A Collection of True Tales of Animal Empathy and Altruism that will Inspire Us to Reflect on Our Own Human Nature
What do stories about humpback whales protecting a biologist from a shark, a pride of lions rescuing a girl from kidnappers, gorillas working together to dismantle poacher snares, a parrot warding off an attacker in a park, a chimpanzee consoling a human, and an elephant trying to rescue a baby rhino tell us about animal nature? And what might they suggest about our very own human nature?
Until just a few decades ago, there were only a few animals reported to behave empathetically and altruistically. More recently, the list of species who have been observed behaving in compassionate, helpful, and caring ways has grown exponentially, ranging from rats to elephants.
Rescued by a Whale presents dozens of astonishing and heart-warming stories about animals, such as chickens, horses, dolphins, and wolves, who engage in acts of helpful kindness. During a time in history when studies show that human empathy is decreasing, our knowledge about animal empathy is increasing. These true tales of heroism, kindness, and compassion suggest that we have far more in common with other animals than we once believed and provocatively suggest that what’s best about our human natures just might be our animal natures.
About the Author
Belinda Recio is a recipient of the Humane Society’s Award for Innovation in the Study of Animals and Society. She has written numerous books—including Inside Animal Hearts and Minds (Skyhorse 2017)—and has developed award-winning science curricula for educational television, museums, and children’s publishers. Recio is a columnist for Organic Spa Magazine, where she writes her “State of the Ark” column on animals, and the owner of True North Gallery where she exhibits art that connects people with animals and nature. She lives in Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Mark Rowlands (D.Phil., Oxford University) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He is the author of twenty books, translated into more than twenty-five languages. His work in ethics and moral psychology includes Animal Rights (Macmillan 1998), The Environmental Crisis (Macmillan, 2000), Animals Like Us (Verso, 2002), Can Animals be Moral? (Oxford, 2012), and Can Animals Be Persons? (Oxford, 2019). He has also written several popular books, including his memoir, The Philosopher and the Wolf, an international bestseller.
"If you thought that only humans were capable of virtuous behavior, think again! When Animals Rescue will open your eyes to the breadth and depth of nonhuman kindness. Belinda Recio weaves in fascinating facts with astonishing stories about all kinds of animals—large and small, domesticated and wild—acting in compassionate ways. We need this book—not just to learn more about how other animals demonstrate kindness, but also to inspire more of this behavior in our own species! While books like this are timeless, its publication now is much-needed in a world in which far too much violence is directed toward far too many nonhumans in a wide variety of venues. My simple suggestion is to read this outstanding book, think about what you've learned, use this information to help other animals in an increasingly human-dominated world, and share it widely." —Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of The Animals' Agenda, Canine Confidential, and Unleashing Your Dog
"Uplifting and life-affirming, When Animals Rescue will save your day! These true stories about animal heroes are a tonic for tough times. I loved it." —Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals and The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
"Social animals evolved to assist each other. This lovely book documents a great variety of rescues and helping, sometimes across species boundaries. There is really nothing to be ashamed of if someone calls you an animal!" —Frans de Waal, author of Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves (Norton, 2019)
Praise for Inside Animal Hearts and Minds
"In this new book by veteran nature writer Belinda Recio, the once-narrow parameters of animal cognition and empathy are blown open; the Lockean conception of nonhuman animals as unthinking biological machines withers as Recio recounts in wonderfully anecdotal prose some of the latest scientific findings, from grieving birds to laughing rats to dozens of other species exhibiting traits humans once reserved for themselves. It all makes for consistently eye-opening reading." —Christian Science Monitor, "5 great book picks for gift-giving this holiday season"
"In an increasingly human-dominated world, nonhuman animals (aka animals) need all the help they can get. Belinda Recio's Inside Animal Hearts and Minds will make it easier for people to rewild their hearts, and (re)connect with other animals. It's essential that as we learn about the inner lives of animals—their cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities— we take action on their behalf. Ms. Recio's book could be a game-changer." —Marc Bekoff, author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence and The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age
"Belinda Recio has written a fascinating account of animal emotions and animal intelligence. She makes the stories she tells available to a wide audience, and her examples are fair, friendly, and charming. I cannot imagine any animal lover not finding this a wonderful book!" —Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, bestselling author of nine books on the emotional life of animals, including Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
“Belinda Recio has assembled the best true stories of animals’ achievements in art, emotion, and reasoning all in one place. Everyone who reads it will come away feeling much closer to the other species we share this planet with, and be amazed by the sophisticated things they are capable of. . . . A provocative and beautiful book.” —David Rothenberg, author of Survival of the Beautiful and Why Birds Sing
"A well-researched and well-written book, very thought-provoking and beautifully illustrated; a great overview of the ongoing revolutionary shift in our understanding of animal minds." —Vladimir Dinets, author of Dragon Songs and Wildlife Spectacles
"A fabulous read full of fascinating information about the animal world around us. It’s a perfect gift for animal lovers or students who would like to learn more about the creatures who share our world." —Pamela Kramer, Huffington Post
"An engaging coffee table book demonstrating that animals share a broad range of attributes with humans. A visually attractive light read . . . [it] has plenty to inform its readers in a thoroughly enjoyable fashion." —Earth Island Journal