Not Dr Dolittle But Still Communicating

More people should be able to communicate with animals. Before people criticise me for being some sort of liberal nutcase I’d like to say that I am not referring to communicating with animals in the English language à la Dr Dolittle. I am referring to communicating in the very many other ways that animals and people can get the message across. If you have travelled a lot and been to countries where you can’t speak the language you will realise that you can still communicate successfully with people through actions, signs, pointing and sounds 😉 It works.

Here is a picture of a robin that has been my companion for about 3 years. He or she comes to my bedroom window, looks up at me and asks for his breakfast. Of course I know he is asking for food because it is written all over his face. He cocks his head to one side so that he can get a good look at me and make eye contact. I can see that he is looking at me. On one occasion he actually deliberately flew into the window pane to make a noise to catch my attention as I worked at my computer.

If you look at this picture you can see that his is looking at me.

Communicating with the animals. Robin feeding.
Communicating with the animals. Robin feeding. Photo by Michael Jan 18th 2013.
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In the case of this robin, we are communicating. I regard humans as another animal on the planet, all of which are part of all creation. All are equal at a fundamental level. There are numerous examples of animals of different species forming friendships. I have recently mentioned two (a) orangutan and cat and (b) iguana and cats. If people are more sensitive and empathetic to other animals it is possible to tap into the way they think to a certain extent and this allows us to live more harmoniously with other animals.

I am not boasting about the fact that I am open to a form of communication with a robin. It is not unusual. What I am trying to say is that cat caretaking can be significantly enhanced if the cat owner is aware and alert to all forms of communication from their cat. A lot of the time it comes down to body language and routines. Cats can also vocalize requests, likes and dislikes very successfully.

When you respond to a robin’s request for food on a cold winter’s day when he presents himself to you, cocks his head to one side and looks you in the eye, you are talking to the animals in the style of Dr Dolittle.

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13 thoughts on “Not Dr Dolittle But Still Communicating”

  1. Michael, I think we should rename you Dr Michael Doolittle because you most definitely have a connection with animals and birds and your photography is brilliant, that is such a handsome Robin and he IS making eye contact with you! The photos of the peekaboo tabbies are brilliant too and your caring about them is obvious.

    At one time we had a Robin here in our garden who would sing with me, honestly, if I sang a bit from The Phantom of the Opera his little throat would warble away and his voice soar, joining in.

    I always think that a person who ignores an animal or a bird or thinks they are beneath them is lacking and I talk or sing to them all, I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m crazy lol

    The downside is the hurting for them, especially the ones we are powerless to help.

    • It is beautiful that this robin recognizes me and knows that I am friendly and provide food. But I see something in his eyes that tell me it is more than that and I am not being silly or soppy. I feel it is more than just about food.

  2. Beautiful photo. Clever bird. Lucky Michael. See, I knew you had wildlife where you live. I am a true believer that animals can see and feel something that is invisible to most of us. They know your home is welcoming and safe. Just as the tabbies do. Just as the fox did.

    The color on that Robin is beautiful. How nice to have such an understanding with a gorgeous bird.

    • They do understand. They know friend from foe. They are smarter than we think. I just saw him/her flying between scrubs in the garden. There is snow on the ground and it is bitterly cold outside. I wish I could warm him up. But that is a human sentiment. He looks at me and I genuinely see a fellow creature that understands that I am a friend. It is strange but I see a friend.

      It is amazing to me but probably normal to the robin that he has been here for three years. He knows there is food and a friend here. We need to connect with other animals.

  3. I’m sure this is exactly what the wandering tabbies are missing in their life and feel they get from you – a response. I totally agree with the notion. I even think humans are very capable of such things, perhaps more so than other animals. We are able to connect with many other animals yet for years our culture has (mostly) chosen to use animals for profit and consumption without any form of care in the world. Even the scientists objectified them for many years without really connecting with them. People who do make any sort of connection with any kind of animal seem to get so much out of it and they tend to have a better attitude towards animal welfare. It’s impossible to ignore once you have made friends with an animal. You can’t then turn around and kill it. This leads me to believe that all those people who work with animals in the meat industry must purposefully ignore and not connect with the animals for fear of the obvious impending spiritual breakdown it would cause within them. Probably many of them have a dog or a cat so they know they need to avoid contact wirth the animals they are infact abusing. There are many people who keep a distance or just are distanced by virtue of how artificial our lives can be in living in the middle of a big city where there is no nature or animals. These people probably don’t even care or see the need to know about animals. Infact thats exactly why at the beginning of the article you found it necessary to be a little defensive and clear about what you were promoting. Understandible in a world where plenty of people make jokes out of things simply because they exist but they don’t understand them. How many more years will it take until the majority of people start giving a damn about the general welfare of animals. Well if they would pay attention to the birds outside and perhaps throw them a few breadcrumbs then it would be a nice big step in the right direction 🙂

    • Lovely photos by the way Michael. The big one is very sharp and the colours are lovely. It’s a proper top quality photo and looks very nice.

      • Thanks. It was a quick snapshot but done with a certain amount of control. The hard part was getting the picture because birds move a lot. This robin knows me though so he just looked at me with the camera. It was through a double-glazed window but I did a bit of photo editing (Photoshop Elements) to improve the quality slightly. The snow gives the picture a luminous quality as it reflects light everywhere. There is more light albeit a flat light.

    • Good observation about my defensiveness. I know that a lot of people don’t understand this sort of stuff. As for those tabbies, yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head, they do lack a connection with their owner. They are not getting a response and I know why because I had a row with their female owner on the phone yesterday 😉 She is arrogant and intolerant and has absolutely no concern for her cats’ safety. She does not know how to connect. And intelligence and education does not guarantee that you will have the enlightenment to be able to connect with your cats.

      I am convinced that in 1000 years time people will look back at this time (2013) and see us in the same way as we see people in 1000 AD. Crude and unsophisticated with the potential to be oh, so much better.

      • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Michael she’s probably agressive bcause she knows you’re correct with what you told her; she’s neglecting her cats. I also agree with your comment that basically some people are crude and unsophisticated they also lack social skills. BTW its funny you should write an article about your beautiful Robin I put food and water out for the birds yesterday and this morning I look out of the window and see 2 Robins feeding – lovely! Ribins are very clever and engage with us a lot more that other wild birds I believe they ultimately connect us with food.

        • Absolutely agree. Robins are smart and they like communicating with people. I love that. People should be as interested in communicating with robins. It brings joy and an added dimension to life. I am pleased you had a robin encounter this morning.

    • I agree all I see from people around me is just me, me, me there is just no empathy anymore it seems that if people have no empathy towards each other what sort of chance do animals have?. I look into an animals eyes and I see so much, perhaps thats because my heart is open with every interaction whereas Some look at an animal and see nothing I think some just really don’t care about any other living thing except themselves.

      • I wonder why we see animals as we do and others just don’t get it. I feel a connection with animals. I want to reach out. But animals are frightened of people and rightly so. We are very dangerous. The world would be vastly better if we all respected animals and I tend to agree with Ruth that we could and should stop eating them. We should be big enough to manage that. Most of the world though is hopelessly disconnected from everything other than pursuing self-interest.


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