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What Do You Know?

Metacognition in the Menagerie


I ask the animals in my house, “What have you learned lately?” Here are their replies.

Serafina, gray cat, says, “I’ve learned that every house lives a different lifestyle.  People are happiest when they take care of their spaces.  I have learned that there are all kinds of love.  There is romantic love, love for a child, and love for a pet, and there is the kind of love where one feels compassion or sorrow for another.  I have learned it is best to think about life in a quiet place.”

Laura Stinchfield

Makia, white cat, says, “I have learned that skunks live in human spaces but rarely show themselves to humans, that a skunk can be your friend if you promise not to hunt their babies, and that they are very similar to cats in ways of agility, flexibility, and love for their family. I have learned that I feel best eating the freshest foods available.”

Bean the bunny says, “I have learned that I feel the most comfortable in homes that have less activity.  I have learned that humans have children that they treat like pets.  Salad is always my favorite meal, and sometimes I would rather smell fresh air and imagine the scenery then actually look out an open window.”

Stormy, Aussie dog, says, “I have learned that if I push myself I can walk farther than I thought.  I have learned that eating on a schedule helps my digestion.  I have learned that my mom (human) treats us pets with more kindness than some humans treat each other.  I have learned to love many humans for exactly who they are.”

Luca, poodle, says, “I have learned that I want to play more than others.  I have learned that if I think about the beach over and over my friends will take me there.  I have learned that people love me for me, not just cause I am beautiful.  I have learned that if no one wants to play with me and I play with myself, I can feel happier during and relaxed afterward.”

Honey, Lab, says, “I have learned that animals can talk to each other about everything they have learned. I’ve learned that if you growl at a puppy for annoying you, they most likely will leave you alone, and that I feel better with a walk in the morning and in the afternoon — fresh smells take the pain out of my body.

Summer, Lab, says, “I’ve learned to be brave when there are a lot of people around.  I have learned to stay away from danger by staying close to my people.  I have learned that if my people make an effort to feed me good food, much of my body pain and itches go away.  That it is fun to watch other dogs play.  I have learned that if people think about what they say before they say something, everyone is happier.”

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