We’re all in this together

I love animals. Pets are members of my family, certified members; stand to be counted members of my family.
I recently watched a video of an orchestra out on the ocean aboard a floating orchestra pit—an orchestra of oboes and tubas and cellos, and all manner of other orchestral instruments.
The microphones projecting the sound were lowered into the water and the sound of the music then was transported to the salty depths.
As the orchestra played, humpback whales came to the surface and breached, and I believe it was their way of saying, “We hear you and we’ll dance to your music”; an example of communication of the extraordinary kind.
I found it fascinating, though not surprising, that these clever, magnificent mammals could be connected to the mammals playing in the floating orchestra.
We may look different and sound different, but this reaction was a solid reminder that we don’t just share the planet with other animals; our connection is much more profound.
I’ve been whale-watching in the Bay of Fundy several times. And the experience of being close to these amazing creatures always left me in tears.
Then there was my visit to the Toronto Zoo, where the gorilla moved from the back of the cage to show her newborn to the throngs of visitors. This massive mother knew exactly what she was doing as she paraded past and gave us a window of opportunity to witness the perfection of her infant before she moved out of sight.
Zoos are a conversation for another day.
I grew up on a farm. I was fortunate to have Hereford calves to feed with a bottle. Those calves born in the much-too-cold months of winter; calves requiring extra calories for warmth and survival.
They didn’t all make it, but those that did became my friends and followed me around the farm right up to the day they went to market.
I understood the circle of life and all that came with loving farm animals, but that isn’t to say it was easy to see them go.
I was a member of the Devlin-Crozier 4-H Calf Club led by Stephen Caul, one of the kindest, gentlest men on Earth. Mr. Caul taught us how to feed our calves, how to care for them, and how to ready them for show at the Emo Fair.
And the strongest point he always came back to was treating all animals, but our 4-H calves in this case, with kindness and respect. Farm animals are the first string of the farm team; their comfort and safety are paramount to a successful farm.
Facebook often posts videos of caring humans saving the lives of wild animals in distress. I’ve heard comments in reaction as to why save a deer when they are in annoying abundance; their population at alarming numbers.
I think the saving has very little to do with the particular animal being saved, but more about our humanity; about our desire to step away from ourselves to save another animal in need.
It is about our treatment of those below us on the food chain.
My father didn’t always call the vet when he needed help with a sick and/or dying animal. I suspect the cause of his hesitation to call was the size of his bank account, but he went to work himself; doing what he could to ease their pain, to care for them.
His voice steadied his cows, calmed their worry, and when he put his hands on them, I could see it made a difference. He could call his herd from the field; he could bring them home from summer pasture just with his voice.
I believe they understood him and he understood them—a relationship I admired and was in awe of.
So, like the whales rising to the surface for the music, we’re all in this together and I like that dance.
wendistewart@live.ca

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

We’re all in this together

holding hands copy

Celebrating the theme “We’re All In This Together,” Patsy Roy led a group of friends and spectators onto the skate park during the opening ceremonies on Saturday. Eventually, more than 140 people joined in–encompassing the entire park.