How smart and really like us are animals? Every wonder? About 13 years ago we went to a friends house and he insisted on having his neighbor bring over a small poodle that the neighbor did not want. My wife and I had two dogs and did not want a third yet, my friend insisted we see the dog.
My wife picked up the small white toy poodle, named Missy, and put it on her lap. It was very sad looking and it was shaking with fear. She began to pet it gently to calm it and at that point the owner laughed. I asked what was funny and he said, “no one has ever picked up that animal before, it is funny to see someone holding it.’
It turned out that his x-wife left him with the, dog, house and kids 6 months earlier. He hated the dog and kicked it to get it into its cage. He told us how he had another animal, a Myna bird, or should I say “had.” His kids were supposed to care for it and the dog. One morning his kids had come running to him saying the bird was lying dead in the cage. He said, “I let that teach them a lesson. Since they had not fed the bird it starved to death.”
I looked at him and said, “Don’t you know that it is a horrible painful way to die to starve to death? It is what the Nazis did to the 12,000,000 Jews and Christians they killed in Germany?”
He laughed again, and said, “Give me a break, they are just animals! They are mechanical and have no feelings.” At that point I knew he was a psychopath and the dog deserved a better chance in life.
Needless to say we took the dog home. In two weeks it gained 7 pounds and went from a trembling 7 pounds to a happy 14 pound puppy. However, if anyone puts a hand near the dog other then ‘trusted friends’ that Missy knows, she will nip their fingers to scare them away. We have tried dog psychologists and several trainers but she is forever fearful of being hurt by people like that psychopath who owned her. Even now, 12 years later.
Now that Missy is older and has cataracts, she has developed a fear of climbing our wooden steps since she slipped on them one night. For the last year she does not climb stairs.
A few months ago we went on a trip for 4 days and, as usual, arranged for the doggy sitter to come and visit with Missy 4 times a day. My wife did this a month in advance. We left on Wednesday and when we returned on Sunday the usual long note logging the sitters visits was very short and our check for her work was on the table. The note said that the sitter had her worst nightmare come true. She had forgotten about Missy! On Saturday, reading her email from my wife (to remind her), she discovered her mistake. She rushed to our house and found Missy starving and without water but still alive!
Missy seemed fine when we saw her but certainly very, very happy to see us. There was however a new unusual behavior. She follows us everywhere and has rushes for the door to try to follow us out, even when we tell her we will be back shortly, which she always did fine with before. In other words, Missy has fear of abandonment. In fact she is so fearful that she goes up and down the slippery wooden steps even in the dark!
Missy is very smart dog. She has strong feelings and a great memory. The first time she met my brother, Steve, she loved him and allowed him to pet her. It was the same with my cleaning lady, Deborah. Others who she does not trust, she remembers as well. She has only seen my daughter who lives on the other side of the Earth in Vienna a few times and years ago, but the minute she sees her she knows her and is happy to greet her.
I have to tell you that toy poodles have small heads but having lived with Missy for 13 years, I know that she learns and remembers better than most smart people I know. I also clearly see that she is full of emotions and expresses her love with kisses enough to make your hands sore. You literally have to tell her, “No more kisses!”
Now I have taken flying lessons and I can assure you it is no easy task to pilot a plane in 3 dimensions. Just the other day when working on my computer I noted a small speck of dust floating in front of the screen. I found it interesting to note that it floated up and down in a way I rarely expected air currents in the room to move. Looking more closely, I discovered that the dust mote was really some form of flying insect. It was so very small that my very good eyesight could just barley resolve its details.
It then occurred to me that this living dust mote, was able to, find food, feed, eliminate, find mates, have sex and reproduce as well as fly and navigate successfully in 3 dimensional space! Now I wondered, my dog Missy’s brain was fraction of mine in size. This living dust mote had a brain so small I could not find without the aid of a microscope.
I had frequently wondered what science really knows about our mind. I am a doctor and I have long ago learned NOT to accept anything you learn from scientists as the gospel truth. After all, we are limited in our perception of the universe and as such we make the best approximation of reality with our ‘theories’ and then if they prove out in the scientific lab we assume they are ‘proven.’ But, proven only means Useful! Any thinking man knows we have no facts that are 100%, just ‘proven’ theories and models of the universe that can be, for our needs, very reliable.
Science says you are created by the neuro-chemical interactions in your mind. If we cut into your brain with a scalpel, you will no longer be you! Bullets and surgery have proven this, they say. On the other hand, if we keep in mind my rule about science never being 100% correct, we could imagine that the brain is a transceiver that connects us to a non-physical spiritual self. So maybe we don’t live in our brains and that is why much of our neurotransmitters are found in our stomach and why people say things like, “I have a gut feeling…..”
Now I was not hallucinating about the flying mote but that brings up another topic, Hallucinations. Science says they are unreal creations of a dysfunctional mind. But is this a scientific truth? There is some research to the contrary. Consider that drawings by people in the stone age have much in common with those drawn by todays shamans using hallucinogens to experience what they believe is an alternative reality. In cave drawings found across the world many thousands of years old and in very different cultures, there are again very many common paintings. In many of these caves there is evidence that the artists used magic mushrooms or some plant to experience these creative visions.
What might be a possible explanation for common art work such as ‘humans with animal heads’ that were drawn by vastly different cultures across times as far distant as the stone age is to our current era? Well, in the era of the Internet we could say that some common communication like our ubiquitous web sites would do it. But, this did not exist in the stone age. On the other hand, if we exist outside our bodies as part of the Akashic Record this could explain the common drawings.
Whatever the answer is, I suspect that there is more to us than a few pounds of fat and neurons in our head. My dog, Missy, not only has strong emotions, an excellent memory and obvious intelligence, she has something most of us do not have! Missy can go out for a walk and find plants to eat that help her when she is sick! Can you? Scientists says this is ‘innate intelligence.’ This is the way the ‘Intelligentsia’ likes to put down animals as stupid creatures with simple minds with precoded knowledge. They can then claim that animals are too stupid to learn from their own thinking and some sort of marvelous symbolic code that written language affords us so they compensate with a pre-recorded message. Is this true?
Consider that animals may be in contact with things we are not. Perhaps they do not need magic potions of mushrooms to open their eyes to an alternative world that exists outside of our limited perception. In that case, they have more than we have in terms of mental abilities. Then again, I do recall kids seeing invisible friends and other fancies that stern adult warnings scared out of them. How about you, do you recall anything from your childhood that you were told to stop thinking or talking about!
When we evolved our Neocortex and became so smart did the neocortex filter out a view of reality that we now can only garner with drugs or trance dancing?
So the question persists. Do we inhabit our brains or is it a transceiver? I for one believe the latter but you chose whatever makes sense to your intuition.