Over the past few years I have discovered some very interesting parallels between humans and animals. How humans relate to themselves and others in a sometimes derogatory manner seems to have a flow on effect when humans whether intentional or not are thoughtless in their intention and actions toward animals. For example, I have seen animal distress come from too much human interaction(over stimulation), not allowing animals to be who they truly are, and of their species. Being physically cruel to a defenceless animal or insensitive emotional intimidation which is what I would like to discuss in this blog.
It was the end of the final day of the Introductory workshop, ‘The Silent Language of Animals’ at the local zoo. We had so much fun during our conversations with some of the wild animals, including a tiny marsupial mouse(Dunnart) and then the giant of all reptiles a two metre crocodile. Quite a contrast in size but certainly not in intelligence. The students were blown away with the amazing comments and information they were given by these two different species. Shocked rather than excited would be a more accurate description of Darren one of my students, and the look on my face as he asked his question about a particular conversation he had with an animal.
Earlier in the day we had taken a break for lunch where the students had the opportunity to look around the zoo and to practice the communication skills they had learnt. Darren had walked around for quite awhile before deciding to eat his lunch sitting on a bench near a large pond. It was a relatively quiet spot where he could enjoy the tranquility of his surroundings. When he had finished his lunch he leaned over to look into the pond. As he did he noticed several turtles either lying in the sand on the bank or bobbing their heads just above the water. While his mind was in quiet stillness, one of the turtles said to him ”Does my head look like a penis?” This left Darren speechless as it would anyone, I am sure. The first thing that crossed his mind was did he hear that right. The second being the obvious, why on earth would a turtle ask that question in the first place. He looked back into the pond and with his mind said “Could you repeat that question?” Even though trying to remain focused, he found it very difficult to believe he had heard a turtle asking that question. Again the turtle asked ”Does my head look like a penis?” Okay it has been confirmed thought Darren. Now how do I answer that? I was astonished that Darren was able to wait until the end of the day to diffuse his confusion. Darren was the type of person who always would say exactly what he was thinking.
Never backward in asking questions or finding out the information he most wanted to know. Most of the participants had left to go home except for Simone who was chatting to my husband Peter, Max my close friend and myself. It was then that Darren approached our group and asked if he could have a word with me. He then explained what had happened with his turtle encounter, and asked “Why would a turtle ask this question and why did the turtle specifically ask me?” As this was the first time I had been asked this question in all my years of experience I did have a startled look on my face, as did the others. Peter and Max’s expression turned to a rolling of the eyes with the look – I can’t wait to hear how you are going to answer this one! So I suggested we all walk down to the turtle pond to clarify this issue.