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Pets and Compassion

January 19th, 2007, 05:28 PM
I come from a family of pet lovers. There is something about the vulnerability of a stray cat or dog that melts our hearts. My mother, in particular, has a special bond with animals. In fact, we sometimes refer to her as "Dr. Doolittle." Watching people interact with their pets, I often wonder why we can't treat other human beings with the compassion that animals seem to evoke in us.

I don't see compassion as a principle; it is more the result of using The Principles. And here are a few of The Principles that I see people use with their pets that could easily be applied to human interactions.

Surrender - Puppies chew, cats claw, and birds chatter incessantly. But for all of our efforts to train out pets, we mostly surrender to their naughty behavior as a part of their personalities that we not only tolerate, but even find somehow endearing. Our love for our pets melts our hearts even in the face of a destroyed sofa or a stained carpet. Yet we rarely accept humans and surrender to their bad behavior. Why is it so much more difficult with people than pets?

Emotional Honesty - Even the most shut down, hard-edged person softens when around a puppy or a kitten. We are defenseless against their sweetness. Conversely, I have had dogs who comforted me when I was sad and I cried in front of them when I would never have displayed my feelings in front of other people. Why can we be ourselves with our pets but not people?

Humility - I've never felt the need to show off for a dog. Cats rarely care what kind of car I drive. And I can't recall a single horse or parrot that is impressed by my job. That terrible devil called the ego that lives inside of all of us flares when I am around other people but, in the presence of animals, I have the humility to let go of ego.

Helping Others - What pleasure we pet-lovers take in grooming, walking, and feeding animals. Yet we walk past the homeless and suffering each day with very different reactions. Although some of us help some of the time, mostly we feel threatened or judgmental or simply unaware when it comes to suffering humans. Why are our hearts more open to animals?

Of course, our compassion toward animals is inconsistent. Those of us who dearly love our dogs might eat beef and chicken that has been inhumanely raised or slaughtered. And we might love the sight of a cuddly bunny without thinking of the rabbits brutally used as test subjects in commercial labs.

But even with our maddening inconsistencies, I think we still have something to learn about compassion and The Principles from our relationships with animals. How would you compare your interactions with your pets to those with the people around you?

January 19th, 2007, 07:46 PM
I'm filing this one away.:grouphug:

January 19th, 2007, 07:51 PM
I did,i think this guy couldnt have said it better.......

January 19th, 2007, 09:07 PM
Cool. :) Do you know who wrote it? :o

January 20th, 2007, 09:43 AM
That was featured in a blog on, author was Patrick Moore. Thanks for circulating that one, it's a great read!