I am fully convinced that I can reason with almost any animal (except reptiles or great white sharks) on the planet, simply by gazing into its eyes.
Now, I know that might seem unreasonable, and maybe even insane, but I submit as evidence the following:
1. Never bitten by the dozens of strays I brought home/interacted with while I was growing up. In all fairness, I probably should have lost at least a finger or two, considering that I never really considered dog body language and what it might be telling me.
Did you know a wagging tail does not always mean a dog is happy to see you? Many people believe that, but dogs actually have a huge tail vocabulary and many types of wagging, even wagging that indicates potential aggression.
2. Never been bitten by any of the animals I have been worked with in my volunteer shelter work (dogs) or in my work with wild critters in rehab (squirrels, assorted birds, raccoons, skunks, possums) or in my one summer volunteering at a zoo (kangaroos, meercats, bats, goats, pigs, birds, foxes, baby chimps, etc.)
Not to say I was not terrorized to a certain extent by the raccoons especially. Picture a kennel with a six pack of little masked bandits. Awwww, right? Now picture them using their clever little paws to climb all over each other to reach you so you can jam a bottle in their gullet. Who knew a little baby could be so fast and strong?
3. Never been bitten by an 8th grader. Har har har.
4. Barney Fritch--well, his escapades are legend and they include biting. He has growled at me on occasion, but we are scarily bonded. In fact, sometimes when I wake up at night, he is on my side staring right into my eyes. More on Barney later. He totally deserves his own post.
To be continued....in part 2 of "Irrational Beliefs."