By far, this is one of the most common questions I get as a vet student. And depending on the day, I just might tell you something different. My nephews recently asked me the question. Here’s what I told them.
I like African Wild Dogs. They are my favorite because out of all the wild canine species, I think they are the prettiest. Not that wolves, coyotes, or fox species are not majestic in their own rights. But the variety of coloration in this one species is remarkable. Moreover, these animals are pure athletes. One of the traits they are known for is running their prey to the point of exhaustion. Although they might not be as big as lions or hyenas, their tenacity and team strategy is something to admire. Being able to work together is important, and it is how these animals survive.
I was lucky to observe these beasts hunting while I was studying abroad in Kruger National Park. It was amazing to see just how fast the wild dogs were and how they worked together so well. The pack dynamic was fascinating. Fitter animals seemed to be conscientious of their injured comrades. One dog circled back quite a few times to check on a limping pack member. That fleeting glimpse into their life was an experience I’ll always cherish.
Back to the point. I really love all animals, but I think there’s a better answer to the question. Animals can teach us so much about ourselves, what we want, and qualities we’d like to emulate. I told my nephews about the wild dogs, because it was a an opportunity for them to realize that working together and being supportive is really important. I hope that my passion for animals can help others be a little bit more caring and conscientious.