Philip Lymbery
3 min readFeb 28, 2024
Sow in farrowing crate | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

Have you ever experienced the love of an animal? Felt that extraordinary connection between two species that needs no words?

Animals can make you feel deeply. Very deeply indeed. A dog for example, will raise your spirits. Support and love you. Always a friend. Loyal to the last. There’s no need for words with man’s best friend. Silence is the best conversation.

But an animal will also tear out your heart when they pass. For pass they must. They say it’s the price we pay for love.

Philip and Duke

I will forever miss my Duke. A rescue dog that rescued me. The power of his eyes. The tilt of his head. The softness of his fur and the gentle flex of his tail.

No matter how bad my day, his greeting was always special. He’d walk with me. He’d listen to me. He was my faithful companion. Co-writer of my books. Editor and inspiration.

There’s a quote ‘Those who teach the most about humanity, aren’t always human’. It’s by Donald L Hicks. And he’s right. My dog made me a better human. My wife, Helen, and I brought him into our family, and we were all the better for it.

Whilst the emotions, highs and lows you can feel with a companion animal can mirror that of human relationships, you know the ground rules with animals. Something not always the case with humans.

Duke freely showered us with unconditional love. Whether left at home or out in the car, his patience was never ending. His enthusiasm was unstinting. His welcome always a happy one. With the best will in the world, that same level of consistency and positivity isn’t always mirrored by our human companions.

How then can anyone question animal sentience? Particularly if they’ve ever loved an animal? How can anyone turn away from cruelty to fellow creatures? Kindness toward others should be paramount. Part of that basic human understanding of knowing right from wrong.

Animals are sentient. We know they feel pain, feel desire, sadness, and happiness. They have characters. They are maternal, loving, and protective of their young.

Egg laying hens in barren battery cages | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

Yet humankind mercilessly exploits them. No matter which way we look at it, we use them for simple pleasure and commercial gain. Because we can. Be it for superficial entertainment or for ‘cheap’ food, we chase, abuse, cage and confine them.

We squander precious species, their habitats, and their environmental resources. What we don’t need, or don’t fancy, we discard, often without a thought, without guilt.

Yet we have no right to treat them this way, nor to dominate and destroy them — they have as much right to live and flourish on this beautiful planet as we humans.

Animals are a gift in our lives. If you have ever loved an animal, you already know that to be true.

There is an enormous trade in elephant abuse specifically for human “attractions”, meaning young elephants have their spirit broken in the most cruel way, so humans can ride them | Credit: Lek Chailert for STAE

Despite this busy and sometimes crazy world, we know that love is perhaps the greatest power in our universe. Let us use it to bring compassion toward animals.

Of all the wonderful, caring, and loving things we try to do each and every day, let’s strive to never fail our fellow species. Let’s find that inner strength to do what’s right. And the courage to stand up for their right to a life worth living. To be the voice that cannot be heard. To bring more kindness into their world.

Thank you