Penny ponders: Furry friends (tales)

Penny Cliff Guest Columnist

October 11, 2013

Talk about personalities and emotions. Dogs and cats are a lot like people. They have ‘em. For those of us who have animals, or have family and friends who have furry babies, you understand. You’ve heard the stories. I’ve never believed that a dog has a short memory and forgets almost instantly when he or she has done something “wrong.” Nope, I don’t buy it. I tell you dogs have guilty “looks” way after the bad dog incident. For instance, when I come home for lunch from work and Cocoa, the miniature Dachshund/Chinua mix looks my way with from the top of the Lazy Boy chair, ears down, big brown eyes sort of peeking up, I know to look around to see what has been done, or left. Every time, I find the “evidence.” I read that dog!

Cats have feelings too. One night, our black cat, Sally, was missing. She’s like a dog; when called, she’ll either come running or meow to let us know where she is. This evening, after being Sallyless for a while, we missed her. She didn’t answer or come to our calling her name. She’s an inside cat, who has discovered the big wide world after sneaking out. So, now she “waits” for the door to be opened. With one family member calling for her outside, the rest of us ran from room to room calling her name. The youngest of our clan happened to look up. There at the top of the bookshelf was Sally “interacting” with our other pet “Goldie.” You’ve got it, Goldie the Goldfish. Sally, either didn’t answer us because she knows that she is not allowed to torture poor Goldie, or she was so interested in making the fish swim frenzied laps around its bowl, she ignored us. We had to drag the cat down. Goldie has a new home. She now resides on top of the refrigerator. We just have to remember to close both doors to the kitchen.

Many people I have known have cats and dogs that live in harmony with each other. Ours do. Most of the time. It was a few minutes after the “Goldie” incident and Sally was in a foul mood. She lay sprawled on the floor, the end of her tail flicking; her eyes with a slightly wild look about them, probably thinking about all the fun we had just taken away from her. She didn’t even play with her toys. She was mad. We left her alone. Then Cocoa jumped on the couch with “Daddy” for some love. “Daddy” obliged, petting the dog. Sally Cat saw it. That did it. She’s a Daddy’s kitty and this, obviously, as far as she was concerned, was just one more indignity too much. As quick as a black flash, she jumped on the couch, faced off the dog, and with one angry furry paw, swatted Cocoa across the face not once, not twice, but three quick times before making a speedy escape. At least she kept her claws retracted. Jealousy, thy name is Sally.

Now Judgie is a loving, fuzzy Shih Tzu/poodle mix. He is the calm one. Nothing seems to faze him. Except, like people, he has his quirks. Much of the time, he doesn’t like grass. So, when he goes out, to keep him from hanging out on the deck, we have to take him to a spot that is relatively free of grass. The barer the better. We leave him there to take care of business. But then, he has to run across the grass to get back to the back door. Have you ever seen on T.V. a person walk on hot coals? That’s Judgie. I can see his mind working: “Which way is the fastest way to get across? Do I have to go on this grass? How could she do this to me? I can hold it! Wait, don’t leave. Pick me up! Carry me back!” Then, knowing he is on his own, almost holding his breath, he scoots to the safety of the wooden deck. Safe at last! “Nasty grass; horrible grass!”

They all have their personalities, their funny moments. It’s fun to share our animal stories with others who love their four legged buddies. Because, all pet owners have stories. We nod, and laugh, and connect because we love animals. But the best thing about being a pet owner is the times they snuggle up to you to say, “I love you.” Because, face it, they aren’t just pets; they are family.