Bovine Wisdom!

Since childhood I have been told by knowledgeable persons, including my mother and other elders, that animals are better judges of people. Animals instinctively know whom to trust and whom to avoid!

If a dog runs up to someone wagging its tail, that person must indubitably be of very good character. If the dog, on the other hand, takes a dislike and snarls and bares its fangs, the least said about the person the better. That is what I have been given to understand since my childhood. Animals have an uncanny ability to sniff out a person's character. They can see through any kind of hypocrisy!

Well, as I sailed along in life, there have been numerous instances when dogs, complete strangers to me till that point of time, have come running up to me wagging their tails nineteen to the dozen, and I have said to myself, "How true, I am the most saintly person; the dog recognizes it." There have been an equal number of instances when dogs have strained at their leash to snap at me. "Something wrong with the dog; this is what happens when a dog is owned by a crabby master," I have then said to myself.

That is how it has been all along. A dog has either wagged its tail on seeing me, or has snapped at me - absolutely clear signals; no mixed feelings there.

The other day I went to the grocer's, and was awaiting my turn to make purchases when a calf came up and gazed at me lovingly with its large melting eyes. It apparently wanted something to eat. Now there were quite a few customers at the grocer's; why then did the calf have to come to me particularly? The animals, as I said, are better judges of people!

But I had nothing to give it. I could, at the most, give it my affection, and I gave it. I affectionately caressed its head, and turning around to the other customers was about to launch on a discourse about the ability of animals to judge people when I felt a push at my ribs. It was not a gentle push; it was a hard nudge!

The bovine community, I realized, does not take kindly to caresses. At least this calf does not like it at all. Luckily for me, the grocer's wife came along with a bread just then and offered it to the calf. It, therefore, shifted its attention from me to the bread, and I was saved from further nudges.

I hurriedly made my purchases and left the shop without speaking a word about the calf's behavior. Who knows, the calf, after munching the bread, might decide to complete the unfinished task of butting me!

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  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training -
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  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi -
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