“What is your favorite animal?” is one of the most common icebreaker questions, but actually has a lot of depth. Think about it — how many people have refused to answer that question in front of you? Likely very few. No matter how “cool” a person considers themselves to be — no matter what nationality, identity or socioeconomic class — the vast majority of people will be able to easily come up with an animal that they feel attached to for some reason or another. Animals bring us together.
Especially in a time like this, animals can provide us with so much. Fish and other college approved pets seem to be one of the best ways to combat loneliness in dorm rooms. Students are also spending more time than ever outside, so why not increase your enjoyment by watching the squirrels and sharing what you see? Change is constant, especially now, but there are happy moments to be found and animals
can help provide moments of reprieve for free. Sit and watch the same tree for a couple days in a row, and I bet you will begin to see the personalities of the squirrels that live there. (Also, bonus: there are some baby squirrels around campus.)
In times of environmental disaster, caring for animals brings
society together. What if we allowed ourselves to bond over animals all the time? If the squirrels
outside Lowry brought together groups of students who would never talk otherwise? While this is a bit of an exaggeration, the point is still valid: if animals have the power to bring us together in the worst of times, why can’t they bring us together all the time?
People tend not to pay attention to shelter pets — until they see a dog in horribly sad conditions needing to be saved. Or to the issue of big-game hunting until they see a post where Jimmy John’s CEO, Jimmy John Liautaud, is posing with an endangered rhino that he just killed (sorry, sandwich lovers, there is still Subway or the Lowry sandwich station). But if people paid these animals attention all the time, not only would the lives of the animals improve, but there could be a real unity among peo-
ple working together on behalf of these causes. I know that this unity could be created because it already exists among wildlife and animal activists, rehabilitation centers, etc. I am not saying that everyone needs to devote their lives to saving animals, but I think that there is more happiness to be gained from watching animals than many realize. So next time you feel sad, watch a squirrel. Or a bee. Or a grasshopper. Maybe you’ll make a new friend.