Did you see that story about the old cattle dog Max who stayed with that little girl who was lost on her family property last week? Oh my GOD! How beautiful. This is why I much prefer animals to people.
Max the Blue Heeler is 17 years old, which is 119 in dog years, is deaf and going blind but still kept the little girl safe and warm until she was found by the police search party. He’s been awarded a medal and made Queensland’s first honorary police dog. Good for him. I’m sure if Max could talk (or if I could be near him and translate because, Dear Readers, as you’re aware I can speak to animals) he would say “Oh look, there’s no need to make a fuss I was just doing my job.” I suspect he sounds like Bryan Brown.
I think having an occupation is really important. How often have you heard people talk about fear of boredom in retirement and make links to people passing away when they stop working? It’s very common. I’m not sure there any evidence to back this theory up but it seems to be a popular notion amongst people over 60. I’m exposed to this constantly now I share a house part time with two people in their 70’s.
I believe this also true for animals. Example: my friend had a Beagle who tore their home apart – literally and figuratively – because they are hounds that needs lots of activity! I suggested they get Cyrus a part time job at the airport as a sniffer dog. I was inspired by that Border Collie Bailey who scored a great job with the Australian Maritime Museum as Assistant Director of Seagulls.
He has a uniform and a life jacket for when he goes into the drink! Before Bailey took on his key role, Museum staff spent hours and hours cleaning the seagull poo off every conceivable surface. Bailey, a rescue centre dog, succeeded where technology had failed.
Lots of our animals whose main job is pet/companion started off having a job. Some still do like sniffer dogs and now sniffer rats that unearth landmines in war torn countries – which is amazing when you think about it. There’s that groundhog in America who predicts the length of the winter – that job has been around since 1886. At No. 10 Downing Street the current Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office is a cat called Larry. His job is to keep the mice and rats under control. This is a prestigious role and has been around since Cardinal Wolsey (reign of Henry the VIII) brought a cat with him when he was sitting as Lord Chancellor in 1515.
Larry has been a controversial Mouser, there were calls for him to be sacked last year after a political photographer caught Larry playing with a mouse and then letting it scamper off. Surely that’s not meeting his KPIs? He’s also been caught sleeping on the job, although to be fair part of his position description which is on the Downing Street website, is “testing antique furniture for napping quality”, so I don’t think it’s fair to arc up about this. It could easily be a story planted by the Foreign Office who has their own official Mouser called Palmerston a well-known vicious, bloodthirsty, ambitious rodent-killing machine to get him a promotion. Its politics the truth will be buried somewhere.
I know what you’re thinking – how many mice ARE there in the hallowed halls of the British government?
Then there was Naruto the crested macaque who took that brilliant selfie who recently lost the court case in the US over copyright. Not sure who his legal representation was – clearly someone who was rubbish. They argued that “Naruto should be considered the author and copyright owner, and he shouldn’t be treated any differently from any other creator simply because he happens to not be human” and they lost. Another excellent example of humans being crap to animals. I would like to point out that if Naruto hadn’t actually taken that selfie, which has been seen by God knows how many people around the world, it wouldn’t exist. If the photographer had taken that photo guess what it would have been? Just another photo of a monkey.
I’ve met and worked with heaps of people who happen to be ‘not human’ and they appear to be living very successful lives. I think George Orwell said it best “Four Legs Good! Two Legs Baaaaaad.”