Hoarse Gratitude

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Every day, I would imagine there are countless millions of interactions between humans and animals, which are beneficial and pleasing both for us and for the creatures we’re blessed to share this planet with. Today, I learned of two striking instances of a communion between species and the first was this story of how the staff at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan had arranged for a dying woman to see one last time the horse for whom she had cared for twenty-five years.

The other story was of Andre Buma, a brave, compassionate and selfless man who has been caring for orphaned gorillas in Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park. Neither of these two stories particularly surprise me in any way, because I’ve encountered hundreds just like them over the years, while some of my very earliest memories are of the unconditional love and affection shown to me by our four-legged friends and I’ve enjoyed the company of animals of all kinds ever since.

What I find particularly striking about the first story is that the horse, Bronwen, demonstrably had more regard for the happiness and comfort of a sick old lady than some of our politicians would have done. As for the orphaned gorillas and their carers, the joy they all clearly derive from each other’s company is in marked contrast to the hatred and suspicion that many of us humans reserve for those of our own species that we regard as “Other” in some way.

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