These days, we generally break animals down into three groups: pets, farm animals, and wild animals. But not too long ago, there was another category that would have instantly come to mind as well: working animals. Centuries and even just decades ago, it was the norm for everyone to have several animals to help with crucial tasks such as transportation or farm work. From horses pulling carriages to dogs herding sheep, these animals may have been loved as pets, but they had definite jobs they had to do, first and foremost. Today, even though many don’t realize it, animals are still called in to help with specialized tasks that they can do much better than humans. Here are a few of the most interesting and unusual jobs they do.
1. Military Jobs: The U.S. Navy actually has a program called the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, in which bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions are trained to protect ships and harbors, recover equipment, and detect mines. But sea animals aren’t the only ones who can sniff out mines and other threats. African giant pouched rats are also used to locate mines and other explosives in some places in the world, and of course, dogs are also commonly used for the same purpose.
2. Energy Production: With current trends leading energy companies to look for more and more efficient and environmentally friendly ways of producing electricity, the animal world may have already produced the perfect renewable energy source for some energy needs: electric eels. Scientists have actually learned how to harness the eel’s natural electricity, which comes in bursts of 600-650 volts at a time, and are researching how to use this understanding of their electricity-producing cells to power things such as implanted medical devices.
3. Massage Therapy: As unappealing as it may sound to most people, spas around the world are beginning to embrace snakes as massage therapists. Placing non-venomous snakes, such as milk snakes or corn snakes, into contact with bare skin and allowing them to slither their way around is said to produce a relaxing massage for muscles.
4. Transportation: Even though horses have been replaced by cars and bicycles in most places, there are still corners of the world where people rely on animals for their transportation. For example, riding on a camel is still a common way to get around in arid desert regions, while snowy climes are still home to sled dogs and even reindeer who pull sleighs.
5. Heavy Lifting: In places where trucks and construction equipment just aren’t available, animals are still called into service to take care of the heavy lifting. Donkeys can carry loads on long journeys, while elephants are used for lifting and moving extremely heavy materials short distances.
6. Detective Work: Last but not least, dogs are used as detectives on a regular basis all around the world. Renowned for their olfactory abilities, they are able to sniff out drugs, explosives, and even criminals themselves easily, helping police to do their own jobs more effectively.
So while horse-drawn carriages and plows pulled by oxen may be things of the past, animals still pitch in and help humans in their work, all over the world.
A Peaceful Farewell provides compassionate at home pet euthanasia to fellow pet owners in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and most of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
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