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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)

TITLE: Animals Usually Don't
By Wilma Schlegel


Nose down, tail waving side to side like a band-front flag, Deeg bounded from the car.
He loved his walk almost as much as his dog food (or any food) and you could see it in his every action.

Reaching the trail before me, he turned, cocked his head and perked his long ears. ( I didn’t know that a hound dog can perk his ears, but yes, even a Basset can.)

“I’m here, Deeg,” I called and he waited until I caught up. Then he trotted along happily in front of and a little to my side.

I had to smile, his trot always reminded me of some cartoon character - Barney Rubble, maybe? Cute, I thought, and honest. Dogs don’t try to pretend or put on airs. We could learn from their example. He’s happy and he doesn’t mind showing it.

Suddenly, Deeg pulled to the side, zig-zagged and found some interesting scent.

I pulled my coat more closely around me in the chill air.

Approaching us from the other direction came - someone in a big hurry? No, it was a speed walker. Her arms pumped in time with her powerful stride. Deeg didn’t lift his head, but his tail wagged.

“Howyadoin’?” She asked hurriedly.

“Good, but I’m freezing,” I answered.

“Pick up the pace, you’ll warm up.” the speed walker said as she passed.

“Thanks,” I called to her disappearing back.

“It’s not going to get any better!” she called.

I frowned at Deeg and shrugged my shoulders. “What do you think she meant by that?” I asked him.

He continued sniffing until the rabbit he was tracking leapt out in a jagged line ahead of us.

“Deeg, you scared him,” I observed.

Further along our walk I noticed lots of birds. Junco’s fluttered here and there, some cardinals and a blue jay jumped branch to branch in some trees near a house. I even saw two kinds of woodpeckers - a Downy and a Red-sided hopping and pecking their way up a couple of trees. It appeared that all the birds were in constant motion.

I’ve seen that kind of body language before, I thought, but it’s kind of early in the season...


The snow came the next morning; heavy, fluffy and falling fast. I ran outside with Deeg.
His nose was to the white stuff on the ground, his ears raking up little clumps that stuck to them. I twirled around with my tongue out catching snowflakes.

My mind went to the speed talking, speed walker from yesterday. I guess this is what she was warning us of, I thought. Funny, I understood it more clearly from the birds’ activity!

“Thank you, Lord, for the snow,” I prayed. “And thank you that while humans sometimes speak in riddles, animals usually don’t.”

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This article has been read 287 times
Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay12/03/10
a doggy tale is a perfect theme for this story
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/05/10
This was a great story. I took the speed walker to mean exercise isn't going to get any better unless she started moving faster. Then when the magic of the birds was described I thought the speedwalker would have missed this beauty in her hurry. It's nice when a story can mean more than one thing to each person. Good job.
Nancy Bucca12/06/10
Fun take on topic: learning more from animals' actions than quick-talking humans. Yes, there's a lot we can learn from dogs and birds...