This rabbit has figured out how to get a drink out of a bird feeder.

Jane McCutchen

When I saw a wild rabbit figure out how to climb two large rocks to drink water out of a bowl, I realized that animals have a lot of common sense.

Observing the birds drink from the various containers I provide convinced me that animals are practical creatures.

Instead of one species declaring the water dishes belong exclusively to them, they are polite. Occasionally a rabbit will drink from one side while a dove or quail drinks from the other. They don’t kill each other to claim ownership. They share the bounty.

One of the reasons we don’t give animals their due is because they can’t speak. We don’t know what they’re thinking, but if you study animals, you get an idea of what’s going on in their minds. For instance, my dogs have learned to manipulate me about getting treats. They know if they ask to go out, I will give them a treat when they return. They fooled me for quite a while with this trick.

Another extremely talented species I’ve observed is ants. Walking the dogs, I noticed a pile of yellow droppings from a tree near an ant hole. Day after day the ants tirelessly picked up these pieces from the curb, carried them near the entrance and then took them down to their nest. What could they possibly be doing with all this stuff? Are they building the Taj Mahal? Is this food? Intrigued, I researched ants and discovered they work tirelessly, rarely declare war on other ants and are extremely organized.

Animals are not self-destructive. Would any creature besides humans decide it was a good thing to roll tobacco into small cigarettes and smoke them? Thinking about watching a rabbit smoke a cigarette makes me laugh.

Quails and cardinals appear to mate for life. Infidelity and divorce are not on their agenda.

A great thing about animals is they definitely live in the present. I try to live one day at a time, but they live one minute at a time. No worrying about the future or the past.

My experience with dogs is they never forget you. Maybe it’s the way you smell or your voice — who knows? One time I had to give a 3-year-old collie to a friend. Three years later, I was able to visit. Shep, the collie, came to where I was sitting, began to whine and placed his head in my lap. For the next two hours I cried, Shep at my side. Had Shep brought the past into the moment?

Living in Tucson gives me the opportunity to enjoy the wildlife, which is a lot different from the wild life I led.

Animals have gained my respect and adoration, resulting in me cherishing my simple life while focusing on the beauty surrounding me.

Alexis Powers is the author of several books and lives on the northwest side. Email her at or view her website at