If you’re looking for a brilliant explanation of why humans put other animals into categories, you won’t find it here. Sorry.
My opinion is that people find it convenient to treat animals differently based on what we want from them. Do we want animals to keep us company? Work for us? Hold up a romantic ideal? Feed us? Then we put them in a category that makes us feel more comfortable about our decisions.
I’ve asked myself about the differences between animals in my past two years as the pet travel contributor for A Traveler’s Library. You see, there are only so many books about people who travel with their pets. Luckily, the site’s editor and owner, Vera Badertscher, gave me some latitude in choosing books that inspire us to travel with our pets.
In addition to reviewing books about people who travel with their dogs and cats, I’ve also considered livestock animals (The Horse Boy and Shepherds of Coyote Rocks). And also working animals (Sun Dogs and and Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback). And what about wild animals (Three Among the Wolves) or feral animals (The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill)? (affiliate links)
In fact, it was Mark Bittner, the human subject of The Parrots of Telegraph Hill, who convinced me that no matter how we categorize animals, there is one way we are all the same.
“They’re afraid of death. They’re afraid of injury. They’re afraid of being alone. Like us.”
Whether we are human animals, companion animals, wild animals, or livestock, Bittner’s words describe all of us.
Today I’m publishing my last post for A Traveler’s Library. I’ve appreciated the chance to contribute to such a wonderful website. I’ve learned a lot. After all, writing and travel, like building relationships with animals, makes us grow.
If you agree, please stop by to discover three charming children’s books that inspire pet travel. Or check out a diverse list of books that will inspire you to travel with your pet. And don’t forget to share the lessons I’ve learned from reading and writing about pet travel.
Of all the lessons I’ve taken from reading about animal-inspired travel, I can’t tell you the differences between categories of animals. But I can tell you that like traveling, trying to understand animals will change us. If we only let it.
Your Turn: Do you have a clear idea in your mind about how pets, wild animals, and livestock are different? Or do you think they aren’t different at all?
Disclosure: The book and film links in this post will take you to Amazon where you can buy them. Items will not cost you more but I will make a few cents to put toward the costs of publishing Something Wagging This Way Comes. Thanks for your support.
photo credit: angelocesare via photopin cc