If you’ve ever had a pet, what was your coolest, craziest, or weirdest pet moment?
And if you’ve NEVER had a pet, what was your coolest, craziest, or weirdest animal encounter?
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If you’ve ever had a pet, what was your coolest, craziest, or weirdest pet moment?
And if you’ve NEVER had a pet, what was your coolest, craziest, or weirdest animal encounter?
Heh. I love dogs, they love me…unless they hit the ground belly-first, legs splayed, and piss themselves. Don’t ask me why, but it’s happened more than once.
I once had a dog, a mongrel named Woffe (the English equivalent would be Woofy). In those days both my wife and I worked (we’re retired now) and our kids went to school, so Woffe was alone at home most days. He learned to open the door, so he went out on adventures of his own sometimes (we took steps to prevent that but Woffe found ways of circumventing them). One day he went out and boarded a bus on his own. The driver may have thought he was accompanying a schoolgirl who boarded the bus at the same stop.
Fortunately he got off the bus at the next stop, so he was still in familiar territory and could find his way home without trouble. We learned about this only because we were told by somebody who may have seen it herself or may have heard about it from somebody else.
He had a collar with his address, so I suppose somebody would eventually have taken care of him and notified us if he had traveled too far and got lost.
This is a repost from my daughter’s tumblr site..
Twenty years ago, my parent’s cat fathered a litter of kittens, and they were forced to take one. Making the best of an awkward situation, they took me, their daughter, to pick out a kitten.
I don’t remember the event, but I know that of all the kittens, there was only one that was all black…and that’s the one I picked. Being the five year old that I was, I named her Spooky. Little did I know that Spooky would be by my side for the next nineteen years.
She grew up with me, moved from that dinky apartment to my families’ first and current home, grew old with me, got young again when she followed me to college, and stuck by my side throughout a difficult pregnancy. Sometimes she was my greatest treasure, and sometimes I barely gave her a passing glance. She was such a brat, and very picky on who she liked. She expressed her dislike for things with a devil’s glare, and always got the best seat in front of the fire.
As I grew up, and away, I continued to rely on Spooky when times got hard. Sometimes I would just lie on the couch with her on my stomach and talk to her about my troubles. But as her coat went from sleek black to mottled red, and her spring turned to more of a shuffle, I realized more and more that my time with her was, like everything else, finite.
What I didn’t realize was how damn much it would hurt when I finally let her go. It was as if a part of my heart was dying…I was losing my daemon. We knew it was time…a person that loves you gets a sense for these things. Yet, when I took her to be put to sleep, she still had enough fight in her to kick the first needle out. I know my decision was right, but I’m glad she went out fighting. She wouldn’t have had it any other way.
We buried her in the front yard. We made a playlist just for her, and lit candles. I cried harder than I’ve ever cried before, and my son held my hand and told me it would be alright. Some probably would think me crazy. But let me ask you this: what do you have that has belonged to you for nineteen years? How would you feel if you lost it?
Now, everytime I watch the movie How To Train Your Dragon, I can’t help but get teary eyed. Toothless is a lot like Spooky was, but not just visually. That cat had an attitude about her that was…irreplacable. She loved to try and sneak up on me and scare me…she faithfully slept at the foot of my bed every night for as long as I lived with her. She always forgave me when I left…and I will always love and miss her.
This happened last year while I was working on my math homework, I was sitting on the couch in my house with my Algebra book wide open when suddenly, my pug had been barking at me for the last ten minutes to get my attention, jumped up onto the couch and plopped down right in the middle of my algebra book and proceeded to fall asleep. Now my pug Cookie is incredibly fat and will not wake up for anyone so I let her sleep thier happily while I avoided doing my homework for the rest of the afternoon.
During my school days, we had an ochre colored, excitable calf named Kamu that would bound about wildly all around the yard after suckling from mommy; and thereafter, chase anybody like a dog. The trick was to post a boy about ten yards away, bring Kamu by its leash and point it towards the boy in front who was ready to run, and give a squeeze on its rump. Immediately Kamu would chase him all over the place. The other funny thing was that Kamu had an occasional fondness for rice mixed with mutton curry, with bits of mutton. A meat-loving calf was something I have not come across any time after Kamu.
I have a dachshund, who, right now, is snoring beside me. One time I was sitting on my bed watching Star Trek, a frequent occurrence, and she was snoring beside me, when suddenly she lifted up her head and sneezed. I mimicked her sneeze and she looked at me like, “Oh. Did you have to sneeze, too?” It was funny.
In 1997, renters moved into the house next door with two young boys that abused their cat and her newborn kittens. During the night she moved the kittens to our back yard. We brought the kittens into our house (to keep them from the boys), and our male cat, Sebastian, “nursed” the kittens. There was no milk, of course, but it seemed to comfort the babies. After three days, Sebastian’s nipples were bleeding, so we took the kittens to a shelter. I still cry to think how he nurtured those kittens, even though it must have hurt him terribly.
Wow. I think you win. Tied with the Labrador saving his girl from the bull.
I stayed up reading one night after my husband went to bed. The whole apartment was totally quiet, which allowed me, after a couple of hours, to hear this tiny noise coming from the closet. I froze, vividly picturing an axe murderer hiding in the closet. Then I decided that I had imagined it. A minute later I heard it again. Should I wake my husband up to face the axe murderer by my side? Ridiculous. Heart pounding, I flung open the closet door, and our hamster Lily popped her head up, bright-eyed and cheerful. She had escaped her cage without my noticing, went under the closet door, and found the recycle bin. She was enjoying exploring the empty cans and bottles waiting to be recycled. Sheesh!
I loved these stories! I have a few of my own. One involves an orphaned squirrel that I raised. When she became big and plump, and I might add, pretty heavy for a squirrel, she flipped around in mid-air and caught one claw in my nostril. She hung there for just a split second, but I can tell you that the pain was memorable. My husband said maybe I could start a new fad with a squirrel nose ring. Of course, I declined.
I grew up on a game reserve in Zimbabwe and had loads of wildlife mishaps, but the funniest moments were provided by our African grey parrot, right at home. He used to sit on the veranda and call the dogs in my dad’s voice. They would run up and sit under his cage, wagging their tails eagerly. He would then curse them in my mom’s voice and tell them to go away, and they would scarper!
Parrots don’t actually know what they are saying. They just mindlessly imitate. I don’t even know if he realized what chaos he was causing.
Karen – you and I should trade stories. I grew up in Somalia, Kenya and Lesotho. I am proud to say that I have passed the true test of Southern African manhood (even as a woman) by being able to belch “Bloody Bulawayo” in one belch. Ahhhh….good times!
Yes he did; and he was enjoying himself mightily. we have galahs, and magpies out here in Australia.One day I happened to be watching five galahs scratching for food at the base of a flowering gum. This magpie repeated swooped down, to pull up a feather’s width above one ot the galahs. The galah would fly up in rotest. I thought it was yet another instance of those irrascible magpies persecuting one of another species. then, watching, I understood they were both playing a game, and having a darn good time!
We had a kitten, grey with a white patch on the chest. He used to hide in the cover of a hedge and pounce and grab our legs as we passed by, and when we tried to ‘capture’ the guy he would wriggle out of our grasp and bound away. Most of the times, we could see the fellow from far as he crouched in the hedge waiting as we approached and we deliberately used to let our legs brush past the point he was hiding, and he would execute his routine attack unfailingly. He was like dog in that he would follow us out of the house, scurrying on top of the compound wall of all the houses in the street, as far as the walls continued. One morning a truck ran over him as he was darting across the road. We cried for days.
That was decades ago.
I had the coolest pet ever that used to sit on top of my head. People would look at me funny when spoke of this wondering if I was talking about some kind of bird. Lion Heads are a little too fuzzy to be a cockatoo. Tiny, is my little pal. He’s two maybe three pounds and the size of a hood ornament. A fawn colored rabbit who needed a good home when his original owner couldn’t take him in. Owner was a newlywed and landlords don’t consider rabbits as safe pets even though they’re quieter than most Guinea pigs.
Tiny the day we brought him was so small the smallest pet carrier we could get for him was the size of a bread box. Lion Heads are known to have a mane of fluff around their neck where everywhere else the hair on their bodies is crew-cut short. Tiny was an animated bunny slipper on four legs.
Our big dog plopped right down to glare at him. He knew rabbits were meant to stay in the bunny barn not gallivanting around the living room. Tiny didn’t care that the dog went from having a glaring contest with his face to having a staring contest with Tiny’s fuzzy rear end. The little bunny leaning in to a good chin scratch just because it felt good he crawled into my lap.
I picked him up and tried to cradle him. Usually as long as I support the head and hindquarters I could hold a rabbit whichever way I please, except for the football hold. Toothpick arms being what they are and when I tried to cradle Tiny like a baby, his tiny nails latched onto my sweater. Eyes wide as if he were hanging off the empire state building ready to fall instead of clinging for dear life on some poor sweater’s hold.
Tiny made a dash for high ground smack dab in the middle of my back and what a plot twist. I angled this way and yet couldn’t quite keep myself level. Tiny was riding Mount Shoulder-blade keen on getting far away from the cold hard ground. His bespectacled climbing post holding both hands beneath his feet. Tiny precariously wobbled to and fro as he dangled along. Teeny claws pricked in my hair and his back side reclining into my fingers.
I’d seen TV shows where the cute little pets on shows like Tenchi Muyo and Pokemon where their pets perched on their owner’s shoulders or their head all the time without much thinking. It might be an everyday occurrence since Ash Ketchum’s jacket has special shoulder pads or the one girl off of Tenchi Muyo has such huge hair it acts as a seat belt to prevent falling off.
Unlike Tiny whose clodhopper feet popped out on either side of my neck. front claws racking my scalp every time he twitched and my hair resembling a flattened beehive. I couldn’t smooth my hair out because my hands were full trying to keep him from falling off. Tiny was comfy, very happy and he’s still the coolest pet that has ever sat upon my noggin.
Your rabbit story reminds me of my sister’s pet mini-Lop. My sister’s daughter had a Shih-Tzu. They (my sister and her daughter) got the bright idea to go camping in Big Bend. Brighter yet, they took their pets with them. Big Bend is full of creatures who consider rabbits and teensy dogs to be dinner. Eventually, Sis & Niece figured out they were never going to get any sleep and still keep their pets alive, so they put out their fire, folded their tent, and returned to Dallas, very disappointed with their mother-daughter bonding experiment. Now, they just meet at Olive Garden.
I’m in the Canadian Forces. I played enemy force one summer for a bunch of basic recruits out on their first field exercise. A french buddy and myself had the job of sneaking through the bushes about 0400 hours. It was dark, we could barely see the trees. They were faint shadows.
One tree I totally missed and ran right into it. The worst part was a porcupine was sleeping on the tree and fell off when I rant into it. I wasn’t sure what it was until it started hissing and I got a good look when it ran into some moonlight on its way to me.
It started swapping at me with its tale. I told my buddy to get back. He didn’t understand English very well, but I understood tabernac, este and cauliese. (probably didn’t spell them right). French swear words.
I danced around this porcupine, very pissed off, for about a minute. I would run, he would waddle as fast as he could to me. Hissing. Finally he scurried off into the bushes, and we proceeded to our objective to give the recruits a rude wake up call with some artillery sims and c-6 machine gun fire.
I grew up in northern British Columbia in the boonies. I dealt with bears, ran from pissed off moose, hunted coyotes that attacked our beef calves. But it wasn’t until I was in populated Ontario that I dealt with a skunk spraying me, raccoons chasing me back to my shacks from the dumpsters, foxes coming right up to my toes and attacking my feet and the porcupine.
I grew up with dogs (my Mom hated cats) but I never got comfortable around them. I still remember the day I babysat for a family, 3 kids age 6 mo, 3 yrs and 6 yrs. They had a German Shepherd named Beauty. I was there for most of the day and was charged with getting dinner for the kids. I prepared what the mother had left, then went out to get the two older kids who were playing in the back yard, leaving the baby in the crib. Beauty would not let me back into the house. And wouldn’t let the kids in, either. The dinner was slowly burning on the stove and the baby was alone. We sat outside for over an hour until the parents came home. It took the father ten minutes to let the dog to allow him into the house. I never babysat again, for anyone. And I still don’t trust dogs.
I got my first cat just after I was married. Daffney was a total character. Sheloved to sleep on my head, until the night the up-chucked a hairball on my head. Needless to say, I made sure she moved her sleeping position away from my hair and face!
Daffney also would walk around the house, moaning as only a Siamese can do, while carrying a pair of rolled up socks in her mouth. We never did find out why she did that. My son thinks she was really an alien and that was her way of calling down the space ship to take her home. They never came. 🙂
Daffney was also a music critic. Taped music didn’t bother her, but live music would drive her up the wall. I’m a church vocalist and any time I would sing at home, she would come up and gently take my wrist in her mouth. If I didn’t stop singing, she would start to tighten her grip until I had no choice. I still have a scar on my wrist from when I tried to see how far she would go, and she drew blood!
She’s been gone almost twenty years now, and I still miss her…
My neighbor, Ben, was an old curmudgeon who grew veggies on his side of the fence. He was very protective of the plants and even stretched string across the top of his radishes and scallions to keep the birds off them.
KK, our problem cat, tended to aggravate Ben and dig up his produce.
One morning Ben called across the fence to me and said,”Your cat’s been in my radishes again.”
While he said this he had her nestled in his arms and was scratching her between her ears, the thing on earth she loved most.
I tried to keep a good relationship with Ben because of Marilyn, his wife, who was like a grandmother to my kids. I called back, “Ben, if you don’t want her in your garden spray her with the hose and run her off. If you pet her she’ll just keep coming back.”
His reply, and that moment, is embossed in my mind. He said, “If you don’t like the way I treat your cat, keep her in your own yard.”
I have always had cats. My family always had cats, so I’ve lived around a lot of cats. Only a handful of dogs. While loving and wonderful pets, none of them had much personality. That is until I moved out on my own and my husband and I picked up out own cat.
We named him Mr. Nefarious because he looks like he has a mustache and eyebrows (which makes him look devious). As a kitten he was kind of a monster. But he did some of the oddest things I have ever seen a cat do.
First, he slapped me. On the face. Out of nowhere. I had not done anything to him, I was just sitting on the couch reading. Suddenly he’s on the back of the couch. He runs up, slaps me across the face (claws in), looks at me with this intense and angry look and then walks backward slowly (keeping eye contact) and hops off the couch.
The Second odd thing happened a few nights later. I was doing dishes but he thought I had food. So he started screaming, not normal kitten loud mewing, he was screeching in short little bursts. I told him I didn’t have food. His screeches became louder and shorter, and he added head banging. I turned to look. Here is this itty bitty kitten screeching with all his might, eyes tightly closed, head slamming down (not quite to the floor). He put his entire body into each screech. I laughed. I laughed so hard I slid down the cupboards and sat in front of his laughing. He kept screeching until his little throat was soar and all that came out were huffs. I had never seen a cat throw a fit, but it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen.
He is much older now, but still pretty kooky. Mostly he’s just nice to our toddler. He’s very protective and will run to his aid whenever he cries, and run to the door whenever he thinks there’s someone there. Many people hear our stories and wonder if maybe we have a dog in cat’s clothing.
Not much else, and I’m not sure how odd these really are, but that’s what I have. =)
All of these other stories are so interesting.
Wow. great stories. I don’t think the centipede in my bed two months ago probably counts. It tickled me. I looked to see which cat was touching me with whiskers and did a lying down long jump out of the bed. Took a while to go back to sleep after the spousal unit removed the about eight inch long bug.
Sweetest: i was out walking while in labor with my oldest kid. As we walked we heard a kitten. Finally found it under some really large leaved ground cover, eyes glued shut with mucus and more fleas than kitten. he was black, long haired, never weighted more than about six pounds and adored our new baby … once we got rid of the fleas.
One day, I was writing up in a tree in our woods. Otto, our cute, chubby, and clumsy puppy, came along with me and sat down at the base of the tree. As I got done for the day, I looked up from my notebook and saw a doe not more than fifteen feet from where I sat. She was on the opposite side of the tree from Otto.
As I jumped down, Otto got up and saw the doe. He howled and ran as fast as he could through the thick underbrush, but kept tripping. The doe also had trouble getting away, which really surprised me.
What surprised me even more was that the doe turned right around and came back to the spot near the tree. Otto got under her feet, tripping them both. Deer and puppy fell into a tangled, confused mess.
Otto got kicked pretty hard in the side as the doe struggled to get up (he thankfully wasn’t hurt). He sat on the ground, as if this was some kind of weird game, and gave me a look like, “Why isn’t she afraid of me? I’ve barked and growled and bitten her legs!”
Then, the doe took a step towards me. She was now between Otto and me, and, for a moment, I really thought she was going to charge me.
I stayed still, and slowly backed away. Otto skirted her and returned to my side, growling. The doe then bounded away.
I have never seen a deer act like that before, but my only guess for her behavior was that she might have had a fawn nearby.
When I was a little tacker, I had straw-coloured blonde hair. On holiday, me and my family were walking past a fenced-off field. A grey horse was in the field and, being very tame, came up to us to look us over. It was used to being hand-fed by passersby and mistook my hair for a handful of straw, taking a big mouthful… Scared the crap out of me.
I have also had a horse scrape me off its back by walking under a low branch. I didn’t think to duck under the branch and was left hanging, very comically, from the branch.
I hate horses.
I could tell stories about the numerous cats who have been my companions (what’s a writer without a cat critic), including the five years I shared my home with my pet raccoon, Pedro, and the three years with my pet Bobcat, Gabriel. But the funniest incident happened, not with my own cat, but with my aunt Rose’s cat, Shasta.
First of all you have to understand that Shasta was a Bluepoint Siamese and Siamese are quite literally ‘another breed of cat’. My aunt was a nurse who worked the night shift so Shasta was at home alone from about 8pm until she would come home the next morning. My mother lived in a small cottage across the yard from my aunt. Both cottages sat at the back of a larger property occupied by a large house and were at the end of a long driveway. There was a small patio between them with their front doors facing each other. Because of the way they were situated they had a lot of privacy but there was also a feeling of isolation.
My mother’s sister, my aunt Ollie, was visiting for the week and she and my mother were sitting on the couch one night at about 10pm watching television, when they say the lights come on in my aunt Rose’s cottage. They both knew she was at work so they (stupidly) decided to investigate. My mother had my aunt’s spare key so they let themselves in to have a look around. I have no idea what they thought they would do if a burglar was present, but one wasn’t. They saw the light in the kitchen was on and the radio, which sat on the top of the refrigerator, was also on. Nothing was disturbed and Shasta was asleep on the couch, so my mother turned off the radio and the light and locked up and left.
They went back across the patio and resumed watching television and about a half an hour later, they noticed the lights next door were back on. They went back to the cottage, this time armed with a baseball bat (oooohhhh good thinking, folks), unlocked the door and went in. This time they looked under the bed and in the closet (fortunately unoccupied) and found nothing so, once again, they turned off the light and the radio, locked up and went back across to my mother’s cottage and back to their television show.
When the lights came on for the third time they began to get a little worried (only now, folks?). They called me. I’m not stupid, I called my cousin who was a detective with the county sheriff’s department. If I was going in, I wanted someone watching my back that had a gun and knew how to use it.
We opened the door and he did a thorough search and found no one or anything out of the ordinary, other than the fact that not only the lights and radio were on, so was the television. He looked around to see if anything was on a timer…it wasn’t. So, one again, we turned off the television, the radio and the lights and started to leave. We had just gotten to the front door, when Shasta got up off the couch, jumped up on the kitchen table, flipped on the light switch with his paw then jumped from the table to the top of the refrigerator and turned on the radio. Then he jumped down and went back to the couch, and gave the group of us one of those ‘if looks could kill’ stares that only cats can manage before reaching for the remote on the coffee table to turn on the television. Seems he didn’t like the silence of the empty house at night.
The moral of this is to never try to get one up on a Siamese, they want what they want when they want it and won’t tolerate any interference. He was also quite adept at answering the telephone but could never learn to hang up the receiver.
Cats have always been a part of our family. Mom called them junior-non-voting-citizens. Dad’s term was not repeatable. Mom always set out graham crackers for my after-nap snack. One day, she heard a suspicious sound from the kitchen as she was sewing. Quietly getting up, she went to the doorway.Watching our cat, Suzy, hop up onto the table, she opened her mouth to yell, then stopped, curious as to what would happen next.
It didn’t take long. Suzy tapped at the plate of crackers until it fell over the edge of the table with a dull thud. Cat-quick, she ghosted across the table and landed next to the food. After a thoughtful sniff, she walked toward the living room.
In the middle of the carpet slept Dad’s dog, Butch. Suzy sauntered over and smacked him across the nose with one paw. Butch reared up with a growl, and the chase was on. Around the living room they went, then into the kitchen. Suzy leaped over the crackers without breaking stride, while Butch plowed to a sudden halt. Suzy whipped back around like a cutting horse after a calf.
Separated by the plate and crackers, the two animals were silent for a moment. Butch sniffed once and gulped down a whole cracker with a grunt of pleasure. Suzy daintily hunkered down and began nibbling at her share of the booty, while Mom leaned against the door jam and laughed.
I’ve always had pets so I have dozens of stories, but Bertha was my first thought when the read I question.
When I was 12, I held an adorable Hampshire piglet in my lap on the trip home from Barnstead. From her tiny erect ears, light salmon-colored skin and sweet “oink, oink” sounds, she grew into a pink sumo wrestler with spiky white hair who roared like a lion when upset. Big Bertha wasn’t mean, but her size alone was intimidating and when she lunged at you, barking louder than a pack of Great Danes, you moved back, way back. Bertha’s favorite hobby was leaning against the gate until it gave way and once out, she headed straight for the garden and Dad’s corn. This produced a string of expletives from my father that I won’t repeat here.
Bertha could run fast and despite her size, she possessed remarkable agility. Once, when we’d cornered her against the shed, Dad said, “Debby, hold onto her for a minute, I’ll get the leash.”
“What? I weigh 80 lbs – she’s got to be over 200.”
“But you’re taller,” Dad said.
I looked down at Bertha and I’d swear she smiled before lifting her front hoof and placing it atop of my left foot.
Years later, my bunionectomy took over an hour longer than anticipated. My surgeon explained that I have twice the number of veins in my foot, probably the result of a severe childhood foot injury that broke the blood vessels and caused an additional network of veins to develop. Instantly, Big Bertha came to mind.
I could leave several stories about pet owls and raccoon’s but this is about a squirrel. My brother came home from the Navy in the early 60’s and had gone to a sports store that was closing. He came home with tons, I mean tons of sporting equipment, but one thing he picked up were several bows with about a hundred arrows. We practiced with the bows until we were pretty good. My brother John was always good with guns and it was natural that he was with the bow too. When the fall came we went squirrel hunting he was able to shoot to the top of a tree and got a squirrel dead center. The squirrel fell down to the ground hitting every limb as it fell, with the arrow sticking in it.
Now I was wearing a pair of hush puppies, that I shouldn’t have been wear on a farm, let alone hunting, but I like the way they looked. I was cool! They were a little big and I was thankful for that.
That was my mistake. I ran over to the squirrel and stepped on the arrow and the squirrel turned and bit down on to my toes, but because they were big I scrunched up my toes and was able to save them. I can see myself at the edge of the hedge-row yelling, help, help the squirrels got my toes. The arrow was sticking through him like a fake arrow that you put on your head. I shook him off and then chased after him. Lesson learned, squirrels are not all that innocent. Caution, squirrels do attack!
Wow, these are all interesting stories. Animals can be such fascinating creatures sometimes. I grew up in an old farmhouse. We had cats, dogs, cows and chickens. And old farm houses tend to have mice,quite a few in fact. In the winter they would show up In various places. I even had them in bed with me a time or two. Now you would have thought with all the cats we had around there wouldn’t have been a mouse in sight. My mother was afraid of them. One evening she shrieked, bring the cat in the house, there’s a mouse in the bath tub !she was quite excited. So we bring the cat and show the cat the mouse in the tub. The cat doesn’t care and hops out of the tub. The mouse is frantic and tries to go down the drain, but just gets stuck. What’s wrong that cat my mother says. So I. Got brave and pulled the mouse of the drain releasing it on the bathroom floor. My mother is shoving the cat at the mouse, and the cat acts as if the mouse doesn’t exist. The poor terrified little mouse bites the cat, which just makes the cat move over and looks at the mouse. The cat starts purring and lays down on the mouse. The mouse rears up on its hind feet, shrieks, and falls over dead out of sheer terror. And the cat just lays there purring. My mother and I are completely dumbfounded.
The timing of this is wonderful – the Universe never ceases to amaze me with it’s generosity.
We lost a wonderful friend, Tigger, yesterday. He’s my son’s cat. We gave my son a kitten when he was 10 years old (my son, not the cat) and they bonded immediately. The loss yesterday, for me, was compounded by how much my son loves his kitty!
Tigger was one of the best cats we have ever had. He ruled the household and had us all at his beck and call. His most recent exploit (and there have been many) was to bring us a live rat and then proceed to dump it on the dog! Of course, there was bedlam, rat running around, dog in state of panic and the cat just sitting there enjoying the chaos he’d created!
We’re going to miss him a lot. 🙁
But the stories this morning have cheered me up no end. Animals are amazing and fascinating friends who leave paw prints on our hearts.
When I was five or six I was hunting with my dad in a large field full of sunflowers. We had Smokey, our black Labrador retriever, with us. At some point I got just out of my dad’s line of vision, which wasn’t hard to do considering every sun flower in the field was twice my height, and a lone bull that was wandering the field came after me. Smokey came to my rescue, grabbing the bull by the nose to keep him away from me while I tried to get away. My dad couldn’t shoot, for fear of hitting me or the dog. That bull shook Smokey like a rag doll but he didn’t let go until I was safe and my dad called for him. It was quite the encounter, one that made me scared of bulls for a few years, but endeared my dog to me in ways I’ll never be able to explain.
The Great Hunter
Thinking back about animals over a span of 70 years brings back only fuzzy images except for one event set in motion by my grandfather, who was my age when it happened. Grand Pa was a wonderful spinner of tall tales. His dialogue painted vivid pictures that inflamed the imaginations of kids like me.
One bright morning we were sitting on his back porch while visiting at his little truck farm at Hatch, New Mexico. While he was eying the lower branches of a willow shade tree, he was telling me a story about squirrel hunting with a sling shot. Abruptly he stood up and with his pocket knife, cut a branch from the tree. Out if it he whittled out a perfect stock for a sling shot. Then we went out to his work shed and he cut strips of rubber from an old inner tube and made a leather pouch from a worn out glove and presented to me a boy sized pea shooter.
Then we went to the drive way and searched out a pail full of marble sized pebbles for ammunition. We lined up a batch of tin cans on the old rail fence and he taught me how to shoot. By noon I was hitting a can after every 3rd or 4th shot. Now I was itching to get back home because I knew exactly where to find a squirrel to hunt. Yep, right there in my back yard.
The next morning gobbled down breakfast and with my fierce new weapon charged out the kitchen door. There he was! By his nest high up in the old poplar tree. I crept out behind the dog house and waited. I knew he would come down to search out the nuts under the walnut tree because they had just started falling.
All of a sudden there he was right in front of me. I was waiting and ready to shoot. I slowly drew back o the pouch and took carefully aim, just like Grand Pa showed me. I released the pouch and wham! The critter was down and laying limp. I dropped my shooter and ran over to him and picked him up and started for the back door. The sudden motion must have aroused him and he clamped down on the heel my hand for dear life. Gushing blood I let out a scream that most likely raised the hackles of every living creature in ear shot.
My dad met me at the door and started laughing out of relief at the site of me. He picked me up and pried the animals jaw open to release him from me and tossed him on the ground. The squirrel escaped and I got a trip to the doctor for stitches and a tetanus shot.
I suppose the squirrel is telling hid grand children about his encounter with a strange human.
I raise butterflies.And in the time, I’ve spent with them have learned things And I spent so much time with them that I learned things few would guess or would think worth knowing. Caterpillars have rudimentary personalities. Some of them are quicker to curl up and play dead when they get scared. Others are more aggressive, quicker to rear up and bite another caterpillar that touches them. They tend to like softer leaves. Tougher drier leaves, yellowing or too near to the roads they don’t eat. Butterflies cold-blooded, so they need the sun in order to fly. It won’t help to nudge them, to scare them into flying, they are literally have an empty gas tank when it’s cold.
Caterpillars live their lives like rock climbers, their horizontal body standing upside down face close to the leaf is equivalent to our standing upright on the ground. It means their orientation is vertical. Up and down versus our human horizontal orienting. Which means placing them on top of a leaf is more difficult for them, and more difficult to persuade them to crawl that way.
Since their bodies are so long with such short stumpy legs, it takes sometime to get them onto a new leaf. So when I want to dump out frass(caterpillar poop) and give them a new leaf, I try to place the new leaf just above their head so they can crawl upward. If the sun is out I go outside and find the sunniest place so they can warm their blood and move faster. Nudging their hind end works but the effect it has is to annoy them or unnerve them. You’ve got to have a steady hand to hold the leaf and wait for the accordion like movement it takes for that long double Decker bus body to get going.Or their sucker-like feet lose grip and they roll, falling a long way down…
Some years back we went for a picnic on some holiday or another and the park was too packed. So we found a wide spot on an old back road where we could sit in the shade and have our lunch. There was an opening in the trees, a patch of sunlight on the road, and while we waited we watched a butterfly defend its territory.
I’d never thought of butterflies as territorial or aggressive before, but every time another butterfly wandered into ‘our’ butterfly’s patch of sunlight he (?) was out there chasing the intruder away.
I’ll never think of butterflies in the same way again.
In Tucson as a kid I walked to the bus stop in the pitch dark up and down through the washes. One day I had the feeling there was something near me. I reached my hand out hoping it wasn’t a weird person but it was a horse! The horse walked right up to me and let me pet him for a second before my school chums hollered for me and scared the horse off.
I’ve had mostly cats and dogs, but the stories I have about them are either boring or heartbreaking.
However, for a while, I lived with my family in rural North Texas. At least, the town was so small it might as well have been rural (pop. 388 according to the sign).
Anyway, I was trying to exercise by walking along the back roads where it’s nothing but dirt and whiterock gravel. I did this for several months and thought nothing of it. In fact, I wondered why more people didn’t do this because the country was gorgeous.
Then, one day, as I was walking briskly along, I heard a kind of growl to the right of me in a bunch of bushes. It didn’t sound like a dog, so I didn’t panic. It did sound familiar though. I was so focused on moving quickly and at a consistent rate that it took a minute for me to place that familiar growl.
The last place I’d heard something like that, it was from a big cat. The kind you’d find in a zoo.
By this point, I had passed the place where the noise came from. There was a rustle in the bushes, but it was going the opposite direction from me.
I walked at a park in town after that. And later that week, I heard that someone had spotted a lynx along one of those back roads.
So that’s my story. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to a predator of that size.
When I was a little girl, the Variety Club ran a boys’ home near our elementary school. A few of the boys had pets, but then someone decreed that they could NOT keep them. Three boys came into our neighborhood, going door-to-door, asking if anyone would like to have their dog.
We took the dog, a small, hair, black being who appeared to be a Scotch terrier. His name was Mack, and he was as sweet as any dog ever was.
Easter Sunday, Dad went to the back yard and hid Easter Eggs. After church, we kids took our baskets to the back yard and found exactly zero eggs. Dad scoffed and went to gather the eggs, with the same result. Later that day, Mack led us to the woods that abutted our yard, and began to show us where he had buried the eggs. I think he must have been putting them by for a time of real hunger. He had already known hunger in his life, and we hadn’t yet.
If you ever think you’ve had nothing in your life to be grateful for, just remember a dog. :)TX
PS: I could do this all day, you know.
I had a rather generic looking tabby cat, and there was another cat in my neighborhood which looked very similar. So similar that even though I had owned my cat for fourteen years, I sometimes had to look twice to be sure of which cat I was looking at. What made it even more confusing was that as my cat had grown older he was roaming less, and his twin brother had taken over some of his territory. Seeing the twin in my yard wasn’t unusual.
Well, my cat developed some unresolvable medical problems, and I had to have him euthanized. A sad day. Later that evening I went outside and sat in a chair on my back porch, looked up … and there was the twin cat, sitting on the rail around the porch, looking at me. For one scary moment I thought I was in the middle of a Stephen King story and that it was my cat, that he had clawed his way out of the grave and made his way back, and was now going to settle scores. Maybe the closest I’ve ever been to a heart attack!
Well, I’ve had pets, including two gerbils that each attacked the cat we had at the time, on independent occasions—and the cat himself, who was forever after that terrified of all rodentia. And my brother’s lung fish that kept escaping (and the snake he pet-sat for a coworker and neglected to tell Mom got out of the cage).
My funniest pet story, though, isn’t with one of our pets.
See, my best friend does wildlife rehab. Usually squirrels, some chipmunks. The first groundhog she got was kept as a pet. When I first met Gretchen (the groundhog), she was so cute! A little baby that played just like a kitten! She bit kinda hard, too, so I scolded her for it.
Problem: I was stricter about it than her owners. I also ate the veggie chips that were otherwise fed to her.
It was a year before she stopped squealing whenever I entered the room. Even after that, she didn’t like me.
Well, that was okay. She had free run of the house (along with several cats), so we both ignored each other. Sometimes she’d grunt my way; sometimes I’d actually pat her back. Once. And quickly pull my hand away. (Just in case.)
One day, I was sitting on the stairs, where one of her owners would often sit for her to climb up to be pet. Well, Gretchen climbed in my lap.
My friend and I both blinked. Suspicious but relaxed, I reached the same way I’d seen the owner do, to pet her when she was in that position.
She lunged at my hand to bite it.
Pulled back my hand, shoved her off my lap—I was fine.
But after that, if I ever neared her, she would squeal as if I was trying to kill her. Was awkward if she was sitting in the middle of the stairs, and I was trying to get past. (Had to be mindful so she wouldn’t try to bite my ankle.)
I’ll add another baboon story. Was in the Peace Corps in Kenya between 1971 and 1973 (yeah…most of you weren’t born yet…). For financial reasons (not much money), I was getting around on a small motorcycle. Going around a corner on the main road from upcountry to Nairobi, I discovered a band of Baboons (a dozen or so) in front of me. I slowed down enough to allow the last of the hundred pound animals to pass. I’ll always remember locking eyes with the one of the adults before we went on our separate ways.
While I had two Russian blue cats, mother and kitten, I took the time to train them in basic house hold behavior in our family. Luna, the already named mother, did not need much instruction. However Kin, the kitten of hers I named, did. He was young and curious as well as active like any young kitty. After showing him my displeasure as a result of his behavior, Luna would later show him displeasure over the same action! It looked like she was re-enforcing my instructions.
I have had pets as long as I can remember, but the most unusual one is Betty. She has cerebellar hypoplasia (“CH” or “bobblehead syndrome”) and has poor muscle control. She’s a riot, though. Feisty as all get out, she rules the cats in the house and dictates when she will, or won’t be held or petted. I have had to go to work with scratches on my face and arms because I didn’t listen when she started to growl lol. She’s such a funny little cat, I wrote a book about her called, “Betty Tales The True Story of a Brave Bobblehead Cat.” I speak to elementary school children about obstacles and goals as well as disabilities using Betty as an example. It’s been fabulous and I get great feedback from the teachers as to the impact of little Miss Betty’s story.
I live on a five acre mini-farm, and we have raised chickens there since the first year we bought it. One year, one of the eggs that we hatched was a brown leghorn rooster.
Once the rooster had reached maturity (and realized that it was the only rooster in the flock), it became the meanest rooster I had ever met. If you came within fifty feet of his hens, he would come after you no matter what you were doing. It had speared my sister in the knee, flogged my little brother, and tried to flog my Dad.
I live in the mountains of Colorado. One night I went out to get the new bag of dog food I’d left in the car. It was a very dark night, so I lit my path across the driveway with my flimsy little key-chain light. I pointed the light at the car door lock and it reflected back from a pair of eyes, right at my height in the back passenger window! I jumped back in fear and directed the light at what I was sure was a robber who would be sorely disappointed by the lack of loot in my car. Instead of a bandit, it was the bandit mask of a raccoon. He jumped back just as I had and wriggled out the window I’d left open.
Note to self: always close windows and remove dog food immediately
My husband forgot to close the cat door last night. We close the cat door so that our black and white cat, Orca, won’t bring his “friends” into the house. Once he brought a mouse into the house that took up residence in our oven range. You wouldn’t think a mouse could live in an oven, but when the kitchen started to reek of mouse urine, and little pellets were left on top of and under the range, we figured it out. But last night, my husband forgot to close the cat door. I was awakened in the middle of the night by the cat crunching on our bed. Kibbles, I thought sleepily. That’s how we feed him, we put a handful of Kibbles on the bed and he eats there. He’s a social eater. But he was spending way to much attention on that pile of Kibbles, so I turned on the light. He was eating a rat in our bed! He’d left a blood stain and a stomach as evidence of his late night snack. I threw the cat out and asked my husband to get rid of the stomach. The blood stain graced our white comforter for one week before I finally asked my husband to please change it.
The next time my husband left the cat door open, Orca just left a big rat in our bed. I guess he wasn’t hungry. Or he wanted to share. Now, I put both my husband and the cat out, and I make sure the cat door is closed every night.
Family cat (a rather wild Siamese bastard) pretty much tried to scrape my eyes out when I was nine years old or so. Nearly succeeded, too (I still have a scar on my eyelid from that encounter).
I was stupid. I knew that when a cat is really, really mad and starts yowling at you, you don’t challenge it by staring it in the eyes. You simply never do that.
I never averted my eyes (well, until the beast was in my face, literally).
Sometimes, I fall back on that feeling. It’s a good, powerful feeling, and sort of cool to know that I am that sort of person who would risk her eyes but won’t give up the fight. I just hope that I’m picking my battles a bit better now.
The weirdest was when I was in middle school. I was walking home and saw a bird in a bush right next to my house. We put out bird feeders and stuff, and I’m outside a lot, so the birds are fairly used to my presence. I started very slowly walking up to the bird, making sure it could see me, not making any threatening moves… And it let me pet it! Just a few strokes with two fingers (same way you’re supposed to pet reptiles) before it flew off. I’m normally able to get insanely close to wild animals for some reason.
I grew up with cats, dogs, rodents, fish, and next to horse stables, so I’ve got a ton of miscellaneous stories.
One funny thing: the dog I grew up closest to (she was pretty much my age), a fairly large beagle, was effectively raised by cats (we had no older dogs when we got her, but we had three cats). She acted just like a cat! She’d sleep on the back of the couch, and would “purr” whenever we pet her (sounded sorta like growling, but we figured out the difference). She also helped the cats in their shenanigans. For instance, the cats loved bringing us dead moles from the backyard. They’d work in concert with the beagle: she’d dig up the mole tunnels, then flush out the moles and drive them towards the cats.
One of our cats loved to roll around in ashes from the grill and the fireplace. Since he was a black cat, we ended up calling him “Diablo”
Another of our cats, Cinnamon, is somewhat insane. Seriously, our dogs are terrified of her. One of our dogs, a labrador, always runs away whenever Cinnamon comes close. The other of our big dogs, a border collie, is braver, but he still gets nervous. Cinnamon has these giant eyes that take up about a forth of her face. She often chases and plays with invisible/imaginary toys. She also occasionally ambushes the other animals (including us), despite being the smallest mammal (we have a snake that’s smaller than her).
Another of our cats, a male, is a bit bipolar. He swings between /mean/ and super friendly/cuddly. He’s more cuddly now that he’s older; when he was a young cat he was really aggressive. He’s also cuddliest in the winter (he’ll crawl under the blankets… scaring the hell out of our dogs) and when he’s shedding. He used to chase our dogs (even the big ones) all the time. He’s also huge – he looks almost exactly like a bobcat, from the size down to the stubby tail – and taller at the shoulder than our smallest dog, a bichon frise (sp?). He thinks he’s one of the dogs, and acts like it.
All of our cats love taking a flying leap onto the table while we’re doing stuff, especially if we’re playing a board game or if there’s something breakable on the table. Also something about clean clothes seems to scream “come make a nest in me!”
My snake, a sand boa, is a burrower. She’s normally really friendly/cuddly/curious, except for when she’s shedding or hungry. If I’m late to feeding her (she gets a mouse once a week), she’ll surface, rear up, and start tracking me as I move around the room. I swear if she could talk she’d be saying, “Feed me NOW human, or I’ll break out of this cage and eat you!” never mind that she’s less than a foot long and about as wide around as my thumb. She isn’t much of a biter, unless she’s REALLY hungry or has just been fed. If she’s shedding, she’ll give a warning snap but not actually bite me
When baby gerbils are born, they’re actually translucent. You can see the milk in their bellies, and hints of some of their organs. They’re so cute!
I’ve ridden horses for as long as I can remember (first horse ride I was 4 or so and they pretty much had to tie me on). I’ve had horses try to buck and rear me off (a saddle-horn in the stomach is /not fun/) although none have actually thrown me. I’ve also never had a horse bite me (although one snapped and missed) but I have gotten my feet stepped on numerous times.
Mine was more funny than life-threatening.
This was during the year I was so horribly disappointed with the school I’d chosen for my degree pursuit of digital animation. I was literally a ball of stress that would bite someone’s head off without being provoked. My boyfriend at the time (who later turned into an insensitive jerk) discovered that Yosemite was having art lessons in the park, but it was a holiday weekend… National Parks and holiday weekends are notoriously busy. Still, he wanted to take me because he could see I very badly needed to relax and the school’s so-called “semester” of 9 weeks was over by that time anyway. (In case you haven’t figured it out, I was beyond merely being stressed. It’s a long, tragic story that only ends in expensive student loans and credits that are completely useless)
So, he talked me into it. We went into the park the first day, but didn’t really do much hiking – it was too late in the day by the time we arrived. The second day, the day of the art lessons, we got up early and found out the lessons were really IN the park, with watercolor. By that time, I’d already long since fallen in love with watercolor pencils and found them convenient for the occasion. Those who know anything about Yosemite, know that Half Dome is commonly painted, photographed, etc. This was no exception. We were to paint three locations and as we were moving on to the third (since the first two were really the same place, just different angles) one of the kids in the group heard a bit of a hissing-type noise. Everyone’s first thought: Rattlesnake. Of course, that was disproved when the snake finally came out of hiding. It was just a grass snake that we chased across the road. It looked so silly, I got a video and laughingly called it, “Why did the snake cross the road?” The answer? “To get away from the artists!”
I’ve had a menagerie in my life. Everything from turtles to chickens, butterflies, spiders, praying mantids, lizards… I grew up in a farming bedroom community. There were even llamas in a farm behind my elementary school. 6th grade, we had to build a Rube Goldberg machine and launch an egg as far as we could across the field toward that farm. Some might get where this is going… My group launched the egg and it flew farther than we thought, but we had good aim because it went BLAT! Right on one llama’s head. I think most people can guess the reaction of the poor llama, but we still got an A on the project – our egg went the farthest!
I’d say the funniest of all wasn’t even my encounter, but the UPS guy’s! The story he told was of coming to pick up one of mom’s many packages when he almost ran over a turtle! Not only did he pick up, but he delivered unexpectedly! Since the turtle was female and his name Todd, it was decided Toddette would be the turtle’s name.
Most of my encounters have been funny, fortunately. Dad has had his share of scares from bears and snakes, though. Then again, I haven’t been lucky enough to be able to go camping, so my encounters haven’t really been in the wild. Let’s just say that by the time I was born, my parents couldn’t afford to go camping anymore.
I’ve got a whole mess more funny stories, but this post is already quite long.
We had a lot of critters in the house when I was growing up. My brother became a herpetologist, showing his predilection at an early age, so his room was always full of snakes and lizards and frogs and salamanders. And because he couldn’t be constrained by the limitations of nomenclature, there were bugs of various sorts and spiders, and assorted crawly things he raised to feed the lizards, and…
My long-suffering mother permitted all this so long as they were all kept in escape-proof cages. Even so, she took it in stride when she woke up one Sunday morning to see a salamander, liberally caked in dust bunnies, amble from beneath her bed. She was less sanguine the time my brother had to admit the rattlesnake (the one he wasn’t supposed to have) had escaped a few days earlier.
Between my brother and the woman I eventually married, I’ve shared living quarters with the usual sorts of pets (dogs, cats, tortoises, birds), but also with weasels, ducks (yes, in the house), a horse and an ocelot.
Our last pet, a sweet old dog, died a few years ago and the house is feeling distinctly empty. We’re thinking about a rescue dog.
Before my senior year in high school I spent one summer taming a wild black cat that lived in the woods. I loved this cat. One day in my senior year my ride to school came into the house which was unusual as he usually honked the car horn for me to come out. With anxiety showing on his face, he told the three of us that my cat had been ran over. Immediately I busted into tears and was so distraught that I had to stay home from school. My father had always made coffins and crosses for other pets in my life when they passed. So he takes off to the lumber yard for the necessary materials. We lined the inside of the box in red velvet. The poor cat was “glued” to the pavement so dad had to scrap him up with the shovel. Hand carved the cross. I held burial services. My friends stopped by after school to offer their condolences. Along supper time my cat just fine. Whoever the cat belong to, he had a fine service.
Yawn … stretch … sneeze. “OK. I think I will go out to the kitchen and see if there’s anything to eat … Nope, not much I see! Is that the same old thing? Not chicken platter again? I am so tired of chicken platter I could just puke. Sure could go for a big cup of milk, and maybe something to dunk. Well – that’s not going to happen so I guess I’ll go do something else.”
“At least the sun is up. I could go over there and take a nap. I am so tired. It has been a horrific day so far. I had to go out last night, and I had to be out all night long. Just before sunrise, I came home so I could take a nap. I am so tired. I am completely worn out. The guy I live with just does not understand me. I am out all night, working the neighborhood. It’s not as if I am just out prowling around, I work hard all night long. I make a very big effort when I am out. When I finally drag back in, all I want to do is go to sleep. I am going back to bed.”
Stumble, Squeak, Chirp, Buzzzz. “Get out of my way you stupid bird thing. I think you are a bird, although you never fly, you just sit there and chirp. You could be that store mouse, but I don’t think so. I can’t remember which one of you squeaks. Oh bother, I think I will just sleep on it and decide later what I am going to do with you.”
Yawn … stretch … snoozzzzzzzz. “What was that? I know that I heard something. What – was – that?” Snoozzzzzz. Oooohhh … stretch. “Oh, great, this is Kevitday, that’s the day I agreed to clean up my stuff. I’m supposed to go through my things and sort out which of them I’m going to ignore and which of them I’m really going to ignore. If it were truly up to me, I would just ignore them all. What do I care if they are strung all over the house?”
Chirp, chirp! “Yes, yes, I think I will keep you. I like you. A matter of fact, I think I will smack you around the house for a while. Smack … Noooo! Not under the refrigerator again! I just hate it when you hide under there. It is so difficult to reach under there and snag you by the tail, then pull you out here where I can get a hold of you again. Darn it. I guess I need to hunt down that Store Mouse. Where did I leave him? He must be around here somewhere. I was just sleep’, no, I mean I was just walking through the bedroom and didn’t see that mouse in there. I’ll just take another look … There you are, hiding under the bed. You can run, but you can’t hide. I will find you no matter where you hide.”
“I wonder where that dog is.” I haven’t seen him all day. He can be a real pain. I think he has been messing with my stuff again. Well, that does it for me. I’m going to swing by the food bowl once again for a little munch and crunch, then back to bed for a nap.
The other day I was looking for the Store Mouse. He was not where I left him. I think the guy I live with keeps picking up my stuff. He has a real hang-up about leaving my things where I want to leave them. Most of the time, I can find my things in a box near my bed. Yesterday I pounced on the Store Mouse, and he had the strangest smell. It had a fake outdoor smell to him, all flowery and foul. He was also clean and soft. I tried to lick all the bad smell off. But I could still smell that April freshness.
Occasionally, Bruce, “well I think it’s Bruce.” The big-guy, who comes and goes all the time. He will bring something home for me to examine. As a favor, I will go over to check it out, – but that is so lame. I just turn my nose up at it and walk away. I don’t know why he keeps bringing all this junk home. It just keeps piling up in that box. I try to hide this stuff all over the house but he keeps bringing it back, putting it in the box along with all of my good things. I wonder how he would like it if I brought home some wild things that I’ve killed outside. I could leave them in the middle of the floor for him to examine.
“Is it dinner time yet?” I’ll just slink out to the kitchen area to check on the food situation. Sometimes the really good brown food is there for me, but not always. Sometimes it’s that really nasty smelling stuff. It taste pretty good but it smells like butt.
Every day Bruce leaves the house. For the longest time, I think that he forgets I am here all alone. It feels like he is gone for days and days. The only thing I can do is climb up in my Cat Tree, where I can look outside. I can also survey the whole room from that perch. There’s not much to do other than sleep. Sometimes, there is movement outside. I will check it out, but only as last resort. The tree also keeps the dog out of my fur, so it’s a good place to hang out.
“I am so mad at Bruce.” When he finally does drag back home, I’ll just ignore him. I’ll keep an eye out for him but, I will not be so excited to see him. The dog is always so loud and hyper. I think he is on drugs. Rex jumps on everything and he runs back and forth across the front window to the door and back. He barks constantly and that hurts my ears. I wish Bruce would put a muzzle on that flea bag.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“So … Bruce, you finally decide to come home.”
“Hey, Rex ol boy. Did you miss me today? Easy, – easy boy, don’t jump, don’t jump. Come on let me take you outside.”
“Good, take that barking fool outside! You should take him out in the front yard. That way he can go play in the street.”
“Hello, CoCo. You big fat cat. I know you didn’t miss me while I was at work.”
“No, I did not.”
“Did you have a good nap today?”
“Oh, so you still like it when I rub behind your ears.”
“Yes I do, don’t stop.”
“Come on over here and sit with me while I watch the news before dinner.”
“Ok, I will sit here and dig into your leg with my claws while I go back to sleep.”
“I got a new toy for you today. Look at it. Feel how soft and fuzzy it is.”
“Get that thing out of my face!”
“Come on CoCo, don’t you like your new toy?”
“Just toss it on the floor and I’ll ignore it later.”
“Well come on, lets go see if there’s any Cat food in the cupboard for you.”
“God, I hope it’s not that nasty chicken platter again.”
“Oh, look CoCo, it’s your favorite, – looks like it’s chicken again.”
“That’s it. I’m going back to my perch. Wake me when it’s tomorrow.”
My father and I were playing chess in his study. My cat, Patches, jumped up onto the seat of his high-backed desk chair and then leaped up to the back and balanced for a moment with all four paws in a row. From there she surveyed the bookshelves and reached out to the nearest row of books, evidently intending to move to the bookshelf. With her front paws on the books and her hind feet still on the back of the swivel chair, the chair began to swivel away. Patches was stretched between the chair and the bookshelf. She scrabbled at the books with her front paws as the chair continued to swivel and she became longer and longer. The books she dislodged fell to the floor, and the chair kept on swiveling. When Patches was so stretched out in midair that she could no longer hold on, she too fell to the floor amid the pile of books. By now my father and I were roaring with laughter. Cats do not like to be laughed at. It embarrasses them. Patches ran out of the study and across the hall to the bathroom, where she hid under the big cast-iron claw-footed bathtub.
I’ve had cats and dogs most of my life, but this almost encounter was my scariest and could have been the deadliest. I was driving from my bedroom community to the main townsite on a dark road. Just as I swung into the curve at 50 mph+ I caught a glimpse of a large bull elk just inches to my left. Apparently he had done this before – crossed a busy road at night but he pretty much scared the heck out of me. He was the old bull elk people called Granpa and his withers were taller than my Saturn. Good thing he knew where I was – if we’d connected I’d be dead, the Saturn totaled and I don’t think Granpa would have been feeling too good either.
My uncle totaled his brand-new Studebaker by plowing into a moose. The moose got up, shook himself, and ran off into the woods.
I want to share an excerpt of the book, A View to Die For, based on my Golden Retriever.
The cave itself looked more like an Anasazi cliff dwelling than the dark hole I had envisioned. It was simply a very large, deep depression in the limestone bluff. Fred had managed to make it to the cave before me – several times before me, in fact. He would run ahead, turn around and look at me as if to say, “Are you coming slowpoke?” then come back to see what was taking me so long.
That’s when I saw the footprints. A cold chill came over me and stopped me dead in my own tracks. We were not alone. The prints had to be fresh because they were as deep and visible as mine and Fred’s. There were none of the tell-tale marks of boots or tennis shoes. The stranger must be wearing street or dress shoes or the prints would have left grooves like my hiking boots. Fred stood at my side panting while I tried to listen for the intruder. “Quiet, boy,” I whispered. It did no good. I couldn’t hear anything besides Fred’s panting. Whoever had been here before us was gone now.
I followed the foot-prints to the cave. Other than a still damp spot next to the wall of the cliff where someone had recently relieved himself, there wasn’t much else to see. There were no signs of digging or anything – just the spot on the wall and ground. I went up to the wall and made my own contribution; not so much to mark my territory, but to gauge the height of the intruder. I figured he had to be less than six feet tall because his spot was several inches below mine. Of course, he could have been much more endowed than I, in which case all bets on height assessment were off.
When I was 10 years old I was chased by a,n angry dead-parrot-wielding baboon. My father had to scare it away.
We were on a family vacation in Senegal and had stopped at a “bush” village. for lunch. While everyone else was eating, I went outside to watch a baboon stalk and kill a small parrot. The baboon must have taken my staring as a threat to steal it because it leapt from the tree without warning and started after me with an ear-splitting shriek, waving the parrot over its head.
In case you’ve never been face-to-face with a wild baboon, they’re about the same size/height as a petite ten year old girl, but with much larger teeth.
I grew up on a farm and dreamed, like most little girls, of having a horse. My parents, however, insisted we would only raise dairy goats. To a seven-year-old girl a sturdy white Nubian goat named Ginger was close enough to a pony to make dreams come true! I spent hours dragging the poor animal as far from the barn as I could and then riding her back as she sprinted to safety. One fine day I had the brilliant plan of hooking a leash to her collar and tying the handle around my waist … you can probably see where this is going. Ginger realized her advantage immediately and took off through the fields, dragging me behind Indiana-Jones-style. By the time the leash finally broke my arms and stomach were covered in road rash. Not long after, my parents let me get riding lessons at a local barn. 🙂