Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I Love Animals - Reason #4,429

I've loved animals my entire life.  Even as a little girl, I remember being honestly baffled, when in answer to my query, that my baby-sitter told me that she preferred people to animals.  I had really, seriously, deep-down thought that any logical, sane human being would prefer animals over people.  Now, I'm not saying that's true, but that's how strongly I felt about it... and honestly, frequently as an adult I can say that I definitely prefer the company of my animals over that of most people.

People baffle me, to be honest.  They always have, and they likely always will.  I will never understand them.  I will never understand why they do what they do, say what they say, and think what they think.

Yes, I am a person.  I can glean a certain amount of empathy for others just from that.

But many times, I'm just not very good at it.  It's not the way that I'm built, I guess.

And that is why I think that I like animals so much, and always have...  they don't make me guess what they want.  It's very obvious.  When Maera wants food, it's VERY obvious that she wants food, and she just wants food.  She doesn't have some deep-seated psychological need for me to do anything else while I'm getting her the food.  I don't have to say the magical combination of words, guess what is going on in her inner thought life, predict how my words are going to affect her.  She just wants food, dammit, right now, in her belly.  Easy peasy.

Not that my animals don't have emotional needs as well.  This picture is of foster cat Tom.  When he is doing this, which I call flirting, it means that he wants attention.

He is fairly direct.  I wish to heaven sometimes that when humans wanted me to pay attention to them that they'd fall over and wave their appendages in the air.  (Well, okay, that would be completely ridiculous. But maybe the human equivalent?  Instead of making me guess, emotionally manipulating me to give whatever the hell response that they seem to want to get from me?)

And it's always been the same with my animals.  Sure, each animal is different.  Some cats, for example, don't want attention when they're showing their bellies.  They'll claw your hands off if you try to pet them.  That's fine.  It happens once, and you know from then on what to expect from that specific cat.

So yes.  As if I needed any specific reasons to like animals, I would say that I like them because they're not complicated.  Yes, they all have personalities of their own.  Some of them present behavioral and emotional puzzles, which we have to solve or deal with in some way.  But regardless of the challenges that come with some animals, every single one of them, from the most feral cat to the most submissive, cringing dog, is easier for me to read and understand than humans.

A character flaw on my part, or a statement about humanity?  Probably a little bit of both.

8 comments:

  1. I am SO with you on this! Hubby agrees as well.

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  2. Relationships with animals sure does seem to happen in a different spot in my brain than those with humans. What they want from you and give you in return is more straight forward and hits me in a different spot emotionally.

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  3. I'm very much like you. For the most part, I don't really "get" humans. And many times I am just so disappointed in the awful, evil things humans do and I cannot fathom why anyone would do those things. Animals have their puzzling moments, to be sure, but (in general) I find them to be so much purer of heart than a great many humans are.

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  4. I am with you in everything you say here, dear Melanie -- except that incomprehension might be a character flaw. I prefer to think of this, in my own case, as: When I was too young to do anything about it, I never got the support I needed that would have helped me stand my ground, and advocate for what I needed to make sense of the human world around me. The world seemed filled with coldness and cruelty, and I could not understand it, and I could not possibly have known, at that time, how to find something different that would have been reliable enough for me to depend on. The bafflement really took hold in me, then, as a default posture -- and it's taken me a lifetime of trying, and I still have blank spots in many areas. That's not a character flaw -- that's me struggling to fit my own complexity with others,' in a way that makes sense, when I missed the guidance I needed when I needed it. So -- as ever, with the greatest respect and gratitude to you for musing about this important subject -- that's my .02 worth. Wondering how it feels to you, to hear this?

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  5. I am always glad to hear your .02 worth! Considering it, I think you may be right, though... maybe it's not a character flaw, just an on-going struggle to fit your own (my own as well) complexity in with others, and for one reason or another not being equipped for it. I think it sounds like I got more support than you did, but ... sometimes life is harsh even WITH support, and a young bookish introvert with lots of idealism just wasn't able to "roll with the punches" and figure everything/everyone out.

    I am now an older bookish introvert, and am STILL trying to figure it out.

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    1. Yes, Melanie, I like your point. I like the expression: "Life is not for sissies." It can be very, very rough, support or no, just as you say. And those who don't think about that are condemned to revisit the roughness, in themselves and on others. Bleh. Give me our anipals any day. Plus a few choice humans -- and let the rest move on through.

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  6. I am always glad to hear your .02 worth! Considering it, I think you may be right, though... maybe it's not a character flaw, just an on-going struggle to fit your own (my own as well) complexity in with others, and for one reason or another not being equipped for it. I think it sounds like I got more support than you did, but ... sometimes life is harsh even WITH support, and a young bookish introvert with lots of idealism just wasn't able to "roll with the punches" and figure everything/everyone out.

    I am now an older bookish introvert, and am STILL trying to figure it out.

    ReplyDelete