Smart An­i­mals

An­i­mals are more re­source­ful than we imag­ine

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents -

Who’s a Lucky Devil, Then?


As chil­dren, my brother and I were huge fans of Phan­tom comics. So, when we adopted our first Al­sa­tian dog, the ob­vi­ous choice of name for her was ‘Devil’.

Devil could sit, fetch and shake hands on re­quest (de­pend­ing on her mood), but she also de­vel­oped a unique tal­ent.

Our fa­ther was a hote­lier in Karim­na­gar in south­ern In­dia. He needed a steady sup­ply of small change to ten­der to cus­tomers in the restau­rant. Purely in jest, we trained Devil to take 100 ru­pee notes to the cus­tomers in exchange for a bun­dle of coins wrapped in a cloth pouch.

Devil du­ti­fully obliged us by car­ry­ing the notes and the bun­dles of coins to and fro each day. One day, Devil scam­pered around the nearby garbage dump and came home car­ry­ing a dirty piece of folded pa­per in her mouth. She dropped the pa­per, wet with her saliva, at my mother’s feet. Mother jumped back in dis­gust and was about to throw it away but her sixth sense told her to pick it up and un­fold it. In­side she found three 100 ru­pee notes (the equiv­a­lent back then of around $40). Our ‘money-wise’ Devil con­tin­ued to bring home money again and again, re­gard­less of the con­di­tion of the wrap­per or the smell. She proved in more ways that one, over the next 15 years, that we were the lucky devils to have her in our lives.

The Lizard of Oz


Cud­dles, my Aus­tralian silky ter­rier, and Tiga, my mar­malade cat, have been great mates for 15 years. But nei­ther of them ever ex­pected the ar­rival into their lives of Chop­per, an old blue-tongued lizard.

Chop­per has lived be­neath our back step for the past five years. She of­ten comes to the screen door as if to an­nounce, “Hello, I’m here. I’m awake and ready to play!” While Cud­dles and Tiga seem to be too scared to come out and play with her, she has never shown any sign of fear to­wards them.

In the morn­ing af­ter the cat and dog have been fed, Chop­per ar­rives to sup­ple­ment her usual diet of slugs and snails with any left­over dog or cat food. She has also taught her young how to eat Cud­dles’ and Tiga’s food when they are not around, all the while be­ing care­ful to avoid be­ing caught by birds when out in the open.

Warm and Fuzzy


It was such a cold night that my fam­ily were all wear­ing jumpers, gloves and scarves in­doors and when we sat down to eat our din­ner the steam­ing hot food turned stone cold within sec­onds.

We heard a loud purring noise com­ing from the kitchen door, which leads onto our back­yard. At first, my sis­ter and I ig­nored it but then we went to the kitchen door and shooed away a skinny black cat. But then, re­mem­ber­ing how cold it was that night, I de­cided to give it some left­over meat, a bowl of milk and a small blan­ket. To my as­ton­ish­ment, the cat put the food in her mouth and dragged the blan­ket away with her paws.

Out of cu­rios­ity, I fol­lowed her. In­stead of eat­ing the food and snug­gling into the blan­ket her­self, she gave both things to two kit­tens nes­tled in an old card­board box.

Af­ter giv­ing her kit­tens the food, she stood back from them as if to guard them while they ate. I was amazed at this and re­alised that par­ents, be they hu­man or an­i­mal, are ready to sac­ri­fice their own well­be­ing for that of their young.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY house­of­pets. in­no­va­

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