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Animals seem to have a sixth sense, don’t they? Like when they know a storm is coming and birds freak out in flock, or dogs start barking at an invisible threat, Dorian does the same. He’s a rather intuitive iggy. It’s most apparent when I’m stressed. Dorian has this innate sense of times that I’m stressed. He of course get stressed too, and not because I’m curt with him, or I’m particularly cold and unfriendly around him. There have been days where I have snapped at him for being a naughty iggy and I say something like “I don’t have time for this, Dorian!” But it’s interesting how our mood as guardians can be reflected in our animals’ behaviors. Take the first week in April for instance. Although I start at American University this fall for my Ph.D., I’m just finishing my Master’s program in Communications at Northern Illinois University (I graduate in just a few weeks actually). The commute to campus is about a 6 hour round trip for me, fortunately, I didn’t have to make it that often this semester since I was just finishing my thesis, but it’s not the most pleasant of drives even on the few occasions I’ve had to head up there. We don’t have a doctoral program at NIU in communications, and so to strengthen the rigor of the Master’s program, we have to take comprehensive exams, which are usually reserved just for doctoral candidates. The test covers everything you’ve ever read in your studies. That’s right: EVERYTHING. Not just the stuff in your thesis’ literature review, but everything, from all your classes and anything you’ve professed to utilize in the formation of your academic career in your chosen field. Now, I’m not in interpersonal communications or rhetoric, so I don’t have to have those theories packed away in the recesses of my cerebellum, but the theories and authors I do use? Yeah, I know everything they’ve written enough that I could express it to the layman. Fun stuff I tell you. That said, I was not been the most pleasant cat to be around that week (ask my wife if you need a second opinion) and Dorian picked up on that. He was just on edge the entire couple of weeks I was preparing for the exam and scratching out the final pages of the thesis. Not only that, but I was entertaining offers from several doctoral programs, and just generally frazzled by all that was on my plate. Dorian was a headbobbing machine all week, but worse was his desire to get down and harass all the other lizards. It was as if he used the stress I created to stress out everyone else. He kept climbing down and trying to get back to Gobo in the back room. One day I had the headphones on, listening to some music while I studied, and he somehow climbed the doggie gate to get back to Gobo. This of course stressed Gobo out, he was snarling mad, and I was over-extended with research and the holy terror Dorian can be when he sees his reflection in the glass. Ugh. Everything worked out though in the end. I passed my comps, turned a completed copy into the grad school, and accepted my offer to AU. Now if I can just find a house in D.C. and a summer job in Urbana, all will be well, right?

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