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What’s Your Antenna?

May 3, 2011

The other night I was making the evening rounds and I see Tess (the cat) sleeping soundly on our bed, in kitty dreamland. I proceed downstairs and slowly open our family room sliding glass door so the dogs can have a last evening potty break. Then – out of nowhere – Tess comes pouncing down the stairs making a beeline for the sliding door. Never mind she was sound asleep not even two minutes a ago. To Tess, with that sliding door came the prospect of freedom.

After watching Tess run like a bat (cat?) out of hell toward the door, I turn to Bryan and said, “It’s as if Tess has an antenna for the sliding door to the backyard.” She has a sense when that door opens it’s her cue to get the heck out of Dodge.

The more I thought about that concept, I realized that every creature in this house has an antenna. Casey’s antenna is food. She can be fast asleep upstairs and I’ll be in the kitchen quietly prepping a meal. I slowly open a package of chicken or cheese and seconds later, Casey is there begging for food. Perhaps it’s her keen sense of smell (she is half-beagle). But it’s crazy how she can sense a packet of turkey being opened from so far away.

Romeo’s antenna is affection. Romeo is a “needy” dog; he needs a lot of attention, petting and love. In fact, the commands he knows best is, “Go lie down,” because it’s his cue to stop begging for touches and leave us humans alone for ten seconds. It’s sweet … for five minutes and then it’s enough, really.

But where his antenna comes into play is when you’re giving love and affection to another animal in the house. Romeo can be upstairs and out of sight when I decide to give Casey a few rubs. Out of nowhere, there’s Romeo, making his way to me to get himself some attention. How does he know that I’m loving someone else in that very moment?! His antenna radar must go into full force when anyone is being touched or petted.

Sophie has her antennas too. Lately candy sets off Sophie’s antenna. If I so much as open a bag of jelly beans (open, not pour them) or remove a bag of M&M’s from the pantry, there she is, with her hands (and mouth) wide open. How on earth did she know chocolate is available?

Even I have an antenna. And these days, mine detects silence. The instance the house is quiet for more than a minute, my antenna is sounding that I need to see what’s afoot. While the antenna can give off false positives, most frequently, that sensor is dead-on indicating silence can equal trouble from the Sophie or the animals. Perhaps that’s the parent antenna that is installed automatically when your child is born.

I wonder, do antennas change over time? Maybe; though these dogs and cats seem to be pretty consistent in what their Spidey sense picks up on. All I know is when I get ready to open the sliding door, I stand guard for Tess. I never leave turkey meat – and candy –unattended. And silence is not always golden.

What’s your antenna? What about your pets? Do they have a sixth sense for their favorite past time?


25 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 4:50 am

    My lil dog is the same way! Leah, I think mine is the smell of coffee. I’m the only person in our household who drinks it, but my kind husband will sometimes wake up early and perk it for me downstairs. Then I run down the steps nearly as quickly, perhaps not as gracefully, as Tess…

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:34 pm

      Ha, that’s funny. I love the smell of coffee too. That will perk up my antenna as well.

  2. May 4, 2011 5:52 am

    This is an interesting question to pose Leah. I have to think about my “antenna” and what really sets my sensors off. I will say, I used to always think that ex-boyfriends of mine and my girlfriends had an “antenna” as to when we were happy in a new relationship. It was like somehow they knew that’s when they should call again! 🙂 That’s a glib answer to your question, but for some reason it made me think of us always saying that!

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:34 pm

      I think that counts! 😉

  3. May 4, 2011 6:25 am

    Oh yes, our cat does have an antenna for meat and fish, and our daughter for candy. As to my antenna… well, I have to think that over. 🙂

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:35 pm

      Isn’t it funny how candy is such a strong pull? Of course, I can usually sniff out a dish of candy at work at 3 p.m. for a sugar rush too.

  4. May 4, 2011 9:28 am

    My antenna goes off when something is eating at my husband. He has a rough childhood and is still working through the toll it’s taken. I often know that he is battling something internally before he does.

    On a lighter note, I also have a Spidey sense when it comes to “fake” girls. You know, the ones that act all nice and try to be your friends, but in reality they are just trying to use you for something. 🙂

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:36 pm

      I SO hear you on that! I’m the same way – I can always tell when something is bugging my husband. And yes, fake girls — good to have the spidey sense on that one!

  5. May 4, 2011 9:33 am

    Great blog, Boo. Great word choices, too. Tess is such a beautiful puddy tat! Ummm, I think my antenna is silence, too. However, when there’s silence it means I can sit down and cuddle up with a book. “Specially at night! 🙂

  6. May 4, 2011 10:03 am

    My antenna is for cars arriving at late hours….established by teen drivers! My husband’s is for the furnace coming on, a reminder that we may be getting low on oil for the furnace (east coast….oil is delivered by truck!). Our black lab’s is food of course, but specifically when my husband rustles the bread bag for bread and butter, she comes running! Funny!

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:37 pm

      I can see the cars and teen drivers would for sure cause the antenna to rise. Thank goodness I have a few more years on that one.

  7. May 4, 2011 12:35 pm

    What a thought-provoking post, Leah. I’m not sure I have an antenna for a certain thing… I seem to just be “tuned in” to people’s emotions and able to read between the lines. In my roles in corporate and higher ed communications, I seemed to be the company’s psychologist, rather than writer. People just kind of gravitated toward me to share this problems. I think this is somewhat akin to a ‘sixth sense’ in that I can generally peg what’s eating at a person WAY before my husband draws that conclusion (but then again, he’s a man. And their empathy and intuitive genes aren’t as well developed) :-).

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:39 pm

      Your colleagues must be able to sense your antenna powers if they come to you with their angst. Clearly you have something there. Thanks for commenting!

  8. May 4, 2011 5:39 pm

    My cat – for sure food, my hubby – anything to do with cigar smoking, me – just like you peace and quite

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:41 pm

      So with you on the peace and quiet!

  9. May 4, 2011 6:19 pm

    Ooo, great question! I had to think about this one. Like many mothers, I’m tuned in to silence. And, like Melissa, my antenna can be tuned into people’s emotions. However, since the two people I interact with most are 2.25 years and 7 months old, I’d say that antenna is probably not as sharp for adults anymore…

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:42 pm

      Yes, but it’s probably extra sharp for young ones!

  10. May 4, 2011 8:09 pm

    What a neat post! Our dogs do the same when the door is opened … no matter what they’re doing, they all come bounding up to the door. For me, it’s probably the smell of any food … 🙂

    • Leah permalink*
      May 4, 2011 10:43 pm

      Yes, I can sniff out food like my beagle. It’s sad, but true. Aren’t the dogs funny how they can just sense these things? They crack me up!

  11. May 5, 2011 6:03 am

    Our dog has an antenna for human affection. He barks endlessly if anyone in our house gives anyone else in our house a hug. The sound of an ice cream bucket is when my antenna perks up. I cannot for the life of me think if there is something that raises awareness for my kids or husband. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Cute post! MMF

  12. May 5, 2011 9:23 am

    Our pomeranian shares my love of peanut butter crackers and she materializes when I open the crinkly wrapper. (Yes, I know this is not good for her.) But it’s not all that healthy for me either.

    I’m not sure about my antennae, but I can usually sense when my kids are not working on their schoolwork. Even when they’re upstairs with the door shut. Video games simply produce a different sort of quiet than pens and papers.

  13. May 5, 2011 7:40 pm

    This is fun to think about 🙂 Our young lab begins to salivate any time ANY food appears, our old whippet is mostly too old to care unless he happens to be awake & downstairs already, the cat bolts for our old back door when we let our doggies out too, and my 14 yo ALWAYS appears when me & the hubby are talking about something serious or private (she’s got some definite ESP antenna powers going on!!)

    My hubby seems to have a sense for when I’m writing & want to actually be left alone, and that seems to be when he seeks me out. I have an antenna honed in on my 18 yo’s car & can sense the lack of movement from my 14yo when she should be doing schoolwork and/or chores when actually she’s become inert w/reading or writing (which I know aren’t horrible things to be discouraged, but when it’s every day, all day long while neglecting things that NEED to be done– come on!! I’d like to read & write all day too…. can you hear me whining??)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!
    Denise

    • Leah permalink*
      May 5, 2011 10:54 pm

      Sounds like we have lots in common, Denise. I’d say the other antenna my daughter has is anytime my husband and I want to have a conversation. That seems to be when she decides to need me, sing loudly, or make a ton of noise. Never fails! Thanks so much for your comments!

  14. May 6, 2011 4:22 am

    I upgraded my chocolate antenna for a state of the art radar 🙂

  15. May 6, 2011 9:06 am

    Growing up, my cat Mittens, could sense frozen shrimp still in its packaging, the minute my mother took it out of the freezer! Now, our neighbor cat usually only comes to let me pet him if I am running late or have an event to get to!

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