Why Do We Love Animals?

“Do you like animals?”

Ask that question a hundred times and you’re likely to get at least ninety yesses. Somewhere between the ninety-first and the one hundredth person, some will narrow it down to just dogs or cats. And then maybe two out of a hundred will confess that they just don’t care for animals. I don’t get those types. I secretly wonder what’s wrong with them.

Even though I fish and occasionally hunt (and I definitely eat meat), I am fascinated by animals and attracted to them. Most of us are. From our companion animals, to our farms, our back-yard bird feeders to the brave crazies that dive with the sharks, the list of ways for us to interact with domestic and wild animals is almost endless. It doesn’t really make sense. If we evolved, that sentiment would seem unnecessary. Perhaps even, from an evolutionary perspective, the love of animals would even be a disadvantage because people can get killed by scared or angry animals. But the love is still there.

What we know is that most animals are afraid of us, a few are indifferent and only a few species actually like us. But most of us truly want to somehow bridge that huge chasm of eons of mistrust. It’s as if we want to say, “Trust me. Man has done you wrong but you can trust me.” 

When we do get that trust, it’s a wonderful thing. Dogs are like that. And for the rest of creation, it’s very rare.

I think we all kind of know that animals got a raw deal. Right? Think about it. Their lives are usually short and violent. They either kill or they starve, or they are always the prey of something stronger and faster. Few animals ever get the chance to die of old age.  And here’s the terrible part of that…all of that death and pain is on us. Every bit of it. When you watch a video of a lion killing a zebra, we caused that. When a bear kills a calf elk, it’s our fault. That’s not the way things were supposed to be. Ever. Let me prove it to you.

Most people don’t think it through. Their ideas of Eden haven’t progressed much farther than the kindergarten flannelgraph or their picture books they had as children. But we all owe it to ourselves to think this one through. Eden was stunning and likely a vast land that we should recognize as an ‘almost heaven’. And there, in Eden, the animals weren’t our pets, they were our friends. Good friends, too. With an exception or two…

When man was cursed, so was creation. Being created a little less than man, their suffering far exceeded ours. And it continues to do so. Peace vanished and our fellowship with animals was ripped apart. And it was our fault. Their understanding was taken away and they turned on us and on one another. We gave away our innocence and when we did, we destroyed theirs.

But our deepest memories remember the love that once existed between us. We delighted to be in their presence, and they delighted to be in ours. And that attraction, that love, has never fully left. And because of that, after many millennia, we still love them. We still look at pictures of them. We still love our pets. And we still know that one day, all will be made right again. 

The Kaiyo Stories are premised on the amazing fellowship that once existed between man and animals. And that intimate fellowship has been missing from our lives for far too long. With Kaiyo, we can get a sense of what that fellowship would be like in our modern-day, dangerous world. Enjoy! 

And give thought to what is still to come.

Cliff Cochran