I’m doing research for an article on the 20-year anniversary of the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, and they have a big emphasis on enrichment—activities that stimulate the animals either mentally, physically, emotionally or socially.
Which makes me wonder, how are Polo and Clover doing on the enrichment scale?
I do vary the routes of our walks, so that means a variety of feral cats and white-tailed deer. Once we walked in the daylight and they saw a cow! They were ready to take her down and have a barbecue right there in the middle of Lower Crabapple Road (sans fire).
This time of year, I leave a door open so Polo and Clover can come in and out all day. I would think they would get tired of the same old squirrels, but they never do. Thursdays are exciting because that’s when the trash truck comes down the alley. There have been a succession of dogs that have come and gone in our neighbor’s yards, each one providing new opportunities for socialization. And there always seem to be certain people who like to get their exercise walking down our alley. I guess they think it’s safer, but actually, they’re in mortal danger if Major, the dog behind us, ever manages to scale his fence.
This morning, I slept in, which I almost never do. Clover’s idea of enrichment was to leap into bed with me and then go back to sleep as soon as she was sure she had awakened me. Polo stayed cuddled quietly with our daughter, although when I opened the door at 7 a.m., she ran out as fast as she could. Humans only enrich her for a limited amount of time before she’s ready to take on the backyard.
At the moment, Polo and Clover are both outside, enjoying the cool sunshine.