Monday, January 18, 2010


Without sharing my advanced age with you, let’s just say that I’ve lived on this planet for a whole lot of years. Like you, I have met many different people with many different fascinating personalities. But of all those personalities, I would say I’ve have only met maybe three (or those are all that I remember – I told you I’m getting old) who had a uniqueness to them unlike any others that I met. These are those very few people who may come into your life that you will remember long after they left it. It’s not that they held a special job or that they were more educated than others that I have met or even that they were more attractive than other people that I know. No, these people were definitely on another plane of consciousness or were in a different dimension than you and me. You knew when you met them that they didn’t communicate like the “average” person communicates. But these people held me fascinated by the way that they did communicate.

I used to manage an office in Westport, Connecticut many years ago. This was a very busy sales office. One of my sales associates was one of these people who were on a whole other plane of communication skills. To try to explain it and put it into words……….well I just don’t know if any words can adequately explain what it was about her that was so different. Just being in the same room with her, you knew that here was a woman who answered to her own beat, her own calling or whatever the heck it was that she was answering to. But it was most definitely not the same thing that the rest of us were answering to. She always did everything her way. She was fresh, spunky, and just down right adorable. She had her own way of approaching everything. Looking back on it now, I remember her being very spiritual rather than religious. I remember her going on retreats to study her spiritual calling that was “so far out there,” in my way of thinking but as I said, she was on a whole other consciousness then most people that I knew.

Two people that I know of today is this same way. One is a young man whose mother told me that while growing up he always viewed things his own way. Not like you and me, but his own way. He had a hard time seeing things the way that the rest of us might see it. I only met him once over lunch with his mother who is my friend. He was quiet and listened to our conversation without adding any of his opinions about what we were talking about. So I finally turned to him and asked him his opinion about the subject matter. He had a whole other take on it and calmly shared with me why he felt the way that he did. He made me look at something a whole other way…...his way. I found him most charming and easy to like.....because of his differences. His mother told me that he has a t-shirt that says: “You laugh because I’m different. I laugh because you’re all the same!” Love it!

The other person that I know that is “different” in the way that she views the world digests what you say, thinks a long time about it and then either she “gets it” or you have to start all over again explaining it to her. Yet she’s very intelligent, but doesn’t see things the way most other people do. Some of the stories that she has shared with me about her life holds me memorized. She is so “out there” and so very fascinating.

Now just how does this fit into the subject of dogs you may ask? It’s because animals definitely communicate on a whole different plane. And until man recognizes this instead of thinking “Oh they’re just a dog or an animal,” he will have had done a terrible disservice to a thinking, feeling, emotional creature that shares this planet with us……admittingly on a whole other level or plane.

An extraordinary book has been written about this topic called: “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior” written by Temple Grandin. This excerpt and I quote is taken from Scientific American…………

“Temple Grandin has been known to crawl through slaughterhouses to get a sense of what the animals there are experiencing. An autistic woman who as a child was recommended for institutionalization, Grandin has managed not only to enter society’s mainstream but ultimately to become prominent in animal research. An associate professor at Colorado State University, she designs facilities used worldwide for humane handling of livestock. She also invented a "hug machine" (based on a cattle-holding chute) that calms autistic children. In Animals in Translation, co-authored with science writer Catherine Johnson, Grandin makes an intriguing argument that, psychologically, animals and autistic people have a great deal in common—and that both have mental abilities typically underestimated by normal people. The book is a valuable, if speculative, contribution to the discussion of both autism and animal intelligence, two subjects on which there is little scientific consensus. Autistics, in Grandin’s view, represent a "way station" between average people, with all their verbal and conceptual abilities, and animals. In touring animal facilities, Grandin often spots details—a rattling chain, say, or a fluttering piece of cloth—that disturbs the animals but has been overlooked by the people in charge. She also draws on psychological studies to show how oblivious humans can be to their surroundings. Ordinary humans seem to be less detail-oriented than animals and autistics. Grandin argues that animals have formidable cognitive capabilities, albeit specialized ones, whereas humans are cognitive generalists. Dogs are smell experts, birds are migration specialists, and so on. In her view, some animals have a form of genius—much as autistic savants can perform feats of memory and calculation far beyond the abilities of average people. Some dogs, for example, can predict when their owner is about to have a seizure. Delving into animal emotion, aggression and suffering, Grandin gives tips that may be useful for caretakers of pets and farm animals. She also notes that humans seem to need, and thrive on, the proximity of animals. Indeed, she states provocatively, in the process of becoming human we gave up something primal, and being around animals helps us get a measure of that back.”

Our animals can’t talk to us verbally, but their body language says so many things if we only take the time to “listen” to them. In the animal kingdom, they definitely have a way of communicating with one another. The whales and dolphins in the sea share a language of sounds that they use to communicate with one another. The elephants have one of the best structured family groups of all the animals. This is an extremely emotional animal. When one of their species dies or is killed, it’s not unheard of that they will stay with the dead animal for days and even weeks. This shows their capacity for mourning.

I believe that the German Shepherd Dog is an extremely emotional breed of dog. His need to be with his master is second to none in my opinion. He is not a dog that does well being left alone for too long of a period. He is the breed of dog that may experience a higher level of separation anxiety. He has a tremendous need to be a part of his human’s life.

Dogs that have been known to lie on a dead master’s grave site can suffer for months and months after the deceased owner leaves this earth. How many times have you seen a dog that has been raised with another dog go into serious depression when that other dog dies? Some of them never snap out of it because of their longing for their friend.

Dogs can detect when his master is ill many times before the human can. Have you ever had a dog smell you and linger on one part of your body when you have been sick? It’s like they can smell your illness. If you are sad or you are crying, many times your dog will become upset with you. Now if you consider him “just a dog,” then how come he feels your pain right along with you?

How come animals can detect one another’s fear? They can’t talk and warn the other animals to stay away from something that might be dangerous. But there is something about their body language. There is something about a certain smell that they may give off that you and I are unaware of but another animal can detect. This is their way of communicating with one another. And just because they can’t “talk” like you and I “talk” doesn’t mean that they are communicating any less than you and I. Take a walk in a slaughterhouse. Look at those animals eyes. Talk about a study in fear! Easier still, take a walk through a kill shelter especially on the day that those dogs are due to be put down. Take a look at those eyes. He doesn’t even have to utter a word. His eyes tell a story better than any writers words put on paper. Want to know how your dog is feeling? Take a long at him and really see him. He’s never going to say a word, but his body, his actions and those big brown eyes will tell you everything that you need to know if you really take the time to look and listen to him.

I believe that animals feel things on another level from you and me. If he doesn’t have the verbal skills that we have then he’s had to have learned another way of communicating to have been able to evolve for so long. They have had to have learned a way of communicating with one another to get their needs met. They can be conniving, deceitful, strategists, and manipulators doing whatever it takes to communicate, confuse, use, and just plain old survive! They have developed other ways to “talk” to us. They may do it on another level or plane (a level of existence, consciousness, or development) but they share this planet and they’ve got something to tell us……if we would only take the time to listen!

My rating:  appreciation for human and animal differences:  (4), being closed minded to those differences: (1)

1 comment:

  1. Loved this story, it was genuine and insightful.