Animals Leaning into Affection (Pet Please #163)

This weekend I had a number of very pleasant interactions with adorable animals (our pets and friends’ pets):

  • At disc golf, Fitz (an Australian Sheepdog) checked on everyone multiple times to make sure they were having fun. I gave him some scratchies on the side of his face as he likes, and he pressed his head into my hands as I did so.
  • Before and during a few games of Betrayal Legacy at a friend’s house, their foster cat climbed onto my chest and purred for a while, nuzzling against my hand. Later, their other cats came to say hi, with smelling and more nuzzling ensuing.
  • While playing birthday games yesterday, our friends’ pit bull mix was a little distraught by an animal outside, so I gave him a good belly rub. He leaned heavily against me while I scratched him.
  • Throughout the weekend, both of our cats–Biddy and Walter–enjoyed plenty of snuggles and cuddles. Biddy leans into affection when you let him touch you with his cold nose, and Walter loves chin scratches.

With this onslaught of adorable animals, I realized that one of my favorite things is when animals lean into affection. It’s such an affirming, communicative gesture.

What types of affection do your animals lean into?

2 thoughts on “Animals Leaning into Affection (Pet Please #163)”

  1. I have an interesting story. Last year my partner and I moved to rural South Australia (an hour north of the famous Barossa Valley wine valley). We live on 80 acres in the bush, in an off-grid eco house with solar power and rain tanks.

    During our first month living there, we stumbled upon a wild Mallee Fowl (a bird featured in Wingspan). Mallee Fowl’s are an endangered species, so it’s quite rare to see one in the wild. They are a very timid animal, so when he saw us (he was a young male that we named Alfred), he sprinted deep into the bush. Over the period of an entire year, Alfred slowly learned that we were not a threat to him. After a year, Alfred would walk up to my feet, look up and study me. Wherever I walked, he would follow.

    Being curious about this creature, we reported him to the National Mallee Fowl Rescue group, which is funded by the Australian government. They informed us that he wasn’t known to be in our area, and that this was the first reported sighting of a Mallee Fowl in the area since 1850. In the end, despite my love for him and his curiosity of me, my partner and I decided to let the National Parks Department to relocate him to Pooginook Conservation Park (where other Mallee Fowls live).

    I never patted or fed him, but I guess there was a kind of indirect affection between us.

    If you want to see photos of him, I have some on my Instagram account:

    • That’s a beautiful story, Steve–thank you for sharing. It’s incredible that you befriended such a rare bird in that area.


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