I’d like to think animals are empathic. I know when I’m down or sick, our cats–normally aloof the way cats are–will sit on my lap to comfort me. Of course, whenever I’m down or sick, I’m usually eating, so that could have something to do with it, too. But, I’d like to think they’re there for me.
Today, Shimmer and I were walking when we saw a neighbor we hadn’t seen for awhile. We knew through the neighborhood grapevine her husband had passed earlier in the year, so when we didn’t see her tending her impeccable yard the last two weeks, we were starting to worry.
She waved to us from her open garage and Shimmer practically galloped to see her. His tail wagging furiously, he said hello. Shimmer is usually reserved around people, even the ones he likes, so this was a bit out of character. It turned out she had been in the hospital for a new titanium hip and was on the mend. She was happy to see us and asked could I help her with the hose, she wasn’t supposed to bend over. While I watered her yard (Shimmer blessedly did not), I made jokes about my brother’s titanium jaw and the trouble he has with airport scanners. Shimmer stayed by her side like they were best friends from years back. When it was time to go, he seemed a little reluctant to leave, but it was time for his nap before his pre-dinner time nap, so off we left. She thanked me for the help and said good-bye to “Shwimmer.”
I’m not sure if Shimmer knew she needed some TLC at that moment, or was just happy to see her again, but, as I said before, I’d like to think animals are empathic.