The Dog Days of summer have been upon us. Although an unusual summer, a few hot, humid days have graced us with their presence. Sitting here with our faithful companions reminds me how short life is. I harken upon the haunting line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s ageless poem, “art is long, time is fleeting.” Yes, Longfellow eloquently described the tenuousness of life. Looking at our delightful canines, I do not think about their short life spans. Instead, I focus on the joy and love they shower on.
Last week, Winston, one of our beloved Shih Tzus, had dental surgery. Three thousand dollars later, with six teeth remaining, he was whisked home safe and sound. His brother endured the same procedure two years earlier. Right now, both are barking up a storm. Winston’s recovery is evident by the strength of his vocal cords and wagging tail.
Along with dogs, my husband and I often discuss how much we love animals in general. We are aware that many join us in this love. For those who do not, I cannot understand, but to each their own. Most importantly, unless they have a change of heart, those people shouldn’t take in pets. Save those furry pals from suffering a broken heart. Yes, other mammals do. Not long ago, I read that some goats had been separated from their friends, making quite a stir to demonstrate their displeasure for being apart.
A couple of weeks ago, at the New England Wildlife Center in Massachusetts, a Canadian goose, Arnold, underwent a procedure for a badly damaged foot. As they prepped for surgery, the team received a surprise visit, hearing a loud tap at the door. Arnold’s spouse found her way to them. They believe she may have observed members of the team retrieving him to operate on his foot. Also, Arnold squawked away at night. Either way, Amelia, named Arnold’s spouse, was allowed to be present. As Arnold was convalescing, the caregivers put him outside for fresh air. His loyal Amelia always arrived to see her beloved.
Arnold has been released and reunited with Amelia. The Wildlife Center indicated how much they learned and deepened their respect for the depth of other mammals’ emotions.
We know that is true with elephants. Many believe these gentle giants are capable of dying from a broken heart. We know they will adopt a calf when orphaned. Female elephants are entirely relational, hanging out together unlike their male counterparts. No offense, gentlemen, but some behaviors go across the species’ spectrum.
Female giraffes share similar social behaviors to their hefty friends. Females associate in groups referred to as herds, occasionally including young males. Adult males reside in “bachelor” packs. Again, does this sound familiar?
Speaking of giraffes, a baby giraffe, Dolly, was born approximately two weeks ago in Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA. She made history at the zoo. Dolly arrived in the world at 6 feet and 150 pounds. Thankfully, the maternal instinct is all-powerful, managing to snuff out any remnants of childbirth struggles.
Another rare event occurred recently. A French zoo released new pictures of two-week-old panda twins. They were born small, requiring incubation. The good news is that their mother cleaned them right after they were born. The Zoo was pleased to see her maternal instincts evolving. As they grow and get stronger, the twins are spending more time with their mother. What a beautiful sight that must be!
As canines will always be number one in my book, many others take second and third place. Like many, I am equally enamored with elephants who are my number two. Now I think giraffes could take the number three slot. As far as pandas are concerned, who does not like those splendid animals that look stuffed even though they are flesh and warm blood like us?
Although humans come first as we must, there is a special place for our four-legged friends in our animal lovers’ hearts. How can there not be?
What are your thoughts on the subject of dogs and beyond? I invite you to share.