Late every night, just as I crawl in bed something as regular as clockwork happens in our house. I hear the softest of footsteps and the strange noise of a subtle engine. It settles into a low rumble and then there is a pause when the engine stops. A moment later a leap and something lands on my bed and the engine starts up again. I slowly turn to see a white and orange beast staring at me from 6 inches away. I slowly and carefully raise my hand to calm the beast down. I slide my hand behind its narrow neck and slowly add pressure until the noise intensifies.
The roaring gets louder until an explosive “meow” bursts forth from jaws of this crazy beast.
I pull Annie, our psychotic calico cat, towards me and give her the 2 minutes of stroking she comes for every night before she settles down to sleep as close to my head as possible. No one except our family has seen Annie even though she’s 6 years old as she lives under our bed terrified to come out except when all is quiet and I’ve gotten into bed. During the day Annie hides and pukes and goes to the bathroom under the bed as she’s such a nervous wreck. We keep a portable rug shampooer by the bed as my wife and this tool have become the best of friends. I say my wife as she was always the one who wanted pets and although I love our pets, we made a deal that if we had them she’d clean up after them. Annie makes her work.
Smokey is our James Dean cat – cool. Smokey walks around like she owns the place. She will come up to you and stare at you until you pet her. She’ll take a few strokes then walk away. Just like our first cat, Peepers, Smokey will come and lay at my feet while I play the guitar. I don’t know why because sometimes what comes out of the guitar is not music but she likes it nevertheless.
My wife’s pride and joy is Biscuit – our 8 pounds of joy in the form of a silky terrier. Biscuit thinks he’s a big dog until a big dog stands over him threatening to eat him in one bite.
I share with you this you because our pets are a part of our family and something we’ve had and will continue to have for the rest of our life. It is healthy to have pets. It is healthy to play with pets. It is healthy to love pets.
When I am in a down space, I close my eyes and imagine that I was wrestling with the mighty Biscuit. He thinks he can take me on but I pull him this way, push him that way, and still he comes at me teeth bared. He’ll clamp on but won’t bite hard enough to hurt. He just wants to show me he can land a blow and grab on.
Our love and commitment of pets started with Peepers – a cat who was born outside of our condo along with 3 of his brothers and sisters in the dead of winter. My wife let them in and I said, “No, no, no!” That is until this little kitten walked over and put his paws up on my leg. My heart instantly melted and I said, “No, no, no… this one, yes.”
We had Peepers for 7 years. The last 18 months he came down with a kidney infection and my wife and I had to give him a daily IV and drain a bunch of fluid into him as his kidney’s were shutting down. For an hour after the IV he walked around looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame with this big old mound on his back.
I think Peeper got tired of the shots one day and as he grew weaker and weaker it became harder for us to watch him deteriorate. I truly believe he saved us from the pain of his demise by running away. He had always been an outdoor cat although he spent much of his time in with us. I can remember playing hide and seek with him in our small condo – The actual game where one of us would hide while the other had to come and find us. I remember his Peeper dance where his legs would go stiff and rock back and forth and then he would just somehow elevate. It use to scare the crap out of my wife.
I share this story with you because all of us need love and companionship. All of us need something to care about and honor in our lives. Pets provide an opportunity to practice our humanity and to give love to another living thing that doesn’t work, doesn’t go to school, and doesn’t pay taxes.
It’s a 2 way street in that pets need us and we need them. You’re mistaken if you think you would not benefit by having a loving pet in your life.
It’s Christmas – and Santa would love to give you this amazing gift of love.
I hope this finds you well this holiday season and full of the joy of love, appreciation, and the miracle that is your life.
Blessings to you all!