Last Modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 6:28 p.m.
The body of the female turtle, named Honey Girl by the locals, was found on the sand about two weeks ago. A memorial was set up to honor her passing, with photos.
One afternoon, a large male named Kuhina made his way onto the strand as onlookers watched. He methodically meandered his way up to a spot directly in front of the memorial, put his head on the sand and stayed there for hours, seemingly in mourning for the passing of a friend or mate.
At the blog site - critters.starnewsonline.com - I've posted a link to a YouTube video of a news story. In both the lead-in to the local station's video and during the report, the commentators explained some scientists might have us believe there is no basis for assigning human emotions to animals.
To suggest this theory is to proceed from a false assumption, that emotions are solely the property of human beings.
Others might suggest it is silly to assign any so-called human traits to animals. Again, this is falsely assuming these traits are not common to both humans and some members of the animal kingdom.
It is entirely possible we share these emotions and traits and it is not at all a case of assigning our exclusive qualities to animals.
In fact in my observations, it is clear we share these qualities. I think many scientists would probably concur with me on this. It is far more compelling to use our observations of animals to come to this conclusion.
We can no doubt scientifically note the biological differences between humans and the earth's creatures. But emotions, welled up deep in the inner workings of our brains, are much harder to study through the Xs and Os of scientific data.
What we can do is observe clear signs that our pets or the creatures of the wild show spells of great joy and at other times the pain of loss or want.
One can often see these emotions through the windows of our souls - through the eyes and in our faces. Many animals most definitely share these outward signs of emotion with us.
An animal in a state of fear clearly shows this emotion. A dog or cat playing with a toy clearly displays great joy. Fear and joy are emotions. No one would doubt this.
So is it a stretch to consider sadness, happiness, loneliness or the pain of loss might be common emotions for animals? I think this theory is far closer to the realm of fact and in my view is indeed a fact.
The word is getting out
When my wife and I are out and about with a dog or two and run into friends or strangers - or when we run into others walking their dogs - the conversation often turns to the plight of homeless pets.
It is pleasing to hear more and more people talk about the need to rescue, as opposed to buying a dog or cat or other pets. We often hear rescue stories and passionate pleas to help the many cats and dogs that go homeless each year, while thousands upon thousands die waiting for homes.
I hope, from what I'm hearing, the tide is turning. And maybe through this age of information technology, more and more people will learn about these issues and respond accordingly.