I wonder if some animals would feel insulted by the names we give them. What if they had a say in their original labeling? You can just imagine all the animals getting in line before Adam, awaiting their names. The bear wobbles on up, and Adam says “Berken!” Instead of submitting, the bear shakes his head quickly. “Hmmm” says Adam, “Hurfy!” Understandably, the bear shakes his head again. “Bear!” Yep, that one hit the spot, and the newly-christened bear wanders off content, in the full knowledge that ‘bear’ perfectly hits the spot. If animals had our level of consciousness, I think a lot of them would hold formal committees to decree new names for themselves, thus usurping man’s God-given task of naming creatures. The House of Platypuses (Platypi?) would sovereignly decree that their new name would henceforth be Beaveducks!
I wonder if animals would form inter-species confederations or would their governments consist solely of members of their own species? Would different species have a tendency toward certain forms of government? Wouldn’t it be ironic if lions (who, as we all know, are the “kings” of the jungle) were the staunchest of democrats (little ‘d’)? Oh, and who might be the tyrants, you ask? Most definitely house cats. They’ve already made significant progress to world domination. If there DID arise an inter-species confederation, the military would consist in rhinos supplying the heavy armored division, all birds supplying air support and scouting. For ground forces, squirrels could do some heavy damage. Even if only the squirrels concentrated around the Michigan State area were to unite into several regiments, just imagine the carnage they could inflict! Cats, of course, would be the commanding officers, riding their dog-slaves.
Others, like the great philosophers Simon and Garfunkel, have already attempted to “anthropomorphize” various species. Take, for example, some lines from At the Zoo:
The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.
Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.
What a gas! You gotta come and see.
Should we be thankful or sad that animals aren’t like us? I guess it depends. If we’re looking for more conversationalists, I think we’re fine. But if we’re in need of some more corrective criticism, it might benefit us to have some more constructive input from our Golden Retriever.