Several animals including deer, otter, bison, and turtledoves symbolize kindness, either because of a biological trait or behavior that they possess, or because of folk tales or religious stories that have made their way into the public consciousness.
Kindness is one of the most virtuous traits that a human can have, but it isn’t exclusive to humankind.
There are several animals that exhibit kindness in their biological activity, which can act as inspiration for many of us who want to practice more kindness and generosity in our own lives.
Animals That Symbolize Kindness
1. Azure Dragon
The azure dragon is a mystical and mythical beast that is one of four main symbols in the Chinese constellation that is commonly thought of as a symbol of kindness and compassion.
In Taoism, the azure dragon is a symbol of overwhelming good, often seen as a protector of entrances. The azure dragon is said to bar evil spirits from entering spaces and cursing their inhabitants, fostering goodwill and energy in its place.
For these reasons, the dragon is seen as a divine symbol of kindness and compassion in the east.
In modern times, the most common real-life creature to the mythological dragon is the Saltwater Crocodile or the Komodo Dragon.
In Native American culture, the bison (also known as buffalo) is an animal of great significance. The bison’s calm and gentle nature symbolizes patience and kindness.
One of the main things it symbolizes is kindness, due to the bison’s patient, calm and gentle nature.
The bison encourages us to live humbly and with gratitude, doing our best to build healthy relationships and give love to those we care about.
But the over-hunting of bison through history can also teach us something else – that though it is important to be kind, we should also take care not to let our gentleness and kindness be exploited.
Related Article: Can Bison Sleep While Standing?
The doe-eyed deer is known for its calm, soothing nature, which symbolizes the kindness that many gentle people show.
And though deer are indeed gentle and graceful animals, they are not weak.
If your spirit animal is the deer, you must use it as a reminder to stand your ground in all situations and reject those who try to take advantage of your kindness.
When you are feeling down, it will also encourage you to embrace your own kind nature and not be weighed down by negativity.
Read More: Are Deer Related to Goats?
Frequently in art and media, the dolphin is shown as a kind friend to humans, animals, and other dolphins.
This may be due to its naturally joyous and friendly personality, as it has become an all-encompassing symbol of positivity in many cultures.
In indigenous Maori culture, the dolphin is a direct symbol of kindness as they would often help ocean navigators avoid turbulent or stormy seas.
The dolphin teaches us that showing kindness and compassion to others is key, even if it isn’t guaranteed to be returned.
Because otters are not territorial or aggressive, they have a strong reputation as kind, easy-going, and playful animals in the cultures that they have a close proximity to.
For example, Native American cultures, where these pleasant creatures are seen as symbols of good luck.
But otters also exemplify kindness and encourage us to be gentle and caring not just to our loved ones, but to the world around us.
These tropical birds are symbols of kindness and caring, as animals that are very attentive to their loved ones and their needs.
The symbol of the puffin serves as a reminder that a fulfilling life cannot be spent only focused on oneself, but sometimes we must stop and think about the people around us.
In particular, we should think of how we can help to improve their lives and make things easier.
These empathetic animals should show you that your actions can easily impact the ones that you love, and it is important to try and make the best decisions both for yourself and the people you care about.
In western cultures the raven has largely negative connotations, but in Japan ravens are thought of as a symbol of compassion and kindness.
In Japan, the raven is seen as a symbol of compassion due to its care and devotion to its family, including parents, children, and siblings.
They can show us that even the most misunderstood people can be kind and positive forces in the lives of their loved ones.
In the Christian tradition, a pair of turtledoves are seen as symbols of kindness, faithfulness, and love.
These gentle, delicate birds are easily domesticated, having a positive relationship with humans and other animals. They are also devoted to their family units, being devoted parents and loving partners.
For those with the turtledove as a spirit animal, you make friends easily and foster good relationships, and can often maintain close friendships over a lifetime.
Kindness is a trait that can be expressed in many different ways, not just the obvious. This is made clear when observing the nature and behaviors of existing animals, and even the symbolism of mythical beasts that have never technically walked the earth.
The animals mentioned above are all wonderful examples of how kindness can be expressed both to loved ones and strangers and can teach us some lessons about how we can exercise kindness ourselves.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.