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Animals make the perfect humans

By Rita Mae Brown, Special to CNN

Rita Mae Brown, with one of her many dogs, points out that in the animal world, you pull your own weight.
Rita Mae Brown, with one of her many dogs, points out that in the animal world, you pull your own weight.
  • Rita Mae Brown on the virtues of animals: They love you just as you are
  • No animal is a hypocrite. They will never correct your grammar. They have a sense of humor
  • A cat doesn't care about another cat's color. A dog may steal from you but will never lie
  • They live triumphantly in the present and will never say, "We have to talk"

Editor's note: Rita Mae Brown is a novelist, a gay rights and feminist pioneer, a writer of two mystery series and an animal lover. She is an avid horse rider and lives on a farm in Virginia with cats, house dogs and a pack of fox hounds. Her latest book is "Animal Magnetism: My Life with Creatures Great and Small."

(CNN) -- In case there are a few on two legs who aren't convinced, allow me to present my case.

Your dog is a great food tester. If she won't eat it, you'd better not either.

No cat snores as loudly as a human.

Your cat, dog, horse or bird doesn't care if you're young or old, rich or poor, fat or thin. She loves you just as you are.

No animal has ever tortured himself by trying to be perfect.

No herd of horses or pack of hounds will ever ask you to clap your hands in unison. Nor will any animal -- even in front of a TV camera -- introduce another as "the lovely and talented ..."

Humans routinely breed past the food supply. Most animals are too smart to do this.

Some animals are monogamous. Some are not. They accept their fundamental natures. When it comes to humans, the kindest way to approach this is to understand that monogamy is contrary to nature but necessary for the greater social good.

Animals do not pay for sex.

Animals cannot damage the water table. Humans are doing this all over the world even as you read this.

No animal is ever a hypocrite.

A cat doesn't care if another cat is black or white, so along as she catches mice.

A dog may steal from you but will never lie to you.

Given their unbelievable olfactory powers -- humans have about 6 million scent receptors; a dog has about 110 million -- your dog can smell friend or foe. Your dog knows who is sexually attracted to you and vice versa. You dog knows when you are about to have a heart attack or an epileptic seizure. They can even smell illness in you even before doctors catch wind of it (i.e. cancer). The point is, trust your dog.

You can also trust your cat concerning most of the above examples as long as you realize: Dogs have owners; cats have staff.

A dog would not allow another dog to eat if it weren't in on the hunt. In the animal world, you have to pull your weight. Dogs and cats recognize mental illness in humans. Many of them can deal with it. Many of us cannot.

Horses can work well with a physically compromised person. They are very giving animals.

We are medium-size animals who survived and then flourished by hunting in packs, by cooperation. A horse is a large animal. The journey from your mind to a horse's mind is the longest journey you will ever take.

If successful, it will be one of the strongest bonds of both of your lives, one you can never really explain to another human who has not made the journey. It is a bond of deep emotional richness.

No animal will ever correct your grammar. Given that service dogs have a vocabulary of 300 or 400 words, this shows remarkable restraint on their part.

An animal knows when she is dying. However, she does not carry around the notion of her individual death. This, I believe, is the true gap between us and other sentient creatures. It is the root of our discontent, denial and search for escape.

Personally, I believe death is a greatly overrated experience. Much of it irritates me. I know when the good Lord jerks my chain, I'm going.

Animals remember. They have some concept of the simple past, but they live triumphantly in the present. Few of us do.

Most animals have a sense of humor. Horses seem to have a highly developed one. Humans routinely deny this until they find themselves the butt of the joke.

Thanks to technology, we believe we are more powerful. Take that away, and our limitations (bad night vision; no fangs or claws; long dependency of offspring; terrible slowness compared to, say, a cat; etc.) make us falter. One of the reasons we made a social contract with domesticated animals years ago was to "borrow" their power, speed, senses. In return, we feed them, care for them. We have broken this contract. They have not.

No animal will ever speak those dreadful words, "We have to talk."

Give thanks that your cat does not own a credit card. Aren't you sorry you do?

No animal will ever send you a Christmas card and expect one in return. Surely, the devil invented the Christmas card.

I rest my case.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rita Mae Brown.