Sunday, June 10, 2012

Instincts, Altruism and Selflessness

Yes, yes, I know I am supposed to share inspiring stories of women who are really being great role models, but I found this story so moving that I wanted to share it with you.

The rescued infant.
Photo by Ghana News Agency
In Ghana, a woman believed she had lost her dog and had a search party helping to track her beloved canine friend down through the nearby forest.  They searched and searched, and eventually found this now heroic farm dog, cuddled up against a two week old baby that had been abandoned under a bridge.  Keeping the child warm and safe from harm, the dog was able to nurture something unfamiliar and most likely saved the child's life. Amazing!

I'm not one to play at personification of animals.  I truly love and embrace the nature of dogs and cats and praying mantises and whatever else, but in this instant, there is truly something so inspiring in the dog's behavior that I felt compelled to write about it.  

Animals have been known to accept the young of other animals into their litters, raising them as their own and resulting in puppies that grow up to clean themselves like kittens or baby hippos that are convinced their mother is a 130 year old giant male tortoise.

Photo Credit: Muhammad Hamed / Reuters 
There have been studies conducted on Animal Altruism, or the sacrificing of oneself for the protection or betterment of another. These acts of protecting another have helped to improve and evolve the species over time by insuring that all members of a species are given the opportunity to live, thrive, feel protected and inherit the traits and behaviors that will protect future generations.

I know many of us are hesitant to leave our safe places and venture into the unfamiliar, which is a part of our instinctive call to self-preservation.  Helping a stranger, accepting a new or unknown person or pet into our care, going to a part of town that you've never been to to help people you've never met, all pushes us out of our comfort zone.  But the truth is, what you instill in yourself, the trait of selflessness and altruism, is something you may also pass down to your friends, your family, your community and those that you help.  That farm dog left his meal bowl and everything familiar because something told him that someone needed his help.  And right now, in this world, I know someone needs you.

1 comment:

  1. This is not the first time I've heard this about dogs…there are some types of dogs that will die for their owner, and to hear that one wanted to protect an unfamiliar baby is so touching. Aren't dogs just wonderful? No wonder they are called "man's best friend", they really are!