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Connecting with animals

  1. Jul 2, 2011 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    When we moved from Los Angeles to Oregon, we were challenged to understand the attitude that many people around here have about animals. After a time we began to understand that it goes back to farming. Farmers often view animals like cats and dogs more as farming implements or cattle, rather than beloved pets. Like everything on a farm, they have a function. One person we knew, a sheep farmer, raised Border Collies. In fact he has breed and trained some of the finest dogs in the country. And his dogs were incredible to watch while working the sheep. A strange series of whistles and Scottish yelps from the master told the dogs exactly what to do. And what fun to visit the farm - puppies, puppies, puppies!!! That is, fun until I realized he was killing 80% cute little puppies by thumping them on the head. :surprised You don't want to raise defective stock.

    As for cats, they are often treated as vermin.

    Other people seem to hate animals for no reason. Others are simply indifferent

    On the flip side of indifference and hate, we have people like this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTTwcCVajAc

    I have long suspected that love, hate, or indifference towards animals is more function of exposure - something that is learned - than an implicit characteristic; nurture, not nature. As a friend who had cows once told me, "Never let your kids name a cow. If you do, they will never eat it!" In the same fashion, my personal opinion is that the more time one spends with animals in a relaxed [not farm] setting, the more attached one tends to become. While there is certainly a fair amount of personification in play as we imagine them to be like us, I think we also begin to see how much we have in common. Many times I have heard comments like, "it is amazing how much my little fluffy can act like a person". No doubt, to many people their pets are like their children. And for years I too was amazed by things our animals did. But after a time I began to realize that we may be viewing this the wrong way. In fact we are animals. That we have common traits with other animals isn't amazing at all. It isn't that Fluffy can act like a person, it is that we aren't as far removed from Fluffy and her kind as we like to think. We are like them.

    So is this connection that some people have with animals innate in all humans, is it learned, or is it a random roll the genetic dice. And do we form this connection through some renegade paternal instict and see animals as personified pseudo-children, or do we connect with them because we are beasts like them and can relate to their world more than we like to admit?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
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  3. Jul 2, 2011 #2

    Evo

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    You do know that video is a joke. :smile:
     
  4. Jul 2, 2011 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Haha, no, we wondered of course... Where does it say that?

    Or are you just assuming it's a joke?
     
  5. Jul 2, 2011 #4

    Evo

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    I read about it. It's very funny, just didn't want people reading your post and going off topic talking about the video instead of responding to the subject.

    She has other joke vids posted.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  6. Jul 3, 2011 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    My first thought was that they must be really tough on students at Villanova. This poor girl has been traumatized! :biggrin:

    Either way it is irrelevant to the discussion. We all know people who love animals, and some a bit too much! Based on a review of our vet bills over the last twenty years, obviously Tsu and I come under the "a bit too much" heading.
     
  7. Jul 3, 2011 #6

    turbo

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    I love Duke a bit too much. I have been very overprotective of him, and have only recently managed to convince myself to leave him off-leash most of the time - voice command only. This is a rural road, but it is a very busy short-cut and people speed through here. I'd be devastated if Duke were hurt or killed.
     
  8. Jul 3, 2011 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Why?
     
  9. Jul 3, 2011 #8

    turbo

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    Duke is a loving, attentive dog and he sticks to me like velcro. I don't know how to parse our affection.
     
  10. Jul 3, 2011 #9

    SteamKing

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    You should never make a dating introduction video when you are drunk.
     
  11. Jul 3, 2011 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    So you think of Duke and a friend and companion, not a child? Yet you clearly feel protective.
     
  12. Jul 3, 2011 #11

    turbo

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    He is my friend. I don't "own" him, but I love him. He's a really nice dog and he loves going for rides with me and visiting with his doggy-friends. The neighbors' dog is smitten with Duke, and gives him NO space!!
     
  13. Jul 3, 2011 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    We had quite the love triangle with three cats. A female was smitten with a male who would have nothing to do with her. And the male was smitten with another female who would have nothing to do with him! GIVE ME A BREAK! This is more like high school than cat ownership.

    We get attached to all animals equally - dogs, cats, goats, and a horse [horses are amazingly smart as are goats]. They all come with unique personalities and their own chemistry. As with people, we seem to connect with some animals [as individuals] far more than others. And they certainly have their own favorites. In Bun's eyes [cat], I am her everything. Little Tyke loves Tsu [my wife] but me best by far. Jack like me but looooooooooves Tsu. Zooby would have almost nothing to do with me for years. Some days I wasn't even allowed to talk to her. [reminds me of her namesake! :rofl:] If I said one word to her directly, she'd get mad and leave the room. Only after about five years did I slowly begin to win her over. But she loved Tsu from the start.

    And after about 40 years of cat ownership, I concede defeat when it comes to predicting cat behavior. The best laid schemes of mice and men always go awry when it comes to cats!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  14. Jul 4, 2011 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    We have observed a number of examples of cross-species friendships.

    Goats and horses like to hang out together. In fact, there was some famous race horse that wouldn't race, or didn't run well, if he didn't have his goat.

    Cats and skunks tend to like each other. I've actually caught our cats lying next to skunks and apparently just hanging out together. I've often wondered is this could have played a role in the creation of Pepé Le Pew cartoons.

    Bun II [also a cat, now we have Bun III] liked to hang out with birds. A number of times I saw her lying on the hillside surrounded by birds. Some would even walk right on top of her! Apparently they liked her too. I never saw her attack them.

    Our cats have often played hide-and-seek in the bushes with wild deer. It seems that Tsu may have seen them lying together once.

    That dogs and cats can become best friends is no secret. And many examples of strange mixes of deer with cats, lions with pigs, and all sorts of crazy crosses can be found on sources like You Tube. It seems that friendship is by no means species limited.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  15. Jul 4, 2011 #14

    turbo

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    In our last house, a neighbors' cat (very shy and secretive compared to their other 2 cats) used to show up at our bird-feeder at night, in the company of a 'possum and/or a skunk. She was not interested in the fallen sunflower seeds, but her friends were. Skunks are quite common here, but 'possums are not, so I don't know how she got the intention to hang our with one, but it was cute. She didn't want to be a house cat, like their others, so her owners built her a little plywood cat-house in the back yard, and that's where she slept every night unless the weather was bitterly cold or the snow was too deep to get into her house. She was a pretty calico cat, and though I'm not much of a cat fancier, I thought she was really cool - hanging out with skunks and our (seemingly lone) 'possum. She was too shy to let me approach her, though she had cross-species chumminess down to a T.

    The only other cat that really caught my fancy was a white blue-eyed Persian (deaf as a post) that belonged to friends 30+ years ago. They called her Midnight because Dave said that out of all their cats, she was the only one that they could see without having lights on. Anyway, that cat "claimed" me and anytime I sat down in house (they were just across the street, and Dave and I shared interests in guitar, motorcycle-tuning, etc, and hung out together a lot) Midnight would park herself on my lap and rub her head on my chest, purring like crazy. If I wasn't sitting, I'd have a fluffy white cat winding herself around my ankles and looking up at me. Good tripping hazard.
     
  16. Jul 4, 2011 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    As we quickly learned when we moved to horse country, the goat-horse dynamic is common knowledge to at least some sects of the equestrian community.
    http://www.applesnoats.com/goats.pdf [Broken]

    We have some horse and goat buddies right across the road at a big horse ranch [I think for show horses]. And our own goats and horse had no problem hanging out.

    Back when we first bought this place over twenty years ago, Tsu and I would walk along the creek and around the perimeter of the pasture every day. There was a time when this was quite a scene. I deeply regret that we never got a photo of this. Tsu and I would start walking and the three dogs would follow us. If I can still remember the order... I think the four cats would then follow the dogs, followed by four goats, which were followed by about fifteen cows, which were then followed by the horse. So in total we had what... 27 animals in tow. And this didn't happen just once or twice, less the horse which we only had for about a year I think [belonged to someone else] this was a routine that went on semi-regularly for a better part of at least three to four... maybe five years! It was hilarious!!!
     
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  17. Jul 4, 2011 #16

    turbo

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    I should not generalize too much about my chipmunks because the females (my closest buddies) need a LOT of stored food to successfully bear and wean a large brood. Still, it is nice to go outside and have a chipmunk charge at you and climb you looking in your pockets for sunflower seeds. Since we adopted Duke, the 'munks have been a little more cautious, but there's one little girl that is getting pretty brave. It would be pretty nice to get a picture of Duke with a 'munk checking him out - he's a pretty laid-back guy, and he'd tolerate the attention, though the initial exchanges would probably initiate some curiosity on his part.
     
  18. Jul 4, 2011 #17

    Pengwuino

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    This thread was a ploy to make us watch that video ago.

    MODS!!!
     
  19. Jul 4, 2011 #18

    rhody

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    Off topic: This thread helped me to discover another Pengy-ism, the first: DISCUSS, now MODS... how many capital Pengy-ism's do I have to give copyright credit for in my posts when I, er... hem... "borrow" one of them ?

    Touching stories, Turbo, Ivan, this thread was fun to read.

    Rhody... :blushing: :cool:
     
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