Friday, October 1, 2010

Animal Instincts

Last week we discussed the topic of human and animal instincts. Although psychologists don't really rely on instincts as a source of motivation as much anymore, it is still such a remarkable trait we possess. The video I posted at the bottom is an example of an animal instinct which was aired on CBS News. A little boy was saved by his dog while a cougar was close by. A dog has an obligation to his/her owner. They are extremely smart animals and very protective. The dog sensed fear and danger and decided to take a chance without second guessing himself in order to save his owner's life.

I do have a similar experience. Actually two. My first dog was a mix of German Shepard and a Collie. His name was Fetcher. One of the sweetest dogs known to man and so very calm. First example of Fetcher's intelligence and instincts were exemplified when I was about 8 years old. I live on a mountain in North Jersey where all you have for miles are trees and more trees. My friend and I were about to go into my pool when I heard a scream from my mom and saw my dog bust open our screen door and charge into the backyard after something. My friend and I ran back into the house clueless of what was going on and then realized my dog had spotted a bear coming towards the pool where my friend and I were. I've never seen my dog exert so much energy and just took off into the woods after this bear. Two days went by and my dog still had not returned. My family was devastated, thinking we had lost my dog. Later on that night he came back, completely unharmed and as happy as can be.
Next experience we encountered with Fetcher was when I was 12 years old. My dad thought he was invincible and didn't care to get the triple bypass surgery which he needed deseperately. Needlessly to say my father was constantly in and out of the hospital because of medical issues. Unfortunately, Fetcher had an instinct that something was not right one night. Everyone was in bed and normally my dog would be sleeping as well. Instead he was running around the house, kept jumping on my mom, hitting her with his paw and constantly crying. He would then run down the stairs to where my father was and stand by his side until he realized my mom still wasn't awake. He continued to do this until finally my mom realized Fetcher was trying to tell her something. She followed Fetcher downstairs to see my father. He had just had a heart attack and Fetcher would not leave his side. Sadly enough, that day my father's life was taken from him. But I'll never forget Fetcher's effort in trying to save my father's life.

Instincts are an amazing thing. They can change your life or save someone else's in the process. One thing that intrigues me about instincts is that they are never second guessed actions, they are internal dispositions. An animal or human's instinct never ceases to amaze me.

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