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Be Accepting of Others: Advice from a Capybara 🐾

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Advice from a Capybara from The Whine Bar by Ally Brown CPC

My mother describes my thought process as being similar to a derailed train. This is the perfect example.

This morning I was listening to the news. The topic of the day, as per usual lately, is the record-breaking high temperatures across the world, and sadly even in the oceans. Living in North Carolina, I enjoy the hotter weather but understand it is troublesome for many, and it may signal an issue for our planet as a whole. And then I thought about this past winter. It was obvious to me that the cold temperatures of the “winter” lasted much longer than usual this year here in North Carolina; however, we didn't get any snow, which for me is a good thing. But that got me thinking about the lack of snow this year in the Northeast and then to the Blizzard of ’78.

For those of you who do not know about or remember the Blizzard of ’78, let me enlighten you. A winter hurricane, complete with winds over 92 miles an hour, 5-foot storm surges, thunder, and lightning, dropped over 40 inches of snow, and inches of ice in a 32-hour span of time over February 6th – 7th over much of New England. The snow fell at such an incredible rate that it made roads unpassable, stranding over 3500 people in vehicles that were already on the road, some of whom died when their tailpipes became blocked by snow and ice. The entire area literally came to a screeching halt for more than a week. New Englanders were prepared for a snowstorm, as they usually are, but no one was prepared for the catastrophic conditions that took place.

Why did my thoughts go to that storm? Because I was in 4th grade when it occurred. I lived it. I remember it. It left a lasting impression on me, but not for the destruction it caused.

My father was stuck at work. When he was able to finally get home, he walked, not realizing it, the final 3 blocks on the roofs of cars that were buried under the snow.

My leg, and our toy poodle, landed in the middle of our neighbors' hedges, also buried hidden in the snow.

We were not able to go to school for over a week.

The first stray cat I ever grew to love showed up at our house.

As it was 1978, there were no video games, cell phones, or home computers to keep us occupied.

Grocery stores could not open. Nor could any other businesses.

Neighbor helped neighbor. That’s what I remember most about the Blizzard. People came together. Not just the people that lived on either side of us, but people that lived in the entire surrounding area.

We checked on one another.

We shoveled out one another.

When milk and food were running low, we pooled supplies together.

If someone lost power, they were welcomed into other homes.

People put any personal disputes or issues with one another aside and lived in harmony as a social group. If you Google the Blizzard of ’78 and what people remember, this heartwarming experience of unity will be a major part of what you find.

When else have I witnessed such an interconnection?

After 9/11.

After cataclysmic hurricanes.

After the Marathon Bombing.

Why is it that we can only live in harmony as a social group when a disaster happens? Why can’t we just live like capybaras?

Capybaras are incredibly intelligent and highly sensitive. They are the largest known rodent in existence today, weighing in at 77-146 pounds, yet, they have no problems making friends due to their calm and compassionate nature.

Capybaras do not like to live in isolation, are very social, and are always looking to build relationships.

They are protective of all of those around them. Their keen senses of vision and hearing allow them to spot predators from great distances. When a threat is perceived, the capybara will sound an alarm so that all can seek safety with plenty of time to spare. They have open communication, even with those that speak other languages.

Although they enjoy the company of other capybaras, living in herds of up to around 100, they are also friendly with and enjoy forming relationships with, other species. Monkeys and birds can be found riding on the backs of capybaras. Ducks, turtles, cats, dogs, horses, and even crocodiles have been known to rest and play with these oversized rodents. Capybaras have been known to step in and care for stray and runt animals of all species, and live happily in homes with humans. They enjoy the company of others and take care of their friends regardless of what they look like, what they believe, or how they speak.

And they do it all of the time. Day in and day out. They do it without thinking. As such, many consider the capybara to be the friendliest of all wild animals.

During the Blizzard of ’78 we acted like capybaras. And life was good. We acted like capybaras following 9/11, the Marathon Bombing, and after so many hurricanes.

If an oversized rodent can live in harmony with all creatures, accepting them for who they are, caring for them, and protecting them, shouldn’t humans do that too?

So next time you feel about someone a certain way because of what they look like, the way they present themselves, or the way they believe, ask yourself what our Hydrochoerus friends would do. You may get a new friend out of it. At the very least you may have someone you can call upon for help when the next disaster strikes.

Fun Fact:

Except in captivity, capybaras can only be found in South America, the Caribbean island of Grenada, and in Panama.


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