Pet Advice – Straight From The Horse’s Mouth
by Charles “Horse” Tsence
This column is dedicated to the love and care of animals. Contrary to what some readers thought, animals do not include spouses. Yes, I know that spouses and partners call each other “Pet,” “Poochie” and even “My Cuddly Fur-Ball” (mostly directed to men), but this column is dedicated to our friends with four legs, feathers, fins, prehensile tails and the like. For questions regarding male-female relationships, I refer you to columnist Hortense “Poochie” McGoldstein, who will appear twice monthly in this publication. Thank you.
I don’t have any cats of my own, but I have two good friends who have cats who play with bugs. These bugs range from small ants to large cockroaches. Why do cats play with bugs? I’ve asked my friends this question, but they look at me in amazement, shrug their shoulders and rarely invite me back to their homes. What have I said? What have I done? Please advise. Signed, Bugged-Out-of-My Mind Miller
Dear Bugged-Out-of-My Mind:
Cats play with bugs because they’re there: they move, and they possibly emit odors that are either offensive or attractive to cats. And, cats are playful and will play with most anything, including balls of yarn, laces on shoes and Christmas ornaments, all some of my favorite things. More importantly, I don’t understand why your friends have cockroaches. You know the old saying, “Oh, show me a home where the buffalo roam, and I’ll show you a dirty house.” Those friends that have cockroaches and don’t invite you back is a plus in your direction.
I’ve been attempting to study the different vocal expressions of dogs. I’m learning a great deal, but my wife thinks I’m nuts. Since you are an expert on pet behavior, can you tell me the linguistic difference between “arf-arf” and “bow-wow-wow”? I’ve asked my wife this several times but her only response has been to put my pillows and a blanket on the living room sofa. I asked my colleagues at work this question, and they either don’t invite me to discuss sports with them any more, or they give me an “arf-arf” or “bow-wow-wow” every time I pass by. In fact, my boss is seriously considering terminating my employment because I’ve caused a division in the office between the “arf-arfers” and “bow-wow-wowers.” Can you help me out of my predicament? Signed, Dog-Gone-Problem Davis
Dear Dog-Gone Problem:
I can’t understand why your wife and friends treat you the way they do. You appear to be an intelligent, curious, questioning individual who seeks truth and answers to questions that have stymied humankind for years. Here’s a suggestion: Conduct controlled experiments with dogs to gain greater understanding and insight.
First, you must understand that there are different canine languages and dialects. It’s not a “one fits all” language. Pekinese have a different language than Great Danes, and rightly so. If for some reason a Great Dane began to speak Pekinese to other Great Danes, the other Great Danes may look suspiciously upon him as being different. Therefore, you must compare apples and apples. If you were to ask me, what’s the difference between “arf-arf” and “bow-wow-wow” as it applies to Golden Retrievers, I can give you the following well-reasoned answer. It first depends upon the conduct in which the dog is then engaged. “Arf-arf” is usually associated with friendly, playful moods, while “bow-wow-wow” can be both a warning to aggression and part of aggression itself. “Arf-arf” may also denote, if higher-pitched, a response to stepping on the Golden Retriever’s tail or paw. If you do so, please remove your foot and apologize immediately. Even taking those actions, the Golden Retriever may also respond with a vigorous “bow-wow-wow,” warning you not to do it again.
Signing off for now, until next time, enjoy your pets and remember that not only are they a member of your family, they are part of your personality.