It's a beautiful spring day at Horseland. In the trees that surround the expansive ranch, birds chirp happily as they fly from branch to branch. Located in a picturesque area with mountains on one side and a forest on the other, Horseland is a wonderful place to train and board a horse. Perhaps the best thing of all is this well-kept secret: All the animals can talk to one another—and the humans have no idea!
This particular day, Angora the feisty cat sits in the grass under the shade of a large tree, licking her fur. An energetic, potbellied pig named Teeny interrupts her thoughts.
"Hi, Angora," Teeny says, as she stands directly in front of the cat. "Why do you spend so much time preening and grooming? And then preening and grooming some more?" The pig with the pink ribbon on her tail is usually curious, and this time is no exception.
Angora rolls her eyes and sighs. "Don't you know anything, Teeny?" she asks and licks her paw again. "Nothing matters more than looking good."
"Oh, I didn't know!" Teeny replies. She looks concerned. "Why doesn't anybody tell me these things?" Teeny drops her head down, disappointed and upset. Suddenly, she brightens. "I have an idea! Can you teach me how to do it, Angora?" Teeny runs around excitedly. She nuzzles up to Angora. "Please, oh please, oh please?"
Angora gives a weary sigh. She can't see a way out of this. "All right, keep your tail on!" Angora says, pushing the pig away.
"Yippee! Oh, goody goody!" Teeny cheers and runs in a circle happily.
"First, you lick your paw—or hoof—or whatever," began Angora. She demonstrates on her own paw.
"Okay, okay! First, I lick," her eager student says, and proceeds to lick her hoof with quick little licks.
"No, no, no, Teeny," Angora tells her, shaking her head. "Long and slow."
"Oh, I get it," says Teeny. She looks seriously at Angora, a newfound pride in her eyes. "This takes some concentration." Then the pig takes a very long lick.
At that moment, Shep the dog walks by and notices the pair licking in unison. "Now I've seen everything," the Australian shepherd says, quite confused. He goes over to them.
"Teeny, what are you doing?" Shep asks. He can't imagine why the pig is licking her hooves.
"I'm preening, Shep," Teeny says proudly in between licks. "Angora told me looking pretty is what matters most."
Shep shakes his head. "Actually, Teeny, it's not."
Angora looks up. "Excuuuuse me?"
"It's who you are inside that counts," explains Shep. He looks out into the distance. "Alma found that out not so long ago. . . ."
"I smell a story coming on," Angora says, rolling her eyes. She knows Shep well.
Teeny sniffs the air. "I don't smell anything," the pig says innocently.
Shep smiles broadly and begins to tell the tale. . . .