December 27, 2012

One Turkey’s Insistence That She’s A Dog

Animals are so funny. They do and act in such peculiar ways sometimes. They even will act like they are another species. Last week Yahoo! News gave account of such an event. In the United Kingdom, a turkey has embraced dogs as its pals. Cranberry the turkey was adopted by Dawn and Jerry Watkins who live on-site at HorseWorld, a rescue operation for mistreated horses. The couple also works for the rescue operation.

The Watkins found Cranberry wandering around the parking lot and took her in. They introduced the bird to their Labrador retrievers, Teal and Widgeon. The three are all now the best of pals, and Cranberry even has her own kennel. She plays with the dogs, steals their food sometimes, and she even tries to bark like them. And like any good dog, Cranberry likes to go on walks with her pet parents and puppy pals, and she loves to be stroked. This turkey thinks she’s a dog.

Funny enough, I have a little bit of experience with turkeys and with animals that think they are other animals. Let’s start with the turkeys. When I was about twelve, my parents got me a turkey to raise. They really are very cute little birds when their fresh hatched. They have soft feathers and almost coo. I really enjoyed having baby turkey.

Then he grew up. And big turkey was mean; no, he was a bully. I’d go out to feed him and our chickens (as well as gather the chickens’ eggs), and that turkey would chase me, wings flapping, claws ready to rip me to pieces. It was horrifying. Eventually, I just refused to go out there, and my dad had to do it. The turkey chased him even. Soon afterwards, the turkey was dead.

I did not have a sweet Cranberry the turkey, obviously. I think that had Cranberry been mine, I would not be so afraid of turkeys. Even now when I see a turkey, I prepare for the chase. Yikes!

My second related story is of an animal who thought he was some other animal. I had a goat, named Napoleon because he was a pygmy goat, who lived with my dogs. At first he acted like a goat: ate goat food, bleated like a goat, and even rammed to some extent. He was a goat. But within weeks, he would no longer eat the goat food I put out for him. He only wanted dog food. When I would take my pups for a walk, Napoleon started to cry. I had to get him a leash and walk him, too. He stopped ramming and climbing. His bleat changed to that of a bark. It was so weird.

I didn’t know that animals could or even would assimilate like that. It was pretty sweet how he would cuddle with my dogs, all curled up just like they were. When I’d go out to play with them, he would lick my hands just like the dogs. And that bark was just hilarious. He still sounded like a goat, but it was short and more dog-like. Too funny.

Like Cranberry the turkey, Napoleon the goat thought he was a dog. I guess the dog’s life must be pretty good for two different species to imitate. Animals are just too funny.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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