Have you ever wondered if animals have a sense of humor? Well, I have because living on a farm in Ashtabula County for quite a few years has given me a chance to observe lots of animal behavior. And I’ve decided that something close to humor must be going on in their heads.
Brandy was our daughter’s first riding horse many years ago. Brandy would stand perfectly still to be saddled but after the rider was up in the saddle, she would take about three steps, do a little horse hop and usually the rider was on the ground. Our daughter learned to hang on and not let Brandy buck her off. After the horse realized the rider was staying on, she usually gave up and the rest of the ride was fine. People riding her for the first time were the ones in trouble even though we always tried to warn them. I’m sure Brandy said, “Got ya!”every time she threw a rider off.
A friend of ours had a beautiful black cat named Buzz. Buzz loved to take walks with his owners but would pretend to be lost in the bean fields that surrounded their home. He would “talk” loudly calling for them. When she would meow back at him, he would come dashing out of the beans and continue to walk with them only to play the same game later in their walk.
When we were doing trail rides, one of the horses was a blue Roan pony named “Blue.” It took us more than two rides to realize that while he was being saddled, he probably exhaled. Once he got on the trail, he would simply stop and step out of the saddle. The rider ended up sitting on the saddle, but on the ground, not on the horse. We were sure it was an accident the first time. But after he did it two more times, I don’t think so. I’ll bet he walked away from the rider saying“Got ya!”, just like Brandy.
Years ago we had quite a few goats. Our son was in about fourth grade and had some homework that had to be done for school the next day. Since the whole family was involved with milking and chores, it was very common for the kids to take their homework to the barn and work on the bulk tank in the milkhouse. That particular night I had to feed the calves and goats in the small barn next to the milking barn. I thought we might get a few minutes to finish up his homework. We were busy feeding when he realized that one of the baby goats had grabbed and chewed on his homework. We managed to pull some of it away, but it was a mess. No, his teacher did not believe him when he told her the next day that a goat really had eaten his homework.
Then there are the little Longhorns who try to chase anything smaller than they are. Since they are lowest on the totem pole in the cow pecking order, they seem to think it is their duty to harass the dogs and cats who wander into their pasture. Our small Ernie dog (named after the former Dr. Ernie Kaszar of Dorset) is their favorite target. When he dares to invade their territory following a rabbit scent, they put their little heads down, stomp around and chase him out of the pasture.
Do animals have a sense of humor? I’ll bet nearly everyone has a story to prove it.
Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.