The male dog, the one who could care less about people, he walked across the room, he climbed onto the podium, he stood with his side touching my leg looking out over the people. He then lay sphinx-style, touching me, looking at the people until I stopped talking about Rusty. Then he got up and left. The owners were gob-smacked. They said he never had done anything even remotely like this.
I know you felt connected to animals from a very young age. Do you feel that an affinity to animals is something some people just have, or can it be learned?
It was innate in me, but could have been crushed by an uncaring, unsympathetic mother. When she found earthworms in my bed, instead of getting angry she just said they needed the earth and they would die and I was making them die and I cried. I was one and a half. We took them back into the garden.
But you see an awful lot of cruelty in children and hopefully there's somebody to guide them and to help them understand that animals feel like we do. Lots of people, not just children, never get taught that. I know when I started talking about the chimpanzees and other animals in Tanzania in 1991 when we began Roots and Shoots people started thinking in a new way about that. They hadn't thought about animals having feelings and feeling pain.