Why do we care so much about animals?

An incident with a pigeon in our garden.

I found myself wondering about this question as the tears flowed down my cheeks one cloudy, Friday morning.

I'll set the scene for you briefly. It had been a hot, hot week here in the UK. In fact, record-breakingly so - it hit 39degrees C (102F) here in London earlier that week, which is hot for here.

I woke up that Friday morning feeling grateful for the cooler temperature, and hoping for a calm end to the week.

My mum and I went outside for her to show me where to pour the ant-powder if we get a problem with the ants, as they come out in full force this time of year and especially so when it's very hot. She was going to be going away with my dad, so I had to be on top of any emerging ant situation.

And then…

She cried out, startled, as she noticed a pigeon right there on the concrete path outside the conservatory. It was still. Very still. It moved its head in our direction, obviously injured, distressed and probably exhausted.

Both my mum and I are highly sensitive, and we felt its pain. Hmm. There was another time when a baby bird had lost it's mummy-bird; we had called the RSPCA and they had come to collect it. It had all been OK.

This time felt different though. The bird wasn't moving a lot at all, even though he (or she) was alive.

I called the number for the RSPCA, whilst trying to read up online about what the best thing to do was in this situation. When I got through to someone, they said to put the pigeon in a box, and someone would come out and collect the bird. I put on a pair of rubber gloves and lifted him (or her) ever so carefully into a shoebox, with some soft-paper folded underneath for some softness.

He didn't really resist much at all. Before this, we'd tried to feed the bird bread, or water. He showed signs of kinda trying to move towards it, but not really.

Anyhow we got it into the box, and I filled up a container of water and tilted it towards the bird, slowly it moved its head, its beak was in the water, and it started drinking... slowly, and then I saw eager gulps. I held the water there until it looked like the pigeon wasn't drinking anymore. I put some small bits of bread, some dry and some a little soggy from water that had spilled out from the container onto the ground.

I watched as it moved its head down, to the side, and rested it. Eyes open.

It was really sad. The bird had died. I felt really emotional, and I can feel tears filling in my eyes as I write this.

My reading online told me that that, after being injured, birds can often die from the shock. It clearly had an injury to its wing and to its leg, because it was completely immobile.

I read that storms and hot weather can be very disorientating for them. I assumed that's what had happened, and perhaps the bird had hit the glass. I couldn't see any visible signs of injury, but then again I couldn't really see under the wing either. It did lean on one leg at one point, and I'm assuming that was it's 'good' leg. The other leg/wing must have been injured.

It just felt sad to watch it die right in front of our very eyes. I feel sad writing about it.

I have observed that us intuitives/HSPs are very caring when it comes to animals. We love cats and dogs, and all sorts of creatures. In fact, it seems that some of us adore animals more so than we do other humans!

I found myself wondering why.

Perhaps their innocence. The fact that they go about their business, they don't do us any harm.

Partly because as empathetic individuals we just really feel a sense of love and care for them. How they can be affectionate and nourishing and keep us company, even if they can't talk.

Pets often become like an adopted member of the family. I've never had a pet myself, but it's easy to see why... this was a pigeon I had barely known for an hour, and I found myself caring for it in it's time of need.

credit: INFJoe / Aaron Caycedo-Kimura

I felt it's pain, it's struggle, it's loneliness and exhaustion. And then I had to watch it silently suffer in its last few moments. With its injury, there was a good chance it could be recovered, even with human intervention. They may well have hd to end its suffering, my mum reminded me as she saw the tears flow from my eyes and down my cheeks.

I haven't really come to a conclusion as to why we care so much about animals, even though I've offered some of my best educated guesses, above.

I guess, as sensitive people, we have a high capacity for empathy & caring just as it is, whether that's for other human beings or other living creatures.

I've seen a few introvert-memes and such that have, half-jokingly described how we love animals and pets more so than other human beings.

What about you?
Are you an animal-lover? Do they bring you joy and love and feelings that you sometimes don't even get when it comes to other human beings?

I'd love to hear about your experiences, and why you think animals are such wonderful, magical creatures and why us INFPs & INFJs care so deeply for them. Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting underneath this tweet.

I don't know where animals, or humans, go when they leave this earth... but I really hope that pigeon has gone somewhere kind, and comforting.


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