When we greet other animals have you ever noticed that, most of the time, people begin by reaching out a hand and placing it on the animal’s face or head?
I watched a person do that recently and, for some reason, in that moment I imagined myself on the receiving end of such a gesture. And I did not like it.
It is a human presumption to assume the right to spread our hands all over the faces of other creatures. We rub their foreheads. We scratch their cheeks. We fiddle with their ears. Animals are quick to assess and respond to our total body language and our grasping, flapping fingers can be very frightening.
Next time you approach a donkey, a dog or a cat, take aim for the side of the body and run your hand gently along its surface. Now, THAT is a real show of affection.
Sandra Pady, DSC Exec. Direc.