“Animals and I”

Anna Lesiczka
9th February 2023

“Animals and I”

I don’t talk to animals. I like talking but I would rather know that the receiver understands my words. Otherwise, I don’t like wasting my energy. I rarely talk to myself either.

My parents live with four cats. I can be with them for the whole day and they never ask any questions or expect me to comment on anything around. It’s enough to be near each other and it goes both ways. I love cats. Sadly, building a constructive relationship with a human without words is difficult.

My new roommates want me to talk with their dog more than they want me to talk to them. When they notice my interaction with him, they say “Maybe you can talk to him”. And I have nothing to say. This dog is an old male so in the beginning, we couldn’t get along. He used to bark at me whenever I was coming back home. Once they told me that maybe when I open the door and he comes barking, I can ask him “How are you”. Now, whenever they ask me to talk to him, I say “How are you” and repeat it many times. It’s confusing. I feel like a fool but I am sure the dog doesn’t mind.

The sentences I say to animals are: “Hello”, “Come”, “Come here”, “Go”, “Go away”, “Leave it”, “Do you want food?”, “Where is your food”, “I can’t give you more food”, “Eat”, “Don’t eat it”, “Do you like it?”, “Be calm”, “Bye”.

Lately, I met a little girl. She was a month old. I told her my name and I got lost. She wants people to talk to her. When you talk, she doesn’t cry. But she never responds. It was very tiring to keep talking. It reminded me of the experience with the dog but instead of repeating “how are you”, I was repeating “you are beautiful”.

When her parents went to the other room and she stayed in my arms, I opened up. It was only difficult when adults were listening but now I saw all the possibilities for our conversation. I started talking about dental services and how they work. Later I told her about people’s reactions when they have to visit a dentist. I quickly discovered that she doesn’t have teeth so I explained what it is and why she needs them. It’s gonna be a painful moment in her life when they start growing. She didn’t know many things I could tell her about, but when the parents came back, I lost my voice.

I said that I don’t like to talk when I am not understood but the example above contradicts it. Maybe it’s different when it comes to an animal that belongs to the same species as me. She doesn’t have a clue what I am saying now, but eventually, she will. At some point, she will have her teeth and go to a dentist. We will be able to talk about it. When I look at her I am aware that her life goes the same way as mine. But when I look at a dog, I see a stranger. I prefer to not forget about it.

We went to the beach with the dogs. It was empty, so they were running around. I enjoyed looking at their freedom. At some point, a middle-aged couple with a long-haired German Shepherd appeared on the horizon so we took the dogs back on a leash. They were smaller than him so they started barking and pulling us in his direction. The owners of the Shepherd didn’t take him on a leash, he was just lying by the water completely undisturbed. He was very well-trained and I was very impressed.

But after we came back and I told the story, I heard that it is sad because that dog is deprived of its nature. On the other hand, I believe that it has to be very comfortable to trust your dog like this, especially when it’s big. My vet friend always tells me that people should train their dogs, otherwise they do what they want with their owners. People like dogs that can give you a high five, or lay down on your command. Even the person who told me that the well-trained Shepherd is sad, taught her dogs some simple tricks. I don’t have an opinion about this, because I’ve never been an owner of a dog. Although I am friends with many, I’ve never tasted the responsibility coming from ownership.

When my family moved into the house, we had mice in the basement. They tried to get rid of them but nothing worked. A cat would be the best option but they both didn’t want one. They used to be more “dog people”. Years ago my mom truly hated cats. I know this story very well because she tells it to everyone who hasn’t heard it yet.

When she was a student, she had an apartment in a tenement house that belonged to an old lady. She was friends with her and used to spend time in her living room. Unfortunately, the lady was a cat lover. She had one cat of her own and was feeding all the cats in the neighborhood. My mom says that whenever her cat was nearby, she froze. She was terrified and unable to touch them. But now she owns four herself.

I watched my father kissing one of them while she was sleeping in a basket. He is always tender with them. When my brother comes home, he brushes her fur, but normally it’s difficult to observe him having an intimate relationship with anything. When I am home I am always afraid that the cats are gonna die, but I think that the fear comes from an image of my family mourning for them.

I’ve always dreamt about a dog. Although when I was living with one this autumn, I realized that my heart belongs to cats. Now I live with both a cat and a dog and I prefer to spend time with the cat. She comes to my room unnoticeably when I don’t close the door. When I am back, she is already there. Sometimes she hides under the bed to surprise me but usually, she lays down under my desk. She looks at me ready to cuddle. We spend some minutes in silence but when I get bored I come back to my activities. She never bothers me, she stays in the same place for some time, and later she does another check-up of the room. She walks on my furniture so carefully, noticing everything I have. Her owners don’t know that we meet every evening, so I never tell her “how are you?”.

I asked my mom which one she likes more - my dad or her beloved cat. She chose the cat and I believe her.