There is a horse named Russell who lives at the barn where Scooter is…he has a reputation of being cranky and overly possessive of his space. He pins his ears at some horses/people who walk by or try to interact with him without his invitation. Several months ago, I started giving him loving attention, telling him he was such a nice fellow and that I completely understood his need for privacy. Every day before I leave, I give him a cookie in his bucket after asking him to back up and put on a friendly face. He now nickers when he sees me and is pleasant to be around. It’s clear he enjoys being understood for who he is.
Personal space is extremely important to animals as well as people. Think of someone marching right up to you and talking to your face….or feeling crowded by someone who stands too close behind. It’s a matter of respect and kindness. When we understand that animals want respect to go both ways and when we cease looking upon them as not deserving of our sensitivity, we gain not only their friendship and love…..we expand the bubble of goodness which can affect everyone around us.