Who’s Training Who?

lulubelle_sittingonfloor

If you’ve visited here regularly, you’ve met my companion Lulubelle. I’ve written about several adventures we’ve shared: a day trip of fun and history, a spread in the local newspaper, and enjoying the grounds of my ancestors’ church on a research trip. I’ve even offered an autographed picture of Lulubelle.

I’ve been training her … then one day, I realized who had been training who.

  • Promptly at 5:00 PM, Lulubelle comes to my desk in my home office and lets me know it’s time to quit work for the day. Not for my benefit, you understand, but because 5:00 PM is time for me to feed her.
  • After dinner, as I’m watching TV, Lulubelle goes and gets her leash, puts it in my lap, and sits on the floor in front of me. She sits there looking at me until I get up and take her for a walk.
  • When she wants to go outside, she bumps the doorknob once with her nose as a signal for me to open the door. When she’s ready to come back inside, she bumps the outside doorknob for me to let her in.
  • If I fall asleep in the chair, Lulubelle wakes me up to let me know it’s time to go to bed.

Animals of all kinds communicate with humans who take the time to understand them. When I ranched, I could always tell when something was wrong with one of my cows. I’d take the animal to the vet. When asked what was wrong, I would reply, “I don’t know, but something’s not right.” Sure enough, the vet would examine the cow and find a problem that wasn’t readily apparent.

The communication is nonverbal. The look in the animal’s eyes and the way it hold its ears deliver a message. If people can’t communicate with animals, it’s not the fault of the animals – it’s because the humans haven’t taken the time to learn.

I get annoyed with folks who talk baby-talk to their pets. Dogs and cats don’t understand language – not adult language and not baby-talk. They do understand gestures, motions, and emotions.

Lulubelle and I don’t talk politics or the affairs of the world. She’s teaching me what’s important: quit work and relax when the day is done, eat regular meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest. And, most importantly, share your life with a loving friend.

I’m still working on Adam’s Daughters, then I’ll write Rebeckah, the last book in The Westward Sagas. My next project will be a book in Lulubelle’s voice in which she teaches a young pup how to train its master. Here’s a sneak preview:

When they bring you home from a trip, look for the most expensive-looking rug in the house to do your business. After that, they’ll remember to let you outside as soon as you get home.

(Note: This post is my entry in the What I Learned From Animals Group Writing Project at Middle Zone Musings and the High Callings Blogs.)

[tags]What I Learned from Animals, Lulubelle, pets[/tags]

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