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Amazing Animals

Story ID:3705
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various various
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Amazing Animals

Amazing animals: a kissing lion, a painting elephant, a bovine ambassador, an albino ASL pit bull, and an amazing horse.


I had seen this wonderful picture of a huge caged lion in Columbia seemingly ready to hurt the woman pounding on his cage. You probably have already seen it too. It was on TV news, and now I received it as a You Tube forward. Instead of hurting her, he trust out his huge paws and pulled her towards him in an amazing embrace, and gave her which I imagine was a big wet kiss. Unbelievable. As the reporter mused --this lion must have a soft spot. Agreed.

The woman had rescued him from starvation 6 years ago and tended to him during that time. When he was well enough, she took him understandably to a zoo. They say elephants never forget. Obviously, this is a trait many more animals have, and they never forget their human rescuers.


I also received another wonderful You Tube account of an elephant in Thailand painting a picture of himself! Maybe you saw it too. Obviously, his handler or someone else was very gifted in teaching the elephant to paint with a brush in his trunk, and I found his self-portrait remarkable.

This was no spatter-painting picture. This was a drawing which showed depth perception, and I was mesmerized as I watched incredulously as the telling outlines of paint took shape. I was glad that this was on the You Tube, because it is a medium with a lot of exposure. More and more we are beginning to realize that animals are not crude, unthinking beings, and that this was certainly an amazing experience for so many of us to witness.

As we already know, elephants are special and amazing social creatures and, in my opinion, a baby elephant is a work of art-- though I probably feel this way about all animal babies. (Of course, human babies are all works of art too.) I still remember a picture of one of them at an African elephant sanctuary lying near his keeper--extending his trunk to him in a comforting way. This orphaned baby needed this
bonding because as the beautiful, compassionate lady who heads the sanctuary noted --the baby would die without it. Sadly, she learned this from first hand experience when she lost a baby elephant who died of a broken heart because he
was left alone during the night.


I find baby calves very endearing. I was able to come close to them when I spent my last year at a Catholic boarding school in Pennsylvania. They had cows on the property, and the new-born calves were brought to the barn where I was able to slip in to visit them. They were so beautiful! I didn't know then but the males
would be slaughtered for their veal. It would have broken my heart. And of course, it still does. And even more distressing is that on some cruel factory farms, they are put in small crates unable to even turn around. Imagine -being in a crate for the 6 weeks or more before being mercifully released and finally slaughtered. One day would be hell for any of us placed in a similar crate. Why are men so cruel?

I remember writing a veal company about this cruelty, and of course, someone responded in a way that showed, in my estimation, complete lack of compassion. He asked me if I would be willing to help foot the bill to provide needed changes. I can't print what I thought of the person who wrote me such an unthinking and insensitive letter. Did he want me to feel guilty about his cruel money-making operation?

Not all men are cruel and uncaring though. Gene Bauston, a young factory farm activist in 1990 found an abandoned sickly calf left for dead near the slaughterhouse. He rescued this calf, lovingly nursed him and named him Opie. In time, he became a young, happy frolicing calf. I saw the video on the Farm Sanctuary site.

Opie was the first rescue of Farm Sanctuary and years later he had become a loving--very large bovine ambassador for the sanctuary. Visitors were sometimes intimidated by his size - but his heart and gentleness soon won them over.

So, it is with sadness that Farm Sanctuary notified its members that Opie had died. For eighteen years he lived a life free from all the cruelty inflicted on so many factory farm raised cattle. People who saw him daily and cared for him will miss him greatly I'm sure. How lucky they were to have Opie this long. How lucky Opie was to have them as well. His life was filled with love, sunshine, and fresh air which is denied so many of his brothers and sisters. Thank you Gene et al.


This month's LHJ had the story of Duncan, an albino pit bull. He had been turned into the Animal Care and Control shelter in Brooklyn, New York after his owner had been nabbed in a drug raid. The uncle of the alleged drug dealer came to claim him only to return him to the shelter because the man said that the dog was stupid.

The staff knew that albino animals are often deaf and so they tested Duncan's hearing.
Sure enough - Duncan was not stupid. He was deaf. No one it seemed wanted a deaf albino pit bull but happily he was rescued on the day before he was to be euthanized by Hot Water Rescue, a New England-based animal rescue organization. This group headed by president Barbie Perry specializes in helping misunderstood breeds like pit bulls.

Sabrina Brini who knew Barbie Perry agreed to foster Duncan until Perry could find him
a permanent home. "Brini" was one special lady who realized that for Duncan to be adopted
she would have to LEARN and teach him some ASL hand movements. And indeed she did. It would soon become obvious that only she should adopt Duncan because they already had a communication hand signaling vocabulary. What a lucky dog. What a lucky Brini. I believe they were meant for each other.


I don't have to tell you the story of Barbaro who seemed destined to be a Triple Crown
Winner until the unthinkable - becoming lame - was it at the Belmonts? I was recently reminded of him because of an article about his jockey who knew early on that this horse was remarkable. And, of course, it was his quick actions which saved Barbaro from being put down immediately at the track when the accident

So Barbaro -you are remembered again and probably will be every time the Kentucky
Derby is held. Personally, I don't believe in horse racing. I believe that horses are often ill-treated and pushed beyond their limits. Some spent horses were even cruelly killed for insurance money by their owners. But in your case, Barbaro, you seemed to enjoy running. You obviously had caring owners who went the limits to make you well, but who were ready to say enough when it was obvious that you were suffering. You are gone Barbaro --but not forgotten.

****The picture of Barbaro with the jockey who loved him - Edgar Prado-- came from the Reader's Digest. The first time that Edgar won the Kentucky Derby after 7 tries was on Barbaro.