Archive for October, 2008

Who Are You Calling Stupid

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I’ve always been surprised whenever I’ve heard someone exclaim, oh my dog is so stupid, he eats the cat’s food but not his own food, or did you hear about the stupid elephant who broke out of the circus and was running down the middle of a highway? Maybe your dog is telling you the food you are giving him isn’t good for him, the cat’s food has more nutrition. And if you knew how animals are treated in circuses (beaten and abused in many ways -this is what I’ve heard in the past, not sure if it is true now but I hope not) you would escape, too. But just making that statement always makes me look at the person saying it and in my mind I’m thinking how stupid they are.


I don’t know about you, but I think it is pretty amazing that dogs can be taught to detect cancer in people. And what about the dogs trained to find bodies in an avalanche, or a collapsed building. And then there are dogs that can sniff out drugs in a suitcase among hundreds of other suitcases that are not carrying drugs. What about the dogs that can foretell when their owner is going to have a seizure! I think that is just incredible. I don’t know any humans who can do any of these things. A lot of animals in the wild have a sense when major disasters are going to strike, like a tsunami, and head for higher ground. A lot of lives could potentially be saved if people paid attention to these signs from animals. Oh the stupid fox ran right out in front of my car, someone will say. I have developed a respect for animals that live in our backyards and even though we have taken over most of the land, they have learned how to live with us. I often wonder, why can’t we do the same with them? Why can’t we develop more ways of protecting animals when they are trying to cross the street at night. Why can’t we learn to respect and cherish the resources we have instead of just killing off whole species of animals and polluting and trashing every beautiful place that is our responsibility to protect and care for. Once they are gone, they are gone for good.


I heard a story one time about a baby that was taken off her porch by a grizzly bear. A horrible story I thought, so incredibly tragic. But I thought about the unfortunate mother who left her baby, unattended, in the middle of the only place left in this country where grizzly bears are found (years ago they were found in many parts of the US but have since been killed off so their number in the wild is dwindling), in Montana. I wouldn’t even leave my dog out on the porch if I lived in Montana. I’ve been to Montana, I’ve seen grizzly bears, and I respect their territory. Since this is about the only place they live now in the US, I think they deserve to be left alone. People move to these places and think, oh, this is great, we are living way out in the woods, with nothing around. Isn’t it beautiful here? But they forget to learn about who they are sharing the beautiful woods and land with and think that once they have built their home, the animals are supposed to vacate. Who are you calling stupid?

Protecting Wild Places = Saving Wildlife

Monday, October 27th, 2008

When opportunities arise for our country to preserve wilderness places, we are among the first to write our Senators and Congressmen to voice our opinion and urge the support of bills that are in alignment with our mission.  Wildlife conservation and habitat preservation go hand-in-hand as we cannot hope to conserve wildlife without protecting the wild places they need to survive.

This NY Times article this morning reminded us that there are people working to save America’s wild places for future generations.

For more information on the bill, see: S. 3213–110th Congress (2008): Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008, (database of federal legislation) <> (accessed Oct 27, 2008)

Animal Intelligence

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Whether you believe it or not, animals do possess intelligence.  However, we cannot compare animal intelligence directly to that of humans — and, that is where we often go wrong, by assuming that animals are ‘dumb’ or lack intelligence like that of our own.

As an example:

see original video on YouTube

Now, whether or not the elephant is painting or was trained to paint, there can be no denying that some form of intelligence is at work (or play) here.  If you were to teach (train) a young child to paint a similar picture, would you deny that the child was exhibiting intelligence?  Something to think about… 

Tasmanian Devil in Peril

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Received and read this morning in the NY Times:

OPINION   | October 14, 2008
Olivia Judson: Cancer of the Devil
Olivia Judson
Tasmanian devils might be facing extinction, and the cause is unusual and disturbing: an infectious cancer.

This article is very interesting, but also disturbing — in particular, the fact that the IUCN estimates that “A quarter of all mammal species are now endangered, mostly because their habitat is disappearing.”  Whenever we read articles such as this, we know that our efforts to help protect and save wild animals are worthwhile and that our commitment to our mission is simply reinforced.