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Guess What...Animals DO Have Emotions

01/07/2014 15:55 BST | Updated 30/08/2014 10:59 BST

Last year, while I was home alone, I had discovered something that sent a wave of shock through me. I had ventured into the basement for a work out when it was to my dismayed surprise that I noticed a very old robin stuck in our window well. I knew he was old because he he had grey tufts of hair surrounding his head like a halo, and the poor little guy didn't move very much. My fiance was out of town on business, so I initially panicked wondering how the hell I was going to retrieve the robin from the well and bring him to safety. After I took a few breaths, it became my mission to save him.

I went upstairs and outside to open the gate to the window well. I had no idea how the robin managed to get down there. When I peered down, I saw loads of spider webs and creepy crawly critters that immediately prompted vomit in my mouth. I tried getting Gandalf, (yes, I named the robin Gandalf for he was old and grey, and I loved him), out of the well by many means including a broom and a wiffle ball bat...not my shining moments of intelligence, but I was panicked and not thinking clearly. I climbed down into the window well to try to motivate Gandalf to fly out of the well to no avail. He wouldn't budge. I started to sweat, sick with worry. I grabbed a chair and sat by the well to try to sweet talk him out of his predicament. It wasn't working.

All day long, I watched him from my basement with periodic visits up to the well outside to try to coax him out. I didn't want him to die. I stepped back down into the well to bring him a bowl of water and bread crumbs. He didn't drink or eat. I desperately watched him in growing despair as I felt helpless in his rescue. Then, out of nowhere, as my last shred of sanity seemed to be on the verge of disappearing, a young robin swooped down into the well with a worm in his mouth, sat next to Gandalf, and fed him. I couldn't believe it. It was one of the most beautiful moments I had ever witnessed. The young robin swooped down 3 more times to feed Gandalf his hard-earned worms from his young mouth. It seemed incredulous that this happened not only one time, but four. I couldn't believe the care and compassion the young robin had for his much older counterpart. I knew animals had feelings, but I had no idea a creature so small could have such capacity for the emotional depth he displayed through his compassion and generosity.

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Eventually, my fiance came home, got down into the window well and easily saved Gandalf by getting him to jump into a box. (Why couldn't I have thought of that?) Gandalf was free at last after a day full of fretting and worry, but also a day full of learning and beauty. I will never forget that day, and I will never forget the love and selflessness the young robin showed his elder.

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Image: Canadiannaturephotographer.com, Google Images