My cousin Cody is part timber wolf. You wouldn't know it to look at him, unless you knew what you were looking at. To the untrained eye he has the same coloring and ruff and tulip ears of the average collie.
But look at his eyes, and you see a haunting yellow that never glows from the pupils of the well-bred collie. His teeth are longer, stronger, and more numerous than those of a dog, his skull more massive; his hair and wide padded feet are those of his wild kin. He has an additional scent gland at his tail that would escape the notice of most humans, but never a dog.
Generally, the differences between my cousin and me cause no problems, and lately his insight has helped me understand why humans are spending so much time quarreling about tending to one another with something called healthcare.
Any self-respecting collie would find this ongoing debate silly and a waste of time. Why expend so much energy arguing when the answer is obvious. Of course humans should be provided the care they need. Would I deny care for one of my puppies? One of my pack? A baby? A human in need? Any animal or human left in my charge? Of course not.
Cody tells me that my analysis is skewed by being a domesticated dog, which for centuries have been civilized and taught to expand the concept of "pack" to include whatever creature or human their people want included. He reminds me that, in the wild, the concept of "pack" is more limited. The humans argue, Cody says, because they have many packs, and these packs compete for scarce resources. Even if one pack does not want to hurt the members of another, it does not want to work for the benefit of the competition.
Perhaps Cody is right, but surely such thinking would be foreign to civilized creatures. I know it is foreign to this collie.