Introduction and selection page: Animal Sentience Stories
Few people who have any association with animals would deny that they are capable of love, not only towards members of their own species but towards those of a different species. What follows is a selection of anecdotes and other accounts concerning the emotion of love in animals.
There are just so many stories concerning the love between animals that from time to time you just stumble upon them. Which is the case with the first story below.
Animals are capable of feeling love for one another.
In her book, Red Rowans and Wild Honey, a memoir of the childhood and adolescence of a Gypsy traveller in Scotland before the end of the second world war, Betsy Whyte shares this moving anecdote:
"In our simple society we regarded nothing in the world so precious as human life. Life of any kind, even animals, was loved with an almost fierce strength and compassion.
I remember four stout relations of mine being reduced to tears when they discovered animals too were capable of feeling this deep love for each other. They were young men and had been used to going on hare-hunts since childhood. One evening their dog raised two hares and eventually caught one. On this the other hare ran back and sat screaming pitifully as it watched the killing. Of course they called the dog in, and came home very, very shaken, and surprised that an animal should behave like that. The wife of one of the men started to chide him for being late for supper .' Dinne speak to me, women. I want nae supper .I could'nae eat a bit if God called on me'.
'Dinne tell me that the gamekeeper catched youze? his wife asked. 'Worse than that,' he answered. 'I will never be the same again if I live to be a hundred, and never again will I set a dog after a hare'. He and the others than related what happened.
Their eyes were wet and their faces pale as they did so.
The love of a Parrot for his mate
In his book The Universal Kinship J Howard Moore, who wrote extensively about our relationship with animals, tells the following moving story of the love and devotion of a male parrot for his companion.
Much has been said of the sorrow of birds for their deceased mates, but not too much. For the avian soul may be smothered by the gloom and loneliness that come upon the heart, when the great light of love and companionship has gone out, quite as completely as the soul of a bereaved human. In not many human homes where loved ones lie sick and dying are felt the pangs of more genuine grief than those sometimes suffered by birds when their friends and companions are stricken in death. The following incident, vouched for by Dr. Franklin, who observed it, is only one among many such instances recorded in the literature on birds :
A pair of parrots had lived together on the most loving terms for four years, when the female was taken with a serious attack of gout. She grew rapidly worse, and was soon so weak as to be unable to leave her perch for food, when the male, faithful and tender as a human spouse, took it upon himself to carry food to her regularly in his beak. ' He continued feeding her in this way for four months, but the infirmities of his companion increased day by day, until at last she was no longer able to support herself on the perch. She remained cowering down in the bottom of the cage, making from time to time ineffectual efforts to regain her perch. The male was always near her, and did everything in his power to aid the feeble efforts of his dear better-half. Seizing the poor invalid by the beak or the upper part of her wing, he tried his best to enable her to rise, and repeated his efforts several times. His constancy, his gestures, and his continued solicitude, all showed in this affectionate bird the most ardent desire to relieve the sufferings and assist the weakness of his sinking companion. But the scene became still more affecting when the female was dying. Her unhappy consort moved about her incessantly, his attentions and tender cares redoubled. He even tried to open her beak to give some nourishment. He ran to her, and then returned with a troubled and agitated look. At intervals he uttered the most plaintive cries ; then, with his eyes fixed on her, kept a mournful silence.
At length his companion breathed her last. From that moment he pined away, and in the course of a few weeks died '
The Universal Kinship By Howard J Moore
For a free copy of an e-bookarchive.org/stream/universalkinship00mooruoft/universalkinship00mooruoft_djvu.txt
A story of love and compassion
The following story of Ugly is one of love compassion from an unfortunate cat who has suffered so terribly.
The Story of Ugly
Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love. The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail has long been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. "That's one UGLY cat!!" All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.
One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbors huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end. Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear-Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.
At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain. Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful. He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for.
Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me, I will always try to be Ugly.
Story from Wyandotte Animal Group
This story appears in its entirety in several places on the net here is one source
The Love of Two Sparrows
The next story is a sad one about love between two sparrows one of whom is injured by a car whilst swooping low. Her mate treated her with tender compassion and brought her food as she lay injured, time and time again he returns with food. Finally she dies, he struggles to move her and cries out realising she will never move again.
See the photographs and read more of this moving story which it is said brought tears to the eyes of millions of people in America, Europe and Pakistan when the photographs were first published.
A mothers Love
The extract below is from the Telegraph article Ape Genius and reveals the depth of animal intelligence. The article cites instances of the similarities of ape intellect to our own. The extract below describes an universal facet of emotional intellect, namely that of a mother's love.
In west Africa Japanese researchers watch a mother care for sick two-years-old infant. She puts her paw on his forehead in exactly the way as a parent would check for a temperature in a child. As the baby chimp's life ebbs away she cares for him devotedly and when he dies she carries him around on her back for weeks almost refusing to accept that he is gone.
It is impossible to know what she is thinking but not difficult to recognise that she is stricken with grief.
"When I see the scene of the mother looking at the baby, I really recognise the emotional life of chimpanzees are so similar to us," says one of the researchers.
The eloquently written accounts below are once again extracted from The Universal Kinship by J Howard Moore and relate to the love of a mother ape for her baby comparing her love to that of a human mother for her child. He also goes on to explain that the maternal affection shown by monkeys extends to other members of the tribe and to other species including human beings.
A heartless hunter maybe one of those assassins who fill the wilds with widows and orphans in the name of Science tells of the murder of a mother chimpanzee and her baby in Africa. The mother was high up in a tree with her little one in her
arms. She watched intently, and with signs of the greatest anxiety, the hunter as he moved about beneath, and when he took aim at her the poor doomed thing motioned to him with her hand precisely in the manner of a human being, to have him desist and go away.
Monkeys are the most affectionate of all animals excepting dogs and men. This affection reaches its culmination, as among men, in the love of the mother for her child. The mother monkey's little one is the object of her constant care and affection. She nurses and bathes it, licks it and cleans its coat, and folds it in her arms and rocks it as if to lull it to sleep, just as human mammas do. She divides every bite with her little one, but does not hesitate to chastise it with slaps and pinches when it is rude. The monkey child is generally very obedient, obedient enough for an example to many a human youngster.
The great mass of human beings, who know about as much about the real emotional life of monkeys as wooden Indians do, are inclined to pass over lightly all displays of feeling by these people of the trees. But the poet knows, and the prophet knows, and the world will one day understand, that in the gentle bosoms of these wild woodland mothers glow the antecedents of the same impulses as those that cast that blessed radiance over the lost paradise of our own sweet childhood. The mother monkey who gathered green leaves as she fled from limb to limb, and frantically stuffed them into the wound of her dying baby in order to stanch the cruel rush of blood from its side, all the while uttering the most pitiful cries and casting reproachful glances at her human enemy, until she fell with her darling in her arms and a bullet in her heart, had in her simian soul just as genuine mother-love, and love just as sacred, as that which burns in the breast of woman.
The affection of monkeys is not confined to the love of the mother for her child, but exists among the different members of the same tribe, and extends even to human beings, especially to those who make any pretensions to do to them
as they would themselves be done by.
Moore quotes from and describes a monkey kept by George Romanes who was a close friend of Charles Darwin and author of the Book Animal intelligence:
The monkey kept by Romanes... became so attached to his master that he went into the wildest demonstrations of joy whenever his master, after an absence, came into the room. Standing on his hind-legs at the full length of his chain, and reaching out both hands as far as he could reach, he screamed with all his might. His joy was so hysterical that it was impossible to carry on any kind of conversation until he had been folded in his master's arms, when he immediately grew quiet. ' After I took this monkey back to the Zoological Gardens,' says Romanes, ' and up to the time of his death, he remembered me as well as the day he was returned. I visited the monkey-house about once a month, and whenever I approached his cage he saw me with astounding quickness indeed, generally before I saw him and ran to the bars, through which he thrust both hands with every expression of joy. When I went away he always followed me to the extreme end of the cage, and stood there watching me as long as I remained in sight.'
The next extract tells of the grief and love of a monkey for his companion
The following account of the attachment of a male monkey for his murdered consort is a pitiful tale of human inhumanity and of simian tenderness and devotion : ' A member of a shooting-party killed a female monkey, and carried her body to his tent under a banyan-tree. The tent was soon surrounded by forty or fifty of the tribe, who made a great noise and threatened to attack the aggressor. When he presented his fowling-piece, the fearful effects of which they had just witnessed, and appeared perfectly to understand, they retreated. The leader of the troop, however, stood his ground, threatening and chattering furiously. At last, finding threats of no avail, the broken-hearted creature came to the door of the tent and began a lamentable moaning, and by the most expressive signs seemed to beg for the dead body of his beloved. It was given to him. He took it sorrowfully in his arms and bore it away to his expecting companions.
Also read Moore's comments about the love of a bird (scroll down to heading: Love)
A selection of short quotations on animals and love:
A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself.
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans
Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.
Alfred A. Montapert
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines….It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections. It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel.
Voltaire, Trate sur la tolerance
Animals do feel like us, also joy, love, fear and pain but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to take their part and continue to resist the people who profit by them, who slaughter them and who torture them.
Denis de Rougement
Every baby animal is unique and adorable, and there is no greater love than that between a mother and her young. It is the power of this love that explains why humans have always sought the company of young animals.
Buy a pup and your money will buy you love unflinching.
Animals are just pure, uncomplicated entities of creation from God. They live like the Maasai do in Kenya--for each day is forever to them and the "Now" is what they live in. You can get aggravated with your pets and yell at them, but in a matter of minutes they are licking your hand again in love.
Sylvia Browne, All Pets Go to Heaven
This page will be updated and added to when further information and stories are found. If you have a story to tell about animal Love please consider including it here by e-mailing Christine Contact
* I have endeavoured to provide accurate references for stories found on the internet however some of the stories are so frequently repeated that the original source is not easily identifiable. If you see any story here that is yours for which you have not been credited for have not given permission for its inclusion please Contact me.
Credit Photo: (c) 2008 by Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace. Picture taken at Farm Sanctuary.