(An essay showing how ungrateful animals actually are.)
Animals are unappreciative of the loving treatment they receive. I had involuntarily experimented with this idea with a rather unusual animal: a goose. This happened on a cold, crisp, spring morning when I was working on a project with my friends Kevin and Jaideep for literature class. We were filming a movie that pertained to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and we chose to shoot our film at a nearby pond, which teemed with fish, ducks, frogs, and other animals, like geese. Lots of geese. Some sat on the edge of the pond, and some swam, and like the other animals, the geese were scared of us. Most of them would flee once we came near them. We realized, after we finished shooting most of our movie, that one stubborn little goose would not fly away.
The goose’s unique courage bothered us because it didn’t look as if this particular one was stronger or mightier than the others. We stomped and yelled to scare it away, but it wouldn’t budge. A close examination of the bird showed that it was injured; its foot was shriveled up and looked as if it was deflated. The poor goose couldn’t fly away. We felt sorry for it, and we were ashamed of the entire disturbance we had made by stomping and yelling. Then we asked ourselves, if it couldn’t move, how would it eat? We resolved to give it some bread from the sandwiches we were eating for lunch. We thought we were going to help the poor goose, but little did we know that the law of unintended consequences would kick in about the time we tossed the bird our first crust.
We ripped off a small piece of bread from our Subway sandwiches, and headed back to the spot where the beast was resting. Once we came closer to the goose, it started to open and close its mouth. It looked as if it was trying to tell us something, perhaps, “Give me food.” Up close, the injured animal looked scarier than it had from a distance. None of us wanted to give him the bread anymore.
An intense rock-paper-scissors match finalized that we would each give him a tiny piece. Jaideep was the first to throw his piece. Rather than eating the bread, the goose became frightened. Its previously hidden wings burst out into a huge canopy twice the size of the bird itself, sending a vicious gust of air straight at our faces and creating a windstorm of leaves surrounding it. We didn’t want the bird to starve, but it scared us. I threw my piece of bread near it, and the furious goose burst out in rage with a menacing snake-like hiss, making the whole wing flapping incident seem like a pleasant experience. We gave up on the injured bird, and we just left the bread pieces there and went home. It wasn’t our problem whether the goose ate the bread or not. We just didn’t want to be attacked by a hissing goose.
Jaideep and Kevin left, and I thought all day about why the animal would refuse our help. Since it was all alone, I thought it would probably have a hard time surviving out there by itself. To satisfy my curiosity, I stopped by the pond the next morning to see if the goose was still there. The spot where the beast had been resting was empty, and the bread pieces were gone as well.
I concluded that animals do not feel grateful for the caring treatment they receive. However, I understand that I can’t make such a big generalization based on one experiment. Some animals may feel indebted to the treatment they receive, but they might not know any way to express their feelings. After all, they are animals.
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