History Matters! Animal History Matters!

Discussion Topic Created:
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Historians are often asked: why study History? As you can imagine they have their reasons. The important question to us is this: why is History about animals just as important as that of humans...or could it be even more so!
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Henry Ford called History a lot of bunk and even though that seems like a ridiculous comment at first why, in fact, does history matter?

The first most obvious answer to me is that History is inescapable. It studies the past and the legacy the past has on the present. It connects everything through time and helps us think about the picture of life as a whole and not just the ‘now’.

For example, doesn’t what just happened influence what’s just about to? If you eat a sour grape are you more likely to look at the next one a little more carefully? I know I would. I hate a sour grape! And, if I love what just happened won’t I use that history to duplicate it but if I don’t won’t I just as likely use that to adjust the future? Of course! We all do it every day.

All people, and all animals, are living histories and every one adds to the experience of the whole. I may never meet you but there will be around 1,000 people who do. Those 1,000 people will meet 1,000 people, and so on. You may make a significant difference in the lives of one of those people who is changes and passes something on to another, who passes it along to another, who passes it along to me. You just influenced my life! That’s pretty significant and pretty darned personal!

Communities speak languages inherited from the past. They live in societies with complex cultures, traditions, and religions which weren’t created over centuries of ‘History’. People use technologies they didn’t invent. So understanding the links between past and present is fundamental to an understanding of life to come. That’s why History matters; it is not just useful - it’s essential.

Consequently, the study of History (the past) helps us feel rooted. Without roots people commonly feel empty and miss making the many dramatic contributions they could have made – and the ones others made too – feeling that there’s little point.


I love the story about the boy who’s walking the beach with his father and suddenly coming across a long stretch packed with starfish who’ve washed up on shore. The father immediately starts throwing them back in and tell his son to do the same. The son says, ‘Dad, why are we doing this? There are way too many to make a difference’! To which the father answers, ‘Son, it’ll make a difference to the ones we throw back in’! Not only were some of the starfish saved but the son was changed forever too. That’s making History.

So how to animals fit in to this? Understanding History is integral to understanding the condition of animals – of being animals – and the influence others have on or over us. Does an abused dog in China have a direct affect on someone in the U.S.? In fact, simply knowing something affects us. Does it involve us? If it affects you does it involve you? It does me. History helps us take action and recording it helps others take action in the future.

But what if the topic at hand is a positive one…a good breeding decision that yielded a National Champion, or a story about a young girl whose life was made better because of a stray cat she found and adopted. What about a sickly horse who had few prospects but became a Triple Crown winner because someone believed he could? What about an owner’s life that was saved because a pet ran for help?. There are as many stories as there are people and animals and, just as with the Starfish, everyone matters.

All living creatures live in the here-and-now but it took an unfolding History to get to NOW. That history is located in the time and space that holds our Cosmos (great and small) together. Recording the History of our Animals makes a difference whether today, tomorrow, or just eventually.

Someone in the near or distant future will see the pictures, videos, and stories of the animals recorded to History and be changed by them...History matters…and perhaps the History of our animals more than most - they can’t do it for themselves but have changed our lives so profoundly!

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  1. Robert Neal
     updated a discussion topic
    April 12, 2015 @ 3:44 PM

    History Matters! Animal History Matters!

    Keywords: pedegru, history, breeding, pedigree

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  2. Robert Neal
     updated a discussion topic
    March 31, 2015 @ 11:05 PM

    History Matters! Animal History Matters!

    Keywords: pedegru, history, breeding, pedigree

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  3. Robert Neal
     created a discussion topic
    March 31, 2015 @ 11:15 AM

    History Matters! Animal History Matters!

    Keywords: pedegru, history, breeding, pedigree

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