When I was a child, I loved to learn about animals. I read many books featuring animal characters and watched hundreds of cartoons and movies dedicated to the animal world. My peers were not interested so much in cats and dogs as I was, as I was literally obsessed with both real-life and imaginary animals. My friends watched Pocahontas and Cinderella while I admired Tom and Jerry and DuckTales. In the books and movies featuring both people and animals, I cared more about the latter. What have influenced my tastes so much? Is there a logical explanation for this obsession with animals? I will try to answer these questions in this short essay.
When I was a little child, I spent most of the time with my grandparents in the country while my parents worked in the city. As far as I can remember, I was surrounded by nature and animals. We had chickens, cats, dogs, while out neighbors had many cows, goats, pigs, horses, and other animals. I loved watching our blind dog following me across the yard as if he could somehow feel my presence. I used to feed chickens with fresh grass and I was responsible for ensuring they always had clean water in their feedbox.
Given my connection to nature, it is not surprising that I loved books and cartoons about animals. When I watched The Lion King, I always cried and wished for the lion to stay alive. When I watched Tom and Jerry, I smiled and laughed. It was my favorite cartoon, and although I knew every episode as if I created it, I still enjoyed watching it. The same obsession with animals could be seen in the way I chose books. My favorite ones were large encyclopedias for children with bright pictures of animals and short descriptions of their habitat, appearance, behavior, etc. I could spend hours turning over the pages and imagining these animals in real life. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? How do they care for their babies? I had countless questions that my parents sometimes could not answer. I think I was so interested in animals because I grew up surrounded by them. I was the world I knew, and it was much easier for me to communicate with animals rather than with peers.
When I moved to the city to live with my parents, my interest in animals did not disappear. In fact, it became even more pronounced. When I lived in the country, I did not have friends because there were no children on our street. As a moved to the new place, I was overwhelmed by the unusual experience and the need to build relationships with peers. I made some friends but it was still easier for me to immerse into my imaginary world. I read the books of by London and loved to dream about becoming a brave and free animal living somewhere in the wild forests. I think that reading about animals at that time was some sort of escapism. Animals were my best friends and they made me feel confident. They also helped me overcome the stress associated with leaving the country and pets who stayed with my grandparents.
As I grew older, this interest in animals decreased somewhat but never fully disappeared. I still chose the movies that featured animals and read the books about nature. I cried when I watched some animals die in the movies. For example, I could not understand why people have exploited horses so brutally and why adults did not pay attention to horses dying in action scenes. In fact, I still care more about animals rather than human characters in books and movies. While for someone, movies like The Dog’s Purpose are no more than shaggy stories, for me, they are deeply emotional and meaningful. To summarize, I would like to note that my childhood experience influenced my passion for animals. Growing in a country taught me to respect the nature and its inhabitants, as they are sincere, open, and extremely vulnerable.