I’ve written many times about how animals are instinctual, while humans are intellectual and emotional, and how learning to live instinctually can help humans find balance with Nature.
However, there’s one way that our separation from animals via intellect and emotion actually makes us better — humans are the only species that will intentionally care for weak members of its own species who are not relatives, as well as take care of ill and injured members of other species.
This doesn’t happen in Nature. Animals that live in hierarchical groups have one reaction to weak or injured fellow animals: they kill them, either directly or by abandonment. There is no altruism outside of immediate family because the group is all about survival. For predators, a weak animal of another species becomes dinner.
Long ago, when humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers without cities or settlements, we were probably the same way. If a member of the tribe couldn’t keep up, then they were left behind without a care as to whether they would live or die. If they were too weak to contribute to the group’s survival by hunting or picking berries, then the group instinctively felt no need to contribute to that member’s survival. It was up to their immediate family group to do so, but if that person didn’t have family — or their family chose not to help — then they were out of luck.
The only exception to this in humans at that time (and animals always) is that the immature members were taken care of — newborns, infants, and children, which is all instinct as well. Without the newborn members growing up to be healthy and strong, there would be no pack or tribe to survive.
While there are still some humans nowadays who seem to think that it’s perfectly okay to let weak members of our society starve to death, for the most part we have replaced pragmatism with compassion. That is because collectively, as a species, we have rebuilt the world to suit our survival needs by creating permanent “dens” — villages, towns, and cities — with buildings to protect us.
Our compassion has also developed because our intellects and emotions allow us to understand the concept of suffering in others and to feel empathy for them, inspiring our altruism as well as letting us extend it to creatures of different species. Modern humans do not just rescue cats and dogs. There are groups working to save all kinds of animals, including dolphins, whales, tigers, rhinos, and all kinds of birds and reptiles; not only because we can, but because we want to.
Forming a pack
Animals don’t have the desire as a group to rescue another species. Of course there are many stories of animals of all kinds of different species bonding, but that only happens when neither animal has a pack of their own and so have to work together to survive. Since all animals communicate through energy, the more assertive animal will naturally become the Pack Leader, which is exactly what happened with a dog and cheetah at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia,
Surprisingly, zoos and other organizations have been doing this with dogs and orphaned cheetahs for decades. Since cheetahs, unlike other big cats, are less aggressive and prone to running away instead of fighting, they do very well with calm, assertive dogs, which naturally become the leader of the pack.
The Pack Leader energy
And in case you’re wondering why packs will abandon weak animals, it’s precisely because animals are only drawn to follow calm, assertive energy. If a leader becomes weak or unbalanced, then the pack will kill it; if a follower does the same, the pack will walk away. Only humans follow unbalanced leaders — but only humans feel the need to not leave the weak behind.
The lesson we can learn from dogs is to only follow calm, assertive leaders. The lesson to remember from ourselves is to be the calm, assertive leaders who can protect those weaker members of all species and save them from abandonment.
Stay calm and rescue!
How often do you check on the energy you are exuding around your pack?