by Karen Duvall
Have you ever noticed how your pets pick up on your moods? If you’re feeling down, your beloved dog or cat instinctually knows you need a cuddle. Or if you’re cranky, they may become subdued and avoid contact altogether. I’m a generally calm person and rarely get cranky (or if I do it’s because of something they did).
When my pets get moody it’s usually triggered by… Your guess is as good as mine. Who knows why they get worked up? But they have their ways, and they can carry on entire conversations with each other using just their body language and facial expressions. It’s open to interpretation, which I’m always happy to do.
Kinsey, my dog, is typically very happy. Always high energy, always sassy, always wagging her tail, and always bugging the cats. At least that’s how she is during the day. With her energy levels on extreme overdrive, she’s bound to crash at some point and when she does, it’s best to stay out of her way. She doesn’t act like the same dog when she’s sleepy and she wants nothing to do with anyone, including me. She’s quick to snap and I don’t think she’s even conscious she’s doing it. Kinsey is hyper alert when she’s tired.
Kinsey: Asleep on the bed and snoring loudly.
Sammy (my little tuxedo cat) whispers: Just jump up on the other side of the bed. She won’t even know you’re there.
Cody (my black & white scaredy-cat): Not gonna do it. No how, no way.
Teddy (my 34-pound Tom cat): Come on, it’s no big deal. Leaps up on the bed a few feet from Kinsey, who lifts her head and gives him the stink-eye but is too sleepy to do anything else.
Cody: That’s easy for you to say, Ted. You’re almost as big as Kinsey is. She doesn’t intimidate you.
Sammy: Ah, come on, Cody. We need to stick together for body heat. It’s below zero outside.
Cody: Teeth chattering. I’m plenty warm enough, thank you.
Sammy: Your gums are blue.
Cody: Backs up toward the bedroom door and shakes his head. No.
Sammy: Fine. Go ahead and freeze your nuts off. See if I care.
Cody: I don’t have any nuts.
Sammy: Pauses. Oh, yeah. I forgot.
Cody: It’s your funeral. Turns around and trots down the hall.
Sammy: Sighs. Coward. Hey, Ted, cover me. I’m coming up there.
Teddy: Yawns. What do you expect me to do?
Sammy: Give Kinsey a good smack on the nose if she goes after me.
Teddy: Hesitates and starts grooming himself. Sure thing.
Sammy: Narrows her eyes. I don’t trust you.
Teddy: Stretches and lays on his side, yawning again. Why not?
Sammy: You don’t exactly look ready to defend me.
Teddy: Not my problem.
Sammy: You’re so lazy.
Teddy: Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know.
Sammy: Crouches and prepares to spring. Here goes.
Sammy leaps onto the bed. Kinsey lurches up and barks then snaps at Sammy, barely missing her tail. Sammy hisses and smacks Kinsey hard on the nose once, twice, three times. Kinsey blinks, grunts, then lays back down on the bed.
Sammy: Breathing hard. Damn, I hate it when she does that.
Sammy: Okay, move over, fat-boy. I need some body heat. Curls up next to Teddy.
Teddy: Bites Sammy’s ear.
Sammy: Hisses. Hey!
Teddy glares and Sammy hisses again, then jumps off the bed and runs out of the room.
Teddy: Looks like we have the whole bed all to ourselves.
Kinsey: Stretches and yawns. I thought she’d never leave.
Karen Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series last year, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013.
Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.