We often comment on how intelligent animals are. They can solve problems, learn, and even communicate their needs to us. So I guess that it shouldn’t be a surprise when they show us that they have emotions, including a sense of empathy.
Recently we moved our horses to a new barn where Sadie’s new neighbor is a twenty four year old gelding named Picasso. Picasso is a sweet and gentle horse that took an immediate liking to Sadie. Picasso and Sadie spend most of the day standing at the fence between them just hanging out with each other. Picasso is on a restricted diet that is limited to grain and supplements only, no hay. This is difficult because horses love hay and prefer it.
One day the barn manager called us. “You won’t believe this.” She said. “Sadie is giving hay to Picasso.”
“She continued, “I saw her take hay out of her manger and drop it over the fence into Picasso’s pen. Not just a little, but quite a bit. She does it every feeding. She then watches as Picasso eats it.”
Now, you should know that Sadie is very food motivated. She had gotten very thin and we were trying to put weight back on her. But, she was sharing her food because her friend needed it. She was sharing because she cared about Picasso.