By the time Deb Bishop managed to get as close as possible to the two dogs stranded on the cliff towering above her, it was starting to get dark. Neither Leeloo nor Bamboo were within reach, and the slippery slope beneath the woman’s feet was completely unstable. “One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is look that dog in the eyes, tell [her] to ‘stay,’ and then climb down,” Bishop reported the next morning following Bamboo’s successful rescue by Denman Island’s Volunteer Fire Department.
|Bamboo and Paige Friesen|
Leeloo had somehow managed to free herself from the dense underbrush and find her own way home through Boyle Point Park around 1:00 am, leaving her sister to spend what must have been a terrifying nite alone on a narrow ledge. In the light of day Paige Friesen safely rappelled down the steep embankment to secure Bamboo, then she and the grateful dog were lowered together down an additional 30 or 40 feet to the beach below. It’s really a miracle that either dog was located in the first place, and that this story has a happy ending! Had kayaker Rick Paisley and his partner Ann not been paddling along that particular stretch of sheltered coastline the previous afternoon, they aren’t so sure anyone else would have heard the animals communicating their distress. Fortunately, sound does travel farther over water.
We can usually count on our companion canines to let us know the mood they’re in. Next to birds, however, did you know that it is actually cats who possess the widest range of vocalizations of any domestic ‘pet’? When we pay attention to their various meows, chirps, yowls and purrs we can discern how certain sounds reflect contentment and ease while others expose worry, fear or even anger. Some types of cats are naturally more talkative but most are usually much quieter around each other than people, according to author and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw. He says they have simply learned how best to attract our attention. While there’s no universal cat language when it comes to meows, Bradshaw acknowledges that a ‘secret code of meows’ can develop between a cat and their caregiver that is “unique to that feline alone and meaning little to outsiders.”
Today we understand that within a wide range of species the relationship between mothers and their offspring also involves highly personalized vocalizations. Seals and sea lions, for example, recognize their own pups by the sound of their cries among hundreds and hundreds of other infants. But only as recently as 2014 did research published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science formally confirm what some farmers have known for a very long time – that each calf and cow actually have “a characteristic and exclusive call all their own.” Taking a baby away from their mother violates the powerful instinctual bonds all mammals share. Cows have been known to cry out for their calves for hours and even days. Where I live in farm country the forlorn sound of distressed bovines seems to be routinely accepted as part of the rural soundscape. In general, our species has been incredibly slow to value the voices of those non-human animals we have not invited in to our homes – and slower still to take an interest in what emotions they express.
|Anna Pippus, of Animal Justice Canada|
Another inspiring speaker I’m really looking forward to listening to and learning from at this special event is Vancouver-based animal rights lawyer Anna Pippus. Director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice Canada and strategic advisor for We Animals, Pippus will be speaking to the hidden lives and deaths ”of the animals on our plates: The truth about Canadian agriculture.” Click on the following CBC story about updates to Canada’s Food Guide and the embedded audio link to hear Pippus reflect on the progressive regulatory amendments designed to guide Canadians away from reliance upon animal-foods towards more plant-centred dietary choices.
1/3 cup organic, unbleached sugar (cane or coconut)
1 tsp. minced red bell pepper