What’s Percolating? Taking a lesson from animals | Local News

What's Percolating?  Taking a lesson from animals |  Local News

Animals are truly amazing. I joke sometimes that I like animals better than people. Although said in jest, there can be some truth to that statement.

Animals are simple and easy. They are honest. There is no deception in their being. They love; they accept; they forgive more readily than people. They provide companionship, humor, loyalty and comfort and ask for little in return.

If you’ve read these columns, you have read about my 12-year-old dog Sunny and my nearly 1-year-old cat Quigley. We have always been a pro-pet and animal-loving family. My dog ​​Sunny, who is half-Labrador Retriever and half-Golden Retriever with a heart the size of the moon, has been accepted of the many and varied creatures that have come and gone in our household.

From the time my daughter was in first grade to her junior year in high school, she raised an animal each year for a 4-H Livestock Project. Her first four years, she raised goats. The first two years when she was just learning to show, not really compete, she raised Pygmy goats. Oh, my goodness, I loved those cute little creatures. If I could have some of my own now, I would, but it just isn’t practical. But I digress. Her second two years, she raised Boer goats, the beautiful white ones with brown heads. Sunny came into our family when my daughter was 10, her last year raising a goat. Sunny loved that goat. They would chase and play, and the goat would head-butt Sunny through the fence.

For the next six years, my daughter raised lambs. I love lambs. They are precious creatures, but helping raise these creatures left no doubt in my mind as to why Jesus is often referred to as the Good Shepherd and we humans as sheep. We are not always that bright, can make some bad choices, and often need to be led in the right direction. True to her good heart and sweet nature, Sunny loved the lambs as well, licking their faces through the fence (not tasting them, mind you) and running back and forth along the fence. As the lamb got big enough, I would allow my daughter to take the lamb out on a lead and play in the yard with Sunny. Sunny never nipped at the lamb or showed any signs of aggression. She just played and enjoyed the companionship of a fellow creature.

At one point over the years, we raised chickens. (Apparently, we aren’t really good at poultry picking because of the six biddies we purchased, four turned out to be roosters, and we promptly gave those away.) Our beautiful Rhode Island Red girls — Henny and Penny — had a pen but were often permitted to free-range in our yard. With little exception, these hens knew their boundaries and their safety zone, never straying too far from the coop and their ability to run for cover from predators. Sunny would wander around the yard with Henny and Penny, sometimes giving chase and making the chickens squawk a bit, but all in good fun. They would all three enjoy some of the bread crusts I’d throw in the yard, racing each other to get pieces. (Sunny would pass on the snack of meal worms.)

Sunny has bonded with Guinea pigs, bunnies, rats, turtles and even an injured crow we saved from a parking lot over the years. She is completely gentle and shows little more than a slight curiosity when a new critter is welcomed home. Likewise, although Sunny was up in years when little Quigley arrived last fall, she accepted him very quickly, and once Quigley learned that the 100-pound dog wasn’t going to eat him, he fell in love with his big, furry friend. When we take trips, we choose places that accept pets, and Quigley and Sunny go along for the ride. They are as bonded to each other now, as we are to them. When one rises in the morning, the other does as well (always earlier than the humans’ alarms are set), and when the first one of us heads toward bed in the evenings, the other three follow suit.

Despite the fact that dogs can be considered predators and that many of these animals would not normally be canine companions, Sunny has accepted and found ways to forge friendships with these other family pets. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if human beings could take a lesson from the animals and accept each other’s differences, see the beauty of diversity, and seek common ground?

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, their dog, Sunny, and their cat, Quigley.

Christina Wells lives in Halifax with her husband, Bruce, their dog, Sunny, and their cat, Quigley.

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