The gift of help and cooperation
Rupert Sheldrake, scientist, philosopher, PHD in biochemistry in Cambridge University wrote a book called: “Dogs that know when their owners are coming home”. In it, he did a small research about the domestication of animals.
He wrote:” The earliest named hominid species, known from fossil remains are Australopithecus ramidus and Australopithecus anamensis, dating back over four million years. The first stone tools were used about 2,5 million years ago and signs of meat eating appear about a million year later, about the time that Homo erectus spread out of Africa into Eurasia. The use of fire might have begun 700,000 years ago. Modern humans originated in Africa about 150,000 years ago. The first cave paintings, including the ones with animals, appeared about 30,000 years ago. The agricultural revolution began about 10,000 years ago and the first civilization and written script about 5,000 years ago.”
So, since 30.000 years ago, man and animals have shared the earth in a symbiosis: positive or negative, sometimes, but with infinite possibilities. As man began getting in groups and trying to survive by hunting and gathering plants and fruits, animals were there, sharing the same space.
“In hunter-gatherer cultures, human beings do not see themselves as separate from other animals, but as intimately interconnected. The specialists in communication with the natural world are shamans and through their guardian-spirits or power-animals, shamans connect themselves with the power of animals. There is a mysterious solidarity between people and animals. Shamans experience themselves as being guided by animals or becoming an animal, understanding their language and sharing in their prescience or occult power” Rupert Sheldrake
Apparently, the first animals to be domesticated were dogs (the first DNA transformation of wolf into dog dates about 100,000 years ago), who used to help man. “The Australian veterinary David Paxton goes so far as to suggest that people did not so much domesticate wolves as wolves domesticated people. Wolves may have started living around the periphery of human settlements as a kind of infestations… Some learned to live with human beings in a mutual helpful way and latter became dogs. At the very least, they would have protected human settlements and giving warnings by barking at anything approaching.” Rupert Sheldrake
Nowadays, dogs can help humans guard their house, property or even other animals, like endangered species in Kenya.
Dogs have had a series of different jobs throughout the years, one is transportation.
“Dog power has been utilized for hunting and travel for hundreds of years. As far back as the 10th century, dogs were being utilized to facilitate human life. However, dog sledding as we know it today, emerged as a way of life in at least three Arctic regions where there was a plentiful supply of meat through much of the year.
One was on the island of Greenland where so-called Greenland dogs developed as their own breed over time. Inuits valued strong, durable and well-coated dogs. The dogs would help them journey across sea ice and hunt polar bear using a sled built from driftwood and leather straps. The dogs were traditionally roped up as a ‘fan’ team – 10-14 dogs tied individually back to a central line leading to the sleigh or to the sleigh itself and proceeding forward without a clear leader. These dogs are extremely tough in both body and mind; they can withstand hunger and cold well and can be a little hard to train. They are often left to almost fend for themselves on isolated islands over the summer months and hence the breed is one in which genetic selection has often been through survival of the fittest. Dog to dog aggression is, therefore, more common within Greenland dogs than it is in other husky lines where the line has been controlled more by human selection.”
Dogs can also help people, after an avalanche or earthquake, finding people and corpses. Dogs have taken part in wars, with their human friends and have become heroes.
Every day, “man’s best friend” is present to help us, humans, in our life.
Also, and most important, dogs have been helping disabled people and guiding blind people.
But it is not only dogs that help humans.
Animals and humans, eternal companions
Knossos palace is the large Bronze Age archeological site on Crete and has been called Europe’s oldest city, first settlement about 7000 BC. On its walls, we can see pictures of dolphins, and on another wall, the bull jumping. Non cruel sport practiced by ancient Minoans which consisted of jumping bulls.
Throughout humankind’s history, the animals were our next to kin, helping and cooperating with man.
We do not know if the dolphins pictured in Knossos Palace helped in the fishing, but, in Brazil of today (Laguna), dolphins do help fishermen.
In East Africa, wild birds help the Masai find honey. “Researchers have long known that people in Africa cooperate with a wild bird called the greater honey guide. The bird shows people how to find bee’s nest, which they harvest for their honey. The birds, then feed on the wax combs left behind. New research published in the journal of science shows that this remarkable cooperative relationship involves two way communications between humans and a living free wild animal, which is astonishingly rare in the natural world. Honey guides solicit people with a distinctive chattering call and fly from tree to tree in the direction of the bee’s nest showing their human follower where to go.” BBSRC media
Horses helping humans
Horses, also, have offered transport to humans since the beginning of times. After, they were/are used in different “games” and competitions like: horse racing, barrel racing, jumping, dressage, etc… They are also used in therapy in different ways. “Equine assisted therapy encompasses a range of treatments that involve activities with horses and other equines to promote human physical and mental health.”
This family decided to go to Mongolia to offer Shamanic horse therapy to their son.
Domestic cats helping children study
In a school in France, adopted stray kittens to help children to calm down and concentrate in a school in Cote d’Azur. This is another reason to go to school. The parents of the children seem to approve the new educators.
Cats are known for their hunting skills. In Chicago, they are helping the population, hunting mice and rats:
In the hermitage Museum, in Saint Petersburg, they are also used for protecting the art present in the museum. And Southwark Cathedral in London is the home place for Doorkins magnificat.
Cats can be found, also, in old people’s homes, hospitals and in any place needing therapy. Their calming presence brings positive energy to the environment.
Ducks helping farmers in Japan
In Japan, farmers use ducks to help the cultivation of rice in a perfect symbiosis. The ducks have a dual role: they feed on insects and weeds and their droppings enrich the soil.
In work and play
Animals are present in our everyday life; some favorable insects can protect our agriculture . Bats and geckos can eat mosquitoes, dogs can protect and help hunting, cats can calm and offer therapy …but, also in play, animals are present. A good example of this is a dog helping children play jumping rope in Brazil:
It is not only animals who offer help to humans, but vice versa, too. Whenever man helps an animal, gratitude is expressed by the animal. Even common known predators, as sharks, can be grateful for help.
Also, animals can help…other animals like this dog rescuing a deer:
Throughout the beginning of the history of man, animals have always been by our side. As: therapists, companions, helpers, protectors, co-workers, cooperators, guides, friends and healers. It is about time that the humans recognize them as intelligent living beings.
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“Dogs that know when their owners are coming home” Rupert Sheldrake