Animals have an amazing sense of duty – protecting their friends and family in ingenious ways
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.
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.
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He trotted straight into Abe and spat something out on the floor at his feet