ANIMALS GET US

An animal’s eyes have the power
To speak a great language.
Martin Buber

A.R. Gurney created a debutante in his comedy “The Cocktail Hour” who cries, “No one understands me but my horse.”  The line got a big laugh but it wasn’t a joke. Our horses, dogs and cats catch on to our moods a lot faster than our partners or our relatives do.

Mothers, of course, are an exception. One glance from you tells them everything.  My own mother insisted she could read my entire days activities on my forehead.  It turns out that my puppy could do the same thing.

A new study confirms that animals gather information and transmit it through their eyes. This can be very unsettling….especially when sitting down to a holiday meal. There you are digging into your roast turkey and gobbling up your roast potatoes when you feel a forceful presence watching you lift your fork to your mouth and chew those brussel sprouts.  You look down at Fido, his mouth open and saliva dripping down his fuzzy little chin.  He is watching you so intently he doesn’t even blink.   You would have to have a heart of iron to ignore the longing, the unbridled desire on your puppy’s face.

Guilt overwhelms you and you slip him a bit of dark meat and then a bit more.  How can you resist?

Fluffy is even more insistent.  The minute you put your napkin in your lap, there she is, her whiskers quivering with desire. What can you do?  You were the one who rescued her from the shelter.  The other guests at the table try to ignore the fact that your cat is sitting ON the holiday table lapping up your cranberry sauce as if it were catnip.

Horses are even more capable of transmitting their needs to you with their unblinking eyes.  Last year, I had Christmas dinner in the country and as I dug into my mince pie, I froze.  There was Dobbin staring through the window with such intensity that the glass melted.  It was no use.  I picked up my plate and handed it over.

This year, I have decided to fast for the holiday.  It is a lot easier on my conscience.