Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interspecies Love and Grief

There are countless videos and images on the Internet that can be used in the classroom that demonstrate that non-human animals not only have the capacity for love but can share that love with animals of other species. But does that love continue after their friend or beloved has died?

Clearly it does. Ethologists have long demonstrated the capacity of non-human animals to grieve, and countless examples exist of animals who mourn their young, their friends, and other animals with whom they have bonded, including of course their human friends.

In this heartbreaking video from 2012, Bella the dog mourns the death of Beavis, her beaver friend, who died just that morning. It is such a simple demonstration of love and loss that it's difficult to imagine a counterargument that posits any other explanation for Bella's behavior.