Ignore your dog for too long and this happens: “Hey. I’m kind of bored. Could we do something? See, I brought you a toy. It’s my favorite toy. I’d like to play with this toy. Very much. I mean, you can see that right? No? Well, not right now, I guess. I’ll just lie here at your feet and when you are done typing or whatever it is that you are doing, and then maybe we can play. You know, it’s okay. I actually like lying beside you at any time.”
Ignore your cat for too long and this happens: “HEY! You paying attention? I want to play. I want to play right now. You need to go fetch one of my toys so we can play. Or at least pay some attention to me. You know, the absent-minded pat on the head really doesn’t do it for me. Are you hearing me? No? So, look at this, I’m going to sit on your keyboard until you do what I want. Oh really, I see, you can type with the keyboard tray slid under the top of your desk. Well, look at this then. I’m going to sit right in front of your monitor. What do you think of that? See, I knew you’d come around eventually.”
Offer a dog and treat and this happens: “Hey! That smells great. I want that. I want that now. Really! Are you hearing me? I NEED that right now (shifts weight rapidly from one foot to the other). What part of now don’t you understand? Look at me. I’m hopping up and down. Now I’m bumping you with my nose. Seriously? Do I need to growl? You need to let go of that treat. It needs to be in my mouth NOW.”
Offer a treat to a cat and this happens: “Hmmm? Smells interesting, but I don’t know. Maybe if I knew a little more about it. Wait. Do I have to do something in order to get this treat? Because, you know, I’m not really into that sort of thing (squinting eyes to mere slits). Still, it smells kind of good. Maybe if I walk away and seem uninterested, the human will just give it to me. Yup, I think I’ll try that.”
Change something in a dog’s environment and this happens: “Whoa! Wait a minute. What’s that? That’s never been there before. I don’t think I like it. I’ll just creep up on it and get a closer look. Whoa! Still don’t know what it is. Maybe I need to smell it. Gotta get a little closer. Do I dare? Oh. Yeah. It’s just a plastic bag. Hunh.”
Make the same change in a cat’s environment and this happens: “Wow! Look at that! Could that be fun? What is it? Doesn’t matter. I think I will wiggle my butt and pounce on it? Yup. I knew it. That was fun. Let’s do it again.”
My dad died back in 1969 of cancer. Shortly after his death, his mom accused my mom of having killed him. Grandma A’s reason was that mom didn’t rinse the dishes well enough. That was not the cause of his cancer, but I think about Grandma’s comment from time to time while I am washing the dishes.
Clearly, dish washing detergents are not meant for human consumption. But we do wash our dishes, cutlery, pots and pans and the like in them. And in the case of detergents meant for use in automatic dish washing machines, they leave residues that you can feel and smell and taste. Well, I can anyway, and that’s why we don’t use a dish washing machine.
So it just seems to me that in all good conscience, the manufacturers of dish washing liquids, powders, pods and the like should never put anything in them that should never go in a human’s body.
Last summer, I realized that we were feeding one particular stray cat more than the others. I’d see the cat coming into or leaving our yard quite often. I started calling the cat Orange Kitty even though OK is not the orangiest of kitties ever. More of an orange marmalade color really.
I didn’t think much about OK beyond noting the presence and the absence of food.
Then the late fall settled in and temperatures plummeted. And … one day I saw that most of the skin had been ripped of the right side of OK’s face. The whiskers on OK’s muzzle were spared as was the skin and hair directly under the right eye. But the corner of OK’s mouth was exposed and the whole thing looked like a piece of raw, wet meat. It was an absolutely terrible wound.
So a process was begun in earnest. I’d been getting closer and closer to Orange Kitty just before OK was injured and so I began to build on that.
It required weeks, but we finally got OK into the house one night. Orange Kitty was fine while eating some food while sitting on the rug in the foyer. But when OK was finished eating, OK wanted right back outside. There was crying and scratching at the storm door and we had no choice but to let OK back out into the night and the cold. We built a shelter for OK, but it was not heated and I worried.
Luckily, the overnight low temperatures had not yet hit the lows we have right now. It required a few more cautious short visits inside the house before OK would come in and stay in. On those short visits, Orange Kitty wandered everywhere, examined everything and apparently decided that despite the presence of a dog in the house, that it was pretty nice.
You cannot imagine my joy on the first night that OK stayed in the house all night. I was ecstatic.
It’s been a few nights now since that first night. Good food, fresh water and a warm place to sleep … really sleep … seems to have worked wonders for the wound on OK’s face. There is one small spot that is still red and opens up from time to time, but otherwise it is looking good.
I don’t know if OK’s hair will ever grow back. But it doesn’t matter.
After having to put our last cat, Bonfire, down on August 28, 2020, I’ve been bereft. I have so terribly missed having a cat in my life. I love our little dog, Maddie, and she’s a treasure and a comfort. But she’s not a cat.
I don’t really know if OK will stay with us permanently. Right now, OK still wants to go outside for part of the day. So when the spring and summer come along and the weather is nice and OK is not injured, OK might just decide to find a different situation. But I hope not.
I’ve fallen in love with the floof. I hope in time the floof falls in love with us too.
She is a small dog with enough scrappy for a mutt five times her size. Brown, she is, with a black stripe down the middle of her back that reaches to the tip of her short tail. That tail is always wagging in its funny back and forth way. Hampered from a real good wag by the curl in it.
Some folks think as she must have some pug in her. Wouldn’t know it by her face though. Narrow-snouted but not as narrow as some and not as long as some, but not short either. Just about right really, if you must know. And eyebrows. Let’s talk eyebrows. Light tan and so expressive in a face that is dark brown. Her eyebrows are always moving.
Brown-eyed, she is, big-eyed too. You could get lost in her eyes.
She has sharp little teeth that she almost never shows. Because she doesn’t need to. She can stop other dogs in their tracks with just a look. Doesn’t matter how small she is. She’s got presence.
She almost never barks. When she does, it is high pitched and piercing and you can’t help but pay attention. But her growl is low and meaningful. And though it is quiet, it still means business and you know it. Dogs know it too.
She’s a dog you’d want with you just about anywhere you might go. She sees things you missed and smells things totally beyond human ken. Her nose is the most amazing thing. A little black button, wet and sensitive and always questing. It doesn’t miss a trick. It knows where the bunnies have been and where the squirrels have lingered. It knows where something met its end and when it had done that.
She has the biggest ears. Ears to match her scrappy. Semaphore ears that will tell you as much about what she’s thinking as you’d ever want to know. The hubby likes to say that we paid extra for those ears.
Her legs are a little too short and her back is a little too long for her ever to be called pretty. But plenty of folks, young and old, have called her cute. Exceptionally cute would be closer to the mark.
Her left kneecap slips a bit when she lopes, so she just doesn’t use that leg when doing that. Someone once said she looks like she’s skipping. But her knee is fine at the walk, trot, and flat out run. And fast. Fast doesn’t do her justice. Lightning fast says it better. And with those short little legs, you should just see how she corners. The most expensive sports car doesn’t have anything on her.
She has kind eyes and a smile a mile wide. Seeing her smile brings a smile to my face.
She’s energetic and enthusiastic. When she’s been left at home and we return, her greeting is like nothing you’ve ever seen. She’s so dang happy her little body can barely contain it. Makes it hard to leave her, yes it does.
She’s smart and has a great memory. Especially if food is involved. But really, she’s just plain smart. Learns things quick. Makes us look good. Yes she does.
She comes when you call, but she has a mind of her own. So you have to give her some time if she doesn’t come right on the spot. There might be something that needs some extra smelling or is just begging to be peed on. But you always know for sure she heard you. She’ll look your way, her eyebrows will go up, and her ears will say, “Gimme a minute.”
She loves to sit in your lap. She could do that for hours. She’s not big on hugs. But she’ll take a good massage any time of day. And she’s expert at flipping your hand with that button nose to let you know that you really haven’t yet scratched all the places that so desperately need scratching.
Saw her on an adoption website I did. Knew the moment I saw her that she was the one for us. There was just something in her pose and the look on her face. There was an aura around her that came through the Internet and flew right into my brain. I can’t explain it. The in-home interview went well and I fell in love with her the moment I laid eyes on her.
When we were approved to adopt her, it was a day I will never forget. Ran the gamut of emotions from despair because we didn’t have a fenced yard, to joy at the phone call saying we could have her.
If someone were to ask me to describe the perfect dog, I could do it in one word: Maddie.
I was born in the year 1952. It was early in August.
If you had asked me when I was in my early teen years what I thought about the year 2000, I might have said something like: “2000? Wow. That’s a long ways off. That’s like way, way in the future. I’ll be really old if I make to 2000. Well, I’ll be 48 that year. That’s pretty old. Man, I can’t think about that. That’s too far off.”
In 1964 (I’ll do the arithmetic for you, that was the year I turned 12), the year 2000 was like something out of a science fiction story. We would have flying cars and household robots. Everything would be automated. People wouldn’t have to work anymore. It would be like paradise. All you had to do was go to Disneyland and look at the House of Tomorrow to know what it would be like.
And then here we are. It is almost 2022 and we have surpassed the year 2000 by almost 22 years. I’ll be 70 years old. Older than the younger me ever thought I’d be. It boggles my mind sometimes.
We are close to having flying cars. Robots aren’t exactly household fixtures, but they might be before long. And much about our lives has become automated.
But it’s not the rosy future predicted by Disney or some of the science fiction writers. But thankfully, it’s also not the future depicted by the apocalyptic writers of today. At least not yet.
And of course, there is Covid-19. Back in the 1960s, no one was predicting that.
2022 seems like a nice round number. If you add up all the digits in the date you get the number six. In numerology, six is associated with domestic happiness, harmony and stability.
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I could use a little of that.
I finally finished the novel. Then I finally finished proofreading and editing it. Then came the uploading and the checking and the re-uploading … repeatedly. But I came to a point where I thought it was about as good as I was going to get it and I pushed the publish button.
That’s always a weird feeling. Hard to describe. Part relief. Part excitement. Part fear.
It took a couple of days, but it is available now on Amazon. I did not opt at this time to create a hardcover version, so it is only available as an eBook on Kindle and as a paperback.
I think it turned out well. I guess that’s a given. I mean, I wouldn’t have written it any other way than how I wanted and that’s my best definition of well.
Whether or not anyone else likes it remains to be seen. Well, my husband liked it. But that doesn’t really count. He’s predisposed to like what I write.
If you are curious about what it is about, please check the novel’s page under My Novels. Or search for it on Amazon.