these dogs are really special, loving, strong and wild animals. The bond is a weird one, which is so strong, and yet allows for almost full independence. Akitas, btw, are a handful. They are so curious and headstrong, so uncivilised, that they must be disciplined every single day, otherwise, like a garden cultivar released into the wild, the Akita will simply end up too wild, do something stupid, and end up being put to sleep. Because they are a handful, of course, they should never, never be given to someone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, lol. But, we make it work, and it really does.
I have many CFS symptoms. My Akita knows when I have a migraine, because he stops to smell my head. So, he realises what is wrong, and tempers his behaviour for me, when he's settled down. He often comes into my bedroom, for no other reason that to check to see if I am alright. If he ever lost me, he knows his life would suddenly not be fun. But, he also does just care about me. You can ask this question of people as much as you can ask it of animals: "Are they being good just because they want a reward?" or, "Are they bowing sheepishly because they feel real guilt, or are they putting on an act, to get them to the next dog cookie?" People and animals are not so different. People just have a lot of words and rationalisations and lies and excuses so, you can't really take them seriously, and the wise learn to judge humans not by their words, but by their actions.
I know I have written of this before, but my husky, Kurska, once bestowed on me an act of love that was a lot like that bestowed by the white house-cat. When I first got her, she bit me. I was enraged, animal that I am. But, I kept her, and she really began to think of herself as my mate. Girls do that. When she saw Ashley and me kissing on the love seat, she was so jealous that she barked at us frantically. It was funny, endearing and annoying. Poor Kurska. Got cancer. I didn't know it. She would lie up next to me on the couch, something she didn't like to do before. She really liked me - loved me, my mother said. All these sweet and sad things happen in our live and one day we will all gone. All of us. All of this.
I took Kurska out for a walk in the woods, but I was not so up to it. I was shivering in the cold, too much, as I sometimes have hypothermia. I had to lie down for a while. Kurska knew I needed warmth, and so she lay down next to me, her body up against mine. Which did give me warmth.
The thing to think about though, when we ponder the virtue of animals, is: "How much of it is genetic, instinct?" All Huskies have that understanding, to warm another up by lying up close. It's a wolf thing. Is this instinct a virtue? If it's an instinct, is the animal actually thinking - does the animal even care? See, this is where I have such divergence from conventional science - the concept of instinct, and animal thing, versus willful action, the province of humans only. It's similar to the question above, "Is doggie being good just because you feed him?" Humans and animals are not different, essentially. Are human virtues different or better than animal virtues? Are human virtues free of instinct? I don't think so, if you take a more robust view of instinct, and accept that the dynamism of will permeates all of evolution.
"Virtues," are, anyway, a human construct. Different cultures or religions have different takes. Chinese focus on right thought, and the West, on just action. There are intersections and overlaps. So, this is what I am studying right now. I think it's an appropriate thing to do at this juncture, umheh.
What is courage? Going beyond fear? Being an impulsive moron? What is altruism? Science generally says it is usually selfishness. What is empathy? Is it an assumption? Is it a recollection of something shared genetically? Is it only possible in quiet moments? I will never stop studying these things!
do the tag thing - sentient animals... Looks like this post gets to be part of TWO series. This has never happened before in the annals! Of animals!