The other day on Facebook someone posted a little kid’s response to the question, “What do you want to be doing when you’re 100 years old.” They responded by that age, they’re going to dislike people, live in a tiny house with their tiny pets. I thought, good for you. I’m half way there.
I’m not going to make it to 100. I already prefer hanging out with animals over people.
If I could move out to the country, to the middle of Nowheresville, I’d go tomorrow.
One exception. There would have to be a coffee shop. My husband likes to talk to people. I’d be okay with miles of fields, trees, starry nights and my farm animals.
This is why I love my time at the farm sanctuary. There’s very little one-upping, high-stepping, no impressing or brown nosing. It’s purely a come as you are society. And although I can say it’s quiet. It’s not quiet.
Turkeys are gobbling. Roosters are crowing. Horses are neighing. Geese are honking. Donkey is braying. Alpacas are singing. But what’s missing is the roar of the television. Horns are not blaring. People aren’t yelling into technology as they communicate with friends. Ear buds are not leaking out the bass….all about the bass.
The other part about the sanctuary I truly enjoy, which is true of much of the animal kingdom, is how everyone has figured out how to get along. From the smallest chicken, to the largest pig to the tallest horse and strongest cow. Homo sapiens could use a lesson from Rafiki, the Mandrill from The Lion King, on how to get along with others. Think about it for a moment.
Humans are like bruised peaches. Or overly ripe bananas. Our porcupine sensitivity extender quills are set to the highest rating and we’re zapping ourselves off the sensitivity charts. It’s either, “this” or “that.” There is no compromise and you must pick a side. No, Marie Antionette, you will not have your cake and eat it too! I’ll give you the coffee bean but not the grinder to make the coffee, figure it out, which do you want? Bean? Then better get some rocks to grind for coffee. We are all in this together, maybe we should learn to blend, bend and balance.
Revert back to kindergarten and one of the first things we all should have learned: Be Nice. Be Nice to Everyone.
Walk through a sanctuary yard and you’ll see chickens napping with pigs. Turkeys hanging out with Guinea Foul. Llamas standing with goats. Great Pyrenees dogs with alpacas. Little kittens hanging out with everyone, well they truly run the place, let’s be honest.
Then when you consider the greater animal kingdom, look at how many species are similar to another. Certainly they don’t worry about identifying with another creature. Rafiki could provide the next lesson to humans on this concept if we were to be so lucky.
Do you think the rhino might really be trying to be a unicorn with their cleverly placed horn? Maybe they were the trial run? Or the warrior unit of unicorns?
What about the donkey? She is just a delightful, impish horse. A cross between a miniature and a Welsh pony. Don’t you think? Have you ever met a miniature horse? They think they’re Clydesdales. There’s nothing miniature about them. Small and mighty, I know, I take care of 5 of them at the sanctuary: Cash, Flash, Summer, Goldie and Gypsy.
Panda bears and raccoons. Black and white, with those clever bandit masks…hiding their facial features. Both are round, fuzzy and rolly-polly. What are they up to really? Their pockets are no doubt filled with lost treasures. Speaking of bears, you know there is a contest of biggest and baddest bear between Kodiak and Grizzly…brown, large and in charge.
And what about a leopard, jaguar and cheetah? Big spotted cats that love living life in the fast lane. They’re obviously all on the same branch of the family tree. I hear reunions can be a bit of a challenge.
Or a dolphin and a porpoise….gray, slippery, sparkly looking creatures that live in the water. They splash past ships and zip around like crazy nutters, flinging their glistening bodies through the air like an arrow shot from the water.
Crocodiles and alligators, the leathery looking, tough skinned, snap you in half faster than a spring loaded booby trap critters. Similar, yet different species.
One that always confuses people: alpacas and llamas. One is taller and the other one looks like it would be happy living as a house pet. Lots of furry fluff to snuggle into, big eyes and a long neck to hug. Which maybe, they could have been the trial run at creating a giraffe.
Beyond the animal species that look alike there are species and couples that are just better together. Think about your own household, community and neighborhood. Cats and dogs build special relationships. Thank to the internet we have seen a multitude of images of different species snuggling and playing together: birds and cats, dogs and hamsters, goats and sheep, chickens and cats, dogs and sheep, rats and dogs, dogs and horses, cows and people. Think of the combination and it’s out there.
We could take a page from the animal kingdom and learn to get along. It doesn’t always have to be this or that. It’s called having a circle of friends. Take a breath. Sit down next to the llama and say, “what’s up.” Learn something new from our neighbor. It’s okay to find out you and the cheetah down the way have the same spots, it’s called being human. Share the friendship. Make the connection. Say hello. Be kind. Open the door. Put the phone down. Be a human.