I have approached animals and started talking to them and they like me. Even random dogs when I go someplace new often take a good look at me and listen when I make noises at them. I bend down and slowly put out my hand so that they can come and take a sniff and usually, that's all it takes and we become friends.
My new friend, Julie's doggie.
Bugs let me look at them too.
This isn't a bee. It's a fly that looks like a bee.
It wasn't always that way. When I was a teenager, I could care less about animals, especially pets and specifically dogs. I ignored them. My dad got our family a dog and all I ever thought about it was that it was something I had to walk, feed and let in and out of the house. Ugh!
But my husband and daughter love dogs and so we had to have some. We actually had three dogs at one time. We only have two now because one of them got old and sick and we had to put her down. My husband first wanted a dog when our kids were very little and I rejected the idea because I was taking care of two kids under the age of five and he went to work every day and I wasn't going to be responsible for another thing that needed taking care of. I know, harsh right? But when the kids were 7 and 8, he started working from home and I capitulated. We got the best dog that ever walked the face of the earth a few weeks after the 4th of July after she had been found wandering the streets and no one claimed her. My daughter named her "Lucky" and it has been the perfect name for her. We discovered over time that she was almost fully trained and understood voice commands and hand gestures. She is the bigger white dog in these pictures.
cutest position ever
The deal was that the dog was going to be "their" dog and I wouldn't have to take care of her at all. They kept their word and because of that I would take up the slack when they weren't home. She was so good and very attentive and after a couple of years we got a second dog to keep her company. In the first few weeks of the second dog coming to live with us, Lucky kept looking at my husband like "Who is this?" and "What is going on here?" and when he took the younger dog to the vet one day Lucky looked so relieved, like "Whew, I'm glad that's over." But the second dog came back and even though there was some jealousy, the new dog won her over by always wanting to be with her, sleeping right up next to her and playing with her, racing to the trees and back.
That dog was named "Terry" by my daughter and her nick name was "Terror" because she loved to run around the big yard, was constantly digging up things and eating "stuff".
When the kids got even older, around 14 and 15, we got a little terrier for our son and he named her "Cookie".
Here's a fantastic drawing my daughter did of the three dogs when they were all healthy, before the black one in the middle died.
Her dad asked her to draw all three dogs in "Ratfink" style and she succeeded wildly, don't you think? Even though she wasn't my husband's favorite dog, it was hard for him when he had to put her down because she was in pain and wasn't getting better. Terry was our daughter's favorite and her personal dog and she was off at college when it happened.
Lucky, Terry and Cookie were a pack.
It was actually easier to have three dogs than one. They all ran as a pack, even the little terrier who was so intense that we had to train her to give up trying to be the top dog. She was and still is the barker of the three and one day, when she was little, I had let her outside and after about five minutes she was barking to come in. Five minutes?! And I thought to myself that no way was I going to let this little twerp run me around. Who was the boss here?
So I let her bark for about 5 minutes more and then I walked to the door, didn't let her in, stepped through it myself and barked as insistently as she was barking at me, right back at her, while walking resolutely toward her. She started backing up and looking at me wide eyed and that was it. I was top and she wasn't and she minds me to this day.
waiting patiently at the back door to be let back inside
Now she often minds and then two minutes later she's doing the exact thing she isn't supposed to do but then I just make her do it my way, over and over until she gets it. It really is like having another little kid.
Getting the space to not have to take care of the animals myself, let me decide what I did want to do with them and now I am a person that they mind and want to please just as much as they do my husband who feeds them and plays with them the most. They almost seem human to me in a strange way. We often talk about them as if they were our kids too.
Now that Lucky is getting very old, she's 102 in dog years, she's had some health problems that we are watching constantly. My husband loves this doggie so much that he has put her through surgery and followed through on treatments and dispensing medicine to her because he says he's selfish and just wants to keep her around a little longer. She's doing really well these days and is off the medicines.
Lucky and Cookie
My favorite thing that she does is she will sit upright in front of me and stretch her face closer to me and take tiny little steps that bring her body and face closer and closer to mine. It's very endearing. She can hardly hear anymore and the little dog has become her guide by alerting her to everyday things by barking, which Lucky can actually hear. Cookie will also go and get her when it's time to go outside, kind of like "Hey, c'mon Lucky, we're going outside!"
Lucky sometimes looks worried - I think it's because she can't hear and she's trying to. When I hear her pacing around, I know it's because she's looking for one of us humans so I go and find her and get her to lay down in a place where she can see one of us. We are going to keep her around until we can't practically do it anymore.
I think I have communicated with many creatures in unusual ways . . . butterflies . . . snakes . . . cows . . . stuffed animals (yeah, I know that's crazy but there it is) big and small birds like cockatiels and hummingbirds. I try to mimic and broadcast the sounds they make at me, back at them. It's really interesting to watch them. I think my energy isn't threatening. I try to stay positive and calm.
And because I like animals, I have made objects and jewelry over the years inspired by the animals I like. Here are a few:
I sewed a bunny for my first child. The scuba goggles are new.
I sculpted a leaping hare pendant.
I made a cartoony dog.
I made a series of quirky birds.
And then there was the monkey based on a stuffed animal.
This one from back in 2006.
And the current piece I'm working on which is close to completion.
A process shot of my kinetic Merry-Go-Round.
I like cows.
I watch ducks and have practiced quacking when no one is watching me.
And for my last animal trick, here's a video I took this last May of the turkeys roosting in the trees next to our house. We have seen up to 20 or more in those trees on occasion and they make quite a ruckus as they are settling in for the night. I like it!
I guess I'm trying to say that I and the animals in my vicinity are interested in each other.
Now aren't you curious about what kind of things my blogging friends have to say about their relationships with animals? I do! See you on the circuit.
KSkiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/07/20/animals-and-inspiration/
Kathleen Krucoff: https://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com
Tosca Teran: short link: http://nanopod.me/2014/07/20/blog-o-sphere
Shelagh Blatz http://designsbyshelagh.com/blog
Are you wondering about what this “Blog-o-Sphere” thing is?
Andes Cruz, a metalsmith I met online and whose work I love, formed a group of friends who blog and she called it the "Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank". We all write a blog post once a month about the same topic, and we all post at the same time, on the 20th. I've been writing with them since October 2013 and the group keeps me blogging even when I am busy doing my thing. I hope you’ll visit all the blogs on the list and see what they have to say and if YOU have anything to say, please leave me a comment. I would enjoy hearing about it.