Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pet Personalities - and Unusual Rescues!

My e-mail address is on Yahoo, so I often visit its home page. It has links to all kinds of articles, including the biggest news stories of the day, entertainment tidbits, weather, and more. Yesterday there was a link to an article called Do Pets Have Personalities? Silly question, of course, and that’s how the article started. People who have pets KNOW they have personalities.

Their personalities depend somewhat, of course, on their heredity. My older son Eric is now the proud papa of a Puli puppy. They recently visited my mother-in-law on her farm--and Piper the Puli proceeded to try to herd Grandma! Of course Pulik (the plural of Puli) are Hungarian sheepdogs. The housecat apparently stood her ground, arched her back, and refused to be herded, though.

Then there are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I’ve had quite a few in the many years they’ve owned me, and each has had a different personality. Sometimes it’s a factor of who else is in the household. My first Cavalier Panda tried to out-male my husband Fred when they first met. Panda had been my buddy first, and he believed he was head of the household. The only other male I’ve owned, Micquey, came along when our two sons were young, so he unfortunately was treated more like a dog since the kids ruled. Consequently, he acted more like a dog.

Now, we’re empty nesters. Lexie’s our number one puppy at five years old, and I keep telling her that--even though she’s sometimes dubious, now that four-month-old Mystie’s part of the family. Lexie and Mystie play a lot, but I also try to make sure Lexie gets extra attention whenever possible, since Mystie’s young enough to need a lot of supervision and care.

Not only that, but Mystie is the most mischievous Cavalier puppy I’ve owned since Panda was a pup. She loves to find ways to outmaneuver me, so I have to be careful that she can’t hurt herself. If we put gates on the stairways, she goes through them. If we cover the gates, she finds ways to move the covers. She perches on the back of our sofa--and jumps down, despite being such a little girl. Adventurous, so we have to keep close watch on her.

Fortunately, Lexie’s tolerant, although sometimes she acts upset with me for bringing this interloper in. How do I know? She snuggles with me less, even when I make time for her when Mystie’s asleep or in another room. Still, Lexie’s favorite spot is my lap while I’m editing at the kitchen table, and at least that hasn’t changed.

So back to that article. Apparently there’ve been a lot of studies about animal personalities. I’m sure the researchers have fun, but I wonder at the time and money spent to figure out something so obvious. All right, I’m simplifying. There are a lot of aspects to determining personality, like defining and observing traits that exemplify them, since the animals being studied don’t talk to their observers.

Okay, I interrupt this blog because of another news story. My husband just told me about a short blurb on CNBC that I had to follow via links. Seems that a cocker spaniel pup named Snickers was rescued by a Norwegian Cruise ship after being marooned on Fanning Island when its owners were rescued from there. The owners purportedly couldn’t go back for the pup but were being interviewed on all sorts of TV shows. Maybe... I don’t know. But I visited Fanning Island in the Kiribati Republic as part of a Hawaiian cruise, and the island is populated. Apparently it’s illegal to import animals there, so it was a really great thing for the cruise ship to rescue Snickers. They probably saved his life, and I salute them.

But the other thing that I can’t find answers to is that, along with Snickers, the owners’ Blue-and-Gold Macaw Gulliver was also left behind when the ship that rescued the owners did not permit animals to board. Where’s Gulliver now??? Some of what I read indicated that if the bird was not also rescued, the island’s inhabitants might eat him. And now none of the articles mentions him... Poor Gulliver! But thank heavens that Snickers is apparently okay and now living inland in Nevada.

I think I’d better stop watching, and reading, news that relates to animals. I get much too emotional!



Anonymous said...

Anonymous Kate here.
Uh, Linda, perhaps the story didn't explain this, but I'm wondering how is it that those people got to Fanning Island that they needed to be rescued from it? An inhabited island...couldn't they just go where the other people were? Okay, it might not have much (or easy) communication with the outside world, but it has to have some, as I doubt they are able to subsistance farm/fish their whole just doesn't work that way anymore. And if they kept their animals with them, who was 'rescuing' them the first time around who wouldn't let them bring the pets in that first go?
Otherwise, these people sound as if they might not have been the best owners those critters could have hoped for, ya know what I mean?

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Anonymous Kate--there was an awful lot not explained here. The island is remote but there were quite a few people around when we visited. Plus, ships landed there at least now and then. And the people apparently didn't take their puppy back after he was rescued. All these unanswered questions were part of what concerned me about the situation. I'll keep an eye out for further answers!

zhadi said...

I just read that article and all I can say is if Snickers was my dog, I'd have made sure I'd gotten him back at the end of the day. I agree with anonymous re: the owners. I can't read/watch articles to do with animals unless they're happy ones and even then, I get all emotional. Thus speaks a woman with nine cats and a dog...