Can animals be gay?
Or are they merely capable of sharing a deep bond?
I was prompted to write this piece after hearing a discussion on TV with focus on two female pugs who clearly were inseparable.
The Vet involved in the discussion evidenced two male flamingo’s who were in their nineth year together. The interesting fact here is that flamingo’s are not monogamous. They find new partners every mating season. These two males however, not only chose to stay together, they apparently would steal the eggs from neighbouring nests and nurture them lovingly as their own.
The Vet has been a part of numerous studies of many species around the world that show same sex preference.
Ricky – Jack Russell Terrier
Ricky, a rough haired Jack Russell Terrier came into my life at eight weeks old. I was fifteen. He remained a full dog and was very loyal.
When he was around four years old our neighbours across the green homed a small Jack Russell they had named Pip. He had smooth white hair with a dab of black on his head. He wasn’t a very sociable dog, he would scamper off into his house when anyone passed – whether that be human or non-human.
However, he would sit at the entrance to the driveway of his home, and stare intently as Ricky and I went off on our walks. He would simply sit and watch us disappear around the corner. This went on for quite some weeks. Over those weeks I also discovered that Pip’s family didn’t walk him. He would idly sit at the edge of the driveway most of the day. He never made any attempt to come closer when Ricky and I set out on our daily adventures- until one day…
Pip’s focus was on us..
As usual, Pip’s focus was on us; I glanced over and our eyes met. I gave a – ‘come on then’- nod of my head. Pip did not hesitate. That was the day I witnessed the beginnings of an amazing bond between two male dogs that would lead to Ricky saving Pip’s life.
Each day when Ricky and I reached the end of my driveway, Pip would already be eagerly sitting, waiting for that slightest nod of my head. Off we would all go – Ricky and Pip galloping off in front of me, teeth locking in play as they bounced along.
Our favourite walk..
Our favourite walk was to the ‘Cow Mounts’. The ‘Mount’ was what was left of an old slag heap left to grow over when one of the local coal mines closed down. Cows often grazed at the foot of the hill. It was now quite a nice quiet area to walk around. We would climb to the top of the mount and survey our surroundings.
Ricky and Pip would sit beside me, but almost always leaning on each other. They were ever barely more than touching distance of each other.
They loved each other..
Although the term ‘Gay’ wasn’t publicly prolific back then, I always knew that Ricky and Pip didn’t just adore each other; they loved each other. They would vie for the luxury of my lap; then as one dog jumped down in submission, the other dog would too.
One Sunday afternoon, me, mum, dad and Ricky were relaxing when we heard snarling and yelping. All four of us were quickly outside on the green to find another neighbour’s large and powerful dog pinning Pip to the ground by sitting over him with its teeth around his neck.
Ricky raced passed us towards the two other dogs. As he got nearer to the rear of the large dog, Ricky suddenly crouched down and slowly crept up towards the other dog’s docked tail.
The dog suddenly leapt up yelping in shock as Ricky’s teeth closed around the tail.
As the dog released its grip on Pip, Pip, with blood dripping from a neck wound fled home while Ricky spun around and raced back into the house!
The culprit disappeared in haste around the corner.
That incident appeared to bring Ricky and Pip even closer together. They had a bond I’d never seen before and have never seen since.
Were they ‘gay’? Or is it impossible between animals?
Here’s the thing..
We tend to refer to dogs, cats, horses, pigs, cows, sheep, and every other species out there as ‘animals’. We refer to ourselves as humans. But we are merely another species of animal. The only thing that separates us from other animals is our higher intelligence. Other animals are no different in their sentience. Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively.
Non-humans provide us with evidence every day of their ability to feel, to love, to nurture, to protect.
If we are capable of loving some-one of the same sex, then surely so are non-humans.
To this day I strongly believe that had Ricky and Pip been human, they would have been referred to as gay.
We humans have much to learn about our non-human counterparts. Gay, or heterosexual – are we capable of experiencing the same depth of unconditional love, bond and loyalty?