The unspoken language of animals will never cease to amaze me. A couple of weeks back, the 4th graders listened to a lecture about animals and their ability to speak. The conclusion was that while animals can’t speak in the traditional sense, they do have their own language. The kids found it fascinating that birds have different calls, dolphins slap the water, and bees dance in figure eights.
Buddy is 14.5 years old. He’s nearly blind, mostly deaf, and has trouble walking because his back legs are beginning to atrophy. He barks to make up for the limitations of his body. He barks when he thinks we’ve all left the room, when he needs help getting up from his pillow, when he wants our attention, and when he wants to go on a walk. Each bark has a different pitch. He only barks once, more if we don’t respond. The sound…it’s like a sharp yipe. That’s the best way I can describe it. Buttercup stay quiet and unruffled through all of it.
Buttercup turns 1 year in February. He has his own language. We can tell when he’s angry, scared, happy, sleepy, or trying to get our attention. Birds are easier to figure out than dogs because each of their calls are so distinct.
I know what they’re trying to say to me. What I didn’t realize is that know they knew what the other is trying to say, too.
Although beagles are known for their howls, Buddy doesn’t do that much anymore. He’s old enough to recognize a real threat. He no longer howls or barks when cars pull into the driveway unless it’s ours. Our car he recognizes the second it turns on our street. So can Buttercup. I always know when the Mister is home because he starts his greeting call. It sounds a bit like a wolf whistle.
The only time Buddy howls is when there is an animal in our yard. Skunks, rats, cats, etc. are unwelcome visitors who can go straight to hell in his book.
This morning Buddy started to howl out of nowhere. I knew immediately something unwelcome had entered our yard. Right away Buttercup started with his alarm call. Buddy has an alarm howl and Buttercup has an alarm call–I didn’t know they knew each other’s alarm calls.
Nico brought Buddy back inside. He stopped howling once he was inside and when he stopped howling, Buttercup stopped calling. Then Buddy went to his cushion and started in on his 22 hour nap while Buttercup preened him.