As some of you know, we have a house full of animals: four doves, two cats, a Quaker parakeet, a dog, two canaries, and some fish at the office. In addition, we live across from a lake in a little wooded area with birds of all shapes and sizes.

Our cats and dog have always had an active sibling relationship. Our oldest cat is 19 years old and she has a definite “stay to herself personality.” She has always been this way, but will come and warm up when we are very quiet. The other cat and our dog respect this and give her wide berth.

We feed the wood ducks frequently and they come over to our yard and pay us a visit every morning and sometimes later during the day. We also go to visit their various families at the lake whenever our granddaughters come over, and at other times when we have a few minutes. Mika, our dog, always goes along. Over the months the ducks have come to know that they can trust Mika to hang around and not be a problem for them. Occasionally she will playfully scamper toward them, but this is rare. The ducklings are now learning to trust Mika also. Each fall the mature ducks move on to other lakes and streams and the young ones stay behind to winter over and raise their own new babies the next year. We faithfully feed them through the cold winter months, as do most of our neighbors.

Our cats give space to our birds, although our younger cat does like to annoy the canaries by poking her paws in their cage. I guess you could call it play time.

So we have many of those moments of encounter in our animal family world: watching the first hello, the thoughtful pause, waiting for trust to be established.

These pictures that I have found on the internet in a variety of places captures some of the essence of animal relationships. I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks to for several of the pictures.