All We Need is Love

27 Apr

“Sixty Minutes” ran a story this evening on an orphanage in Africa that takes in baby elephants whose mothers have been killed by poachers. As a therapist who works with humans whose lives have been damaged by fractured families, I was deeply touched by the scene of a baby elephant going beserk because he saw his mother get shot. Elephants have remarkable memories so they don’t forget their traumas. 

I’ve worked with kids who have also seen their parents or siblings shot. And yes, the psyche goes beserk. The woman who runs the orphanage says the baby elephants have to be nurtured back to emotional health with touch and talk. No different than us. But the prognosis isn’t always good. And if left for too long without intervention, the baby elephant can die. 

In addition to having human-like emotions, elephants also operate well together in communities. They look after each other like we do. Or should.

My grandmother went on a safari in Africa when she was in her late seventies. She LOVED the elephants and has photos of them in her home. My grandmother was also raised on a farm. She says that when she was little, the baby animals would sometimes be taken from their mothers, for whatever reason. She recalls watching a young horse grieve for its mother and her father telling her, “Nonsense. Animals don’t feel.” 

Nonsense. We all feel. And we all need love.

People need it. Animals need it. The earth needs it. 

May we all love a little more.

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