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After a long hard day at work Richard and I come home hoping to just sit back and relax for the evening. What are we met with upon our arrival? Only just the most excitable pigeon ever who’s been treading through his own droppings and making a right mess. Dear Elmo boy. He’s discovered the window ledge and spends most of his time there looking out into the garden at the feral pigeons, woodpigeons, squirrels, blackbirds and robins that visit the bird feeder. Unfortunately he doesn’t always poo over the side so he ends up walking through his droppings and staining his feet and the ledge. We’ll need to look into covering it with cloth to prevent him making such a mess.

So after cleaning Elmo’s mess (and trying to catch him to clean his feet before he walks through the entire flat) we are greeted by Georgie’s messy cage. Some days it is quite clean but other times she’s decided to redecorate with water and shredded newspaper (I applaud her efforts but ultimately have to tell her that it’s a tad bit outdated). Georgie is always equally happy to see us. She leaps at the bars and as soon as I pick her up she cooes and dances on the palm of my hand. Sweet.

The only other animal I’ve had that has shown the same amount of pleasure and excitement in seeing me when I come home has been my cairn terrier, Nyytti (which means ‘bundle’ in Finnish). She would go bananas and wiggle about in greeting, howling with all her might. Thinking about her makes me sad (since she died four years ago) but also content in knowing how much we loved each other and showed each other this daily. How lovely it is to be able to do that without any misunderstandings, hesitations or uncertainty!

Human beings are very complicated and miscommunication is all too common. With my dog it was very easy and simple: “I love you, Nyytti, and I let you know this by caring for you properly, by giving you affection, by understanding what you need when you need it, and by accepting your faults. And you love me and let me know this by giving me your affections, your desire to be with me, your instincts for knowing my emotions and how to react, and ultimately accepting my faults.” I like to think that Richard and I have this sort of understanding. Naive or just plain animal love? :)

I guess dogs wear their hearts on their sleeves, and I think pigeons do too. Elmo and George show us that they are happy we are home and that they love us and we do the same. Nothing beats that excited joyous greeting when you come home, be it from a dog or a pigeon. And with any luck you may receive such a greeting from another human being.