Bridging the Divided

Dog Speak…..

Experts say we assign human thoughts and emotions to our pets. Do the experts own pets or are they studying animals in cages? I don’t have scientific evidence to prove otherwise, but I bet animals studied for scientific purposes act differently than animals living in loving homes. Our Yorkies speak their thoughts and emotions through their eyes, barks, and body language. I’m sure your pets do, too. 

I am not a fan of medications for flea and tick prevention due to their well-documented side effects. I use a natural flea, tick, and mosquito repellant spray. It works for humans, too, and I spray it on my legs and arms before mowing the lawn. In my opinion, it works better than brands formulated for humans. 

One cool, summer morning we decided to sip our coffee on the deck and listen to the sounds of nature. Being a good Yorkie mom, I want to prevent our babies from being bitten by nasty little mosquitos and fleas hoping to take up residence in their fur. Oddly, the dogs know exactly which spray bottle is the repellant, and once I pick it up, all four scatter like roaches. Tasia is the challenge, so I pick her up first. After spraying her down, I set Tasia on the ground as she silently scolds me with her big, brown, expressive eyes. She trots a few steps away from me, looks over her shoulder in my direction, jumps off the deck, runs around the yard a few times, and returns to the deck and her favorite chair – the chaise lounge. We call it her Diva-ness throne. She then arches an eyebrow, purses her lips, and looks down her nose at me, searing my soul with her disapproving glare. The message is received loud and clear. Tasia is a dog of few words. Her face speaks volumes. I am in the doghouse and will remain there until she decides to forgive. Forgiveness is usually forthcoming soon enough, but always on her terms. Always. 

Kaiah is more accepting of the perceived assault from the spray bottle, however, when she realizes it is her turn, she hunkers down and wags her tiny tail stub – her big, brown eyes pleading with me not to spray her. The look in her eyes stabs me like a knife. Bending over, I  lift her squirming little body and turn her this way and that, spraying the offending repellant evenly over her multi-colored fur. After I set her down, she, too, goes for a brief run around the yard. By the time she returns to the deck with her beloved orange and fluorescent green tennis ball, all is forgiven. 

Rowdie, the oldest Yorkie, tucks tail and runs for the nearest corner, positioning himself just out of reach. Only Chardonnay appears untroubled. In her case, I get it. After several months of seizures and seizure medication dosing four times daily, a little spray seems inconsequential. I’m not exactly sure what their collective objection is to the repellant – the smell, the fact they are temporarily wet, or both. I admit, the spray doesn’t have a pleasing scent, although the marketing words chosen to sell the product make it sound otherwise – a pleasant rosemary scent. I think not.

Kaiah is the vocal one of the four. She has an eardrum piercing bark when she wants her beloved tennis ball thrown across the yard or down the hallway. Kaiah will look at the tennis ball, up at us, then down at the tennis ball again after she delivers the directive to toss the tennis ball. The message is not lost on us. My husband has taught her to use her inside voice. All he needs to say is, “Inside voice”, and Kaiah takes the decibel defying bark down to a whisper bark. Adorable does not even begin to describe it. Interestingly, Kaiah has a distinctive bark to alert us when Chardonnay is in the throes of a seizure. I’m not exactly sure when she started her seizure-alert bark, but it’s effective, so I guess one could say Chardonnay has her own service dog.

Dogs have much to say when we are willing to take a moment to listen…..

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