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What All Those Animal Videos Say About Us

John Hatcher | Apr 5, 2017

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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John Hatcher | Apr 5, 2017

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

We all seem enthralled—indeed moved to tears on occasion—by the countless videos on Facebook of rescued animals.

Taken from the brink of death and nurtured back to health, they seem so appreciative of the loving humanity demonstrated by their caregivers. We sigh with amazement at the transformation in their appearance as week by week and month by month they respond so eagerly to decent shelter, pure water, nourishing food, and, most important of all, loving affection.

Then there’s another level of bathos, a step further, something more amazing. We see video after video portraying stories of animals rescuing one another, animals that normally we always thought of as inveterate enemies—a cat rescues a puppy, a dog nurses kittens or baby raccoons, and on and on.

But there’s a topper, the most amazing animal wonderment of all—a cheetah raised with a puppy, a bunny herding sheep after watching the dog doing its job, a lion embracing a man or woman who raised it as a cub (it has not forgotten), a gorilla doing the same after being found with its family in the bush. They introduce their human benefactors to their family, the animals clearly grateful and appreciative.

After a while—an hour or so perhaps—we stupidly turn on the evening news and see the rubble that once was a village or a city, dusty children staring bewildered into space as if they have already ascended to another and a better world.

Perhaps, like me, you wonder why there seem to be on social media so few if any touching stories about the rejuvenation and regeneration of orphaned babies or abandoned little girls and boys whose parents have just been vaporized by barrel bombs. Why is it we so embrace the helplessness and despair of a furry animal, but seem to take so little solace or pay so little heed to the noble souls who strive to rescue their fellow human beings?

Is it because it never happens? Is it because it takes so damn much time and effort? Is it because, unlike these so-called “dumb animals,” human beings do forget—or, more likely, perhaps never completely rebound? Perhaps it is that our injuries penetrate to the soul where our maimed consciousness cannot so easily be cured. Or is it because, unlike the simple beasts of the field, we have not yet acquired sufficient humanity to get along with and love and nurture those who don’t quite look and live like us?

Please, dear friends, let’s have some new videos. Only first, we have to create something worthy to capture with our omnipresent cameras, something about man’s humanity to man:

At the dawn of every day he should commune with God, and with all his soul persevere in the quest of his Beloved. He should consume every wayward thought with the flame of His loving mention, and, with the swiftness of lightning, pass by all else save Him. He should succour the dispossessed, and never withhold his favour from the destitute. He should show kindness to animals, how much more unto his fellow-man, to him who is endowed with the power of utterance …

These are among the attributes of the exalted, and constitute the hall-mark of the spiritually-minded. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, pp. 193-194.

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  • Rosslyn and Steven Osborne
    Apr 7, 2017
    I agree with Melanie. I would like to add here that politically correctness and human protection has for the most part stopped many of these videos from being shown. We can choose to show our child with an animal, however we are not allowed to show anyone else's child in that video. It is against the Law.
    So even when there is a beautiful story of a child saved or a teen who has not given her/his permission, their faces must be blanked out or the story not told.
  • Melanie Black
    Apr 6, 2017
    I have so often felt the same, so thank you so much for writing about this. The documentary, "The White Helmets" depicts the volunteer rescue workers in Syria who've saved thousands of lives at great sacrifice to themselves. I'm not ashamed to say it made me cry far more than all the sweet animal videos on FB combined. The only thing I can think of is that because the world is viewed as such a dreary place by so many, the animal videos provide escape into something innocent. For many of us it's the people that make life worth living, ...and our connection to something bigger than us. You have helped me find inspiration.
  • Liam Lesley
    Apr 5, 2017
    Very nice!
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