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Find Dr. Dolittle

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

There is a bit of Dr. Dolittle in each of us. Spend time this coming Memorial Day weekend showing appreciation for the service, kindness, and selflessness of those that have worked to provide a wonderful future. The focus is designed to honor military who have given so we might have freedom and prosperity for everyone. 

I find our pledge of allegiance particularly meaningful for representing our constitution’s ideals. I tend to be inclusive and observe “Memorial Day” for family and friends whether they served in the military or not. I also recognize the importance of healthy biodiversity necessary to provide a sustainable future. 

With our pledge of allegiance, we acknowledge the flag represents one nation. It does not state 50 separate states or allegiance to smaller entities. Though “under God” was added at a later time, I expect it serves most people. It does not define how we recognize God in our own way. Our constitution provides for freedom of religion regardless of varying beliefs. It is the foundation for our nation’s success. 

The pledge notes we are indivisible and work for liberty and justice for all. It does not promote more liberty for some and it seeks equal justice.

What does this have to do with Dr. Dolittle?  It is about radiating kindness and working for the wellbeing of all. Animals gravitated to Dr. Dolittle with a sense of safeness without fear.

I expect you will find living things will treat you with acceptance when you accept them on friendly terms. Most likely such experiences have enriched your life. We choose when and how to be kind to life. I recall as a young child when going to school, older children found a turtle crossing the road. They picked it up and threw it against the pavement until its shell was crushed. I am still horrified by the experience 62 years later.

More positive experiences prevail. When attending a national conference with zookeepers, wildlife biologists and others, we went to a zoo. At one animal pen, when I approached the fence, the animals came to me. My colleagues were amazed. They approached and the animals retreated. We stepped back and each approached the cage one at time. The animals retreated when they came. When I returned, the animals came close to me again. We do not know why. I like to think, it is a bit of Dr. Dolittle in me where animals recognize kindness. I try to live my life with kindness and justice for all. 

That might be wishful thinking. Each of us has the rest of our life to work as one nation for liberty and justice for all. In order to survive, we consume natural resources. We can do it in a manner that employs sound conservation practices without excess.

Find the Dr. Dolittle in yourself and emit kindness and love for the world that sustains you and coming generations. Offer a memorial thank you to those that came before us and become a stronger force for kindness and love for sustaining a healthy planet for generations to come.  

Appreciate and enjoy Memorial Day. Include time exploring nature niches and discover the Dr. Dolittle in you. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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