So you say you want animal friends to help you clean up, make you dresses, and do your hair? Well, you’re gonna have to work for it. These Disney characters did, and the results were spectacular—but if you think friendly communication with animals is as simple as asking your neighbor’s dog for advice when he passes by on his morning walk, you’re in for a rude awakening, not to mention some rude stares. And you’ll probably deserve them, because you didn’t put in the work to earn the trust of animals first.
Ready to put in the work? Here’s how:
1. Literally be Snow White.
When it comes to earning the trust of animals, Snow White is the OG. She essentially wrote the rulebook on getting animals to cheerfully do her bidding. If you can successfully accomplish this step and literally, corporeally, and physically become Snow White, you’ll save yourself a lot of time reading the rest of this article. Try it; we’ll wait.
Any success? For those of you who failed, read on.
2. Lay some groundwork.
Lend a helping hand to the animals in your life; don’t just wait until you’ve got an issue and expect them to show up with needles and thread in hand, jonesing to save the day. Cinderella helpfully rescued her mice friends from Lucifer, gave them names, and even made them little shirts and hats. All that friend-investment paid off in a big way when it was time to get cute for the ball, not to mention get to the ball in the first place.
3. Sing about your dreams.
Animals love this. We don’t know why, but they find it endearing. Just go with it. Our friend Aurora here had the right idea about things. She sauntered into the woods to pick some berries, felt a song coming on, thought to herself, “No partner? No problem,” sang anyway, and was blessed with a back-up crew and audience of benevolent woodland creatures.
4. Learn the language of animals.
Squeak squeaker squeakin squeaker. That’s squirrel for “Follow Kronk’s example and take the time to learn to speak to animals if you want them to be interested in what you have to say rather than dismissive of what equates to gibberish in their minds.”
5. Or find some animals who speak your language.
Some might argue that Ariel could communicate with Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle because all mermaids are bestowed with such gifts at birth. Some might argue that, but they would be forgetting that at one point Sebastian whispers Ariel’s name to Eric, who is almost definitely a human man, and Eric hears him. Conclusion: some animals speak the languages of humans. If you find one of these, cherish them.
6. Appeal to animals’ better nature.
If you need a favor from an animal who’s not keen to assist you, and you have no time to lay the groundwork of a solid friendship that would be conducive to favors, you’re going to have to take a cue from Rapunzel and try some emotional manipulation/diplomacy. Remember that even the most stalwart, rule-following animal has a soft gooey side. Find it, and you’re golden.
7. Get in with the heron and the otter.
Studies have shown that every rock and tree and creature has:
- a life
- a spirit
- a name
Acknowledge that, and then let the heron and the otter be your friends, and you’ll be on a good path. After all, there has to be a reason Pocahontas singled out those two species. We suspect they’re the cool kids at the lunch table of the animal kingdom, and once they like you, the other animals will follow suit.
8. Stroke the ego of the animal in question.
No animal can resist being charmed by a sincere declaration that (insert species here) are better than people. Achieving the kind of vaguely telepathic codependence that Kristoff and Sven elevated to an art form might prove a little trickier, but flattery is always a great start.
9. Start small.
Beginners should first try to win the trust and affection of something unlikely to kill you, such as a monkey wearing human clothes, before attempting to join Jasmine on boss level by befriending dangerous wild predators.
10. If all else fails, become an animal.
If you’ve tried everything else and now you’re getting desperate, try becoming the victim of voodoo magic and turning into an animal so that you can relate to them on their level. If Tiana’s journey was any indication, your fellow animals will be more than happy to welcome you into their fold.
Good luck befriending animals, Disney fans.