Nova Scotia·Illustration

If it feels like an animal just gets you, maybe it does. Our wild connections — illustrated

This series of illustrations is inspired by a Maritime Noon phone-in show with Richard Louv, Our Wild Calling author.

An illustrated journey into our connection with pets and wild animals

Jon Claytor's series of illustrations is inspired by a Maritime Noon phone-in show with Richard Louv, the author of Our Wild Calling. (Jon Claytor for CBC)

There's no denying the power of our connection with animals— whether that's your beloved fur baby or a bird that keeps flying by.

Author Richard Louv says these connections can mean a lot. He wrote the book Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives― and Save Theirs

There's been criticism around projecting human traits onto animals, through anthropomorphism, Louv said.

But, as he told CBC's Maritime Noon, science is beginning to indicate that there might be some truth to our stories. Animals could be telling us more than we thought. 

We asked Sackville, N.B.-based artist Jon Claytor to use the phone-in show conversation and calls as creative fodder.

(Jon Claytor for CBC)

Lee Hiscock, in North View, N.B., phoned about a bird in hand, of sorts. She saw a sparrow sitting very still on her bird feeder. She went back inside her house and returned to see the bird right in front of her on the doorstep. 

It followed her while she went to take photos of her flowers. She reached up and pet it, and it didn't move. She even took photos. 

Maritime Noon host Bob Murphy asked Louv whether the bird could have been tired or hungry. 

"You know, it could be," Louv said. "It could be that there was just a special moment." 

These human-animal relationships are about empathy and reciprocity, he said. 

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      Michael Watson, on Nova Scotia's South Shore, remembers a time when he was working in Ecuador on a ship. It wasn't the best of times, he said, but he does remember a connection he made on the water.  

      A dolphin or porpoise came up to the ship and stared straight at him as if to say, "Well, who are you? Where did you come from?"

      He was so far from home, but he felt a connection to the animal. 

      He didn't know what to do so he "kind of waved, kind of lamely."

      (Jon Claytor for CBC)

      Watson also remembers a time he helped with a goat birth.

      Listen to why he thinks the goat was thankful, post delivery:

      Listener Michael Watson shares his experience with a goat birth. (From our Feb. 21 show.) 1:30

      An email made its way into the show, from a previous segment about crows on P.E.I. 

      A crow's vocabulary may surprise you. 

      (Jon Claytor for CBC)
      Host Bob Murphy reads an email from a listener who says she heard a crow meow. Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling, shares his thoughts. (From our Feb. 21 show.) 2:37

      Stacie McGarity called in with a story from her son, Devon, in Hampton, N.B.

      He made eye contact with an injured deer once when he was delivering papers in the morning, and swore the deer was telling him something. He got out of her car, and the deer fell down, severely injured. Devon called the forest ranger. 

      (Jon Claytor for CBC)

      Louv says horses have more facial expressions than dogs do. We just can't see them. 

      (Jon Claytor for CBC)
      Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling, says horses have more facial expressions that dogs do. We just can't see them. (From our Feb. 21 show.) 0:39
      (Jon Claytor for CBC)

      Anne Goodwin's connection with cats started young and proved crucial when she was going through a hard time. 

      She went to visit a friend at a group home about a year ago, and saw the kitten lying flat like a pancake.  

      "I nursed her back to health," she said, "and in the process she nursed me back to health as well."

      Now, Tikki is one of Ann's four cats. She loves to play and has "so much personality."

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      With files from the CBC's Maritime Noon.

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