Friday, December 01, 2006

Smart animals continued

Animals are smart enough to seek help when they are injured or lost. Take the parakeet who flew several circles over head as I was sitting on the porch swing late one afternoon. He would cry out as he went past. After a few passes he landed in a bush near the porch. He sat there for an hour or so until I was ready to go into the house. I thought if I could catch him then I could keep him safe from hawks and owls. A colorful bird like the little green parakeet is a beacon to predators in the desert.

He sat there and let me try to reach him but my fingers barley brushed him, then he flew away. " Well", I thought , "thats the end of him . I'll never see him again". But I was wrong. Next morning he was in another bush in the yard. I asked my son to help me catch the bird and so with Dave on one side of the bush and me on the other the little green parakeet simply dropped to the ground at my feet and let me pick him up. We called him Johnnie and he lived with us for nearly three years then passed away.

There were two foxes that lived in a burrow just on the other side of our fence. One of them turned up severely injured. Every day I would take them food and water. they would bravely sit beside their underground home until I was no more than 15 feet from them then they would dissapear down the chute until I went away.

We could see the injured one was having more and more difficulty getting around. Then one day he made his way into our yard and simply let Dave pick him up. It was late in the day so we put him in a cage intending to take him to a vet the next morning but he didn't last make it through the night. I think he wanted help but waited too long.

And then there was our German Shepherd Gyro. For exercise I would walk and run around the runways on the airport at Tracy. Gyro needed exercise too but he really didn't want to run. If I didn't put him on a leash he would run with me for about 50 feet then he would just sit down and wait patiently for me to make the entire trip around the airport then as I made it back he would run out to greet me and act like he had run the distance himself. If I put a leash on him to make him go with me he would hang back putting drag on the leash . I would just tug on the leash and make him keep up and finally when he saw his little ruse wasn't working he would get with the program and run along side me .

One day we were loading the van for a weekend trip. I was carrying something out to the van when I looked back and there was Gyro carring an exercise mat that was rolled up like a sleeping bag and had a carry handle. He would carry the empty waste basket back to the office after it had been emptied and he would carry the mail from the mail box for me.

After we moved to the desert a white rabbit started showing up and I started putting food out for it. Soon it was waiting every morning for it's breakfast. I had no intention of taking it in but then it turned up needing medical attention. We took it to the doctor. He gave me some pills and said, " give him a tablet every three hours". I couldn't see trying to find him every three hours to give him his meds so we took him in. We called him Mikey. He would run loose in the house. Old Gyro just loved that rabbit. He would cradle the bunny rabbit between his paws and wash his face with his tongue. Docko made a cage for Mikey outside . One day I saw that Gyro had made a hole in the chicken wire of the cage and he was lying down inside the cage cuddling Mikey and giving him his daily tongue licking.

We had taken in a starving Doberman nmed Butch. He and Gyro were great friends . About three years later the doctor told us that it was time to let Butch go to his rest for there was nothing more the doctor could do for him.

I left Butch's collar and leash and his blanket in the van after his passing. Every time when Gyro was in the van he would pull Butch's things to him and tuck them in close to him. It was clear that he missed his friend and was grieving for him. He did that for a solid year. Feelings run deep in animals. They make great companions.

till next time
Marion Springer