If wolves and coyotes experience many of the emotions that humans feel, can they also become mentally impaired? Bekoff asks and answers this intriguing question. "Because there are autistic humans, there likely are nonhuman animals who suffer from what might be called autism." He concludes that since many psychological disorders have been diagnosed in dogs, "there's no reason why this couldn't be true for their wild relatives." He describes a coyote and a wolf that exhibited what might be called bipolar behavior.
Bekoff also believes there is "honor among beasts," As he puts it: "Based on my long-term detailed studies of play in social carnivores - including wolves, coyotes, red foxes, and domestic dogs - I believe we can make the stronger claim that some animals might be moral beings."
If we believe that animals can experience emotions such as grief, can become mentally impaired, and can be moral beings, then, as Bekoff writes, we must make sure that our actions match our beliefs. He says that when he talks to researchers who conduct invasive research or to people who work on factory farms, he asks them: "Would you do that to your dog?" He says that some people are startled by this question, but that it's an important one to ask.