Deciphering Pengda

Though I wanted to be a zoologist when I was in 4th grade (because I thought it meant a career as a zookeeper) I don’t have much experience with animals beyond cats, dogs and lately, horses. Add in the complications of some kind of blended creature and I’m really in new territory.

Pengda’s panda ears are just adorable and very expressive. They’re a little softer and fluffier than the rest of his body. He doesn’t really like to be petted, but occasionally he will allow some ear scratches.

In the early days after he arrived we learned that he would tap his feet to indicate “Yes” (two taps) and “No” (one tap, usually is right foot). Then we noticed that his ears also contribute context and feelings. Most of the time, Pengda is ears forward, gleefully zooming around on the Roomba, playing in the sand at the park or floating in the bathtub where he seems to sing to himself.

Curious or conflicted or deciding, then one ear might be slightly askew. Angry or wary of a new visitor (human or beast) then ears WAY back. Pinned, kind of the way our horse Doc does when he is unhappy about the speed in which you are producing his next meal.

When he really needs your attention, he has one word. Now Gracie and I disagree about what that word is. She thinks (and writes here in her blog posts) that he says, “Meeeeeep!” I think it’s more of a “Maaaaaaaah!” Regardless, when you hear this sound coming from this sweet, funny  little guy, you take notice. In fact, I hear it now. Might be time to whip up another batch of tots.



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