We watched a really cool video last night that I couldn't resist when I saw it at the library. I am such a huge Jane Goodall fan, and this video is featuring her, but mostly talking about the capabilities of animals/pets and the importance of human relationships with them.
There was some really cool stuff in there! One thing was an Amazon Gray parrot, who has a vocabulary of over 1,000 words and just chatters away about his thoughts and desires to his owner. Also this owner can communicate telepathically with the parrot (or the parrot with her - whichever).
There is also a section about whale communcation which was fascinating - apparently whale songs evolve "just like pop music"!
And I loved a long section on search and rescue dogs and a juvenile jail program called POOCH which pairs up "troubled teens with troubled dogs" - saves dogs from euthanasia and gives the boys the responsibility of rehabbing and training the dogs so they can be adopted out. They said there is a 0% re-offending rate of the teens that have come out of the program so far!!
They have tons of other interesting stories, too, like about training rats to (safely) detect land mines in Africa and about animals' abilities to detect earthquakes and tsunamis.
I could go on and on!
As soon as the movie was over, I told my husband maybe he might want to get a search and rescue dog to use for Tornado damage. He always says he feels guilty going to areas that are hit by tornadoes, because it might seem like he's just gawking (even though severe weather is his field!) Anyway, I suggested if he had a search and rescue dog, he could survey the damage and be helping look for victims in the process. He is not a dog person, though, so this idea did not strike him. I'll keep working on it, especially because I have a keen sense that my two boys are going to need a canine companion soon (once we get those 80 acres!)
One thing that was sad to me about the movie was that it was just brushed over that "maybe humans could have these abilities" and the truth is that they DO. They just aren't used by civilized society, so the only people who have developed them are considered freaks. However, there are entire tribal societies who can do a lot of these things - anyone interested in this might like to read Original Wisdom by Tom Wolff or watch Rabbit-Proof Fence, an excellent (but tragic) movie about the aborigenese of Australia. There is also quite a bit of information about human potential in the book Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce, and a little more about latent abilities in The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff.