WHAT ANIMALS CAN TEACH US
In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished and had clearly been abused. In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary that had a reputation for being a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.
Shelter staff member, Jeff, and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually, both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started thinking of ways to find her an adoptive home. But Jasmine had other ideas. No one remembers now how it all began, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arriving at the sanctuary. It wouldn’t matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, probably, a rhinoceros, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Jeff relates one of the early incidents. “We had two puppies that had been abandoned at a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the center and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the sofa. Then she fetched the other one and lay down with them, cuddling them.”
“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits,” said Jeff. “She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with a little fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted orphaned dog, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she cared for comprised five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits.
And one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm and then went into the full foster mom role. Jasmine the greyhound showered Bramble the roe deer with affection and made sure nothing was matted in her fur. “They are inseparable,” says Jeff. “Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It’s a real treat to see them.”
Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse. Jasmine was doing what she did best, being a foster care mother.
If an animal that was abused and abandoned by so-called intelligent humans can show such love and affection for species other than her own, what does that tell us who are supposed to be so much more sophisticated? Since they too were created by God, is it any wonder that we can see His kind and loving nature in them? If so, why can’t it be seen in us who call ourselves His children?