Talk to the animals

When a dog and his owner walk around a corner in the street, it’s the human who’s generally at the rear, and the canine that’s straining at the leash (maybe in the expectation that a ginormous juicy bone awaits him).

This was the scene I experienced one morning when I left home, the dog in question being a golden Cocker Spaniel, its owner a chuckling schoolboy tugging at the lead with all his might.


In my mind’s eye I saw a picture of the boy taking his dog to school, and imagined how the day would pan out. Thirty schoolchildren, one teacher, one Cocker Spaniel. Mayhem, probably.

Actually I’m certain that my imagination was working overtime and the lad was simply walking the dog round the block before returning it to his Mum’s car. The Boy Who Took His Dog To School was an entertaining vision for a couple of minutes, however.

Although (with the exception of a goldfish) I’ve never actually owned a pet, there’s little doubt that being around animals can be a substantial mood lifter, especially when it’s a creature such as a dog, cat or horse which seems to understand you, perhaps even to know how you feel.

If you’re a pet-owner you’ll already appreciate this, but if you don’t share your living arrangements with a furry or feathered friend, do try to make opportunities for close encounters with other species.

Offer to take a neighbour’s dog for a walk. Talk to a cat in the street if she feels inclined to allow you to. Simply, and quietly, observe a wild bird or squirrel.

Even pretend you’re Dr Dolittle, if you like. I won’t tell anyone.

10 thoughts on “Talk to the animals

  1. I live with a cat and can’t recommend it highly enough! She just knows when she is needed and arrives to request fuss or to just keep me company when the last thing I thought I felt like doing was smiling, but it is amazing what a little love can do…

    1. My daughter’s was persistent in persuading me, her fearful of dogs mother, that we should get a dog. I was dragged to walk rescue dogs and her brother was enlisted into the campaign. My other half insisted that he wouldn’t walk a small dog. So we got Oscar who made me go out walking on days I would have stayed in, offered me random encounters with other dog lovers and watched my every move in the kitchen. He has been a good thing for all of us and a comfort for me when I a struggling with depression. So I would definitely say get a brown dog to chase the lack dog! He is the best thing we have bought as a family.

  2. You are so right. I have been following your blog for a while now, and I love your nudges every day, they are an absolute inspiration for me.
    Unfortunately I cannot have a pet in my London flat. I find it hard to get into the habit of meditating, but I can easily sit in the park for an hour or so, just listening to the birds, chatting to the pidgeons and squirrels. Spending time in nature, really paying attention to the changes in the plants and trees through the seasons and spending time with animals has been a real mood booster for me. It really calms me down.
    And apparantly, the squirrels and pidgeons seem to like hanging around me too. No way you cannot be completely present when you have a couple of squirrels asking for your attention.

  3. The best thing about having cats is that they don’t care if you think you’re looking fat, or if you’re in a bad mood or whatever; they love you purely and wholeheartedly and that’s often exactly what you need. I wouldn’t be without my furry cheerleaders!

  4. Thank you, the wonderful charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) based in the UK enables dogs, cats and other animals to visit folks in hospitals, care homes, schools, hospices. From my own experience of taking my Irish Setter into a hospice as a PAT dog this can make a very positive contribution to an individuals sense of well being.

  5. I have a german sheppard who is 9 years old. I always talk to him and most of the times he answers me:))

  6. Oh! the golden cocker Spaniel so reminded me of ours called Lady, she lived down the road, I played with her, the owners asked if we would like to have her which we did. One day Lady, unbeknown to my brother had “somehow” managed to follow him to school and went in his class and sat beside him much to the amusement of the class, my brother did not like his lady teacher and felt she picked on him, the teacher thought he had deliberately bought Lady into school.
    I do love dogs but unfortunately they are a tie, and our vet fees are so high, do wish they weren’t because it must stop a lot of people being able to afford to have pets, because they so good company

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