Reader's Digest Asia Pacific

Smart Animals

Determined animals are intent on getting their own way

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We got so much fun from our two corgis: each had its own unique personalit­y and ‘role’. Danny, the male and the eldest, defended the property and acted as our pint-sized guard dog. Cindy, the female, ruled the roost and called the shots with Danny (and with us, if she could get away with it).

They had been brought up together and were the best of mates, unless Danny challenged Cindy’s authority. Danny knew to let Cindy eat first or he would find himself in trouble. He also knew to only pick up one of the toys she approved of him having, or he would be growled at.

Many a time we watched Cindy growl at him from her basket when he picked up one of the wrong toys. When this happened he would promptly drop it and pick up the next one, often to experience her displeasur­e again.

Cindy really had her patient, goodnature­d mate under her paw. You see, Danny loved walking, Cindy did not, and, as often as not, would lie in her basket and pretend to be asleep when it came to walk time. Danny and I would set off and go across the road to the park when we would hear this imperious barking coming from the house. Danny would stop, hesitate, look at me, look back at the house, and continue to do this

several times. I would say to him, “Danny, don’t be such a wimp, take no notice of her, you are allowed to go for a walk if you want to.” Danny would hesitate, look at me regretfull­y, then turn around and go back home. Her Majesty had called and who was I to compete? She who must be obeyed won out every time.

When Cindy died in 2005, Danny walked with me without hesitation from that point on. How we miss our little control freak, though Danny was now free to be himself.

Danny lived happily for another year before passing away the following winter.


Growing up on a sheep farm in the small northern Victorian town of Nathalia has given me a wonderful appreciati­on for animals. Back in 1999, when the sheep began lambing, my sister and I would bottle-feed orphans and we loved it. It was rather like raising a human baby. We’d take turns in the middle of the night to get up and feed them to ensure they made it through the freezing, frosty cold nights.

One of our pet lambs, Lambie, spent most of her time with our dog, Tiger, a Labrador–Kelpie cross. Whenever visitors or trucks drove down our long driveway past the house, Tiger would run out, barking madly to alert us, and behind him would be our pet lamb, running her little legs off. Convinced she was a mighty fine dog, she’d follow Tiger.

Tiger and Lambie made such a habit of this that they made a wellworn track. It must have seemed strange to Lambie to be stuck up in the back paddock with a heap of strange animals called ‘sheep’. She was quite befuddled about the whole thing, and each morning without fail there she was with Tiger, running past the old shed and wood heap to welcome visitors to our home. We tried on many occasions to put her out the back with the sheep to get her ‘integrated’ but every time she somehow got herself to the house again. How she did it we do not know. She really knew that she was a true-blue sheep dog!

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