One of the consequences of spending time with someone is you get to know them really well. So well that you can learn their body language and understand them better in general. This is easy to explain when we are thinking of our friends, family, or even our spouse. The longer we know someone, lived with someone or been friends with someone, the better we understand them. Well, if we really listen, that is. Don’t you just know when your friend or family member is not okay even though they say they are fine. I have realized that this is also possible with your pets. The longer we spend time with them, the closer our bond, and the better we understand what they are trying to tell us.
I am reminded of the time when I was a young veterinarian, my father used to tell his friends that the veterinarian’s job was more difficult than the medical doctor’s. “We tell the doctors what we feel and where our pain is, but the animals can’t speak, so the veterinarians, they just got to know,” he used to say with a glimmer of pride in his eyes.
It’s true that as veterinarians we are trained on signs and symptoms of illnesses and diagnostic tests that help us determine what ails the animal paient. We also learn about animal behavior and physiology which help us even further to understand and interpret animal behavior.
But just like any other pet owner, I learned Angel’s “language” by spending a lot of time with her day in and day out. For example, i learned that when she suddenly comes up and licks my hand a lot, especially when i am busy like studying or on my computer, it usually means that she needs to go outside. Now when she does that, I ask her “do you want to go outside?” If she does, she would be very excited and wag her tail and start heading towards the door and exits the door as soon as i open it. If she sits down and turns her head away from the door, then she didn’t want to go outside. I look at her food bowl and if it is empty, i go to fill it up and sure enough, she was hungry, and she was trying to get my attention so i would put some food, or water whichever might be the case. It is funny how other times she cannot be more clear when she actually carries her empty food bowl in her mouth and drops it at my feet.
Next, I will tell you about how the funny thing she does when she wants to go for a walk in the morning.