This week we finally got the snow we had been hoping for - hooray! Aside from making snowmen and sledding, we also spent a good chunk of the week preparing for, and celebrating, the inauguration. The kids enjoyed learning all about past Presidential inaugurations for their homeschooling activities this week, and we topped everything off with homemade red and white sprinkled cupcakes.
In animal news, Shermie, brother of our goat Hermie that just passed away, seems to be handling the loss of his brother alright. Goats, like humans, form strong family bonds, and it’s not unusual for them to grieve when a family member passes away (further proof they are sentient beings). You can often find them calling out for the member that passed, or displaying other signs that they are hurting. From Dr. Barbara King’s Book titled How Animals Grieve:
"When an animal feels love for another, she will go out of her way to be near to, and positively interact with, the loved one, for reasons that may include but also go beyond such survival-based purposes as foraging, predator defense, mating, and reproduction." (page 8) And, furthermore, "Should the animals no longer be able to spend time together -- the death of one partner being one possible reason -- the animal who loves will suffer in some visible way. She may refuse to eat, lose weight, become ill, act out, grow listless, or exhibit body language that conveys sadness or depression." (page 9) Thus, "Grief can be said to occur when a survivor animal acts in ways that are visibly distressed or altered from the usual routine, in the aftermath of the death of a companion animal who had mattered emotionally to him or her." (page 163)
Science tells us animals do grieve, and have feelings, which is why it’s important to treat them as the sentient beings they are. And not just dogs and cats, but all animals. They all love, feel joy, experience sadness, and more.
If you’re interested in learning more on this subject, we suggest checking out this article: https://www.bbcearth.com/blog/?article=the-truth-about-animal-grief or picking up a copy of Dr. Barbara King’s book.
Back to the snow - I love seeing all the little paths the animals make in the first fallen snow of the season. Like little freeways for hooves, to and from the feeders and waterers, and shelters. The chickens and ducks went out for about a minute before deciding it wasn’t for them. Ruth the turkey, on the other hand, decided to avoid the cold ground by flying onto the roof of the loafing shed, all while ignoring my pleas for her to come down. She’s a sassy turkey that one. 😆
We’re hoping the snow sticks around for a bit because it makes everything so picturesque. Well also for selfish reasons I’m not excited to have the snow melt quickly because once it melts we’ll then have the dreaded three letter word happening - mud. Not fun for anyone. Except maybe the pigs.