Human-animal communication

StrangeOtter

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Years ago, I became friends with this dog, that I took care of for about three years, while his real guardian was sick. We were connected more deeply than I had ever been connected with any human. We had beautiful relationship of respect, care and compassion.

Aften we had to go separate ways, I decided I wanted to work with animals. In my mind, thought that I had a natural talent, and I didn't know what else I was going to do with my life. I then was adviced to apply to an agricultural school. It was awesome school, I loved it, mostly, and I am grateful of everything I learned. I got to work with amazing animals and people and had alot of good experiences. But I also came across things that I disagreed with. We were teached that we have to be leaders...
There are good leaders, that gain the trust and respect of the animal. But then there are bad leaders... You probably have heard that there are many aggressive people, basically bullies, working with (usually) horses. I think those people have lost the important connection, and they might hurt themselves, but also, I think that the horses are in danger as well.

When you are in a hurry to get the animals to do whatever you want them to do, there is no space or time to communicate or create a meaningful relationship.
With cows, we were supposed to hit them, to get them to the milking area. We were told that they won't feel it like humans would, and when we hesitated, the teachers laughed at us and said that new beginners always hesitate at first, but will learn eventually.
I had romanticised pictures, in my head, about misty contryside in the early morning, with pasturing cows being called inside for milking. Reality was litterally very sh*tty, the cows stayed inside for most of the year and weren't given much freedom at all. You can only imagine how hard it is to keep that kinda enclosure, full of large animals, clean.

I thought that there should be another way.
I think that when we are with animals, we should have a way to communicate both ways, instead of just concentrating on being a "leader" (which people often misunderstand), and time and space to properly care for "our" animals.

Most of you probably argue that there shouldn't be pets at all... In many ways you are right. It is unethical to position animals where they have none, or only little independence and are considered "property". It's very hard to take proper care of another living being, and many domesticated animals end up in horrible circumstances. That shouldn't be happening at all, and shouldn't have happened, ever.

Still, there are domesticated animals, (for example in shelters) that need humans to care for them. I think there is an opportunity to learn softer way of taking care of them, and reminding ourselves that listening goes both ways.

I think this is very beautiful, respectful way of communicating:

If you are interested, there is this documentary as well:


What do you think? I'd appreciate any thoughts, feelings, experiences, stories, documetaries etc. you can share.
Do you disagree with something? Then why? I'd be happy to learn from you. :)

I'm sorry if I'm rambling on about things that are probably obvious to most of you, but I'm just curious to raise conversation.

Oh... If you are upset about the title...yes, I know that humans are animals, too. But to make the title more understandable...
 
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Mbeth

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I live a mile from what claims to be the only slaughter free dairy in North America. I was there the other day for yoga lessons, and as I was driving up the lane I had to stop because the cows were all walking from the milking barn, across the road to a field. They were strolling casually in one straight line- no human being in sight. I got out of my car to watch, and the last cow took a detour and started walking down the lane instead of to the field. I wasn’t sure what to do but FINALLY a man showed up and called the cow by name and she got back in line. It was an amazing, peaceful sight to see. I live very near several other dairy farms, and have never seen the cows rounded up like this. At this farm the cows and the farmer definitely had a connection.
 
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Mbeth

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so, the cows die of old age?
Yes, they actually do! Most of the farm isn’t visible from the road, but they have some pasture along the road that I walk nearly daily, and I’ve been walking past the same old bull for 15 years now. I think some cows are rescued from traditional dairy farms, and others have been born there.
I think they try to get sponsorships for the cows to help with expenses. They also do eco-retreats and lately have been doing “alternative” spring break for college students who want to work and serve on the farm. I don’t imagine they’re actually making a profit.
 

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I had a connection to this really funny, completely crazy and very beatiful cow, named Wanda. I'd stay after work to brush her neck. She would extend her neck like that, close her eyes and make funny little noises, kinda like saying "that feels nice..."
 
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StrangeOtter

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Yes, they actually do! Most of the farm isn’t visible from the road, but they have some pasture along the road that I walk nearly daily, and I’ve been walking past the same old bull for 15 years now. I think some cows are rescued from traditional dairy farms, and others have been born there.
I think they try to get sponsorships for the cows to help with expenses. They also do eco-retreats and lately have been doing “alternative” spring break for college students who want to work and serve on the farm. I don’t imagine they’re actually making a profit.
I wish I could have worked in a place like that. Now that I know better, I wouldn't even want to work there, though, because the calves are taken away and I disagree with that.
In my school...When I first saw the place where cows were kept, I almost started crying. It was so dirty, noisy, dusty and smelly. In there, the cows had to stay nearly year-round. That's definitely not a place for any living beings, to be born, and grown. It's not taking care of the animals, its keeping them alive.
They should have a huge pasture, and preferably some forest-area as well, to forage yummy treats, and to have a nice shade from the sun.

I'm sorry for the rant. It's just so absurd, the way we treat other living beings.
 
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Mbeth

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So at this particular farm they don’t take the calves from the moms. They don’t breed on purpose either, so I don’t think they have many calves born each year. I guess they just start milking after the calves are weened, which I can understand not everyone agrees with anyway. They’re a sanctuary first, and a dairy second. They’re really trying to be an example of compassionate farming- showing that the animals can live a natural life on the farm and taking away the excuses that it won’t work unless calves are separated and cows who don’t produce have to be killed. Of course, that means their milk is something like $15/gallon- but it is possible.
 
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StrangeOtter

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So at this particular farm they don’t take the calves from the moms. They don’t breed on purpose either, so I don’t think they have many calves born each year. I guess they just start milking after the calves are weened, which I can understand not everyone agrees with anyway. They’re a sanctuary first, and a dairy second. They’re really trying to be an example of compassionate farming- showing that the animals can live a natural life on the farm and taking away the excuses that it won’t work unless calves are separated and cows who don’t produce have to be killed. Of course, that means their milk is something like $15/gallon- but it is possible.
Holy Cat! That sounds too good to be true. Do you remember the name of the sanctuary? I'm just wondering if they have a web page. :)
Thank you. Faith in humanity restored.
 

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The aggressive horsey-people that I was taking about are those who are like "If you don't show me respect I'm gonna whip you and put you back in your stall." I just wonder who could respect someone so unpredictable.

But I'm not saying that all horsey-people are like that. I know many that are good with horses.

The Path of the Horse is one of my favourite documentaries.
"If the mind still like water, it reflects things as what they really are, instead of us assuming there is something else."
"Instead of teaching horses, I started wondering what the horses can teach us."
"I could never imagine inflicting this kind of pain to a human, cat or a dog... So what made it okay to do this to a horse? I could no longer call this training, I had to call it abuse."
"The Path of the Horse is the documentary I made while I was searching for ways to understand horses and work with them without using pain, coercion or force."

 

StrangeOtter

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I'd like to add, that I'm not saying that anyone should adopt, especially if you have any doubts, because it can be very expensive, and also, very hard emotionally and physically.
For example, at 2014, I adopted a senior diabetic cat. I was being pretty confident about my ability to take appropriate care of her, since I had worked in a veterinary clinic before. But nothing could have prepared me to what was going to happen. Her veterinary bills were thousands of euros, during the first two years, and I was so worried about her that I started having migraines and chest pains.
After the first couple of years of alot of mediacal care, she has been getting better and healthier. And I'm happy that I took the responsibility, I love her and I'm happy that she is alive and still has many years to live.
But anyhow...

Even with puppies... something can come up, like parvo for example, so just try to be as prepared as possible, financially, emotionally and physically, and think about the long term commitment, how time consuming the everyday care is going to be etc... And make sure that you adopt from a shelter that has a good reputation, make sure that all the paper work and vaccinations has been done properly and take the pet to the vet for a check up as soon as possible, even if nothing worrying has come up.

Communication between animals is at its best when the animal is physically in a good condition, so annual check ups are crucial. Just imagine, how sociable you'd be if you'd suffer from a sore tooth..?

I feel like this can not be emphasized enough. Because many people forget to take their pets to annual check ups, and when adopting, don't think things through. Maybe no-one on this forum, but still...
 
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Mbeth

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Holy Cat! That sounds too good to be true. Do you remember the name of the sanctuary? I'm just wondering if they have a web page. :)
Thank you. Faith in humanity restored.
So at the risk of it not being a smart move to advertise on a public forum that I live near this place...I’ll take the chance because it is such a cool farm. It’s called Gita Nagari. I’m actually headed there in a few minutes for yoga!
 
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Mbeth

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I’m still in the process of watching your videos. Did you produce all of them? I watched the first one so far. I’ve always been intrigued by the horse- human connection. I loved the dog in that video! He reminds me of my dog, who’s greatest joy in life is running in the forest. My husband mountain bikes and our dog just loves running along. I think he’d enjoy being out on the trail with horses if he really had the chance. When we encounter horses on the trail our dog always reacts with respectful curiosity- which surprise, because when we see deer on the trail the dog gives chase.
 
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StrangeOtter

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I’m still in the process of watching your videos. Did you produce all of them? I watched the first one so far. I’ve always been intrigued by the horse- human connection. I loved the dog in that video! He reminds me of my dog, who’s greatest joy in life is running in the forest. My husband mountain bikes and our dog just loves running along. I think he’d enjoy being out on the trail with horses if he really had the chance. When we encounter horses on the trail our dog always reacts with respectful curiosity- which surprise, because when we see deer on the trail the dog gives chase.
I'm happy that you found the videos interesting. What in the horse-human connection intrigues you the most? I'm simply very interested of human-animal communication, that's why I wanted to spread the message, but I haven't produced any of them. Maybe I will do something similar in the future.
I loved the dogs as well, they were having a good time. That is very interesting, I wonder why your dog chases deer, but leaves the horses alone? How old is he? :)
 

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As I lived less untrustably I experienced interesting things. I grew up in illusion of the intelligence and level of social ability with humanoids of other beings.
That's interesting. Did something break your illusion, or do you still live it?
 

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I agree that animals would be better off if humans just left them alone. We don't need pets, livestock, fishing or hunting (in most places anyway. I know some people don't have a choice). But as long as there are dogs to be rescued from high kill shelters, I will always have dogs. I am totally for mandatory spay/neuter laws. All those poor babies, dying by the thousands because of irresponsible pet owners.

I know humans and animals can have strong bonds. But those are so few and far between. It doesn't make up for the thousands tortured, neglected and killed. I had a special bond with a particular cow when I was growing up. When she got too old and was shipped off to slaughter, that just killed me inside.
 
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StrangeOtter

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I agree that animals would be better off if humans just left them alone. We don't need pets, livestock, fishing or hunting (in most places anyway. I know some people don't have a choice). But as long as there are dogs to be rescued from high kill shelters, I will always have dogs. I am totally for mandatory spay/neuter laws. All those poor babies, dying by the thousands because of irresponsible pet owners.

I know humans and animals can have strong bonds. But those are so few and far between. It doesn't make up for the thousands tortured, neglected and killed. I had a special bond with a particular cow when I was growing up. When she got too old and was shipped off to slaughter, that just killed me inside.
Human-animal communication can be a bit tricky... We are so bussy with everyday life, and we get desensitized, overloaded and exhausted... When our fur-baby stays in all day long, building up energy. So then when the working day is done, the guardian and the pet are both at a different energy level: the guardian is ready to relax, and the pet is ready to run a marathon.
I think it's great that you have multiple dogs. They keep each other company.
I agree with the spay/neuter. It's important.
It would be ideal, if everyone adopted (instead of buying), and before adopting, people would take a mandatory class of the responsibilities of an pet guardian.

I don't know what to say, probably no words can make things better. Horrible how you lost your childhood friend like that.
 
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Lou

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I heard about this on the news today and had to look it up.

 
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StrangeOtter

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I heard about this on the news today and had to look it up.

That's amazing! Thank you! :)
I have read somewhere that when chimpanzees that have been kept in captivity are given cameras, and they can film themselves, they became very fast very interested of filming the places they can't see from the mirror, like the back of their mouth or something like that.
I also found this article: https://scroll.in/video/921281/watch-this-chimpanzee-browses-through-instagram-and-looks-at-his-own-pictures-and-videos
 

Lou

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That is the same chimp. and it might even be the same video. Yeah, I have seen even more links to it today. It definetly is newsworthy.

the best thing is that on one big news podcast the hosts got into a discussion about what this means. There was a bit of a disagreement but at least they were asking. The Daily Show had this clip on their show, too. Although Trevor mostly cracked jokes bout Chimps using Tinder.

I remember one biologist said the most of the differences between chimps and humans was social. Can we cross off that too now? They use social media.
 
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