Animal antics can be surprising

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

Animals sometimes surprise us with their antics.

Minnie the miniature pinscher either accompanies me or meets me in the living room when I take in my tray for supper. One evening, I slipped in with a sandwich and settled into my recliner. Where was Minnie? Had I actually made it that far without her on my trail? Suddenly, a flash of black whizzed into the living room and came to stop at my chair. No, I hadn’t outwitted her at all.

Minnie’s actions remind me of my mother’s poodle, Prissy. Mother always said Prissy had a built-in alarm clock. At 5 , Prissy told her it was time to eat. I remembered once Prissy was asleep in Mother’s bedroom where our three grandchildren were playing a game. One grandson held the game control panel in his hand and twisted it from side to side. The others watched. The player groaned as his turn ended. Our granddaughter jumped up and clapped, ready to take her turn.

The poodle stirred slightly, changed position, and settled back down. A couple of times she emitted a little snore. The game continued with some laughter and a brief, but loud, disagreement. Prissy slept on. Then, right when another child took over the game control, Prissy opened her eyes, raised up, looked at my mother, and yelped. “Look,” one of the grandsons said. “It’s five o’clock. She really did it.”

He shook his head in wonderment.

Through the years, we had dachshunds.

One of them never wanted to eat in the kitchen.

She picked up pieces of her dried food, took them in the den, and dropped them on the carpet. Then she ate them. If I hadn’t put food out for another when she was ready for it, she made sure I got the message. She picked up her bowl and bounced it across the kitchen floor.

During our move from Tennessee to south Alabama years ago, we rescued a gopher turtle on the roadside. That little creature nibbled left-over canned dog food from our fussy dachshund’s bowl. If I didn’t put its food out on time, it nipped my toes. I wouldn’t have believed this if it hadn’t happened to me.

I heard about a squirrel that tapped on a window to alert a woman who was late feeding it one day.

We knew a couple who lived and worked at a campground.

She fed birds and raccoons on schedule every day. Soon the birds landed on her fingers and ate out of the palms of her hands. Sometimes the raccoons ventured close to snatch food she offered them. Once she had an appointment and failed to put out the food on time.

When she returned, the raccoons had chewed up a hose, wrecked some flower pots, and torn down some hanging baskets.

Then there was the blackbird that swooped down at our campsite, grabbed a wooden cross my husband was carving and disappeared in the woods.

You just never know about animals.