My wife and I had a big fight one Sunday morning.  The tension was so thick that the dogs (three) could not stand to be in our house and we let them out.  Awhile later when things calmed down a bit and the dogs wanted to come back in the house. When Tilla approached the house, he turned on his back, tale wagging furiously:  he wanted his bellied rubbed before he came back in the house.  Then five feet closer he did the same thing, turned on his back, tale wagging furiously, again.  I obeyed him and rubbed his belly again.  He made me laugh and laugh with his behavior.  I then realized he wanted me to “lighten up”.  And this was his way of doing that.  He likes to make me laugh.

I can’t imagine a life without animals. Each dog (I have three) and even my seven cats enrich my life. They give me more reasons to get up and greet them each day. Each pet has their own personality. Of course, I have favorites and so what?! Everyone has friends and certain friends who are favorites. Tilla is the dog I never expected. I lost the first dog I ever raised from a pup, Daisy, who died from cancer and then a golden retriever came our way.

Our one male dog, Pax, impregnated her before we could get her fixed and seven pups came our way, most of them born on our bed. We sold four (one died) and I did not have the heart to tell my wife to separate the last two, which we kept. One male, Tilla, and a female Coco both who I have learned to love dearly. They certainly complicate our lives but we had the means to build a fence around part of out property.

We did have one problem:  Tilla the most athletic of our four dogs could jump the fence so a year later we even built the fence higher now it was too high for him to make it over.  As time went by, I developed a close relationship with Tilla.  Maybe just by giving him belly rubs whenever he wanted them.  Wouldn’t that be something if we can make friends with other humans by just giving them belly rubs?!  Anyway, the human equivalent.  Whatever that might be?

Usually all my three black animals (two dogs and one cat) sack out with me. My cat Cool Hand Luke is the only cat to follow me into my bedroom.(I have seven). I have owned her for over fourteen years. She is Pre L., my other. She settles in the bed depending where Tilla positions himself on my left side by my head. She often lays in the upper left of the corner a few feet from my head. Sometimes she will lie down by my right armpit and purr loudly when I reach out to her. Coco, Tilla’s sister, has her spot on the left side of the bed laying on a thin cushion topped by a pillow and torn ruffled bunched up woolen blanket. That is the typical routine the three animals follow. They are at wits end the time or two during the year I may be away. They will mill around the bed not knowing what to do when the evening comes and my wife goes to bed.

Tilla, my favorite dog, did not miss one night since I came back from my 50th high school reunion. When I go to bed he is waiting for me on the left side of me often sound asleep. We had to board our three dogs when we took a trip to NJ. Tilla let loose an howl when we brought him home from the kennel. I never heard such a sound come from his. throat. It was pain! He must have felt abandoned and did not know if we were coming back to get him. Now every night he sleeps by my side. He does not want to be too far from me. He is not taking any chances.

I never knew what Coco, one of our dogs, caught.  She and the other two dogs were having their last “out” of the evening.  I thought, at first, Coco had a bone in her mouth and would not drop it to get her evening biscuit.

I realized it was more than that.  It was alive although I could not tell what creature she had in her mouth.  The lighting was not too good.  First I thought she caught “Oscar” our “local” rat but the animal had fur.

I grabbed the animal out of her mouth and it lay in front of the door.  My wife was screaming, “Get it out of the house!”

Finally I scooped it up with a cat scooper and dropped it over the fence onto our driveway.  At the same time one of our cats got out.

Seconds later I got a flashlight and shined it on the spot I dropped the animal.  It was nowhere to be seen.

It is possible the animal was just stunned (Coco has retriever blood in her) or the cat grabbed it who escaped.  My wife thought the animal might have been a baby squirrel.  I will never know for sure.  I felt bad for the animal hours (an hour) later.  There was nothing else I could do.

I am going to vanquish my winter blues. It is too much self–indulgence. My pets love me (and my wife). And that is enough. My favorite dog, Tilla, ‘adores’ me, in the words of my daughter. I did nothing to deserve all that. And that is an incomplete list of the seven cats and two dogs who each love me in their own way. My pets do not care what I do or am. And my wife does not care about the degree I do not have, or job for that matter.

Cool hand Luke greeted me. My black cat came into my den after I was in there awhile. This time it was two hours. He arched his back in front of me and wanted to be petted. He is the only cat to do this. He comes into my den every morning to be petted. He is the only cat to do that. I have had him for over thirteen years. He was not quite full grown when someone gave me to me. He probably slept in my bedroom curled up on a pillow above my head last night although I don’t remember him doing that. I fell asleep rapidly.

Cool Hand Luke

Author: siggy

Cool hand Luke I have had for thirteen years. She is a scrawny black female cat someone gave me. I never had a cat that long. She sleeps on one of my pillows above my head. She likes to run through doors and is the only cat to go outside. She comes to me for “hugs”. You don’t own a cat: they own you. She is a sweet cat that does not get along too well with our other cats. Sometimes she will spend hours on her pillow. It is comforting to know she is sleeping nearby.

Tilla will periodically jump on my bed as I enter that room just so he can get my attention. He is one uninhibited and affectionate dog. After I leave my bedroom he will immediately jump off. He loves my hugs. He and I have a very special relationship. He is my favorite dog and usually sleeps at the foot of my bed although the last two nights he hopped on my bed right next to me. He is totally unpredictable and definitely has his own mind. He is also a rascal: do not leave any food around. It is his if you forget about it. Nothing is safe around him.

Coco, one of my dogs, came into my den in the early morning and demanded my attention. She insisted I pet her for at least ten minutes. She would not move from that spot. If I stopped petting too soon she would demurely raise one paw and lay it on my lap. She did this three mornings in a row. This was unusual behavior for her. She is usually not that insecure. Let us see if she does the same thing four times in a row. Coco is a long haired midsized black female with fluffy black ears with a splash of white on her neck absolutely irrepressible. She has a very sweet personality and is all female. And she knows it.

Sweetie, my golden retriever, is no longer that needy. She was neglected when she was really young. When we first got her, she wanted you to pet her forever. She could not get enough affection. She was put in the basement for hours at a time–even got pregnant before she was one year old when she was tied down outside in the yard and a dog jumped the fence and impregnated her. We have owned her, maybe, eight years and now she knows she is loved. She was neglected as a young dog. No longer.

Maybe, Cheyenne, one of my cats, who almost died last year changed her attitude toward me then. He would always walk into the opposite direction when I approached him. Last year he got very sick, had we waited one more day he might have died. The vet said his kidneys had almost shut down completely. We fully expected to hear from our vet that he did not make it through the night. We were thrilled when he called the next day and the vet said he was doing much better. I am not sure if that was the reason he would not run from me any longer. Now we are buddies and he welcomes my touch. I consider that a miracle.