May 7, 2014: Animal Mothers

~by Susi Pittman

God has emblazoned a mother’s heart to love her children, no matter what. The animal world is such a living example of such devotion in many species. Pictured below are beautiful pictures of animal mothers who, though hard-wired by the Creator to be who they are, and can at times exhibit something unusual beyond just reflex ordering.

I am once again reminded of scripture from Matthew, Chapter 5:

For if you love those that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the pagans do that? And if you salute your brethren only, what are you doing more than others. You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It speaks to God’s directives on perfect love, echoing that we as Catholics are called to more than loving what loves us, but to love that which does not love in return. For myself, that applies to care of the natural world around me as much as it does to all of my fellow man. I may not understand the creatures, but I love and appreciate them as a gift from The Almighty.

A mother dog placed her own life in jeopardy as again and again, She ran between the house and the fire truck over and over again until all her puppies were safe. After rescuing all of her pups from the blaze, the dog named Amanda sat down next to them, protecting them with her body as the firefighters fought the blaze. All but one of the puppies lived, thanks to their heroic mother’s efforts in saving them.

A mother cat named Cindy and her kittens had been abandoned. Some ill-guided youths decided to use them for target practice, whereupon the mother cat placed herself between the attack of bb’s and her babies. She took a bb bullet to the head. She was found and rescued. When Cindy first arrived, she would not leave her newborn kittens. Her kittens were tiny and malnourished. As Cindy watched her kittens being cared for, she finally relinquished being at their sides and allowed herself to receive medical attention. All are safe and healthy today.“

Elephant herds have matriarchal structures, and the oldest mother is the leader. Elephant mothers are known for being gentle and nurturing. Motherless babies are adopted by other female elephants in the herd. The elephant herd is very close, and if the newborn’s mom is tired or busy other females will step in and babysit.

Cows are very protective moms. If a young calf goes missing, they will do whatever it takes to get them back, including breaking through fences. They are also very attached to their young.

Dolphin moms take a lot of time to teach their babies to come up for air and how to swim, and teach different swimming positions and how to escape a predator. Although dolphin moms are usually pretty relaxed, they will step in if they think the baby is in risk or headed for danger. Dolphin moms are also open to caring for foster babies.

Orangutans are some of the best moms. The moms will step in and care for motherless infants the same way they would care for their own. Orangutans also care for their babies until they are eight years old! Orangutan infants are very attached to their moms for the first few years. The moms carry them around everywhere and sleep in the same nest.

Once a Mother octopus lays her eggs, she will spend the next month or two caring for the eggs by protecting them against predators and even pushing water currents in their direction so the eggs get enough oxygen. During this entire period, she will not hunt and will often end up ingesting her own arms for sustenance. When the eggs start hatching, she will leave her lair too weak to defend herself from predators. As a result, most octopus mothers die shortly after their babies hatch.

The mother Polar bear will nibble on vegetation while the cubs adapt to walking and playing in the outdoors close to her den. Finally, they will leave the den area and head toward the sea ice where the mother can start catching seals after a fast of up to eight months. Over the next few years, the mother will teach her babies how to hunt while protecting them from predators, including male polar bears. Female Polar bears have been known to adopt abandoned cubs on occasion.

Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Susi Pittman is founder of and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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