Do Animals Grieve?
by Ute Carson
Death Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1989

Although they couldn't talk in my terms, they had a language of their own that was easy to understand. Sometimes I would see the answer in their eyes, and again it would be in the friendly wagging of their tails. Other times I could hear the answer in a low whine or feel it in the soft caress of a warm flicking tongue. In some way, they would always answer.

Was it true or did wishful thinking mold the sounds of the night into the clopping, rhythmic beat of hoofs? The light pounding on the ground grew more distinct as I repeated my calls. Then his dark outline became visible and my favorite horse came trotting up to greet me on my return from a vacation. Pet owners and animal lovers all can recall such moments of joyful greeting and mutual recognition. Literature abounds in stories about the relationship between man and animal, an animal's ability to learn, to perform tasks, and to remember places and people. What is the nature of animals' attachment to people and to each other? Do animals exhibit helping behavior? How do they learn to follow rules and carry out tasks? Over what span of time do animals recall familiar places and people? Only if there is attachment that extends beyond instinctual needs and gratification does it make sense to ask whether animals are capable of grief. A corollary of attachment is separation and, following separation, a sense of loss. If animals love, they will mourn the loss of the one they love.

Most domestic animals adapt to new environments and new owners as long as they are well cared for. They recognize the person who gives them shelter and may purr or wag their tails in greeting or anticipation. This leads us to jump to the conclusion that surroundings do not matter much to animals and that owners are interchangeable as long as the animal's basic needs are provided for yet my cat Easter hides whenever I pack my suitcase in spite of the fact that she is always provided for by a competent "cat sitter." When Alex, the young owner of the black stallion, finds his horse in a herd of wild horses, the black stallion recognizes his former trainer and friend and shows his recognition by letting the boy mount and ride him. Through the trust he bestows on Alex and nobody else, horse and rider are able to accomplish unusual feats. An old English cavalryman recalls returning home after a long absence and being greeted by a lick on the cheek by a horse he once saved from the slaughterhouse. Dogs spontaneously lap their owners; horse do not. Animals befriend people who are special to them and show their attachment in distinctive ways.

A striking example of bonding between big cats is related by Mark and Dalia Owens in their book, The Cry of the Kalahari. Lion brothers Muffin and Moffet not only recognize each other, they show that animals are capable of attaching themselves, even in the face of instinctual needs that might be expected to drive them apart.

One morning . . . a rift developed in the male alliance when Blue came rambling into camp with the males in tow. She was in heat and doing her utmost to beguile her two brawny suitors. She slinked and swayed be- witchingly before them, dusting their noses with the tuft of her tail. When two male lions court a female, usually one gives way‹or they share her favors. But it soon became evident that in this case the issue had not been settled.

After lying for several minutes near the plane, Blue began to move toward Mox's camp, and together Muff and Moff approached her hind- quarters as if to mount her. Instead they bumped shoulders. With growls and snarls, the two males stood on their hind legs cuffing, biting, and clawing each other. Blue ran to the other side of the tree island and cowered behind a bush. Muffin reached her first and whirled to face Moffet. Again they fought, and this time Blue made for the thick bushes at the edge of the riverbed.

Muffin came away from the second round with his left eyebrow split and blood draining over his face. The two males snuffled through the grass, each trying to find the female first.

It might have ended at this point if Blue, the reward, had not chosen that moment to peer out from behind the bushes. Muffin saw her and began trotting toward her. But before he had gone halfway, Moffet charged in from the rear. They fought viciously, rolling over and over, uprooting grass and shrubs as they raked and battered each other with heavy forepaws.

When they broke up, Muffin took final claim to Blue‹by now thoroughly intimated by the fighting‹and lay down facing her in the hot sun. Moffet had gone to a shade tree to rest. Blue grew more and more uncomfortable in the heat, and she began to look toward the place where Muff was resting. But when she rose to join the other male, Muff curled his lips, wrinkled his brows, and growled menacingly. She cowered and was held captive all morning, panting heavily in the sun. The situation was finally resolved when Moffet sought more luxurious shade farther away. After that Muff allowed his lioness to rise and they both moved to the spot Moffet had abandoned.

For several days, while Muffin courted Blue, and for another week after that, he and Moffet were separated, even though before this, it had been unusual for them to be apart at all. Ten days after their scrap, we were awakened early in the morning by Muffin's bellows as he approached camp. After spraying scent on the small acacia tree in the kitchen, he moved north along the riverbed. Another lion answered his calls from farther up the valley, and the two moved toward each other, bellowing continuously. When Moffet emerged from the bush near North Tree, the two males trotted toward each other. They rubbed their cheeks, bodies, and tails together again and again, as if trying to erase the conflict that had come between them. Then they lay down together in the morning sun, Muffin's paw over Moffet's shoulders. It would take more than a rift over a female to break the bond between them. (1, pp. 220-221)

Animals are capable of recognition, attachment and bonding. They can also learn. All pets adjust to simple household rules, but some rise to perform difficult, even extraordinary tasks. All animals use their senses in acquiring skills‹dogs, the sense of smell when fetching a lost object or when hunting; cats, their eyes when spot- ting a fluttering bird; horses, their sense of touch, responding to the legs and hands of the rider. Learning comes with repetition and reinforcement, which, in turn, presupposes memory. For example, the domesticated horse has learned to jump over high and otherwise confounding obstacles‹an accomplishment that is surely not in the horse's natural repertoire.

Animals learn quickly to distinguish between safe people and places and dangerous ones. A biologist doing a study at Lake Ray- burn, Texas, reported what quick learners cormorants are (2). These migratory birds are protected from hunters by federal law.

Biologists obtained special permission to selectively shoot birds in order to examine the contents of their stomachs. At first it was easy to drive a boat within shotgun range of the birds. They flew directly over the boats. After the selective shooting started, the scientists had difficulty getting within 200 yards of the cormorants. The birds flew away whenever a boat drew near. Such behavior may be part instinct, part purposeful behavior. Beyond this, there are behaviors that have no serious purpose ex pet sheer enjoyment. A young horse I once knew, after being trained to jump low hurdles on the longe line, jumped the small course unattended, pausing to rip up a tuft of grass here and there. Our dog Princess throws her ball up in the air, rolls from side to side, and catches it just for the fun of it.

Learned behavior becomes social behavior in the story The Trouble with Tuck. When Tuck, the young golden brown free-spirited Labrador loses his sight, his owner locates a retired seeing dog name Daisy as a companion for her sightless Tuck. The owner trains the two dogs to be constant companions. It is a grueling task but a glorious achievement.

Wasting no time once I arrived, I knelt down to take off both dogs' leashes. This was it, I vowed. Freedom for Tuck day.

To him I said, "Okay, no more leash. You're on your own, baby cakes. Put your yellow head against Daisy when she starts off, and don't you dare do otherwise." Those sightless eyes were riveted on me, and I think he understood. I added, "No more fooling around, Tuck. Today is the day." I had to be positive with him. Pity never worked. Maybe positive would. Daisy was watching us, and I simply said to her, "You know what to do, big mother." No question about that. Then I maneuvered Daisy up beside Tuck, so that his head was near hers. Without bothering to cross my fingers, which I'd learned gets you nowhere, I stood back and shouted, "Forward, Daisy."

She began to move, the little bell on her collar rang, and Tuck trotted after her, at last placing his head firmly against her rump. I let out another yell. I'd won. I'd finally won! If I'd angel wings and pearly toes, I would have taken off across the lake. Instead, I just ran after the dogs, a lot of sticky stuff suddenly in my throat. But it was certainly no time to cry.

They were truly a sight to see - Lady Daisy, her head high, ears up, and Friar Tuck Golden Boy, matching her step for step, guiding on her flank. That's the way we went jingling across the park, and the early morning onlookers applauded. (3)

Helpful, spontaneous behavior is also reported among the lions in the Kalahari. As much as we hated darting, on one occasion, at least, it allowed us to learn something about the strength of the social bond between male lions. Having grown up with each other, Pappy and Brother had traveled large expanses of the Kalahari together as nomads, without having found a pride of their own to rule. Young males, often brothers, frequently stay together as adults, and these two seemed inseparable.

Immobilizing Pappy was a routine operation. After the shot he sagged to the ground and went to sleep on his side, the dart dangling from its needle just behind the shoulder. Brother, his head raised and his eyes wide, had watched intently as his partner had lost coordination and then consciousness. He looked from Pappy to us, and back to Pappy again, as if trying to understand. Then, ignoring the truck parked just eight yards away, he walked to the downed lion and sniffed along his body until he found the dart. Clamping it between his front teeth, he backed up and pulled. A cone of Pappy's skin clung to the needle and then finally popped free. After chewing the dart up and spitting out the pieces, he walked to his companion's side and licked the small wound made by the needle. He rubbed his head against Pappy's, cooing softly. Then, lowering himself on his forequarters, he took Pappy's neck gently in his mouth and began to lift. But the other's bulk was too unmanageable. After struggling in this way for more than a minute, Brother put his jaws over Pappy's rump and did the same thing; then under his neck again, while cooing. For fifteen minutes he went first to one end, then the other, trying to lift him with his mouth.

Was he trying to stand his companion back on his feet? It certainly looked like it, though we can't be sure. We know that elephants occasionally attempt to lift a fallen family member, and it does not seem unreasonable to suppose that lions might try to do the same thing.

We were greatly moved by this, but Brother was so persistent that we worried that his canines might injure Pappy's neck. I eased the Land Rover to Brother's side and maneuvered him far enough away so that we could ear-tag, weigh, and measure Pappy. Then we rolled the immobile lion onto a tarp, lashed the corners to the back of the truck, and dragged him to a shade tree, where he would be cool during his recovery. Brother followed and lay nearby until Pappy regained consciousness. Then he eagerly rubbed his head and muzzle all over his fallen comrade. (1, pp. 12‹121)

If memory is a prerequisite for learning tasks, it also plays a decisive role in relating to people and time and place. Our dog Princess starts pacing at the front door when the time nears for our youngest daughter to return from school. At 9:00 a.m. she sits down before her leash because that is when we leave for the stables. I once knew an old schooling horse named Playboy that would proceed to the center of the riding arena and halt exactly at the close of a riding lesson . When I speak of "place," I have in mind not the drive of fish to return to breeding grounds nor the migratory memory of birds. Instead, I refer to the memory of places new and acquired.

Our cat Huckebein was born and raised in the country. He was the only animal we never neutered because roaming had become an integral part of his routine by the time he had reached middle age. Then we moved to a city, an apartment building surrounded by concrete. Huckebein tried to adjust to indoor life but at night grew restless and began to paw at the windows and doors. One night I said a tearful goodbye and let him out the back door onto a railed balcony, which was identical to all of the other balconies in the complex. Huckebein surveyed the scene, jumped to an outside staircase, and, with tail erect, disappeared behind the garbage bins. A familiar meow awoke us before dawn the next morning. There he sat on the back railing. After being stroked and fed, he curled up and contentedly slept the day away. That night he grew restless again and demanded to be let out. This became his daily pattern. Never was he late‹always home before the morning traffic became heavy. Nor did he ever mistake any of the other identical apartments on our block for ours.

The Incredible Journey is a gripping children's story, a tale of three animals‹an old white English bull terrier, a young red and gold Labrador retriever, and a Siamese cat‹who travel from the north- west part of Ontario, a vast area of deeply wooded wilderness, lakes, rivers, blanketed with snow half of the year back to their home in a small university town about 250 miles to the west. The three animals were boarded with a friend while their master and his family were away on a lecture tour. They were well cared for there but they pined for their real home. When the friend leaves for a weekend, the trio sets off on an unbelievably hazardous journey. They stick together through every adversity, though they get separated temporarily when the cat nearly drowns and is rescued by a kind-hearted country girl. As soon as the cat is strong enough to leave the shelter and pick up the trail of the two dogs, she catches up with them in two days.

It would have been impossible to find three more contented animals that night. They lay curled closely together in a hollow filled with sweet- scented needles, under an aged, spreading balsam tree, near the banks of the stream. The old dog had his beloved cat, warm and purring between his paws again, and he snored in deep contentment. The young dog, their gentle worried leader, had found his charge again. He could continue with a lighter heart. (4) The trio had started their travels during the warmer days of Indian summer and arrived 1 2 weeks later at their owner's cottage on Lake Windigo exhausted and nearly overcome by hunger, cold, and other perils of the journey. The dogs and cat had taken an almost perfect compass course due west from start to finish. The welcome was emotional.

Hurtling through the bushes on the high hillside of the trail a small black wheaten body leaped the last six feet down with careless grace and landed softly at their feet. The unearthly, discordant wail of a welcoming Siamese rent the air.

Elizabeth's face was radiant with joy. She kneeled, and picked up the ecstatic, purring cat. "Oh, Tao!" she said softly, and as she gathered him into her arms he wound his black needle-tipped paws lovingly around her neck. "Tao!" she whispered, burying her nose in his soft thyme-scented fur, and Tao tightened his grip in such an ecstasy of love that Elizabeth nearly choked. Longridge had never thought of himself as being a particularly emotional man, but when the Labrador appeared an instant later, a gaunt, stare-coated shadow of the beautiful dog he had last seen, running as fast as his legs would carry him towards his master, all his soul shining out of sunken eyes, he felt a lump in his throat, and at the strange, inarticulate half noises that issued from the dog when he leaped at his master, and the expression on his friend's face, he had to turn away and pretend to loosen Tao's too loving paws. Down the trail, out of the darkness of the bush and into the light of the slanting bars of sunlight, joggling along with his peculiar nautical roll, came‹Ch. Boroughcastle Brigadier of Doune.

Boroughcastle Brigadier's ragged banner of a tail streamed out be- hind him, his battle-scarred ears were upright and forward, and his noble and pink and black nose twitched, straining to encompass all that his short peering gaze was denied. Thin and tired, hopeful, happy.‹and hungry, his remarkable face alight with expectation‹the old warrior was returning from the wilderness. Bodger, beautiful for once, was coming as fast as he could. He broke into a run, faster and faster, until the years fell away, and he hurled himself towards Peter.

And as he had never run before, as though he would outdistance time, Peter was running towards his dog.

John Longridge turned away, then, and left them, an indistinguishable tangle of boy and dog, in a world of their own making. He started down the trail as in a dream, his eyes unseeing. (4)

Lassie and Black Beauty, too, are filled with accounts of dogs and horses remembering old familiar places and faces, and readers can probably add a favorite tale of their own.

Queeny, a cocker spaniel, was Mr. Cardwell's dog. Mr. Cardwell was known to family and friends as a man with a special affinity for animals. From puppyhood on Queeny was Mr. Cardwell's constant companion. Even though Queeny's primary attachment was to Mr. Cardwell, he was used to other people, and he possessed a friendly disposition toward kids and even strangers. Queeny was six years old when he was stolen. Stopping at a local café for a cup of coffee, Mr. Cardwell had left his dog in the truck. When he returned, his companion was gone. The owner of the filling station next door to the restaurant reported that a man had just walked up after getting gas and lifted the dog from Mr. Cardwell's truck and put it in his own. For three long years Mr. Cardwell was on the lookout for his lost friend, criss-crossing Texas in search of him. The hint provided by the Gulf Oil credit card receipt led to a dead end, as did several attempts to locate the thief through forwarding addresses. One weekend the Cardwells were invited to a wedding in Huntsville. They arrived to discover that they had confused the dates and that the wedding had taken place the previous week. To make their long drive worth their while, they decided to attend Huntsville's famous prison rodeo. Mr. Cardwell stepped out of his car, and hearing a faint, familiar sound, he bent toward the ground. The yipping grew louder and louder until, from three blocks away, a dog came running, crazy with joy, and with a thump he jumped into the middle of Mr. Cardwell's chest. After three long years, Queeny had found his master again.

We know that vibrations on the earth's surface are picked up by animals through their footpads, and possibly through the nails, and transmitted through the limb bones to the brain (5). Queeny's yelping expressed his tremendous joy at locating his master and old friend.

A heartwarming story of trust and attachment between a blind stallion and his owner has echoed through the media (6). A successful Arabian showhorse was severely head injured in an accident in 1985. The optic nerves in both eyes were destroyed and in spite of valiant efforts by veterinarians at Texas A&M University, the sight of Bask Elect could not be restored. His performance career seems to have ended but his trainer, Martha Murdoch, was not ready to release him for breeding only. Instead she tried riding him. Not only was Bask Elect still ridable, he was also capable of moving from easy arena appearances to more and more difficult shows. All the while the judges were unaware of his blindness. Until, that is, after Bask Elect won the Open English Pleasure Championship in Katy. Winning that event is a formidable accomplishment for any horse, but for a horse with such a disability it required total trust in the rider. The eyes are one of a horse's most complicated and vulnerable sensory organs. To be deprived of sight must be extremely frightening for a horse. Bask Elect is so confidently bonded to his trainer that he was able to overcome his instinctual fear and flight reactions and take his cues instead from Martha Murdoch's subtle voice and hand commands.

A story of a wonderful friendship between a boy and his two dogs is told in the unforgettable book Where the Red Fern Grows. It is the story of a bond between two animals that is stronger than their loyalty to the boy and in which the dogs' mutual devotion reaches beyond death. Billy's boyhood dream "I want hounds‹coon hounds‹and I want two of them" (7), is fulfilled when he finally has earned enough money to get two pups‹a male, Old Dan, who is muscular, bold, and aggressive, and a female, Little Ann, who is small and timid, more cautious and more sure of herself, and smart. "I knew I had a wonderful combination. In my dogs I had not only the power but the brains along with it" (7, p. 44). The book tells how Billy trains his dogs to tree raccoons and how, in adventurous nights of hunting, he acquires a knowledge of his animals and develops a deep bond of love and friendship. Right from the start, he notices a connnectedness between the two dogs. Dan, for example, "would not hunt with another hound other than Little Ann, or another hunter, not even my father. The strangest thing about Old Dan was that he would not hunt even with me unless Little Ann was with him" (7, p. 102).

Not only will they not hunt alone, but food is eaten only when shared, as when Old Dan retrieves two biscuits from the back yard, trots around to the doghouse, and with a beckoning growl announces his find to Little Ann, whereupon they each eat a biscuit.

The dogs' mutual loyalty is cemented when they come to each other's rescue. Billy tells of a near-fatal accident which occurs when the dogs are pursuing a raccoon in winter. The clever prey leads them through the fog out onto the ice-covered river and leaps the trough, where the ice is thinnest. Little Ann slips and falls into the icy water. Old Dan quits the chase and runs for home, fetching Billy with "a pleading cry for help . . . his tail . . . between his legs and his head . . . bowed down."

Billy rescues Little Ann by making a hook of his lantern handle and attaching it to her collar, pulling her back onto the ice. "As gently as I could I dragged her over the rim of the ice. At first, I thought she was dead. She didn't move. Old Dan started whining and licking her face and ears" (7, p. 20). Little Ann revives after Billy builds a fire and works on her body. "Old Dan washed her head with his warm red tongue while I massaged and rubbed her body. I could tell by her cries when the blood started circulating. Little by little her strength came back. I stood her on her feet and started walking her. She was weak and wobbly but I knew she would live" (8, p. 120).

In return Little Ann comes to help Old Dan when he is caught up in a bad fight with another dog. And after a vicious attack and a successful killing of several coons, an indelible scene is described of Old Dan standing still with his head bowed while Little Ann licks his ears: " 'She always does that,' I said, 'if you watch when she gets done with him, he'll do the same for her.' We stood and watched until they had finished doctoring each other, then trotting side by side they disappeared in the darkness" (7, pp. 194 Billy and his dog team become known as the best in the country and together they win a challenging coon hunting competition. But the story does not end in triumph. Instead, the final chapters are filled with sadness and loss. Usually hunting dogs avoid confrontation with mountain lions, and Old Dan and Little Ann would probably have done so had the wild cat of the Ozarks not attempted to attack Billy.

"I never say my dogs when they got between the lion and me but they were there; side by side they rose up from the ground as one. They sailed straight into the jaws of death. Their small red bodies taking the ripping, slashing claws meant for me" (7, p. 226). With Billy's help the ferocious dogs finally kill the lion, but they pay dearly. Little Ann is cut in several places though not fatally. Billy's life is saved but Old Dan is badly injured, his entire body a mass of deep, raw wounds. His belly has been clawed open and the loss of blood is too great. Old Dan dies on Billy's lap. "Old Dan must have known he was dying. Just before he drew one last sigh and a feeble thump of his tail, his friendly grey eyes closed forever" (7, p. 233).

Billy, overcome by grief, holds a vigil after his father carries Old Dan onto the porch to be buried the next morning. Sitting there, he hears what sounds like a whimper. He goes to the door and discovers Little Ann lying by Old Dan's side, as they had always slept.

At daybreak Billy buries his beloved friend, Old Dan, up on the hillside at the foot of a beautiful red oak tree. Being so caught up in his grief, Billy does not pay much attention to Little Ann. She disappears, and Billy finally finds her under a blackberry bush in the garden. She is listless and her eyes are dull. Billy springs into action, frantically trying to revive her, not yet comprehending that she is heartsick. He offers her food and water but she will not take it. He checks on her all through the night. The next day, he mixes eggs and warm milk and force feeds her. But nothing avails. Slowly Billy realizes, "My dog had just given up. There was no will to live." That evening, when he returns from the fields, Little Ann is gone. Billy discovers her lying dead on Old Dan's grave.

Imaginative literature has given us an account of love between two animals. They could not survive without each other. But the following story I am writing down as my friend, Claire Cardwell Donovan, tells it. It is the memory of a dog whose selfless devotion to her owner also goes beyond the instinct for survival and whose loyalty remains beyond death. Mr. Cardwell and Queeny are already known to us. For eight years an unsightly black and white off-brand terrier, Eeyore, was Mr. Cardwell's constant companion, given to him as a three-month-old puppy by the local veterinarian, who had rescued her after a poisoning. Eeyore slept at Mr. Cardwell's feet, rode with him to work every day, and enjoyed many hunting and fishing outings with her master. Eeyore was four years old when Mr. Cardwell had a heart attack due to congestive heart failure. Rushed to the hospital, Mr. Cardwell was separated from his animal companion for the first time. When Mrs. Cardwell and Claire returned returned from the hospital, Eeyore could not be found. A moaning, whining sound prompted Claire to find the dog cowering under the house. No food would coax her out and Eeyore, until now always good natured, growled menacingly at Claire. After a second day with food left untouched, a snapping Eeyore was forcibly taken to the veterinarian. The vet diagnosed congestive heart failure. A dog with no history of any ailment, Eeyore was put on digitalis just like Mr. Cardwell. The two women struggled to get Eeyore to take her medicine but she spit it out, whining and pining for Mr. Cardwell. He missed his dog. His first request was that Eeyore be brought to the hospital so that he could see her through the window. After two weeks Mr. Cardwell was released and an exuberant reunion took place. All at once giving Eeyore her medicine was no longer a struggle. Instead it became a comical and playful spectacle. Mr. Cardwell commanded, "Eeyore, time to take your medicine," and she came running, settled between his legs, rolled over on her back and eagerly opened her mouth while onlookers laughed in disbelief. When Mr. Cardwell retired, he and his dog spent even more time together. Not even church attendance separated the pair.

One morning Eeyore and Mr. Cardwell set out on a fishing expedition. Twelve miles from home an accident occurred. Neighbors were alarmed when Eeyore returned home, crawled under the house, and started whining. Mr. Cardwell had died at the wheel of his truck. Now nobody could coax Eeyore from her hiding place. Food and water remained untouched, and all rescue attempts by family and friends and volunteers from the humane society were fruitless. Eeyore would interrupt her moaning momentarily at the sound of Claire's familiar voice but she would not let her come near. She had retreated into a hole deep under the house where no one could reach her. The whining grew meeker as the last rescue attempts failed. After one and a half weeks of grieving, Eeyore died.

Cognitive ability in animals is not highly developed. There are in the an kingdom no creators of cultures, inventors of tools or problem solvers. Wild animals are sufficient unto themselves but domestic animals are dependent on humans for their bare necessities. It is doubtful whether animals are conscious of death. When I had to put down my beloved horse, he kept rubbing his muzzle on my shirt and munching his carrot even though I told him tearfully that he would soon die. Even as the lethal injection was being administered, he trustingly nibbled on my sleeve. But through experience animals learn to identify danger, as for example the cormorants did. They had no foreknowledge of death but they learned to identify death by association. In the book Der Schwarze Hengst Bento (8), a cowboy tells how his seasoned and experienced mare knew about death. For years the two of them had driven cattle over rugged countryside. Time and again a calf or an aged animal with a foot caught in the cleft of a mountain would have to be shot on the spot. One day the old mare tripped and broke an ankle. The pain numbed her for a moment. Then she looked at the cowboy trustingly but her eyes widened and filled with fear when he pulled his revolver. The cowboy had to blindfold his old companion before he could bring himself to shoot her. There is other evidence that animals may sense impending death. In Die Strasse der Elefanten (9), William Quint describes a scene in which ailing elephants travel to a certain swamp which served as a resting ground for injured and dying elephants, known among local tribesmen as the elephants' cemetery.

We move in murky waters when we speculate 'on animals' knowledge of death. But we do know that animals are capable of binding themselves and that they miss an animal companion or a human friend. They pine for a lost home or a caretaker, and their memories are long. In some instances, animals mourn a loss to the point of relinquishing their own life. When they tell us how they feel we have to look beyond their scanty verbal communication. The language of their bodies gives us clues, as does their behavior. I once read an obituary about an old man who shot himself two weeks after his wife's death. His children and grandchildren ended their sorrowful statement with the remark, "Without her, his life no longer had any meaning." Meaning is partly cognitive, and animals do not think. But meaning is also a matter of perception, feeling, and memory. When Billy looks into Little Ann's eyes and sees them dull and cloudy, with no fire, no life left in them, he knows that her will to live, not just survive, has departed from her. This will to live must depend, in some measure, in animals as in humans, on a sense of loving and being loved, of needing and being needed, and of joy given and received. When this sense is interrupted or absent, animals grieve.

1 . Owens, M. , & Owens, D. (1984). Cry of the Kalahari. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
2. Holder, E. (Ed.). (1987, February 13). Galveston Daily News.
3. Taylor, T. (1983). The Trouble with Tuck. New York: Avon Books, pp. 108
4. Branford, S. The Incredible Journey. New York: Bantam Books, pp. 101, 142, 144, and 145.
5. Smythe, R. H. (1965). The Mind of the Horse. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press, p. 44.
6. Delange, N. (Ed.). (1987, October 14). Galveston Daily News.
7. Rawis, W. (1961). Where the Red Fern Grows. New York: Bantam Books, p. 8.
8. Holsch, D. (1950). Der Schwarze Hengst Bento. Berlin: Tempeihof, pp. 119-120.
9. Quint, W. (1939). Die Strosse der Elefanlen, Hamburg: Broschel and Co. , p. 213 ff.

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