Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whales and "Animal People"

Annazu are sleeping (Zu at my feet, Anna on the printer, to the right of my monitor.) These guys, always follow follow follow, especially in the mornings. At soon as I got out of bed, Zuzu was right there, like "Finally, you're UP! YAY!"

I love how they follow follow follow all the time.
They really do make me very happy.

Other quick news: our family went to Mystic Aquarium on Sunday. I turned 40 in March -- for my birthday, my husband bought me a whale contact (my 9-year old daughter Mia and I also had a penguin contact on the same day for her birthday earlier this month.) I could do a whole post about these -- being that close to these animals was truly wonderful. But since I only have a few minutes before getting ready for work, I'll stick with what's on my mind: Animal People.

I think, you either are an "Animal Person" or you're not. Me, I have my favorites (horses, cats, dogs, and deer), but I seem to just love them all. Show me a kangaroo and the kangaroo will become my favorite animal for a few weeks. Then, I'll see a television program about, say, wolves and oooooh, the WOLF will be my favorite animal for the next few weeks!

If you're an Animal Person, animals just "do"something to you, you know? You're somehow born with a passionate love for them, all of them.

On the other hand tho, some folks are definitely, decidedly NOT Animal People. These people either don't really give animals much of a second thought or worse, they seem to think animals were put on earth solely for humans to use however we see fit.

Back to aquarium. In between petting penguins and wading with whales, we had some time to walk around. One display had a "touch tank:" a large tank filled with crabs, starfish and miscellaneous other marine life that people were allowed to touch.

I got upset there.

The tank was surrounded by kids, no surprise, all eagerly reaching into the water. That's okay, right? It was a "touch tank, " after all. The problem was, many of these kids were grabbing at the animals, taking them OUT of the water, waving them around and otherwise treating them roughly. The poor aquarium employee repeatedly asked the kids to "Keep the animals in the water," "Be gentle," etc. but the kids didn't seem to hear her or pay her much attention.

Kids are kids. They will get excited. I don't blame them -- I blame the parents.

I kept looking around, wondering where the parents were.
Why weren't the parents instructing their kids to behave appropriately with these poor creatures?
The parents were, in fact, right behind these kids -- and saying nothing. They allowed the kids to get as rough as they wanted with the animals, either not paying attention or smiling and laughing and not correcting them.

That's when I thought: these are not Animal People, these parents.
They are the type of people who just assume animals are here for humans to grope and grab and do with whatever they like.

I had to leave the tank.
Because, to me, it's never "Just a starfish!" or "Just a crab, jeez, settle down!" but innocent living creatures, you know?


Here's one shot of me with my beloved new friend Naku the Beluga whale. I'll try to post more later on:


Jan's Funny Farm said...

Oh, what a thrill to meet a whale.

Jan gets upset about parents not teaching children to show kindness to animals.

purrs and tail wags

ZOOLATRY said...

This is a great piece, and so very true. And the Zoolatry Human is Super-Jealous; she wants to have "swim with the dolphins" for her birthday! What a special and wonderful thing to do.