Animals know about trust

Published 11:53 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mother Theresa, one of my life heroes, said in essence that any human who has not loved an animal has an incomplete soul. That is a pretty powerful statement, and I believe it. In fact, I find I can’t get close or even trust any person who does not like animals.

I was very young when I knew animals would be a big part of my life, and they sure have been.

Way back during my dating years, if I found a boy I particularly liked, I would invite him home for dinner. It wasn’t necessarily to meet my mother and daddy or my brothers. It was to see how our dogs and cats liked him.

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Let me tell you, if the dogs barked or growled or the cats hissed and fled, that was the end of that relationship. To me, it just proved the saying, “Animals know.”

Why do I feel so strongly about this? It is because I have learned that trust is the key ingredient and that is on both sides.

I learned while working for Tyson Research Center for Wild Animals that even if the animal is feral or unsocialized, they usually instinctively know whether a human can be trusted.

A good bit of my life has been spent loving and caring for animals including wild and unsocialized wolves. I learned early on animals trust me instinctively. I, first of all, respect them but I don’t fear them. Only then am I fit for loving, and they know it.

Case in point: Not too long ago, I received an email from my friend Martha, a fellow animal lover and worker. It told a simple story of a woman who lived on the migration rout of Hummingbird’s as they fly south in the fall.

One day, she saw about 20 Hummingbirds in her back yard resting from their journey in progress.

If you ever observed these little birds, you know they are highly nervous, high-strung physically, and they dart about so fast you cannot see their wings move. They scatter if you come even close to them or their feeder.

But this lady wanted to help them, so she filled a little red dish with sugar water and sat down on a chair in her back yard. She silently held the dish in the palm of her hand and waited.

She waited quite a while and then five of the weary travelers hovered behind her and, feeling confident that they could trust her, they landed on her hand and started drinking the sweet water. The rest followed and drank, landing all over her. When interviewed on a local radio station, she was asked how the skittish birds felt safe to land and drink. She answered simply, “Birds know about trust.”

Accompanying this story were pictures. I was very touched to see such defenseless little creatures know it was safe to land on this lady’s hand and drink.

To me, this story needs no other words. It is simply one of God’s creatures caring for another of God’s creatures and isn’t that just exactly what we are supposed to do in this life?

My prayer: humble us Lord and remind us we are all, “Of God,” and He loves us everyone.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.