Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Are You Smarter Than A Farm Animal?

A pesky little thing called life has kept me from posting so apologies to my readers (if I have any left) for the long delay in between posts

Now - onto the subject at hand. I've got some clever pets.

Take Tony. He's got the unfortunate habit of waking up at around 5:00am and the even more unfortunate habit of waking me up too. Either he starts to roll around on the bed (and his collar clinks) or he starts to play with the string from the blinds (and his collar clinks) or he tries to chase his tail (and his collar clinks). It's something.

And since I don't usually get up until 6:00am, I want those last 60 minutes. So I pick him up, plunk him outside the bedroom and shut the door.

Then the other week, I woke up at about 5:30am and saw Tony resting quietly and calmly oustide the bedroom at the top of the stairs. He didn't budge until I got up at 6:00am.

It's not a perfect science - in Tony's case I give him maybe a B for smarts as he only behaves like this 1 - 2 mornings a week and there are 7. But he seems to be picking up on the fact that quiet and calm in the morning is the way to go.

Now - the goats. Darling Elvis and Ann-Margaret. Once upon a time, they were spoiled. Chow twice a day. Cookies twice a day. Alfafa hay (at $20 a bale). I won't go so far as to say that they are no longer spoiled but, a few weeks ago, we decided to cut back to Chow once a day.

It doesn't matter what time of day it is, anytime someone steps outside of the house, the goats come running. But in the morinngs, they are expecting Chow. In fact, there were mornings I'd peek out the window at 6:15am - a full 45 minutes before I normally fed them, and they'd be standing at the fence, waiting.

The first morning I didn't feed them, it pained me to hear them cry. I assured them I still loved them and that they would be fed later on. The second day, more of the same. By the third day, their cries had grown slightly less pitiful and the ache in my heart had somehwat subsided. Within a week, they were no longer standing around, waiting to be fed in the mornings. In fact, I'd look out the window and see them grazing in the pasture or eating some hay from the feeder (granted, the hay was gourmet...)

It doesn't mean they didn't come running when I walked out the door. They did. But their expectations seemed to have shifted. And then one day, they didn't even run. They looked up from their grass or their overpriced hay, belted out a few bleats, and when I walked directly to my truck without stopping to give them anything, they went on about their business.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...