The training in our household seems to be progressing as planned. I’ve been doing the best I can dealing with the challenges and limitations of this type of interspecies communication. While apparently not the quickest study, the big one is definitely making progress, while the smaller one has made great strides in understanding some of the subtle nuances of both the verbal and nonverbal messages I’m sending to communicate my needs and moods.
I’ve managed to work out a pretty nice routine with the big one when he comes home in the evening. After I greet him at the door, he bends down at just the right angle so I can leap up onto his shoulder. After I position myself correctly, I purr in his ear to calm him and communicate that I’m ready to proceed. Sometimes he has a mind of his own and we end up scooting around the house, stopping to check on various things and look out windows at the birds and squirrels outside. I continue to purr because I enjoy the unique perspective these jaunts provide, but I have to admit my favorite is when we make a stop at the large box that has cool air and treats inside. With my patience and guidance he has learned how to feed me bite–sized morsels of leftover chicken (dark meat please) while I remain perched comfortably on his shoulder. I have to give credit to the smaller one as well, because she is consistently finding new and creative ways to entertain and challenge me during our play sessions.
While I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made I realize that we’ve had our share of misunderstandings. Sometimes I do get impatient and don’t know how to properly release my pent up energy and frustration. I’ve learned the hard way that when I lash out with surprise nips and scratches it just gets me shunned and banished, which believe it or not, kind of hurts my feelings. They’ve learned that yelling just makes me more agitated and confused. I think all of us are gaining an appreciation for the power of positive reinforcement while realizing the futility of lashing out with anger and negativity. I’ve discovered that I can get virtually everything I need by practicing my positive persuasion techniques, including one of my best moves, a spontaneous flop on my side combined with a twist, stretch and purrs. I’ve even helped the big one alleviate any remaining guilt he might have concerning his napping habits. When I find him napping I either climb up on his side and find a secure resting spot or snuggle up near his chest. I’m an avid proponent and living example of the rejuvenating power of naps.
There have been occasions when my household companions have come in from the outside smelling like they’ve been cavorting with dogs. I hear names like Bruno and Ella and recollections of how much fun was had with these animals, followed by a discussion about the feasibility of introducing a puppy into the household. I suppose I could get worried or panic, but instead I choose to find ways to demonstrate and reaffirm my positive attributes and versatility as a pet. If there was a job description checklist for an ideal pet, I’m confident that I would compare favorably against the competition in a number of categories.
However, be assured that I’m not complacent about my current situation. I started my life on the street and in foster care before I was adopted through Second Chance Animal Rescue based in White Bear Lake, so I realize what my life could have been. With this in mind, if they decide to get a puppy, I hope they consider a rescue animal.
So, overall things appear to be moving quite nicely toward world domination. Oops, I mean positive and mutually beneficial coexistence.
This week Bean filled in for Paul Dols, photojournalist/website editor for Press Publications. He can be reached at 651-407-1238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.