At the chiropractor's office this morning, I read a piece on a bonobo that has learned to communicate with people. It does this by pointing out symbols, mostly, which communicate what it wants. It can even create sentences, of a sort.
I love reading these types of stories. It reaffirms the fact, for me, that creation is a much more complex and exciting place than we give it credit for. We tend to see things very narrowly, but recognizing that animals communicate is a broadening of our world.
What always fascinates me, though, is that, inevitably, a linguist is trotted out to say, "This isn't REALLY language." This always frustrates and confuses me. First, what else is language but a symbolic vocalization or writing to represent something else. And, secondly, who really cares if this bonobo is able to describe a philosophical idea with his symbols or not. It's like this need to put up a boundary between these cute critters and us. Hello! It's a bonobo...small, furry, likes trees. I don't think that anyone is going to confuse them for human anytime soon.
Recognizing intelligence in other animals does not diminish our own, believe me. We diminish our own intelligence without any help whatsoever. But my guess is that if we recognize that animals have intelligence, perhaps even feelings, then we suddenly have to take more responsibility with how we treat 1) them, 2) their homes, and 3) future safety.
Okay, rant done. That said, the very brave Scout made it through the evil vet visit (she was so rattled she wouldn't take the cookie from the doctor). She seemed this morning to be less uncomfortable, and she isn't scratching at the ear anymore, so that's a good sign.
Tonight, I sleep in my own bed without a demanding Kittee.