Saturday, April 07, 2012

Gotta love baby lambs and newborn angora goat kids. They're cute beyond description. Much as I like the alpacas and sheep, there's something about frolicking goat kids that other species can't quite replace. :-) I feel so much calmer and centered after being with animals....even just for a short time.

My friend says that alpacas are stupid. I don't get that impression. She could be right, but I'd rather start from a neutral position, observe intensely, and then come to a conclusion...being ready to rethink that conclusion in the face of new information. My initial impression is that they have a very strong herd instinct, but group think doesn't always equal a lack of intelligence. They appear to be very alert and curious, traits not usually associated with stupidity. They aren't very human oriented and prefer not to be touched, unlike dogs, horses, or other more popular species.

And then, I think of non-verbal autistics who have been assumed to be mentally retarded simply because they didn't communicate or exhibit signs of intelligence that neurotypical people might relate to and identify. Only when they learn to type or communicate somehow is it discovered that they are, in fact, intelligent and much more aware than previously assumed. Carly Fleischmann, Amanda Baggs...and others....they're very lucky to have had the opportunity to communicate their intelligence. How many more have been shunted away into institutions and allowed to languish there?

So even if we can't see intelligence in an obvious way, even if we can't perceive it at first glance, we cannot assume that a person or animal is slow or unintelligent. There has got to be a way to determine intelligence when a person or animal isn't human oriented, cooperative or communicative.

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