Animal Thinkdom

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

February 3, 2019

Back in January I was driving into Midland and noticed six or seven horses in a field. What struck me as odd was the fact that one horse was wearing a plaid coat. I didn’t think much of it at the time since it was January 26, the day after Rabbie Burns Day. I naturally assumed he was a Scot and had just staggered home from a Burns Supper at the Orillia Legion. It happens all the time.

Later though, I began to wonder what he was thinking — wearing a stylish topcoat while the other horses were sans culottes.

To be honest I have no idea if the horse was a he or a she. For today’s discussion on the inner thoughts of animals it really doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to climb over a fence and look under his or her blanket. I may be perverted but not that perverted.

For today’s discussion we will assume Dobbin was male.

It did make me wonder though, as I saw him standing there, what goes through a horse’s mind, when he realises he is different from his companions? This may get quite involved and if you are not a student of the mind you may want to tune out or open a jug. I admit I am not an expert on horses, or anything else come to think of it, although I did see My Friend, Flicka three times when I was nine. But I know I would feel odd if I were somehow different from my companions. As a matter of fact I am, but I am not going to get into that right now, I have a horse undergoing psychoanalysis. 

Was the horse embarrassed or self-conscious? After all he stood out like a sore hoof, as I’m sure he noticed. You know ladies, how you felt when you went to that ‘Come as you are’ party. Sure the call came when you were in the tub, but you wouldn’t have violated the rules all that much had you wrapped a towel around yourself and combed your hair.

Did he feel like a bit of a wimp because he alone had to wear a coat and the others didn’t? It would be like that horrible day back in high school when your mother showed up at the classroom door with a scarf to wrap around your neck because it was snowing. Or was our proud young stallion actually strutting about showing off his sartorial splendour so the others would feel bad?

We really don’t know. The truth is we don’t know what animals think. Oh I’m sure most of us with pets are convinced they are listening as we ramble on and on. “What a good doggie you are. Now leave Felicity’s leg alone.” Oh sure, he may look up between pantings, but does he have any idea what you are saying? Of course he doesn’t. If he did you wouldn’t have to whack him with a rolled up newspaper. And it wouldn’t hurt to give Felicity whack or two as well. After all, she was the one wearing pajama bottoms with little doggies running up and down the leg. What did she expect?

Most domesticated animals are credited with having far more smarts than they really have, and it’s a good thing they don’t. Can you imagine the trouble your dog could cause if he could talk? They know too much about your personal life and eventually you would have no choice but to kill him — or her, especially her. When a bunch of bitches gather around the hydrant a lot of gossip is hashed and re-hashed. Have you noticed whenever you and the missus walk along the street with Rover, the other dogs on the block are at the window grinning? Why is that? That time on the kitchen table may have been fun, (except for the fork) but you should have put the dog outside.

I believe I mentioned many times that our cat owns me. I know, I thought it was the other way round too until the vet explained the relationship. Quite frankly I believe the two are in cahoots. Willison’s vet sends me a card to say it is time for his annual check-up — or so they claim. I suspect it is time for their annual plotting session to get at my money. Why else would his co-conspirator suggest I give Willison signing authority on my bank accounts and also make him the sole authority over whether or not the physicians pull the plug when my time comes?

To be honest I wish I hadn’t let them talk me into it.

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