Smart An­i­mals

An­i­mals have an amaz­ing sense of duty – pro­tect­ing their friends and fam­ily in ingenious ways

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents -

Pro­tec­tion League


We had two pets, Timmy, the bor­der col­lie-ter­rier cross, and Drib­bles, the tiny tor­toise. Timmy was per­fectly be­haved while Drib­bles, though only the size of a coin, was very clever.

One day, my 16-year-old daugh­ter’s well-mean­ing friend Chris heard me say to Drib­bles, “I’ll take you out for a walk later.” While I was work­ing in the home of­fice, she de­cided to help and took Drib­bles out to the lawn. Un­for­tu­nately our young vis­i­tor didn’t re­alise he needed to be su­per­vised. Be­ing so small and with fast legs, he was easy to lose.

“Where is Drib­bles?” my five-

year-old son Abe asked me some time later. “He’s not in his tank.”

Af­ter hours of search­ing to no avail for Drib­bles, Abe came in­side. He was sit­ting on the sofa cry­ing, when I heard a muf­fled woof. It was Timmy. “That’s not your usual bark,” I said as I opened the door.

He trot­ted straight to Abe and spat some­thing out on the floor at his feet. Drib­bles was un­harmed, Abe was de­lighted and Drib­bles was never left unat­tended again.

Stay Away!


One morn­ing as I was hang­ing out the wash­ing, a beau­ti­ful red wat­tlebird flew down from a nearby tree and landed on the clothes­line. It chirped at me. Hav­ing cap­tured my at­ten­tion, it flew down to the grass where it limped around as if it was in­jured. Then it flew up in the air be­fore re­turn­ing to the grass to feign in­jury in a strange dance. Even­tu­ally it re­turned to the tree.

I re­mem­bered see­ing a sim­i­lar dis­play on a David At­ten­bor­ough documentary – the bird was pro­tect­ing its nest by try­ing to lure me away. The male red wat­tlebird does this. The fe­male must have been sit­ting on the eggs in the nest nearby. I felt priv­i­leged to have wit­nessed how this clever bird pro­tects its fam­ily from pos­si­ble preda­tors.

A Loyal Friend


Our Ger­man shep­herd Togo was pals with a Ja­panese shih tzu liv­ing two doors away.

Dur­ing some ren­o­va­tions, a work­man re­moved some fenc­ing boards at the bot­tom of our house. Af­ter this, the shih tzu gained ac­cess to our backyard by crawl­ing through the gap. When I re­turned from work one Fri­day, Togo was miss­ing. We looked for him but he did not turn up that night, nor the next day. We called the an­i­mal shel­ter and were ad­vised to report the miss­ing dog to the coun­cil, so on Monday my hus­band called them.

They told him a dog had been re­ported en­tan­gled on barbed wire al­most 2km from our house, and another dog was not al­low­ing any­one to ap­proach. When my hus­band went to check, he found Togo guard­ing the shih tzu whose fur was en­tan­gled in the fence. Togo had spent the en­tire week­end guard­ing his friend.

You could earn cash by telling us about the an­tics of unique pets or wildlife. Turn to page 6 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute to the mag­a­zine.

He trot­ted straight into Abe and spat some­thing out on the floor at his feet

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