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At about 7:51 PM on the same day, Charlie was standing outside his father's pub looking at two pigeons silhouetted against the sky as they perched on a roof across the street. Charlie loved the violet of a twilight sky before sunset on a clear day, and often went outside to look at it. Pigeons carried diseases which potentially could hurt people. Charlie didn't know whether pigeons ever got into the pub's trash bins, in the alley behind the pub. The bins were covered, but the covers didn't fit flush, there were gaps. Charlie didn't know what animals could squeeze through those gaps. He wasn't particularly worried about pigeons at the moment. His father told him that no-one could possibly worry about everything even if he wanted to, and so you had to concentrate on important things. If there were ever a lull in Charlie's conversation with his Dad, he had a list of topics he could bring up. But Charlie and his Dad usually didn't run out of things to talk about, and the pigeons and the trash were pretty far down the list.
Most of the potential danger came from other people. Charlie knew that most people understood each other much better than he could, and even they worried about each other a lot. Charlie understood animals much better than most people did. He was never to touch a pigeon, or any dead animal he found lying somewhere. If he saw a dead animal he was to tell his father. Charlie was only supposed to touch animals if his father had said it was okay. He had petted some horses on their noses and necks and given them carrots and apples to eat. He liked horses and dogs and cats. Touching animals didn't hurt like touching people did. Also, Charlie could figure animals out mostly, want they wanted and how they felt, and he mostly couldn't figure people out. You couldn't even always go by what people said, because sometimes people lied. Animals never did.
There were two dogs which were often brought to the pub by their owners, which Charlie's Dad had said he could play with. Charlie especially liked one of them, a large golden Labrador. There were things that most people did better than Charlie, and then there were things that Charlie did better than most people. He was unusually good with animals. Cats which were usually very shy would come running from their hiding places to rub against his ankles and purr, or jump into his lap if he was sitting. With cats you had to be very still and let them start things up, and always be very gentle.
The first time Charlie had seen the large golden retriever he said, "Aw, Dad, he's beautiful! Can I pet him, please, please?!" Charlie's Dad smiled and told him to ask the dog's owner, and the dog's owner had said it was alright, and Charlie bent over and put his arms around the dog's neck and his head against the dog's head and said, "That's a good doggy. Yes that's a very good doggy. Ooooohhhh, doggy doggy doggy! Yes! Yes! good doggy!" and so forth. Charlie knew how to talk to dogs, it just came naturally to him. It was mostly in the tone of the voice, and also noticing the dog's reaction to your voice and reacting in turn. It didn't matter what words you said. Lots of people said that their dogs knew their own names, that when their owner called their name they came running, but Charlie believed they were wrong. He thought it was the tone of the owner's voice that the dog recognized and not the word being said. Same with dogs understanding commands: without even realizing it, people always said a certain command in a certain tone, and then they became convinced that their dogs understood English. If a dog was barking and the noise was bothering Charlie, he could make the dog be quiet just by pointing a finger in its direction. That first time he petted the golden retriever, he could feel its big wagging tail thumping against his back the whole time. Finally he let go and sighed and stood up again, and the dog's owner said to Charlie, "You made his day!" and Charlie's father had said, "Are you talking to my son or to your dog?" And Charlie and his father and the dog's owner had all laughed, and the dog had looked from one laughing face to another with his tail going to beat anything. That was years ago but Charlie laughed again now thinking about it.