Virtually all of my life I have been an "animal person".. I just love them, whatever their genus, species (well, let's leave those without legs out of this discussion..) and have raised, bottle fed and observed the critters all of my years.
My daughter had her first theology class disagreement when the class was told "animals don't have souls". Apparently the creatures God created aren't worthy of heaven?
I have to respectfully disagree with this idea.
Let's take my enormous, ancient Chow/Retriever mix dog, Ginger. Ginger is one big old ball of furry licking-your-skin-off because she loves you doggy. Since day one when she came into our home, she seemed to COUNT when all three of us came through the door. If one came in without the other two, she'd pace about until two and three arrived. Same routine, every day. Sorry, can't convince me she doesn't "know" exactly who her people are and how many of us there are!
She also has the really sweet habit of having to place herself exactly between all members of the family. If one is upstairs and another is downstairs, she has to be on the landing between floors so she has access to both people.
I also have to use the example of the picture in this blog. We bottle fed Tinkerbell from a half pound tiny scrawny ball of fur with ears. She had parasites and infections and really shouldn't have lived. She spent several weeks in our incubator, which was actually our bathroom with a humidifier pointing into a rubbermaid tote, Tinkerbell inside.
Whenever she would emerge from her incubator for feeding, it was imperative in Ginger's world that the kitten get some slobbery love. Never mind that Ginger easily could have taken out little Tink with one paw, she gently and carefully sniffed and cuddled Tink until we decided it was time to take her back to her resting spot.
I also believe that animals grieve for their family members and other animal pals. When we lost our Tasha, Ginger spent several weeks in what looked like a deep depression. She'd ask to go outside and would stand looking forlorn when she didn't find Tasha. One terrible and heartbreaking incident during this time occurred when I was moving Tasha's collar with it's jingly tags from one place to another upstairs. Ginger heard it, came flying upstairs, hoping to find her lost friend. No feelings? No soul? I don't think so. We observed the same behavior with Tasha when we lost our sweet little Bichon, Max.
These observations and more have given me even more reason to volunteer with rescue groups and do all I can for animals who can't speak for themselves. They trust us to care for them.. not abuse, neglect or breed them in tiny stinky cages for profit and then be discarded.
It's not funny to me to hear that some nitwit drowned rabbits in a pet shop and thought it would entertain her Facebook friends to see her holding up the poor things dead bodies with a big idiot grin on her face.
I live for the day when more people understand that animals are precious and deserving of care. The stories I see daily sicken me and make me more determined than ever to keep doing what I can, one animal at a time, to take care of them as I believe He that created them would want.