I’ve learned much since my first missive. While my mental capabilities are far superior, I’ve come to realize the few advantages she has allow her to believe she holds the upper hand in our little pas de deux. Actually, there are only two advantages she has, but they are major.
The first is size. She can easily scoop me up in one of her massive paws. This is not mere hypothesis; it happens to me multiple times on a daily basis. Just when I find a cozy nook in the closet I’ll look up to see one of them coming at me. I can’t figure her out. When I attempt to include her in my games (I adore many of her dangly earrings and other jewelry), she picks me up and moves me to the couch. Okay, I can stay away; there is a nest of wonderfully pliant wires behind the TV set, and I can have just as good as a time playing there. That should be perfect, right? Nope, as soon as I start having fun there she is, bending down, picking me up and tossing me off to somewhere else. It’s clear her size is vastly out of proportion to her intelligence.
The second area where she has been blessed with a physical advantage is located right on those aforementioned meaty paws. I’m talking, of course, of her opposable thumbs. Sure, I have marvelously dexterous claws that allow me to pick up a single grain of rice one minute and eviscerate a vole the next; but I can’t turn the door knob to go outside, or open a can of that delectable food I get only sporadically. Oh, the cruel irony of fate and evolution. Were that I were her size, and with even one opposable thumb!
Still, I’m not one to dwell on the negative. I’ve been working on a few tricks, and while her ability to learn is painfully slow, there is some progress. The game I’ve been working on the most is one I call “Hallway escape”. It’s very simple, and deliberately so; to date I’ve caught only the faintest glimmers of cognitive abilities from her. Here is how the game works: when I hear her approaching the front door, I lie in wait and then dart out into the hallway.
At first, to help her learn, I would stop right outside the door. I can’t tell you how proud I was the first time I tried this game. She went to the front door, and I ran and hid on a chair located next to it. As soon as she opened the door I darted outside and then waited. Would she notice I was out? Would she know what to do? I held my breath waiting. She got it! Right off the bat, she noticed me and let me spend a little time enjoying the carpet before she picked me up and brought me back inside. It was a big moment. She’s picked up this game far better than I thought she would. Now we play it from either side of the door. I race up and down the hallway while she follows behind me, waiting until I’m ready to go back in the house. It’s one of our most fun times of day.
So, I have hope. I think that with time she may end up being fairly useful. If you don’t believe me, just come over one evening around the time she gets home from work. Watch me race out the door and down the hallway, with her dutifully following behind, letting me enjoy the delightfully scratchy carpeting before we go back in house, where she will immediately give me more food. That didn’t just happen; it’s the result of months of work on my part. They say you can’t train humans, but I know that’s not true. It just takes patience.