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Curious mind meanders with animals

Did you know slugs and snails can sleep for three years?

Man, they must have some marathon world-class dreams! And you know they probably drool.

But I wonder if banana slugs on the Oregon coast were sleeping when I stepped on them. I’ll never forget that feeling of their cold goo gushing between my toes and up the side of my foot! Eww! What a slimy sensation that you just can’t unfeel — ever!

It obviously didn’t slither away with any hurry to avoid being squashed. Or maybe it did. You’d never know when a banana slug is in a hurry, would ya?

It probably just thought: “Bad day on the snail trail. OK. Kill me!” Squarsh!

Wonder how fast they breed — because there sure seems to be an abundance of them — and also how quick they grow so they can give you the full loathsome effect you deserve when you step on them barefooted.

I’ve had to have the “We need to put you on a diet” chat with my 14-year-old, 19-pound tailless Manx named Maui. She hasn’t been outside since September, and she has preferred the philosophy of never being in shape her whole life. So why start now?

Honestly, I think she got that from me. But we haven’t gotten serious about it, and I’m not sure I’m ready to watch her go through Meow Mix withdrawals. I do have a cat door at her disposal, so she could go outside if she wanted to. But because it’s so far from her food dish, she ignores it.

Plus, I’m not so sure she wouldn’t get stuck somewhere between in and out — and neither is she — and we both don’t really want to call the fire department to her rescue. Or do they respond only for tree rescue when the victims are cats?

Talk about animal abuse, once a possum was harassing our dog, who subdued it. My husband got a shovel and beat the possum on the head about 10 times before dragging it up to the top of a smudge pot and draping it over the chimney. We went to have pizza, and when we came back, it was GONE!

It probably lay there playing possum the whole time it was being hit in the head saying “ow! ow! ow!” with each blow, all the while keeping its eyes closed tight. I bet that poor thing had a horrendous headache for days after that! Anyway, it cleared out because we never saw it again.

Have you ever wondered when “later” is to a dog? I have followed the neighbor’s dog, Chachis, and watched her bury cookies for “later,” but I have never seen her come back for them. Not once.

Now, for fun, I give them to her, then follow her and dig them up and move them. She has yet to NOT find one where she left it and figure out from my smell that I was the one who relocated it.

She hasn’t ever had the “all right, fool, where did you put it?” talk with me. And she hasn’t ever given me any attitude that would keep me from doing it again.

We learn so much from animals by wondering what a three-year nap must feel like to a slug, to a tailless cat mindlessly eating too many faces full of Meow Mix into obesity, to a possum enduring possible brain damage, just so he can “play possum” (and I’m guessing he isn’t playing), to wondering when “later” is to a dog.

I may not look like I’m doing anything, but in my mind, I’m really quite busy. I wonder about things, and curiosity helps me learn about life.

And the more I learn about life, the more human I become, and isn’t that what makes the world go ’round?

Marilyn E. White lives in Medford.