I LIKE to think I have a Buddhist philosophy when it comes to other creatures. I respect them all.
A slug in the garden has nothing to fear from me. I will step over him. A frog can hop away into the long grass. He has his life and I have mine.
If a spider wanders into my domain I endeavour to capture him painlessly in a glass and release him into the wild.
“Where am I?” he probably says, as he tries to get his bearings in the garden. “Will the wife and kids be able to cope without me?”
The wife and kids, of course, then come looking for him out of the plughole in the bath and I reunite them outside.
I have a special affinity for the cow as I must, at my advanced age, have eaten a herd or two of steak with chips.
There are those Buddhists who believe that if you indulge in bad behaviour you will be reincarnated as an animal. Which might not be good if you come back as a dung beetle. Particularly if, just before you died, you stamped on a dung beetle.
“Oi. Aren’t you the bloke who killed my cousin?”
Could be nasty.
I am even a friend to flies, thinking, one day, that could be me. I particularly feel for them when they keep banging their heads against the window – which is almost an allegory of life – and have been known to open it wide, even on a cold night, to usher them from the bedroom and to the safety of the great outdoors.
This is not wholly altruistic, I have to confess, as there is nothing so annoying as a dive-bombing fly in the dark when you are trying to get to sleep.