Most people know what they can handle when it comes to social engagements. Most people know if they aren’t able to speak in large groups, if they are uncomfortable around strangers, or if they thrive on the stage in front of thousands of strangers. Some people have no problem relating to a group of 20+ people every day, others can relate indirectly to millions. I had a great opportunity to find out how social my animals were this weekend.
Speedbump, my lovely little kitty, who has never met anyone she doesn’t love found out that she has limits. Or maybe she has always known her limits, but I just found out this weekend that large groups are not her thing. I’d say it might be kids, but she seems to be fine when the neighbor’s kids have come over. This weekend with 100’s of people at the house, she disappeared. Not to be seen again until the crowds were gone. At night, as everyone dispersed, she would meander over to let me know she was home.
Now Wally, neighbor A’s kitten is OBVIOUSLY a little party girl. She had come over once before and was checking out my garage. Wally was terrified of the dogs so I thought that was the end of her visits. I didn’t care either way, she is an adorable kitten and who doesn’t love watching a kitten explore new areas and play with bugs – fabulous cheap entertainment. However, as the crowds grew, there would be Wally right in the middle of everyone. Occassionally A and her daughter M would come over to retrieve Wally. Wally would love up M, play with her, then Wally would sit on the picnic table watching them drive off to the next weekend event. Their car would hit the pavement of the road and Wally would b-line it to the party. There was attention she was not getting. She got drug around by two 2 year olds most of the weekend, draped over an arm, riding in a stroller, and yet she kept coming back for more.
I would prefer to behave like Speedbump, but you know how these family things go, you end up having to meet everyone. I followed Opie’s lead. He found a good spot in the shade out of traffic and hung out. Anyone who was interested could stop and pet him and love on him, but he wasn’t leaving his spot for anything. I found a spot just away from the crowd and got comfortable. If someone needed something from me, I was easy to find and I had plenty of opportunity to talk with everyone.
Dudley found a puppy. Sometimes in crowds of strangers we find someone we have something in common with and cling to them for security. Dud was overwhelmed until the puppy showed up. Then he forgot everything else and just focused on the puppy – to annoyance. We had to put Dud on a leash to give the poor puppy a break for awhile.
The chickens were a lot like Opie, they weren’t in the middle of the crowds, but they weren’t going to take off either. They are dumb animals, but it didn’t take them long to figure out that all those people wandering around meant FOOD. The one thing they are smart about is where they are getting their next meal. Hate to admit it, but I’m kind of like them in that way too.
If Hat could have gotten out of his pasture, he would have been right in the middle of all those people. Going from person to person getting attention. As it was, he paced his pasture closest to the party to make sure everyone was noticing him. I had to give tours into his pasture several times during the day so that he could get pets and do a few tricks. I hate to imagine how many apples and treats he got this weekend.
It’s good that my animals are so much more social than me. Because of them I meet a lot more people. It is easy for me to talk about them and how important they are. Animal people seem to be much easier than others, maybe it’s just because we talk the same language.