Yep | My favourite and most inspirational animals of all time

My favourite and most inspirational animals of all time

Animals are great. They are like little funny-looking stupid people that can’t talk but who often do smart and sometimes incredible things. They also don’t let stuff bother them, they’re loyal, they don’t talk shit, they’re good listeners, they’re not judgmental and they lead pretty relaxed lives. I think if we all took example from our favourite animals, life in general would be way more fun.

To prove how delightful they are, here is a selection of some amazing and inspiring animals who have appeared throughout history.

This five-foot-tall, 280-pound female lowland gorilla, born in the early 70s, was taught by the scientists at Stanford University, San Francisco to communicate using 1,000 American sign language hand gestures. She also understands around 2,000 words of spoken English. If that wasn’t smart enough, she invented new signs to communicate original thought, such as referring to a ring using the signs for finger and bracelet. Rumours that she held up a picture of Wayne Rooney when asked to describe a gorilla are yet to be substantiated, though. Much more interestingly, Koko also has a penchant for boobs. In 2005, two former female handlers brought a sexual harassment lawsuit against the gorilla claiming they were encouraged to show their breasts to Koko to satisfy her nipple fetish.

It is widely speculated that infamous Roman Emperor Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (aka Caligula) made his favourite horse, Incitatus, a senator. Despite objections from the Senate, they were forced to allow the horse into the Senatorial Order for fear of execution if they objected. Incitatus, who Caligula labelled “a combination of all the gods”, was also waited on by 18 servants who fed the animal oats mixed with gold flakes. Dignitaries would come to dine with the omnipotent horse in his marble stable as he reclined on his purple blankets. Incitatus also got married to a lucky young mare called Penelope.

Hercules was a Scottish wrestling bear, born in 1975, who later became known all across the world. He cut his skin-shredding fangs on the UK wrestling circuit alongside his owner Andy Robin in the late 70s before eventually making it onto TV. He regularly grappled against the likes of Giant Haystacks in front of 15 million people on ITV’s World of Sport.

His career highlights included wrestling Roger Moore in Octopussy (unfortunately Moore was not harmed in any way during filming), caddying for comedian Bob Hope at Gleneagles, and being bestowed with the title of Personality of the Year by the Scottish Tourist Board.

Willy is a paraplegic Chihuahua from Long Beach, California, which incidentally is the hometown of another famous dog, Snoop Dogg. Willy was cruelly left to die in a cardboard box with severe spinal injuries and a slashed throat, before luckily being taken in by a veterinary hospital and later adopted by pet groomer Deborah Turner. After being hooked up with a specially designed wheelchair to support his lame back legs, he was soon trotting around the block like Snoop Dogg’s wheelchair-bound character in Training Day. Within a short while, local TV stations picked up on Wheely Willy’s triumph-over-adversity tale and he quickly became a local celebrity.

Willy is now a well-known figure across the globe and has crowds of screaming fans waiting to catch a glimpse of him at the airport when he flies to Japan. He is also the subject of two bestselling children’s books and has participated in events like the Los Angeles Marathon for charity. He ith a vewy spethial animal indeed.

This female Alsatian was the loyal companion of Adolf Hitler. Blondi could apparently climb ladders and do other tricks, which is pretty cool. But what is most special about Blondi is the fact that despite her owner wanting to exterminate most of the world, he still had a lot of fondness for her. Just try to picture Mr H tickling Blondi’s tummy and playing fetch with the bones of small children. The dog slept at the foot of Hitler’s bed every night and was even given a bomb-proof kennel. Many say Blondi was the single closest living friend Hitler had. Quite fittingly, I think, Hitler ordered his physician Dr. Stumpfegger to murder Blondi using a cyanide capsule on April 30, 1945, as the Soviet army closed in on his bunker in Berlin.

A version of this waffle appeared in Vice magazine. Illustrations by Paddy Jones.