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On Sunny Lane: If Animals Could Talk

I was on my daily walk down Sunny Lane one day last week when I heard a rustle in the thicket to my left.

I assumed it was a squirrel or chipmunk and kept on walking. We get lots of different kinds of animals on Sunny Lane, even though we are just a few miles from town. Some have taken up residence in our yard and some only visit from time to time.

Sweetheart and I have seen just about every kind of animal that is native to Western Pennsylvania on our little plot of land. They scurry about gathering nuts and climbing trees, swinging from limb to limb like Tarzan. They don’t have much to say, though.

Of course, birds twitter. Some people can tell what kind of bird they are by hearing their songs. There is a chipmunk that has been coming close to the house lately that makes a chirping sound that could pass for a bird. The imposter!

It seems that nearly every animal makes a sound of some sort that helps them communicate with others of their species. There are some, however, that don’t seem to communicate vocally. (Maybe, they don’t have any vocal cords.)

Some animals don’t make a sound unless they are cornered or harmed. I can testify to that. A few years ago, I was digging potatoes in the garden when my spade hit a toad that had been living there. “Ooh!” it said.

I apologized profusely, picked out my potatoes, and moved on to the next hill of potatoes, hoping there was no living creature residing there. I will never forget that sad little cry of pain. I had never heard a toad say anything before that day.

Just the other day, I saw three woodpeckers through our living room window. In fact, I had just come inside from chasing one off the side of the house, where it was planning to make a meal.

As the two red-headed woodpeckers flew to a tree, I could see them shuffling up the trunk and heard them squeak as they went.

Animals probably don’t need much in the way of vocal communication. Their needs appear to be few and most individual animals spend most of their time individually.

Humans are fortunate that, because we interact with other humans quite frequently, we can be vocal. In fact, we are not just vocal, we are verbal. 

Being verbal has united us in a lot of ways. It has also divided us in some ways.

The problem is that our vocal cords seem to be connected to our brains. Maybe, it’s the brain that is causing the problem. Or, maybe, the problem is that different brains think different things. Or, maybe, it isn’t even a problem.

Maybe, it’s okay to think different things and say different things. Maybe, we just need to let each other do that.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at

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