Dr Doolittle

I was a reader, and still am a fan, of Hugh Lofting’s Dr Doolittle books. Apart from the sheer fun of using giant moths to fly to the moon and huge snails to cross the seabed, I just liked the idea of being able to talk to animals. It’s an idea that has followed me most of my life especially with my dogs who do talk to me in their way, mostly with body language and those long stares when brown eyes remind me the door is closed and they need to go out.

That animals have a language of calls and with Whales even a deeper language, I have no doubt just as I am pretty sure most of what they talk about is the horror of human kind. They don’t have a philosophy but then, maybe not having one is also having one – as is the way of philosophies. I am sure though a lot of the fear animals show us it not ‘natural’ but learned. Just as the Dodo was no match for human predation because it did not know it had to be scared, so animals that know humans fear them.

Which is why, of course, those we are kind to, show less fear than those to whom we are unkind. But in this, like everything else, my experience of the world is a direct result of everyone else’s actions. Animals fear me just as much as they fear the hunter.

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December 2018
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