Sometimes, our intrinsically selfish nature makes us humans think that we are the only ones to feel such complex emotions. Did you think that animals didn't know what love, joy, pain, loss, loneliness or empathy felt like? Well, they do. And this recent revelation about animals is developing at lightning speed, mostly thanks to recent developments in ethology, the study of animal behaviour.
We share a lot more than you think with our furry, feathery, and even scaly, friends. Here are 8 stories that prove it.
Like us humans, animals know how to love and how to be loved. And sometimes this happens in the most unexpected of circumstances. Like Hantu, this incredible white female German Shepherd who fell in love with Poncho, an orphaned baby possum who was found clinging onto her dead mother's corpse. Hantu took the little thing under her wing and has brought her up like her own puppy. Find out more about their mesmerising story here.
Like us, animals know what heartbreak feels like. Like this cow whose baby calf is torn away from her. She runs behind the van carrying her baby, powerless to stop them taking away her child. Parental love is very strong amongst animals and these shocking images show the utter despair of a mother who has been deprived of the one thing she cares for the most in the world.
This terribly moving video shows how lonely this captive killer whale is, called Lolita. Lolita has lived in the smallest orca pen in the US for over 25 years now. She was born in the wild, but torn away from her family to become a piece of entertainment for humans. She lives a life of utter boredom and loneliness, confined to swim back and forth in what is the equivalent of a mere puddle of water for her.
Animals are just as traumatised as humans when it comes to the death of a loved one. Like this dog who refused to leave the spot where his human had been run over and killed. Devastated, Paco lay in the spot for hours, refusing to leave, staring blank into distance. Even after the emergency services had been to collect Kelly's body, he stayed there, in complete shock. You can find out about their full story here.
Animals also know how to enjoy the little pleasures of life, just like us humans. And these two foxes sure prove animals have a certain "joie de vivre" as well. They couldn't get over their discovery of the funnest game in the world: jumping on a trampoline. They were enjoying themselves so much they didn't even think of running off when a human started filming them. A truly adorable video!
Fear is a feeling that humans and animals can both feel. But sometimes this emotion which makes us flee from danger can also reveal some rather comic moments in life. Like this adorable Husky puppy, Dakota, who has an utter phobia of going down the stairs…
Those who think animals live by a dog-eat-dog law, where every man (animal, rather) is for himself is completely wrong. An animal's capacity for empathy is truly striking. This recent story of a dog who watched over and stayed by the side of his friend who was stuck down a well for a week is ample proof. A true example of loyalty in friendship. Discover their incredible story here.
Of course, animals know what it feels like to be blissfully happy, like humans do. Watch how this female Bull Terrier, Millie, goes mental when she feels the comfort of a bed for the first time in her life. The poor dog had been abused and never known love or comfort in her whole life before she found her foster mother. She wriggles and rolls about when she realises she is safe and loved at last… Find out more about Millie here.
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