Do Animals Have Empathy? Really. Who Wants to Know?

Yes, I heard it on public radio one morning this week.  Perhaps I was too tired and really misunderstood.  Can people really be asking this question?!! The radio person who announced this story told the listeners that animal lovers readily accept the notion/understand that empathy and compassion are inherent characteristics in our furry companions.

Many people have stories that speak to this issue.  Most of us have heard about dogs and cats sitting close to sick and dying people.  How many of  you readers can recall when you were feeling emotionally low and your four-legged animal came up to you offering comfort?   How about the animals that snuggle with babies?  I once heard a story about a Maltese mix allowing two humans who had just lost their dog, her best friend, to pick her up and hold her. This was the first time this little dog allowed the couple to do this.

Compassionate Animals

Animals also show compassion with other animals in many ways.  Have you seen television nature shows that depicting animals parenting baby animals who have lost their parents.  What about animals that are upset when their furry or feather companions at home sick? What about animals who go to the rescue and stand over sick and injured animals?  I once saw one of my cats allow a woman to put her in a cat carrier along with my other cat who was still a young kitten.  I assume that she wasn’t going to allow a human to take her “sister” without going with her.  This is something that my cat had never done before or since.

Stories that Melt the Heart

Surely some of you have your own stories that melt your heart, ones that you love to tell. Please email me ([email protected]).  I would love to hear them and would be happy to consider printing them in this newsletter.  (Of course, this would be done only with your permission.)

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