Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #125

May 6, 2014: What it Means to be Human

Animals cannot fill a deep hole,
rather, they can only distract one from its depth.

The other night I told Vickie Talbot that Raudi doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me. I further explained that she’s a willful, independent mare who is very self-absorbed. She doesn’t come up to me for a pet, but rather in order to see what food I have on hand. I added that if she suddenly had a new owner, that she would not miss me.

I believe this, and actually, I’m okay with this. Raudi is what Raudi is, and my being accepting of this means that my love for her unconditional. For the past ten years, my world has revolved around hers. What Raudi wants, Raudi gets. (The only exception is pasturage, and I’m working on that.) I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon.

This is all fine and good. But it’s important to say here that my high regard for this mare (which manifests itself in being obsessed with doing well

by her) is not to the exclusion of my concern and care for fellow human beings.

Unbeknownst to most, I do value human companionship. Pete’s my absolute best friend in the entire world. As a child, I had an imaginary friend who I called Boyfriend. When I met Pete, I immediately knew that he was the real thing. As with Imaginary Boyfriend, I began doing adventurous things with Real Boyfriend. For example, we went camping and did long bicycle tours together. Pete’s since remained my confidant and buddy, and I don’t see this ever changing.

Family members are important, and over the years have become more so. My father lives in New Hampshire, and my mother and sister live in Oregon. My one regret is that we all live so far apart. Being an Alaskan-based expatriate does make this difficult.

I also have a few close friends, most of whom are also obsessed with dog and pony training. But, some do not. I am glad to have friends who are not into animals or have other interests because this broadens my world view.

I’ve had times when I’ve been really down – this has mainly been for career related reasons. At such times I’ve spent more time with the animals than usual. This is probably because I don’t want to bother others with my worries. This has temporarily helped fill the hold. But, this has also been with the realization that communication with horses and dogs about such matters is one way, while with people it’s two way. Confiding in people, working through issues while using their input – this is the way it is and should continue to be, and vice-versa.

There is a danger here – and all who own or rescue animals should be aware of it. This is that a concern for animals can easily substitute for a concern for people. Yes, I am frustrated by the fact that few are acknowledging that human over population is the primary source of the world’s woes, climate change included. And I flinch every time I see a witless breeder dragging umpteen offspring into the supermarket. This is because it’s a given – every single child born is going to end up being a consumer – chomp, chomp. And at the same time, available resources are finite. But at the same time, I know that what makes us human is not just a love of animals, but also our love for one another.

This is a tough topic to write about because putting things into perspective is never easy.