People get mixed up about animals and where they belong in our lives. This is why they end up in rescue. There are people who abhor the "humanizing" of other species and the attributing of human thoughts and feelings to them. There are others who truly believe that animals do not think or reason at all and do not have emotional lives. And there are those that cannot differentiate the differences between animals and people and believe that animals think and feel exactly like we do, or how we think they should.
None of us will ever know the true depth and complexity of another species. We can pretend that we are knowledgable and experienced and have all the answers. We are frankly incapable of even understanding others of our own species (or even ourselves) so how we think we have another species figured out is beyond me. But some do have more accurate understandings than others and it depends more on our openness to possibilities. and our flexibility in "seeing" from more than one perspective than it does to how many answers we have accumulated.
My relationships with the animals is one of trial and error and a meeting of individuals of a particular species on a middle ground. I am lucky that my memory is so poor that I fail to remember too many preconceived notions or too many hard and fast rules. I have few expectations on how they are supposed to be and mostly just go with the flow. I do believe some pretty consistent things tho, I believe other species do have emotional and thinking lives, and I believe this occurs in context of their own species and experiences, not mine. I do believe there are things in my human life that the animals really enjoy that may not be a natural part of their natural existence...like peanut butter cookies, warm, soft fleece blankets, cut up first quality grocery store apples and vegetables. I think some, (not all) of the animals here like the occasional kiss, Jenny likes them, her son Winston does not, some of the animals like the feeling of human hands stroking them and others find it threatening. Some like to lay in front of the fire, and other prefer to lay on the cement outside. All of them seem to enjoy being chattered at, and none of them walk away when I am blabbing away at them. So communication and interaction seems to me to be a universal thing. These animals, are not my family, my children, or my partners. I do consider them to be my friends because like any friendship, our relationships are based on respect and concern and caring and cooperation. But mostly until their adoptions or their deaths, they are my companions. They live and walk this life with me, never more, never less, than any other. I never forget that we are different, and there in lies the beauty of our friendship, it is our differences that make our relationships so special.I will probably never know even a millisecond of the true meaning of anothers life, but even the opportunity to participate in a neutral ground meeting between the species for me is a gift. I have met and loved some really incredible people and animals, maybe I haven't really known or understood them to any great degree, but I knew enough to see their intrinsic value and that is where respect begins.
Most animals who were truly respected in their previous lives, would never end their lives here. There are a very few, who are here thru no fault except a life gone wrong, and will end up here, but those ones are few and far between. Mostly they are here because humans did not understand what was required of us in accepting them into our lives in the first place. And when humans don't understand, we shut the door and walk away.