These heartwarming images of a goose protecting an abandoned puppy from the cold deserve to be shared far and wide. “Real love and friendship know no boundaries and for this compassionate goose, it knew exactly what it had to do when it saw a shivering puppy on the street.2 ”
The images were posted on Facebook after someone came upon the scene on the street. At first the user “thought that the goose was going to attack the puppy after seeing it staying close to the puppy.”2
The puppy appeared to be abandoned shortly after birth and was shivering terribly in the cold. According to the post, the goose did not hesitate to wrap its wings around the puppy and later stroked its head with its beak.2
Animals have so much to teach us! “Compassion” has been defined as an emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help.
Time and again we have evidence that animals react with compassion in ways that remind humans we can always do more when we see suffering in others.
Survival of the Kindest
It is thought that there is an evolutionary basis to compassion.3 Dacher Keltner, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, reminds us that Charles Darwin himself never used the phrase, “survival of the fittest,” (he argues that the expression was used by people advocating for the superiority of different classes and races).
Instead, Keltner tells us that Darwin “argued for ‘the greater strength of the social or maternal instincts than that of any other instinct or motive… Communities of more sympathetic individuals were more successful in raising healthier offspring to the age of viability and reproduction.”4
The Barking Army posted this update on their Facebook page: “We are happy to report that shortly after these photos were uploaded to Facebook, the puppy and the goose were adopted together and now have formed a lasting friendship in a home environment. Now they are inseparable.”
We’ve shared a few videos below of some other duck and dog pairs. You can really see that these pups and ducks feel strong emotions and bonds of friendships just like we humans do.
We don’t really need science to interpret the caring we see this goose showing for the shivering pup, but it certainly shows us that maternal instinct is one of the most powerful forces in the world for kindness and good.
1Seppälä EM. Compassion: Our First Instinct. 3 June 2013. Psychology Today.
2Najihah A. Heartwarming scene of a duck keeping a puppy warm with its wings after it is abandoned on the street. GoodTimes. 30 October 2018.
3Keltner D. The Compassionate Instinct. 1 March 2004. Greater Good Magazine.
4Keltner D. Darwin’s Touch: Survival of the Kindest. 12 February 2009. Greater Good Magazine.
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