My wife was once told by a college professor that animals only imitated emotions. They had, he reasoned, no true emotional capacity of their own.
The more we learn about the world the more we realize how false that statement is.
Any pet owner in the world can tell you about the emotional depths of their fur-babies.
As I write this, I am reminded of stories of grieving elephants gathering where a comrade has fallen.
Or the way crows will gather briefly in a tree near where a member of the murder has passed to observe silently before rising, en mass, into the air.
“Broke my heart this morning seeing another pony KILLED on the forest road. Even more that her friends were looking on,” Sarah Simmons wrote on Facebook.
She had passed the scene of a group of ponies standing watch over a dead mare.
The mare had been hit by a car Jan. 8 in New Forest National Park in England. The ponies’ owner said they were unable to move the body until morning due to a lack of light.
The dead pony, Hazelhill Scrap, was mourned all night by her tight knit herd, which included her mother and half-sister.
Simmons reminds people that these ponies have more rights to these roads than most and motorists need to slow down as they drive through the park.
Barbara King, an emerita professor in anthropology, said it was correct to assume the horses were grieving. “Horses feel deeply – joy as well as grief – and they think about their lives.”
The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reports a similar story from the same park from March 2016 in which a pony was seen standing over the body of a deceased horse, also hit by a car.
At the time, a local conservation group pleaded with drivers to go slowly.
“When passing an animal, slow down and keep your distance because animals are unpredictable. Sometimes the speed limit is too fast for the conditions and drivers need to pay attention and remain alert.”
It is tempting to think human grief is more important than animal grief.
But maybe we all grieve the same. Drive safely and protect all the lives around you.
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