Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Canine Concern

During Ridge's recent dental misadventures and his accompanying discomfort, Baxter and Elsie seemed to know Ridge was in distress.

Instead of their usual teasing and rambunctuous play, they went easy on him. They sniffed his sore mouth, but didn't chew on his face (something they often do that Ridge tolerates amazingly well). They didn't flaunt toys or jump on him. They didn't bark at him or try to entice him to wrestle.

Baxter and Elsie (both sporting concerned, puzzled looks on their faces) sat quietly next to Ridge while he recovered. Their buddy was hurting, and they knew it. They sat with him but did nothing that would cause him pain.

It's pretty remarkable. We say humans are the only species capable of empathy, but I'm not so sure. Baxter and Elsie seemed empathetic enough. The knew something was wrong and instinctively knew not to rough house. But they didn't just ignore Ridge and go their merry ways; they sat with him. Every now and again either Baxter or Elsie would gently lick one of Ridge's outstretched paws, but would do no more.

Both seemed tender-hearted toward him. Both stood watch and waited with him while he endured his pain. If that's not empathy, I don't know what is.

'Til next time,

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