8th November 2021

So today we launch into Human-Animal Relationship week. Who knew? I suppose it fits in nicely with COP26 and is another aspect of our relationship with those creatures who we share the earth with and it’s fair to say, couldn’t do without. In so many ways, the circle of life reminds us of just how bad we have been at being good neighbours to those that share this planet with, if the numbers of extinctions in species is anything to judge by. And yet, there remains an innocence in the way animals give so much to us, not least by the nourishment we receive when we eat them. Now there is an irony.

Our relationship to animals ranges from fear to fascination. From the exotic to the common, people are both phobic and in love with animals of all shapes and sizes, in bible terms, from the lion to the lamb.

As I write, Pippin is lying beside me, fast asleep on the futon, completely at ease. But one small movement and he will wake and watch, to see if I’m leaving the room. He inspires joy in me. He listens to me without judgement, just tipping his head to the side as if he understands completely. He relies on me to feed him and make sure his water is refreshed. Oh and that he can get outside when he needs to. It’s not a complicated relationship. It’s a relationship that is mutual, both parties contributing.

There is so much we can learn about life through animals if we are humble and curious enough to let go of our superiority. And perhaps spend a little time with Sir David and his documentaries.

Rachel Haig