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Some of my best conversations are with Huey. He listens. And most of the time when I tell him something, I don’t get a lot of argument.
I listen when he talks, too. But sometimes we don’t even have to talk. We’ve been friends for 14 years, and know each other so well that we anticipate what the other wants.
Huey is my dog, a scruffy-looking terrier mutt that showed up at the house 14 years ago, bloodied and abandoned by some not very nice people who lived several streets away.
Janette, my late wife who died nearly 12 years ago, started feeding him, made him a home in the garage and had his sores doctored by a local vet. Within a few days, he had migrated to the kitchen and not long after that he moved upstairs to sleep on her side of the bed.
When she became ill with cancer, Huey seemed to know. He would lie on the couch next to her for hours and hours, never getting up unless she did. When she died, it upset him so much that he started leaving puddles in the dining room.
It took him several weeks to migrate from her pillow to my side of the bed. He’s been there ever since, sleeping against my back, often with his head on my pillow.
When Jenny came along a couple of years later, he made room for her, too. But he hasn’t given up his side of the bed (I have to sleep in the middle).
Huey is such a good communicator that I just assume everyone communicates well with their pets.
So I was a little surprised recently when I saw a story about a survey showing 62 percent of pet owners say that when they speak, their pets get the message. And 67 percent of pet owners in the Associated Press-Petside.com poll say they understand their animals’ barks, purrs and other sounds.
What about all those other folks? They must not be spending enough time with their pets.
I think I understand Huey’s sounds pretty well and I’m sure he understands mine. He even understands subtle differences.
For instance, when I ask him if he wants to go for a walk (his favorite thing), he starts barking and twirling, and then grabs his leash until we get out the door.
But if I ask him if he wants to go outside, he just goes to the door and waits. He knows he’s only going out for a bathroom break and there’s going to be none of that fun walking-around-the neighborhood stuff.
Of course, he understands all about wagging his tail when he’s being called a “good boy.” Aren’t all dogs born with that knack?
And he loves Christmas. He waits patiently until a package is passed to him, then spends whatever time it takes to chew off the paper and get his gift.
I was thinking this past week about how important pets are to many of us during difficult economic times. They provide comfort in good times and bad times, and they never seem to take offense even if you are out of sorts.
So if you need a new forever friend, why not adopt one of the many unwanted pets in our region.
You’ll be having great conversations in no time.
T. Wayne Mitchell is the interim publisher of the Gazette. He can be reached at (662) 534-6321 or email@example.com.