When I see an animal, I have an overwhelming desire to smoosh my face against theirs. Horses, bearded dragons, birds, dogs, cats, unicorns. We’re taught at a young age not to do this because the animal might get spooked and react, understandably, violently. News flash, this is not a deterrent for me.
I want to get as close to them as possible. I’ll throw myself on the grass in front of a chipmunk whose made the mistake of popping its head out of the ground. So far, they all flee in terror but I’m not giving up. If it’s a dog, I’ll put my face right in theirs and go in for a snuggle.
When I met my aunt’s newest dog, I flopped right down in front of her and dispensed kisses and belly rubs immediately. My aunt’s response was, “You really get down on their level, don’t you?” Every time. If I’m looming over an animal, I feel like I’m intimidating them, when all I want is for them to love me. I want to make myself as small as possible to make them as comfortable as possible.
When I’m hanging out with Julian at Winslow, I’ll be on the cobblestones cuddling him. He’s eight inches tall, tops. I’m almost 5’7″ and tower over him. I want him to feel safe, so chicken poop be damned, “hello, ground.” He falls asleep in my arms almost on contact.
I was hand-feeding George the tortoise once and manipulated him into climbing on me. All 35 pounds or so, precariously balanced on my kneecap, as he tottered back and forth. Painful? Yes. Pure joy? Also, yes.
One time I brought mini donkeys Zorro and Bianca a few treats and sat down on the floor of their hut with my back up against the wall. They may be “mini,” but they’re wider and longer than I am tall. On the ground, they’re the looming ones.
For me, it’s just better access for snugs.
Zorro decided to check for more food by biting and stepping on my extended legs. Repeatedly.
Bianca put her face right up next to my ear and stayed still. For minutes at a time. Her soft breath was audible as I gave her kisses on her snoot.
I was barely visible, surrounded by hundreds of pounds of donkey.
I left bruised and happy.
Get down on their level. Sure, it might hurt sometimes, but it’s worth it.