Some years ago during a trip to Guatemala they told me this joke.

“A man went to the market where he saw a fishmonger who had two wooden barrels on his stall. In each barrel there were shrimps. One barrel had one price and the other a different, higher price. One barrel was open and the other had a lid on it.

The man asked the vendor, ‘Why are there two different prices?’ The seller replied, ‘Because the ones in the open barrel are shrimps from Guatemala and the other ones are imported.’

‘And why is one barrel open and the other one closed?’

‘Because the Guatemala shrimps in the open barrel don’t climb out. If one tries to climb up, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down. The Japanese shrimps, on the other hand, help each other up. That’s why that barrel has to be kept covered. Otherwise they would all escape.’

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could learn from the Japanese shrimps!  It would be win-win all round especially for the animals we profess to want to help. The positive training methods that we use are based on mutual respect, cooperation and working as a team. If we want to forge a bond of cooperation with animals of a different species, first we have to be capable to doing that with other members of our own species.

That is my hope and prayer for this Christmas and for the New Year which is just round the corner!