Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I wonder...

I wonder if my birds wonder.  This post isn't about what we know for sure or what science has told us, it is just about my own thoughts and questions about whether or not our birds wonder about things like we do.

Forever and ever people who have lived with animals have said they have emotions similar to ours, using their connection to their animals as a compass we didn't need science to confirm it, but now it has.  Finally, research is starting to surface that tells us that our animals do think and feel.  Of course we know that animals can learn, solve problems and use tools.  So, it isn't too out of left field to think that they may be capable of wondering.

When I say wondering, I mean thinking about the past, wondering what will happen next and daydreaming about things.  I have been involved in animal rescue for many years.  I have had animals com from a variety of situations from a really wonderful home where they were very much loved, but had to be rehomed due to allergies, illness, their owner passing away or losing their home. I have also had rescue animals that came from not so good situations.  Animals that came from homes where they were neglected, sometimes not treated very kindly.  For the most part they seem to take most things in stride and not hold onto the baggage from their past, still, they have memories, do they think about their past?

Charlie, our 21 year old Amazon lived with a man who he loved and went every where with for 15 years until the man died of cancer.  Charlie loved my husband Rick the first time he met him.  He is our bird and he is fine with me, but Rick is his preferred person and I am not disillusioned into thinking that he feels the same way about me as he does Rick.  I wonder if Charlie thinks about his former home, his old best friend who suddenly wasn't there anymore.  Does he wonder what happened, where he is and if he will come back?  Does he think about him and feel comforted with the memories he carries, does he feel sad thinking about him?  Has he accepted that in life people and animals come and go?

Iris, my 10 year old Dusky Pionus was purchased from a bird shop as a baby.  Her owner apparently loved her and her other bird, but when she married and had a baby, she returned Iris to the bird shop.  I purchased her from the bird shop 2 years ago when I was heartbroken over the loss of my Grey.  Iris is very attached to me and no one else.  I wonder if she feels sad and understands she was given up once the babies arrived.  Does she feel sadness and resentful?  Is she angry?  Hurt? Does she wonder why that happened?  Does she wonder if she did something wrong?  Am I thinking too much into this?  I don't think so, but I am thinking about and wondering about something that I will probably never have an answer for and that's okay, I'm just wondering and wondering is safe and reasonable, as long as I am not pretending to know the answer or making up an answer to fit my own needs or agenda.

I wonder most about Joey.  I adopted Joey after he and the other animals in the home had to be rehomed due to a major, tragic, life changing event.  Joey was in the house during the event which ended in the fatalityof a person.  I don't know if he saw it, but he surely was in the home when it happened and in the weeks that followed prior to coming to me.  His owner was gone, people were coming and going, animals were leaving or being cared for there.  When he first came to me, I can only describe his behavior as looking angry.  He would rush over and smack his beak into the sides of the cage, lunge to bite, he was very upset.  But, I worked with him and in very short time for a period, I was handling him, holding him and he is now the sweetest, most lovely and affectionate parrot...with me.  No one else has attempted to handle him yet, but he seems to like being talked to and interacted with.  Does he wonder about his former owner?  Does he wonder what happened?  Does he think about it at all?  Does it scare him or worry him?  Does he wonder if he will be moved again or something else will happen?  I wish I could know what goes on behind his big dark eyes.  I tell him he is loved and safe and I hope he knows that and understands that, but does he?  I don't know, I can only wonder.