Learning about the power of a paw.


Aslan and Petra lay for a long time, just enjoying being together.  Indeed, they might have spent hours there, had their not been the sound of heavy padded paws crashing through the undergrowth not far off.  Conscious of their proximity, both lions leapt to their paws, to see Allie and Sam coming towards them through the trees.  When they saw the two lions, the polar bears nearly turned and fled!

      “Um, oh, ah, Petra?  Aslan too!”  Sam gabbled, obviously not expecting anyone else to be in the wood.

      “Yes,” Petra mewed, “and I suppose you and Allie were coming to this clearing for a bit of quality time?”  Sam looked sheepish, while Allie hid her face behind one massive forepaw.

      “Yes, we were,” Sam admitted, wanting the ground to swallow him, “now though, it’s not going to happen.

     “It did for us,” Aslan said, “and it can for you.  We’ll leave you two to it then.”  Allie, still hiding her face with her paw, told of her unease at the situation by the look in her eyes, which screamed at Petra.  Petra padded up to the huge polar bear and placed her paw on the paw bearing Allie’s weight.

      “It’s okay Allie dear,”  Petra mewed, reaching up to Allie’s other forepaw which still covered the female polar bear’s mouth, gently taking it in hers and placing it on the ground, Allie not resisting her.

     “Love Sam,” Petra said to Allie, kissing her on her nose.  Allie smiled and squeezed Petra’s paw.

     “I know Sam’s done some awful things in the past,” Aslan mewed, “but he’s over those now.”  Sam and Allie watched Petra and Aslan walk away.


Petra and Aslan padded through the forest, their paws hardly making a sound on the forest floor.  Petra looked at Aslan, then, impulsively took his paw in hers, making him pause.

     “What is it?”  Aslan asked.  Petra looked at her mate.

       “”nothing wrong,” Petra mewed, “I just wanted to take your paw in mine that is all.”  Aslan smiled and kissed her nose.

      “I love you Petra,” he mewed nuzzling her ear.  Petra felt her pulse quicken and the toes on all four paws curl slightly.  Aslan felt her grip tighten and knew what she was feeling.

      “Shall we?”  Aslan asked.  Petra, now rapidly being consumed by desire for Aslan, turned and trotted towards another clearing.  Aslan followed her, his manner very much like Petra’s.  Once in the clearing, the two cats lay down and fiercely gripped each other’s fore and hind paws, pressing their pads together as hard as they could.  Then they simultaneously stroked each other from noses to tail tips, which involved a lot of rolling on the forest floor to allow each to stroke the other’s body thoroughly.  Petra and Aslan’s love making lasted a long time, but the end came far too soon for both of them, for each wanted to continue long after their bodies had told them to stop.  All sensitivity gone from bellies, paw pads and toes, they lay together, their paws tingling nicely.

      “That was wonderful!”  Petra mewed.

      “Wonderful not the word Petra love, it was more than that, much more than that!”

      “I know,” Petra replied, “wonderful was the closest I could get to describing what I experienced, it doesn’t do it justice.  You have the most handsome face, the softest fur, most huggable body, and the loveliest paws I’ve ever seen or touched!”

       “Your face is beautiful Petra,” Aslan replied, “your fur is gorgeous, your body is perfect, and your paws, well, and they are the most strokable, most expressive paws I’ve ever touched.  You express your feelings through your paws Petra; I could feel you were enjoying having them stroked.”  Petra smiled:

      “I loved the paw massage, but I also liked the challenge of getting either a fore or hind paw in a position so you could stroke them with either your fore or hind paws.  You’re good at massage with your hind paws you know Aslan.  I was stroking your left hind paw with both of mine, and you returned the massage with your paw.  It was amazing!”

       “I can’t say for sure what I did,” Aslan mewed, “I just remember everything being wonderful.”

     “Come to think of it now,” Petra mewed, “all I can remember is an ocean of pleasure.”

       “Time for another emersion?”  Aslan asked.

      “I would love to,” Petra mewed, “but won’t we get tired of this?”

      “Only we can answer that one,” Aslan mewed, “Why, are you tired?”

       “No,” Petra mewed, “but, well, if we do this too often, we’ll get used to it, and then it won’t be pleasurable any more.”

     “Vary the way we give each other pleasure, and the places we choose,” Aslan replied.

     “Yes let’s do that,” Petra agreed.  Aslan knew his mate wanted more of what they’d made for themselves, in fact he wanted it too.  Aslan knew Petra liked best of all to have her hind paws massaged.  She said they were more sensitive than her forepaws, and Aslan’s pads and toes working their way over her own gave her pleasure like she’d never had before.  Aslan’s soft spots were the soles of his paws, and his belly came a close second.  Aslan, having learned to use his paws to explore his environment from an early age, had cultivated in them sensitive pads and a gentle touch.  Aslan delighted in what his paws told him about the forest path on which he walked, and everything his paws told him about Petra when he touched her.  Petra loved Aslan massaging her, especially when he reached her paws.


The two lions made their way to the pool complex, Snowy letting them in when she saw them on the camera.  Petra danced on her toes as she padded along the passage, splashing through a pool of water which washed her paws.  Aslan followed her through the small pool, the smell of strong disinfectant coming strongly from the water.  Pressure from their paws on the tiles beneath the water activated a shower, which drenched them from noses to tails in seconds.  The pool became shallower and the two large cats made their way to the main pool.  Splashing into the water, Petra waded until her paws could no longer touch bottom, then she swam, Aslan following her.  He swam beside her, taking her right forepaw in his left, and swimming with her.  Petra smiled at her mate and kissed his nose.  Aslan looked at her.

     “I want to, I mean, can I stroke you from your nose to your paws?”  Aslan asked, his eyes telling the white lioness all she needed to know.

      “I want you to, I mean I’d like that Aslan, yes please,” she replied.  Aslan smiled.  He turned his head away from Petra, trying to clear his mind.  Aslan and Petra tried to come to their love making afresh each time, so that every gentle touch, every loving caress of paw on fur or paw pad was fresh and new, each exploring every inch of the other’s body as if for the first time, discovering pinkie black noses, soft white or brown fur, and pinkie black paw pads.  Petra knew what Aslan was doing, and smiled to herself, for she did the same.  She knew he would comment on her thick fur, on her small ears for her body size and her short legs and longish tail, as well as her fat paws.  Aslan would remark on how when her paws relaxed, her toes curled slightly, the pads on the soles of her paws slightly bunching together.  Although Petra knew all the comments her mate would make, she loved every minute of Aslan’s attention.


They swam to a shallower part of the pool where there was a ledge for them to lie on.  The ledge had water running over it which was just deep enough to wet their paw pads.  Petra felt Aslan take her paw in his, the rediscovery of each other’s bodies had begun.  Aslan took his time, working his paws over Petra’s body from her ears to the pads of all four of her fat paws.  He loved her; she could feel it in his touch.  Petra knew that to press her paws into Aslan’s was not the done thing, but she couldn’t help doing so.  Aslan smiled as he felt the toes of Petra’s left hind paw pressing against his pads as he massaged them.

      “Naughty Petra, you know you’re not meant to press your pads against my paw while I’m stroking it,” Aslan said with mock anger, which he couldn’t muster very well.  Petra smiled and curled her toes round Aslan’s.

      “I love it when you do that,” Aslan mewed, feeling Petra’s toes massaging his.

     “I love it when you stroke my paws,” Petra mewed.  Aslan played with the end of Petra’s tail with his free forepaw.

      “I love you Petra, my dear sweet lioness,” Aslan mewed.  Petra released Aslan’s paw and he wriggled and thrashed, digging in his heels and splashing until he was nose to nose with Petra.  Petra laughed so hard she nearly fell off the wide ledge.

      “You silly thing,” she choked, having got a face full of water.  Aslan held Petra tenderly until she’d calmed down a little, and then he took her forepaws in his.

      “You have the loveliest, fattest, most strokable paws I know,” Aslan mewed, kissing Petra’s left forepaw.  Petra smiled.

      “They don’t carry me very quickly though,” she said, “you’re a faster runner than me Aslan.  I’m fat and slow.”

      “I love every inch of you from your nose to your toes Petra, and don’t you forget it,” Aslan mewed.

       “I can’t get my paws to go any faster than a trot,” Petra mewed, “I’ve tried, but I can’t run any faster!”

       “Catching you is very easy,” Aslan said, stroking the pads on the sole of Petra’s left forepaw, “but I love catching you Petra, you are warm and gentle, with big, fat, lovely paws.  Whoever made you didn’t make you to run fast, they made you so you could hug others and be hugged, similar to whoever made Fleur.  Embrace your body and paws Petra, love your body and paws if you can, for I do.”  Petra smiled and touched Aslan’s nose with one of the forepaws under discussion.  Aslan caught the paw in his and looked at the pads on the sole.  They were pinkie black, large and well defined.  Aslan kissed the toes of the paw he held, Petra smiling lovingly at him.

      “My paws might not carry me quickly over the ground,” she said, “but they tell me a lot when they are stroked and massaged and when I touch or am touched by others.”  Petra sighed with pleasure as Aslan’s pads brushed against hers

     “Is it wrong to get so much pleasure from the touch of paw pad against paw pad?”  Petra asked.  Aslan kissed her nose.

     “Does it feel wrong?”  He asked.

      “No Aslan, it doesn’t, and if you stopped stroking my paws I’d be very sad!  No, it doesn’t feel wrong; it feels right, so right that it could be wrong, if you know what I mean.”  Aslan smiled, kissing Petra’s ear, nose and the toes of the paw he held in his.

    “You have the most beautiful face, ears and paws Petra,” he mewed.  Petra smiled, measuring her paw against Aslan’s, noticing her paw was larger than his!

      “I have huge paws don’t I!”  Petra mewed, surprised.

     “You do,” Aslan mewed, “you have the most lovely, warm, gorgeously soft, large, fat paws.  Smiling broadly, Petra touched Aslan’s paw, then enveloped it in hers, his paw disappearing into hers.

      “I want you to stroke my paws Petra!”  Aslan exclaimed, feeling his own toes curling like Petra’s had on the track.  He wanted her to take him in her huge paws and run her paws all over him.

     “Hug me Petra!”  Aslan pleaded.  Petra did as he asked, enveloping him in a huge hug.  Petra sighed contentedly, accepting she’d always be larger than her mate, even though he was supposed to be larger than she.  Aslan worked his paws into Petra’s massive ones as she stroked each of them.  Aslan smiled as he felt her pads working over his own.  Closing his eyes, he relived his exploration of the white lioness’s body from her face, to her ears, body, legs and paws, Aslan knew he loved Petra with everything he had.  Being a tactile creature from the moment he was born, Aslan knew the pleasure that could be given by using his paws to stroke others, and received by him when others used their paws to stroke him.  He knew Petra’s paws were sensitive, picking up more about his mood when he stroked and massaged them than words could ever convey.  The same, but to a lesser extent he was sure, went for his own paws, one of which was being massaged by Petra at that very moment.  He could tell she was gentle, that she was trying hard not to tickle his paws while massaging them, something she’d been trying to fix ever since she’d first touched the pads of his paws.  Petra often succeeded in tickling paws rather than massaging them, something which startled those who accepted a paw massage from her.  Aslan’s musings were cut short by Petra inadvertently tickling his left forepaw.

     “Hey!”  He mewed.

     “Oh sorry, did that tickle?”  Petra asked.  Aslan smiled:

      “It did,” he replied, “and I was having such a pleasant dream too.”

     “I’m so sorry,” Petra mewed, “I will try and do better in future.”  Aslan gently removed his paw from Petra’s, the lioness looking more devastated than he’d ever seen her.

      “Hey, it’s no big deal,” Aslan mewed, enfolding her in a huge hug.

      “But, but you were enjoying that paw massage, until I ruined it with my clumsiness.”  Aslan kissed Petra on her nose.

      “I love you just as you are, clumsy paws and all,” he said.  Petra buried her head in his shoulder, enjoying just being with him.

      “I love you Aslan,” she mewed.


Meanwhile, Brunetta was getting       her daily paw massage from Nick, his huge paws working expertly over the bear’s.  Brunetta wiggled her toes, trying to increase the sensation from her pads.

     “Don’t force it Brunetta, let the feeling come naturally,” Nick mewed.  Brunetta, now addicted to the sensation that she got from someone else stroking her paws, was coming close to overdosing on it.  Nick tried to talk Brunetta out of having a massage, but the brown bear was not to be dissuaded.

     “Let’s try something else,” Nick mewed, “how about if you sit back on your haunches and try taking each of your hind paws in both your forepaws...”  Brunetta smiled:

     “Self administered paw massage?”  She asked.

     “Yes,” Nick replied.  Brunetta rolled onto her back, and then sat up.  Nick let her rest her back against his.  Brunetta reached down and took her left hind paw in both of her forepaws, touching the heel of her left hind paw with the toes of her right fore and massaging the sole with the pads of her left fore.  Brunetta closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of the pads of her forepaws working over the pads of her hind.  Feeling her left hind paw becoming warmer, Brunetta smiled to herself, enjoying her self administered massage.  Brunetta curled her toes, feeling her pads bunch together, the toes of her hind paw enveloping those of her right forepaw.

      “I never remember doing this as a cub,” Brunetta said, “my mother never let us touch each other’s paws.  Now I come to think of it, that’s probably why I am so addicted to the paw massage now I have access to it.  I was never taught that to touch and stroke my paws and those of others was normal or acceptable.  Now I know it is, I need to learn how to stroke my own paws as if I were a cub, something that if my mother had let me stroke my paws and those of my brother and sister cubs, I might not be so addicted to it now.”  Indeed, the addiction to paw massage wasn’t confined to Brunetta, Matilda was rapidly becoming hooked, as were Ricky and Jinny, the two young mongooses.  Ricky and Jinny could often be seen lying together on the carpet, each massaging the other’s paws, before rolling about in play, each trying to tickle the life out of the other’s paws.  The two mongooses had tingling paw pads within five minutes, something they weren’t going to complain about in a hurry, indeed they wanted more.


Brunetta, still stroking her hind paws with her fore, had turned her attention to her right hind paw, feeling her way over it with her forepaws, her pads tickling those on her hind paw.

     “I suppose all cubs learn to play this way,” she said, “playing with their own paws before learning to play with other cubs.  I remember Bianca and fleur learning where their toes were, fleur teaching Bianca in the most tactile way she could.  My mother never taught us about our bodies, never showed us where our noses, ears and toes were, we had to learn through illicit play, for she hated to see us playing with, or tickling each other’s paws.”  Brunetta watched herself in a mirror on the wardrobe door, seeing how her forepaws played with her hind.

       “I look just like a cub!”  She exclaimed.

      “There’s no harm in that,” Kodiak said, sitting down beside Brunetta.

      “I challenge you to find my paws and explore them with yours before I get hold of yours and tickle them senseless!”  Kodiak said to Brunetta.  Brunetta knew Kodiak was offering to play with her like they were cubs, to, as best he could, take her back to the time she should have had when she was a young cub.  Brunetta let Kodiak sit facing her, the soles of his hind paws touching hers.

     “Feel my pads against yours Brunetta; rub your hind paw against mine.”  Brunetta tried to reach down to touch the toes of Kodiak’s left hind paw, but he stopped her.

     “Not yet, just explore with your hind paw first, then explore my hind paw with your forepaws in a minute.  Kodiak curled the toes of his left hind paw round those of Brunetta’s right and rubbed her pads with his, the female brown bear smiling with pleasure.

     “Now you curl your toes round mine,” Kodiak said, “take a good hold Brunetta, and rub your pads against mine like I did yours.”  Brunetta did as Kodiak asked, and it felt wonderful!

      “Now the same with the other hind paw,” Kodiak said, “then we’ll rub forepaws in the same way.”  The two bears repeated the actions with their remaining paws and when they’d finished, both were smiling broadly.

      “Now let’s use our hind and forepaws to examine each other’s hind and forepaws,” Kodiak said, “close your eyes Brunetta; let your paws lead you.”  Brunetta did as Kodiak asked, touching his nose with both her forepaws, and then working gently over his whole body from his nose, to his ears, neck, shoulders, forelegs and forepaws.  Down his back, to his hind legs and hind paws.  Brunetta only touched the fur on the tops of Kodiak’s paws, leaving the soles of his paws for later examination.  Kodiak, feeling the exploration of his head and back was over, rolled onto his back and playfully pawed at Brunetta, the female brown bear laughing at his antics.

      “I want the soles of my paws stroked!”  Kodiak whimpered.  Brunetta laughed merrily and took one of his forepaws in both of hers.  Exploring Kodiak’s pads with her toes, Brunetta closed her eyes, trying to imagine playing with Kodiak as a cub.  She was sure as a cub he was as tactile as he was now, loving having his paws touched and stroked.

      “Why do we stroke each other’s paws so much here?”  Brunetta asked.

      “Because looks can deceive, the paws can’t,” Kodiak replied, “touch my paws and you know the real me, what I’m feeling and thinking.”

     “Yes, I can feel you’re relaxed and contented,” Brunetta replied

       “I love all this,” Kodiak said dreamily.  Brunetta impulsively kissed Kodiak’s nose and the toes of his left forepaw.  Kodiak smiled and touched Brunetta’s nose with his free paw.

      “Please, stroke my hind paws!”  Kodiak pleaded.  Brunetta obliged, and Kodiak curled his toes round hers, holding her pads tightly against his.

     “Now do I get the same treatment?”  Brunetta asked.

     “You do, and you will,” Kodiak replied.


Meanwhile, back in the wood, Sam and Allie lay together, examining each other with their paws, rubbing each other down from nose to tail.  Allie’s paws were larger than Sam’s, and he found this out afresh when his paws enveloped, or tried to envelope hers.  Feeling Sam’s forepaws taking hold of one of her own, Allie enveloped his paw in hers, smiling at him.


Meanwhile, Brunetta and Kodiak were still enjoying stroking and massaging each other’s paws.

      “This feels wonderful!”  Brunetta exclaimed, I like it better when I stroke my own paws, I don’t know why.”

      “Because you are finding out about yourself, your body and how it feels to you when you touch it.  You are finding yourself.  Cubs do it by experimentation, reaching with their tiny forepaws to touch their noses, touch  their bellies, and hind paws, though exploration of, and play with  hind paws and toes comes later to some cubs than others,”  Kodiak said.

     They play with their own hind paws?”  Brunetta asked, “Like, like you encouraged me to play with mine?”

      “Yes,” Kodiak replied, “I’ve seen baby humans and bear cubs in particular doing it.  When they have the coordination, they will reach for their hind paws and play with their toes at first, while learning all the time how it feels to touch and be touched.  The feel of the pads of a cub’s tiny forepaws on those of its hind is pleasurable, as is for a baby human when he or she explores his or her fore and hind paws.  I know, I watched a baby human grow into a teenage child.  I saw him from the day he was a bundle of instincts, to the day when he decided he no longer wanted a brown bear as a companion.”  Kodiak looked sadly down at his own paws.

       “The male human child’s mother often played games with him and me, asking me to touch my nose, my ear, and even the toes of my hind paws with my fore so the child would copy his furry friend.  The child’s name was Billy, and we would play together for long stretches.  Yes Billy used his forepaws, or hands, as human’s forepaws are known, to examine his hind paws, or feet as human’s know their hind paws, he even played with his toes.  That was one of the first conscious choices he made, whether to, or not to play with his toes. I also saw Billy learning to feed himself, as well as taking his first steps.  Humans walk like we bears do, flat on the soles of their hind paws, though they walk on two legs for most of their lives.  For a brief time though, Billy and I were similar in many respects, when he learned to crawl, so did I.  I learned with him, touching my nose and my toes, everything like that.  Bear cubs do the same learning.”

     “Not in my case, or those of my brothers and sisters,” Brunetta replied, “we weren’t allowed to explore our paws or noses, nor were we allowed to play with each other.  If our mother found us playing rough and tumble games where we might even hint at touching each other’s paws or bellies, she’d stop us with a dreadful snarl and whack our paws for disobeying her strict instructions.”  Brunetta’s eyes filled with tears.

      “I want to play like a cub Kodiak!  I want to play with the toes on both my hind and forepaws, and know it’s okay to do so, that I won’t get slapped about for being a cub!  I want it so much it hurts!”  Brunetta sobbed.

       “So now you have the chance through paw massage, you overdose on it,” Kodiak replied.

      “I suppose I do,” Brunetta replied, “but how do I stop myself.  Nick was furious with me!  He didn’t say he was, but he was, I could tell!  I don’t want to be a nusense to these good creatures, but I want to learn how to play like a cub.  Please, Kodiak, would you, could you teach me how?”  Kodiak smiled.

      “All I can suggest is that whenever you feel the need for a paw massage, sit down comfortably and take one of your hind paws in both your fore.  Before that, why not stroke your pads and toes with the toes of your forepaws.  Try stroking, massaging, and then tickling your own paws.  See how far you get.  Let your toes curl naturally as you drift away.  Feel everything through your paws; channel your world through your pads Brunetta.  Then, if you’re feeling really brave, lie on your back, and bring your hind legs up to your chest as far as they will go, stretching the toes of your forepaws to reach those of your hind.  Sometimes sit up, take one hind paw in each of your forepaws and push down hard while pulling back with your forepaws.  This makes bears limbs stronger.  You’re resisting yourself when you’re doing that.  It’s a kind of workout, and also you get to touch your hind paws with your fore.”

      “I want to play with the cubs,” Brunetta whispered, “feel a cub take hold of one of my paws and stroke it, just like that, fore or hind paw, doesn’t matter which.”  Kodiak smiled over Brunetta’s shoulder at someone she couldn’t see.

     “I think I might have the very cub for the job.  He’s a new cub here, his name’s Geming; he’s a giant panda cub.  His mother ChangChang and Father Guang came here a few weeks ago after escaping from a shipment back to China.  Geming’s parents didn’t want their son cub to grow up in China, so they escaped.  I found them in the wood.  Geming is just at an age where he has started to learn about himself, and how to play with others too.  He knows where his nose and toes are, but I think he could do with a little help playing from time to time.  ChangChang smiled at Kodiak:

     “He is a lovely cub,” she said, “but, well, I would like him to learn from another cub, even if it’s a born again cub.  I will show you the games me and Geming play, and then maybe you’d like to play with him for a while Brunetta?”  Brunetta smiled at the tiny cub, who grinned back at her.

      “I see you aren’t a cub,” Geming said, “but I’ll bet you can play like one if you want to.”  Brunetta smiled at the panda cub.

      “We can play, if you like,” Brunetta replied.

    “I’ll show her the games mum,” Geming said, “I can show Brunetta the game myself.”  ChangChang hesitated, for her cub was already crawling over the carpet to meet the huge female brown bear.  Touching Brunetta’s massive left forepaw with his tiny right fore, Geming looked into the bear’s face.

      “Hello Geming dear,” Brunetta said softly.  Geming smiled and kissed Brunetta on her nose, bringing tears to her eyes.

      “I wasn’t allowed to do that as a cub either,” she choked.

      “Do you want to kiss my nose?”  Geming asked.  Brunetta hesitated, but eventually kissed the cub on his nose.  Geming gave Brunetta both his forepaws and pressed the pads of both his hind paws against Brunetta’s, the heel pads of the panda cub’s tiny paws only reaching just below Brunetta’s toes, his heel pad pressing hard against the pads on the balls of the female brown bear’s hind paws.  Brunetta rubbed her pads against Geming’s, the cub shifting his hind paws slightly, allowing her to curl her toes round his tiny ones and hold them tenderly.

      “Feel my paw pads against yours Brunetta,” Geming encouraged, “feel my toes, feel my pads.”  Brunetta smiled.

     “I can feel your pads and your toes little cub,” she said softly.

     “Now I will relax my paws and then, would you stroke my fore and hind paws?”  Geming asked.  Brunetta smiled.

      “I will,” she replied, “and would you do the same for me?”  Geming smiled broadly.

     “I will stroke your paws Brunetta, and gladly too,” Geming said, taking hold of her right forepaw in his tiny ones.

    “After this, “We can play as if we don’t know what our noses, Bellies, paws and toes are and explore them anew.  Would you like to play that game?”  Brunetta grinned.

      “Let’s play that game first,” she replied, kissing his nose once more.

       “Yes, let’s do that,” Geming replied.


The panda cub and brown bear first touched their own noses and bellies, then each other’s noses and bellies with gentle paws.  Then each felt his or her own fore, and then hind paws.  Geming ran his tiny left forepaw over the sole of his right hind, feeling his pads.  He even tickled his own toes, smiling at the sensation this produced.  Brunetta mimicked the cub, exploring her own hind paws with her fore and tickling her own toes, just like Geming had.  ChangChang and Guang watched their cub and his new-found friend playing cubbish games, and remembered their own cubhoods, where they would play the same games with their own brother and sister cubs.  One would learn from their mother, then teach the other cubs, which often led to games involving a lot of tickling of paw pads and toes, to the delight of all concerned.

      “This feels good,” Brunetta said to Geming, “how does it feel to you?”  Geming smiled.

      “This feels wonderful,” he said, “what are these parts of my body called?”  Brunetta adopted an expression of deep concentration, gently stroking the pads of her left hind paw with the toes of her right fore, as if this would help her.  In fact all it did was tickle, making her smile.

     “I think this,” Brunetta said, touching her nose with her free forepaw, “is known as a nose.”  She gently took hold of Geming’s free forepaw, Geming using the other to stroke the pads of one of his hind paws.  Lifting his free forepaw, Brunetta touched his nose with the pandas tiny toes.      “I know where my belly is,” Geming said, “What about my paws?  I know where they are, but do you know anything about them?”  Brunetta looked at Geming’s forepaws, then at his hind.

      “Well they are small, with brown soles,” she replied, “you have five toes on each paw.  Here, I’ll show you.”  Brunetta took Geming’s right forepaw in one of her own and guided it over his toes and the sole of his right hind paw.

     “The whole of the sole of your paw is brown, including the pads on the bottom of your toes.  The tops of your paws are black.  While she described Geming’s paw to him, Brunetta traced each part of his hind paw with the toes of his forepaw so that he got an idea of where everything was.  Geming looked at Brunetta’s paw; her entire paw was brown, sole and all.  Geming curled the toes of his left hind paw round those of his right forepaw, and started tugging at his forepaw pretending it was trapped.  Brunetta laughed at his antics.

     “My hind paw grabbed the toes of my forepaw! It, it won’t let go!”  He whimpered.

     “Try massaging the pads of the paw holding your right forepaw with the toes of your left, see what happens,” Brunetta replied.  Geming tried what she suggested and couldn’t help relaxing his toes, freeing his trapped paw.

     “You knew that was going to happen didn’t you,” Geming said.

     “I did,” Brunetta replied.  Geming crawled over to Brunetta and hugged her tightly.

       “I want to be a cub again! Brunetta sobbed, overwhelmed by her emotions.

      “You can be a cub again,” Kodiak said.”   ChangChang suddenly said, “I think you need to know Brunetta that Geming’s not really our cub at all.”  Brunetta, who’d only known Geming’s parents as voices, turned to look at them, and was shocked!  They were red pandas, not giant ones!

     “You aren’t giant pandas!”  Brunetta exclaimed.

     “No,” Guang replied, “we adopted Geming when his mother died during the escape from the ship to china.  Geming was alone, so we took him in, and now we’re about to teach him how to be a cub, and he can teach you too.  He’s learned a lot so far, as you can tell, and he’s going to learn more as the week’s progress.  One thing is uppermost and most important though, that Geming learns to be a cub naturally.  We won’t restrict his emotions, we won’t restrict his play, others will tell him when things go too far, and he will tell them. When they go too far with him.  Other than that, he can play with his paws, and with consent, play with the paws of other cubs, and them play with his paws if they and he want them too.”


Kodiak accepted the red pandas as Geming’s parents, as he found them with him, and they treated the cub with love and respect.  The brown bear didn’t think red pandas fostering a giant panda at all strange.  Brunetta, after getting over the initial shock of Geming’s so called parents being red pandas turned her attention back to Geming.

       “Will you tickle my paws? Please?”  Geming asked.  Brunetta did as the cub asked, Geming laughing helplessly as the brown bear tickled the soles of his paws.

      “This is wonderful!”  He whooped, trying to have the soles of all four paws tickled at once.

     “One paw at a time!”  Brunetta laughed.  Geming managed to catch the toes of Brunetta’s left forepaw in those of his right fore, and realising this, he held on tightly.  Brunetta smiled at him and tugged playfully at her paw, whimpering as he had done when his paw was trapped.

     “Your toes won’t let go of my paw!”  She said.

      “Try massaging my pads,” Geming suggested.  Brunetta slipped the toes of her free forepaw beneath her own pads and those of Geming’s paw, gently stroking the panda’s pads with them.  Geming sighed contentedly, releasing Brunetta’s trapped paw.

     “Would you hug me Brunetta?”  Geming asked.  Without a word, the female brown bear enveloped the panda cub in her huge bear sized hug.  Geming knew Brunetta’s paws were soft and warm, but when she hugged him, they seemed that much softer and warmer to the panda cub.  Geming almost purred with pleasure as his body and paws got warmer and warmer.  Brunetta massaged the cub’s body from nose to tail, finishing off by stroking all four of Geming’s paws, the cub snuggling hard into her hug.


Aslan and Petra arrived then; they were looking for Raja and had already met Guang and ChangChang, along with their cub Geming in the wood.  Seeing Petra, Geming wriggled free of Brunetta’s hug and crawled to her, the lioness sprawling on the carpet and embracing him in her huge paws.  Geming tickled the pads of Petra’s forepaws, the lioness laughing helplessly, before she got her revenge, tickling Geming’s paws until the panda cub was weak from laughing.

      “My paws are tingling!”  Geming exclaimed, gently touching the pads of his left hind paw with the toes of his right fore, “it’s nice though, I like this feeling.”

      “Playing with your paws and toes is not a bad thing to do,” Liang said, sitting down and massaging his right hind paw with both forepaws.

      “Even adult pandas play with their then?”  Geming asked.

     “Yes they do,” Liang replied, exploring the toes of his left hind paw with the toes of his right forepaw, and then catching the exploring toes with those being explored and pretending he couldn’t free his forepaw.  Geming smiled as he recognised the same game he’d played.

     “Can I massage the paw trapping your forepaw?”  Geming asked.  Liang rocked back and fourth, tugging at his trapped paw, while gripping the toes of that paw hard with those on his left hind.

     “I can’t free my toes!”  Liang whimpered, “They’re trapped!”  Geming crawled over to the large male panda and rubbed the sole of the hind paw which held his forepaw.  Liang relaxed his paw, the toes uncurling and releasing his forepaw.

      “This paw play is nice,” Liang said softly.  Geming looked at himself in a mirror, then sat down and began stroking his hind paws with his fore, watching how his forepaws played over the soles of his hind.  He tickled his toes, noticing how he smiled as his forepaws did their work on the toes of his hind.

      “Liang,” Brunetta said, “could I play with paws?”  Liang smiled.

     “I would like it if you stroked mine,” he said, explore them, stroke them, and even tickle them.”  Brunetta did as the panda asked, Liang curling his toes, his pad bunching as he did so.  When Brunetta touched the toes of his left hind paw, Liang wiggled them, making Brunetta smile.

       “Why not try massaging your own paws again Brunetta?”  Liang asked.

       “I will make a point of doing so, regularly too,” she replied, stroking the pads of his left hind paw with the toes of her right fore.

      “Let’s stay and watch this,” Petra mewed to Aslan, both of them watching the bears exploring their paws and toes.

     “Time to go back to our cubhoods,” Sam said, padding in with Allie.

      “Is it right to touch our hind paws and play with our toes?”  Allie asked, “Do bears do that?”

      “They do,” Kodiak replied, “and I think we should make time to teach all bears how to play with their paws and to let it be known it’s ok to do this. Also, with consent, play with the paws of other bears, and be they cubs or adults.  This helps build trust, confidence in play, and self awareness.”  Geming sat back a little, his left forepaw exploring the pads of his right hind, while his right forepaw examined the toes of his left hind paw.  He felt peace come over him as the massage had its age old affect.  Geming gently pressed the toes of his left forepaw against his pads, feeling their touch.  He remembered the feel of Brunetta’s paws on his, she had something there, a gentility of touch which was instinctual, he’d loved it, though stroking his own pads and toes felt nicer, a lot nicer than massage of his paws by another if he was honest with himself.


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