I have just re-read what I said last year to make sure that what I say now is consistent with previous stories. After all, if I am to make up stories to entertain you I should ensure that at least they have an element of credibility with what was said previously.
We also have a rabbit, a cat and a dog as well as a number of fishes in the pond in the garden. We decided a long time ago that the garden is the best place to have a pond, because if we had it in the living room we might fall in it every time we got up to switch on the TV, or change channels. This decision was made pre-remote control era. See ... consistency in my stories.
Anyway, to continue ... suddenly and quite recently there has been a marked difference in behaviour in Gonzales the tortoise. Usually he sits or sleeps sedately in his box, or chews on a lettuce leaf for ages and does nothing else. But suddenly, perhaps inspired by our dog, his behaviour has changed.
As soon as I get home he comes rushing to me and jumps up high from the ground reaching my chest. He runs round in circles and jumps up again and again until I stoop down and pick him up. When I do so he licks my face happily and wags his little tail excitedly. It's very unusual behaviour for a tortoise, I tell you; but you should see his tail wagging left and right as his tiny tongue attempts to kiss me. I guess it's his way to show me his affection. It's like humans I suspect. Have you never been so excited to meet someone you like that you jumped on them and licked their face? No ... perhaps not.
Also, when I'm out in the garden exercising our dog by throwing a ball the tortoise runs as fast as it can to fetch it before the dog does. Of course, the ball is too big for Gonzales' tiny mouth, so the tortoise let's the dog pick up the ball and then he bites the dog's tail gently so he could be dragged all the way back to me so we can start the game all over again.
Gonzales now insists on going out for walks with the dog. I have made a tiny collar which I place round his neck and attach it to a lead and take both creatures out together. I must say, for a tortoise he certainly keeps up the pace with the dog and I; and lives up to his name perfectly. He even, every now and then, lifts up his back leg like the dog, and pretends to do his business by a tree. The problem here is that sometimes he loses his balance and falls over on his back and is unable to get up again. He rolls backwards and forwards gaining momentum every time in order to finally tip over to his normal upright position. Either that, or the dog rolls him over with his nose.
I don't know how long this behaviour in Gonzales will last. The vet had no explanation to offer and suggested it was "acquired transferable behaviour", whatever that means.
I wonder, have any of you readers experienced such unusual behaviour in your pets? Have you for example ever had a parrot trying to learn to swim? Or a guinea pig or hamster clucking like a chicken? Or any similar uncharacteristic behaviour?
I had a neighbour once who liked to imitate birds. She ate worms. But that's another story!