I have shared my life with companion animals for more than four decades.
While I realize that my own species, homo sapiens, has evolved to naturally crave and seek out the company of our own kind, my flocking preferences extend a bit further still.
What I mean is, if the only species I'm spending quality time with is my own, I feel like I am missing out.
Oddly, I personally have never had any particular drive to reproduce (my brother, to my parents' endless relief, felt differently and has produced, to date, four stunning miniatures who give me tremendous hope for the next generation).
But my drive to cohabitate has always taken me towards interspecies company, and particularly the good company of parrots and turtles.
Perhaps this is because I find animals easier to learn from and, frankly, to be with.
Humans, with our enormous capacity for nuance and tone, have often confounded me. Whether it is figuring out if someone likes me, hates me, or something else entirely, it can (and often does) take me anywhere from a few minutes to a few years to figure this out.
It is not at all uncommon for me to look back on a memory from years ago, only to experience a sudden random "aha" moment and realize - oh. that's what they meant. This is exactly the sort of information that would have been useful to have when the interaction was actually taking place but just feels frustrating when received months or decades later.
But animals don't mess around. If they want it, they want it. If they don't want it, they don't want it. If they like you, you know it. If they don't like you, you know it.
Not only do I not mind this - I find it refreshing. I also find it remarkably instructive.
Changing my own behavior, my thoughts, my assumptions, becomes much easier when I get what I perceive to be clear, consistent, trustworthy feedback.
(NOTE: I realize animals can be nuanced as well, and this is not to simplify the extraordinary range of animal expressiveness. It is just to say that for whatever reason I find animal communications easier to read for me personally.)
One very intriguing thing I am starting to learn about animals in general and my own animals in particular is that each one has what I would call a "love language."