I get so many wonderful stories from readers about their funny, smart, endearing pets that I finally realized it was selfish of me to keep them all to myself. If you have a pet whose antics deserve to be known to the world, I’d love to get them.
Boy, ask for pet stories and you open up the floodgates! Here, edited for length, are some readers’ favorite pet stories.
From Hema Krishnamurthy: I have a male cat by name Phoebe. He got his name because he was/is as quirky as the Friends character ‘Phoebe’. And well, he doesn’t seem to mind having a girl’s name. As all cats are, he is too curious for his own good. Last winter, we used the fireplace and when the fire died out, we went upstairs to retire for the evening. Phoebe, who enjoyed the fire while it lasted decided to explore a bit more on his own. He must have stuck his face into the chimney vent because the next morning guess who woke me up for an early breakfast ? Not my orange tabby but a black one. For a moment, I thought some neighborhood stray had wandered in and then realized we don’t have a kitty door. It was indeed my beloved Phoebe who spent the rest of the week cleaning himself!
There was also this time when Phoebe was on a bird hunting spree. He usually responds to ‘NO’ and so when I let him out, I yelled a bunch of ‘NO’s to tell him he was not supposed to hunt birds. As I had something cooking in the oven, I left the backdoor open and went back to the kitchen. I realized I had run out of some ingredient and when I decided to make a quick run to the store – there it was – my open handbag (I blame myself for leaving it open and on the couch) with a barely alive sparrow inside! Of course, we knew who the culprit was. Since I told him I didnt want birdie presents, he decided to leave it in my handbag!
From Bonnie Ladd Hamilton: Button was a black and tan German Shepherd. She had been with her Person for several years, ever since she had been trained as a Seeing Eye guide dog. She was a good worker, accompanying her blind Person, guiding everywhere they went. But recently she’d been making mistakes, although only in strange surroundings. Then came visits to the doctors’ offices, where bright lights probed her eyes. A few weeks ago her Person hugged her fiercely and disappeared. She waited patiently in the strange kennel, waiting for her Person to come back. She wasn’t working; she was waiting. But only the kind people came and took her for walks.
One day a familiar kind lady asked Button if she would like to go home with her. When the car door opened she was not at another kennel. It was a house; she could smell trees and flowers. Her days were now different. She didn’t wear her harness, she didn’t work, but she was not in a kennel waiting. She had a new life and a new name. Button was her name in her old life, guiding her blind Person. Her name now was Helen, a proper lady’s name for a sweet, dignified, companion dog.
Her new Person petted her, hugged her, and talked to her, asking her what she would like to do. What Helen wanted most now was to be right next to her new Person. Wherever this Person was, Helen was too. She followed her upstairs and down, into the bathroom, and out to the garage. She wasn’t working, she didn’t wear her harness, but she was content to just be with her Person. Maybe this Person didn’t need guiding, but she needed Helen’s love. They loved each other and they needed each other.
From Carol Custer:
A little over a year ago, my husband and I decided we needed a cat in our lives. We started going to the local animal shelter every day – – – and one day about two weeks later, Mr. Muffin came into our lives. It was love at first sight – – for us as well as several other applicants – – so we began a campaign to make him ours! Luckily, we convinced the shelter staff that WE should be his family and we brought him home. Now, he totally rules our home – and our hearts. Mr. Muffin is a 17 lb ball of fur (Maine Coon mix) and we love him dearly.
From Pat Golding: We had a cat named Fluke, when we first went to the Vet, she asked us why we named him after a stomach virus. Fluke was named for summer flounder by my husband who loves to fish. He said, his eyes are on the same side of his head. (strange man, my husband). Fluke was not the most social of cats I’ve owned. My nephews called him Aunt Pattie’s grumpy kitty. He would swat at anyone walking past the end of the couch he owned, for no reason. When the kids would come for dinner they’d hug the wall to keep away from him. Fluke did love my husband and I, but he’d bite us occasionally when playing hard. My husband told me that Fluke would bite him on the arm when he was sleeping on the couch. I had trouble believing this story, why would he do that for no reason. Besides, my husband is an ex car salesman, a professional liar, who takes a few liberties when telling a story. I did finally
witness this act one day, it was hysterical. I was reading a book and Bob had fallen asleep on the
couch. Fluke calmly walked over, leaned up on Bob’s arm and bit down. It must have been payback of some sort. He could be a loving cat when he wanted to, but this was just too funny!
From Cathie Albair: I am so much in mourning for the death of my beloved cat, Albert Finney. Finney was an amazing, and exceptional cat. Very friendly. loved guests. So smart that he craved contest diversions; new games, walked on a leash. Feared being stepped on, but always came out to great guests when they had settled in. Loved to play. He was a great travel companion, and loved to ride in cars. He wanted to be an only cat when I got him from my vet’s assistant. And I always thought that the other cats were boring to him; he was so smart. When I took him to the vet, everyone was excited that Finney was coming for his appointment. Because he needed a license in my county, and was close to death at the time of renewal, the woman
at the licensing agency called me to console me when he died, though she had never actually met him. Everyone who knew, or knew of Finney was touched by how exceptional he was.
Every night when I came home, Finney would meet me at the door. I could bustle around, cook and eat dinner, but after that, it was our time. I had to sit on my bed; Finney sat on my chest. We would tell each other about our day. He would kiss me. If something sad happened, he would lick the tears off of my face. He loved being brushed; fur, and his teeth. He was gorgeous; a russian gray, with big green eyes. One night, a realtor came to the house. She arrived the second I got home from work. I had no dinner. I thought it would be a brief visit, but it went on, and on, and on. Finney had finally had enough. He put himself under her feet. Every time she moved, she would trip on him. He did it about three times, and she was so embarrassed, she finally left. And Finney had his time with me; we sat on my bed; he kissed me, and we got to talk about our day. He also loved to hide behind doorways, and jump out to scare me for fun. I have never know a funnier, smarter, more loving, and intelligent cat. He was a great soul. I will miss him forever.
From Peggy Dziurlikowski: Here’s the story of my five cats, but in reality they know that they are really princesses in disguise. First there is Trouble the oldest one and yes she truly lives up to her name. She came to me one year for my birthday, a gift from my husband. She was joined the following year at Christmas by Dinky who was a rescue from the local vet. Dinky is a hermit and you rarely see her. A few years later Tallulah a/k/a Tunabelly came to live with us. One of my husband’s clients came to visit on a snowy wintry day in January and had a pet carrier with her and when she opened it, out came 3 little Siamese kittens and she told him take your pick. Tallulah is a beautiful flame point Siamese. The year of the big east coast blackout, we were staying at a B&B in Chesaning, Michigan with another couple and this little playful kitten was there which it turns out the owner did not want but the grandson was feeding her. We couldn’t take her that day but our friends went back up and got her. We named her Chessie and she is beautiful and has the best personality of the bunch, we believe she is part Maine Coon, she has the biggest tail. In November Zip came to live with us. She is also a rescue, one of our neighbors found her and wanted to keep her but their dog didn’t seem to like being bossed around by a little kitten. She is a Russian Blue and zips here there and everywhere.
From Loree Byrne: With a very heavy heart, we had to put my beautiful calico cat, Mitsu, to sleep. She led a wonderful pampered life and was almost 20 years old. I wanted to wait a while before adopting another cat as I thought I needed some time to pass. I had, however, picked out a name for my next cat. I knew I wanted a female and I wanted to name her LuLu. My good friend, Pam, didn’t think I should wait too long so she sent me a link to my animal shelter website and lo and behold! The featured cat on the website was named Lucy Lu. I took this as a sign the she was the right one for us. When my husband and I went to the shelter to meet her, we fell in love with her and found out that she had been in the shelter for almost a year. She has been with us for three years now and we couldn’t be happier.
From Kate Gossfeld: Years ago we purchased a complete dairy farm. Being “city slickers” this was all new to us. My husband and I packed up our five children and our black labrador “Rip”. When I say, “complete dairy farm” I mean holstein cows, heifers, 215 acres of corn, oats and alfalfa, machinery, 200 chickens and a rugged farm dog, “Joe”. Well Joe didn’t think too much of a sissy kennel dog and let us know. Joe guarded the house, as it was his domain under the porch which was his home summer, winter and fall. Rip was not allowed near the porch, so he stayed pretty much in and on the side of the shed. Joe made it a practice to ramble over to the shed any time he had to relieve himself, then he would trot smartly back to his kingdom the porch. They never did make friends. The wall existed between country and city quite obviously in the canine world.
From Kay Cheaney: When my daughter was 5 she played sometimes with our neighbor’s cat Marvin. In the middle of the night my husband found her with the front door open, (storm door closed), lying asleep on her pillow – one hand on the glass door. On the other side of the door was Marvin curled up on the front doormat. He put her back to bed, closed and locked the front door. This happened on three different nights. When he asked her why she was doing this she said ”Marvin is lonely, he meows outside my window until I get up and he can see me so I just sleep here.” We agreed that Marvin could come inside at night if it was all right with the neighbors, only stayed in her room and we let him out in the morning. Well, we had a cat. Marvin was about 5 at the time and his owner had gone to college and the parents had bought two dogs so Marvin went looking. He would wait under their bushes in the front yard during the day until the car came home with Elizabeth. One day after my husband’s arrival at home Marvin was sauntering over across the court to play. My husband said “Marvin, Liz isn’t with me today so you can just go back home.” Marvin did just that. In the middle of the street he turned around and went back to his bushes. Marvin soon joined us at our home, lived to be 21 and died during our daughter’s years at college.
From Janet Gaylord: Our daughter moved home after living in the Twin Cities. She brought her cat, Charlie, with her. Charlie enjoys running down the stairs and leaping onto the couch. I was leaning down to pick something off the floor and Charlie was charging down the stairs, leaping onto the couch and in midair ran into the bridge of my nose. ouch.
From Samantha Burden: My family got a cat from our local SPCA a few months ago. We really love her. She acts like a guard dog sometimes, watching out the door for our kids. We got her a new toy about two weeks ago, a mouse shaped laser. She loves it and will chase it for hours. I hope everyone can find a wonderful pet like we did.
From Debra Guyette: I had a wonderful cat who adopted me. His name was Bobbi Socks. He would not allow you to pet him but if you held your hand out he would pet you. He knocked at the back door to come in and got very annoyed if you did not answer right away. He sadly was hit by a car and came home in quite bad shape. He lived until we got him to vet and the vet told us that the cat must have really loved us to have made it home. He was so badly injured that he should have died.
From Suzanna Blake: Finius (we didn’t know how to spell Phineas then), was just a puppy – half black lab and half setter. Of course he got the stamina, color and brain half from the black lab, and the long silky hair half from the setter. So if we’re really talking percentages I would revise it to say he was ¾ black lab and only ¼ setter. His full name was Finius T. Rathbone Schuyler. He was a perfect size, if perfect includes being able to jump on the bed and still leave a little room for me, but this particular story happened before he was too little to even climb up the front steps. He really loved children. He really loved running. I don’t think there were leash laws yet. Anyway, he was outside when the papergirl came by on her bicycle. Finius followed her the rest of her route, but she never realized where he came from, and she took him across the river into another village altogether several miles from home. Her neighborhood children all fell in love with him and everyone gave him candy to eat. They didn’t get our little town paper asking if anyone had found a lost puppy, and for a couple of weeks I was going absolutely nutty with worry. I finally resorted to putting a notice on the radio. The papergirls father responded to my ad but warned me that if Finius didn’t recognize me I couldn’t have him back because why else would a dog run away if he weren’t abused at home? Finius heard MY car approaching and paid close attention from pretty far down the street. As soon as I opened the door Finius jumped right into my arms. Her father had to know I was his mother, but I think Finius was just starving for real dog food and quite lost. We were inseparable for the rest of his long and zesty life. And picture this. My husband had a motor cycle and we didn’t have laundry machines, so we would bag the laundry, leash the dog, and drive to the laundry-mat on the motor cycle! It wasn’t too far – and Finius thought it was fabulous – especially since riding on the back seat was impossible!
You’ve probably heard a lot of stories like these, but they are dear-to-my-heart memories and I hope you enjoy anyway!
From Belinda Moore: I have pet birds and love them for their affection and antics. I work at night. One afternoon when I got up and greeted my birds, one of the parakeets was missing. It seems that she had learned that she could raise the door on the cage where the seed bowl sat. Panic set in and I started calling her and searching all over. Since my birds are fully flighted and tend to like high places, I was looking on curtain rods, shelves, counter tops, etc. I searched for about a half hour and was running out of places where she could be when I spotted her. She was perched on a chair rung in the kitchen watching the crazy human run about like a mad woman. She was the only escape artist that I ever had. I still laugh thinking about her sitting ever so quietly watching me look for her.
From Mark: I have 3 cats (2 age 17 years, and 1 age 5 years) and they give me unconditional love as the Almighty God does. I can take a trip to Heber Arizona on the mountain and leave my darlings alone with plenty of their delicious meals and a clean litter box, and when I return home my house is in order and I receive a heart warming greeting from my 3-boys and have a lap full for hours upon returning home as they truly did miss their daddy.
From Victoria Swadley: About 17 years or so ago, my family lived in Seneca, Missouri with two cats – Koko (a half Siamese, half tabby female) and Jemimah (a silver-gray tabby female). Koko and Jemimah loved to sit in the wide window sill in our eat-in kitchen and watch the hummingbirds as they swooped around the feeder all day. One day as Jemimah watched silently, never twitching a whisker, Koko became more and more excited, her entire body quivering as she chattered louder and louder as each bird took its turn at the feeder. Finally, Koko chattered so loudly the birds flew away from the feeder. Jemimah was so put out, she hissed and reached out with her paw and popped Koko in the nose as if to say, “Will you shut up, Koko, you are scaring the birds away!” Koko sat back, blinked, and looked at Jemimah with a stunned expression on her face. I laughed so hard, tears rolled down my face. With my laughter no doubt ringing in both cats’ ears, they jumped down from the window sill and stalked off! Koko and Jemimah are both gone now, but I will never forget this most amusing incident and proof positive that cats have no sense of humor!
From Amy Igou: My favorite pet story involves our dog Grace. She is a lovable, older dog. I always call her our pure-bred mutt. My husband loved her the minute he discovered her in the animal shelter. (I wasn’t in the picture yet). Anyway, we were walking Grace around the neighborhood on our usual path. All of a sudden Grace starts growling loudly and the hair on her back was standing up. We were looking around trying to figure out what was getting Grace in a tizzy. Then it hit us. Our neighbor had put out a metal silhouette of a dog near his mailbox. Although his dogs were nowhere in sight, our near-sighted Grace thought the silhouette cutout was a threat. She finally calmed down and we assured her the big bad dog wasn’t going to get her. We laughed all of the way home. Poor Grace was never quite comfortable walking by that house after that. Although she didn’t growl again, she always kept her eye on the “dog” to make sure he stayed put. Hope you enjoyed the story about our lovable Grace that is turning 15 this year.
From Deanna Spencer: Many years ago I had a German Shepard-Husky mix who presented us with two puppies, Cindy and Penny. To house break them, we started with putting papers down and then moved them outside. But there was a slight problem with Cindy. She would sometimes get in a hurry and use any paper she saw. My husband, who was then Chief of Police in our small town, had put some important papers on a chair in the living room. Cindy got in a big hurry pulled the papers off the chair and made use of them. To say the least, he was not amused. Now, many years later, we can mention Cindy’s name and break out laughing. We have been retired for over ten years, been married 52 years, and that is a moment neither one of us forgot.
From Pat Schmidt: I bought a towel dog for our cat sitter’s dog Luke (named after cool hand because of his light blue eyes) and put it on the bar in my dining room. Unfortunately Luke never got the dog since Belle, my little cat, adopted the dog as another of her babies. (She really would have been great with kittens seeing the way she mothers her soft toys.. a blue mouse, a pink and a purple something…you get the picture). When she carries this particular baby, she carries it like she would a real kitten. Since it is almost 2/3 the size of her it is a hoot to watch her climb the stairs with it to put it to “bed”.
From Marion Godbold: My outside cats, Felix and Barnabas (I say mine but they are the offsprings of a cat brought up from the coast— named Katrina after the hurricane which forced her owners to seek shelter in Brookhaven, MS. They settled in next door to us and Katrina settled in with my white cat, Princess (She chose our house at Christmas time so we always referred to her as “The Cat who Came for Christmas.” Katrina was “with kittens” when she came so we soon became the “proud” owners of four kittens with nary a bit of help from the owners. Since that time the hurricane victims have moved, taking some of the cats, I guess, because they are not here! So by right of feeding Barnabas and Felix, I guess they are now ours. The sad thing is that Felix still avoids me and Barnabas is a little more sociable. But needless to say, they are always around at feeding time and when any of us drive into the driveway, they come running around the house like little puppies.
From Phoenix Vie: One of my favorite fur clients in recent years was Monte, a 20 pound former feral who was tremendously sweet & shy of most people. His number #1 human told me that I was the only person who understood what he was about, other than herself. We lost him to lymphoma at 11 years old, far too young. In his last days we spent time together peacefully in the garden while he slept. I still miss him dearly.
From Jean Brady: My cat story is about my sweet, wonderful, pretty girl who I called Me-a-Cat. I adopted her from the Lakeland SPCA when she was four years old. She had been declawed and her name at that time was Mia. I did not want to change her name too drastically and that is where I came up with the name that I gave her. Me-a-Cat loved catnip! I bought her a red pepper that could be filled with it and she was always tossing the pepper up in the air and scratching it with her back paws while tightly holding it with her front paws. I found a tin (I am a collector of tins, mainly food tins) at a yard sale with a cat and the word catnip on the front. That became the holder for Me-a’s stash; she could not get to it unless “Mom” opened the tin. Sadly, Me-a got cancer last year and she is now at the Rainbow Bridge with all my other furry, scales, skin and other friends. I miss Me-a-Cat so much, but I know that I gave her eight years of love and care so she did not have to stay alone at the SPCA or never have a home of her own. She was a very sweet loving friend who will be in my heart forever.
From Brenda Logan: Two years ago I saw a picture of this poor little pooch on the website for our local humane society. He looked like he was the size of a brick, weighing about 5 pounds. “Perfect” I thought. I had been wanting a “purse dog” for months. Since I was working & unable to get off, I sent the parents down to adopt the little guy. Well, four days later we picked him up from the vet’s (he had to have “that surgery”) and my little purse dog ended up being a 15 pound terrier mix that disliked women!! So, two years later he is my father’s best friend. They are inseparable. My dad has Alzheimers (hence I’m the caregiver) and Zeke has made a tremendous impact on my dad’s day to day existence. He has not advanced any in the progress of the disease and I give most of the credit to Zeke! He has invigorated Dad (who does all of Zeke’s daily care…feeding, water, brushing and outdoor potty breaks). I really think that pets are God’s gifts to us to help us overcome life’s obstacles!
From Rachel Grogg: I have been a cat lover for about all my life, and currently have 8 of them–not entirely because I set out to get all these cats, but because each of them were unwanted and all of them came to me homeless except for my boyfriend’s Ragdoll cat who just didn’t jive with his personality. The Grogg Cat Brood (as my friend calls them) consist of 3 tuxedo cats who were the last ones to join up–Sabrina, Bridget and Henry VIII (what better name for the 8th cat??), 3 longhair tabbies Sheba (the 12-yr-old matriarch), Temple and Valley (brother & sister), 1 large black tomcat Sparky, and the ragdoll Sebastian.
Three years ago, when Valley was just two years old, my mother and I had been shopping one night and got a good deal on a couple of jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce. We left our plastic shopping bags in the living room and went to the kitchen to look up something. In a few minutes, we heard crashing, like someone had broken in the house! Glass shattered repeatedly, followed by thuds. I walked into the hallway and here comes Valley–streaking around the corner with her eyes bugging out of her head, ears back . . . and the handles of the plastic shopping bag around her neck–running for her life! She dove under my bed, and if I hadn’t seen her and been laughing so hard, I would have broken down crying when I saw the light beige living room rug! Spaghetti sauce had been smeared from one end of the living room to the other and even splattered on the white drapes on the front of the house! It looked like someone had been killed in that room! I went to get Valley from under the bed, who gave a sad little howl, and took her to the bathroom to clean her up. The good, and very surprising, news: she had not been cut in any way, just smeared with Ragu. So–after 9:00 on a Saturday night, I call one of my friends who has a carpet cleaner and ask him if he would come spot clean the carpet. All the way over, he thought, “How bad is it? It can’t be that bad.” He opens the door–“OH MY LORD!” Fortunately, the Ragu eventually came up out of the carpet. Valley runs the other way now when she hears a plastic bag rustle.
From Penny Tuttle: I raise foster kittens for the local humane society, so 40-50 mama cats and/or kittens live temporarily at my house each year during kitten season on their way to the adoption center. For me at least, fostering has also meant increasing the size of my own cat population since each year there seems to be a “special needs cat” of some sort who end up living here permanently. Casper is the newest addition to my cat family. He is a beautiful long haired white persian kitty, who unfortunately was very poorly socialized and as a result was banished from the adoption center when he bit one of the staff. The Humane Society asked if I’d give him a home and work on his socialization skills. He was been a constant challenge, but a joy as well. He will sit on the 6′ cat tree and attack me and the other cats as we go by. He will sit inside the dog door, waiting to pounce on the next cat or dog that comes through it. I have kept a plastic bag of catnip in the UPPER kitchen cabinet for years with no problems. I came home from work last week to find catnip scattered over the entire kitchen and Casper purring blissfully on the floor surrounded by catnip. On the plus side, just watching him play with anything that moves in the back yard is a joy and he has finally reached the point where he can lay on my lap and be petted without biting.
From Mrs. Rowshan Daneshy:
Bright eyed and bushy tailed
My gray fluff’s fun never ceased
A mother once in painful breath
She survived it with dignity and grace.
A tiny black life sprung from her womb
Only to flicker a moment and then doomed.
She suffered in silence, her loss mourned
By tearless orbs of glistening dew
The sorrow deep in a wavering gait
Her feeding bowl glimpsed with distaste.
Worried about the mini carcass in the attic
My unconscious will made her go back
Into that dark and lonely sanctuary.
She returned holding up the furry
Mute life in her gentle mouth.
She laid the charge at my repentant feet
As if to say – you needn’t worry
Here is my baby, do what you will!
My unctuous gush, changed to guilty tears.
This dear pet showed her queenly faith
And artless guile gleaned through the ages.
From Tally Ho’s mom: The expression “Tally Ho” was originally a shout used by British fox hunters when their dogs got on trail. Then, during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940, British fighter pilots used the phrase when they spotted German bombers. I now find myself yelling “Tally Ho”, even though I am NOT an English fighter pilot. Tally Ho is the name we gave our strong willed puppy that we got several weeks ago. Ironically, she is a German Shorthair Pointer. She is a warrior. She battles for 20 minutes and sleeps for hours. While she is at war, she tears up cardboard boxes, shreds paper, growls at the cat, jumps in the air when she means to jump up onto the furniture, climbs on and over her sisters (who are beside themselves with her arrival), yelps when I leave the room and follows me where ever I go no matter how tired she is or how peacefully I thought she was sleeping. She carries her food bowl around like a fine dinning waitress carrying her tray over her head. She knocks over her water bowl and then tries to drink out of the toilet. When I walk there she is under my feet or between my legs. She hears Jeff over the speaker phone when he calls and she looks around for him. She doesn’t understand the TV nor does she understand why the image in the mirror mimics her, yet despite all of her puppiness I envy her unwavering curiosity.
All things are new to her, she’s not stuck on a mental list of “should do’s” and “don’t do’s”, she takes on each endeavor with a desire to conquer. She takes her little victories in stride, and moves on into further unknown territory, with a will to overcome what ever obstacles she uncovers, she is a very happy puppy. Challenges, like why don’t the big dogs want to play with me, why can’t I be a big dog, why is that cat not afraid of me….I know it is not one of my kind, why can’t I eat the plastic bags…yet that won’t stop me from trying, why are those stairs into the basement so unsettling? Yet with all the “why’s”, Tally keeps on trying and with out a doubt by the time she quits tripping over her ears and rolling onto her face, the basement stairs will be mastered.
She is totally my little love right now, but I know that after she comes back from her first hunting trip with Jeff she will be all Jeff’s dog. I look forward to this fall when I receive Jeff’s reports from the “pheasant battlefields” of Western Kansas, after he yells “Tally Ho!”
From Peg Miller: My story is about a beautiful collie we rescued called Faith. At the time we lived about 5 miles out of town on the Missouri River. Our little girl Melissa was two years old. Whenever she wanted to go outside I would send the dog out with her to watch her. If Melissa fell down or got into something she wasn’t supposed too, Faith would bark and I would come out and sort things out. One day shortly after the two went outside I looked out the window and couldn’t see them, so I went out and called and whistled for the dog. I heard faint barking down our road! So I got in the car and drove slowly down the road to find my daughter riding her tricycle bare naked with Faith following her. Faith looked at me like…”Can’t you keep better track of your kid!” I asked Melissa were she was going..”To the grocery store, Mommy.” Needless to say both kid and dog were loaded into the car and taken home. Melissa was mad that the dog “told on her!”
From Mary Johnson: My husband lost his cell phone during a long walk in the woods with Whitey, our five-year-old Westie. After two hours of searching along the path he’d taken, he came back into the house and sank into the living room sofa, despondent that the cell phone was lost forever, along with all the important data he had stored on it.
Whitey stood in front of him and began to bark. And he wouldn’t stop. Prior to that day, the only time Whitey would bark was when a stranger came to the door. But here he was, standing at my husband’s feet and barking non stop, ignoring my husband’s commands to be quiet. When I came into the room to find out what was going on, Whitey ran toward the door. I opened it for him and he ran out, but immediately turned around and began barking furiously again. My husband and I stepped outside to see if there was a prowler he was trying to alert us to, and Whitey took off into the woods. Twenty acres of timberland surround our home, with several dozen paths. Whitey knew exactly which one to take. When we caught up with him, he was digging in the brush beside the walkway. A moment later he raised his head, his mouth a grin, my husband’s missing cell phone grasped gently between his teeth.
We think we are an intelligent species. But having witnessed first hand Whitey’s remarkable understanding of why my husband was in distress that day and his innovative way of leading us to the missing cell phone, I’ve come to believe that we don’t have a clue how wise our sweet pets are.
From Bonnie: I was in an abusive marriage, and I worked two jobs. I would come home and go bed and fall asleep to an angry husband turning on the light and going on for what seemed like hours of ranting and raving. Ever try dealing with a person who is not rational and they are an adult? That was one of the most difficult times of my life. I was 49 yrs old and had never actually lived on my own when the time came that I decided it was time to leave or I would end up dying.
I left with my clothes and my two chihuahuas in my car. Moved into a one bedroom apartment. Left 25 years of history and life behind. I had a job and nothing else, but I was blessed with the love and companionship of both my chihuahuas who helped me make it though the rough spots as I slowly healed with each passing day. They were there to lick my tears, comfort my sorrows, with never a harsh word. They were always glad to greet me and gave me unconditional love.As they showed me life could be good again, I felt like a butterfly beginning to change from a moth.
From Bill Duncan, one of his newspaper columns: The last cat I allowed in my house was Wazoo, a cat that supposedly was my daughter’s pet. Then she got married and moved away. of course without Wazoo. One rainy winter morning I dressed in a suit and tie and headed out to work. As I started to pull out of my driveway, I spied Wazoo smashed in the roadway.
I knew that within a few hours my two young sons would be leaving the house to catch the school bus and would have to walk right past squashed Wazoo.
I couldn’t let that trauma happen, so I returned to the house, stripped off my suit and dress shoes and put on mud clothes and barn boots. With a shovel and a plastic bag I scooped up the remains of Wazoo, trudged up the hill on my property and dug a hole in the black mud to bury Wazoo.
I shed the muddy clothes and boots on the back porch and took a shower to make sure I didn’t have mud stuck on me somewhere before I redressed for work. I was sitting on the stairs leading to the bedrooms upstairs in my house tying my shoes when suddenly Wazoo jumped in my lap.
I had heard the old saw that cats have nine lives, but this was almost more than a heart could take, especially since the night before I had just read Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary,” in which a college professor’s cat comes back to life after he is killed crossing a roadway.
The reason I was dressed in a suit on a rainy winter day was because I was headed to teach a class in journalism at Umpqua Community College. The parallel did not escape me.
Honestly, I don’t believe all that rubbish about nine lives and cat reincarnation, but at that moment I swore off getting cozy with cats.
I still don’t know whose cat is buried up on the hill behind my house, but Wazoo lived on to old age. When he died I buried him on that same hill. Wazoo was the last house cat I called a pet.
From Heather Shaffer: I have two cats that both have very special and unique personalities.One of them, Peppermint “aka Kitty” who is a tortie manx, I adopted from Palm Beach animal care and control in 2005. We now live in South Carolina, and she loves every minute I let her outside – on a leash of course. She is the most sweet, well behaved, and loving creature I have ever met. On Easter morning we woke up to find Kitty on the white tiled kitchen floor sprawled out with MOUNDS of catnip surrounding her. Someone had decided to get in the pantry for a midnight snack and in her search for treats and dry cat food had found something much better. When we picked her up out of the mess, she proceeded to wiggle out of our arms, scramble back to her “stash” and threw herself down on the floor. The only thing we regret is not having a video camera ready and waiting.…
From Adrienne Burke: Raising my two daughters on my own, one of the most unpleasant things I had to was get them up for school in the morning. Our “man of the house,” was our cat Mischief. He obviously felt my pain and decided to help me out in this regard.
Each morning we would silently approach each girl’s bed. All I had to do was put him down near my daughter’s head and wiggle my finger next to one of her earlobes. Mischief immediately picked up on my clue and would begin to lick her earlobe while emitting a low but steady purr. My daughter would open her eyes with a smile on her face. Then it was on to her sister’s room for a repeat performance.
This wonderful act accomplished three goals:
1. It certainly woke up my girls.
2. It put a smile on their face and love in their little hearts first thing in the morning.
3. Most of all, it took the heat off me! For some reason, my waking them never evoked that loving response in them!
From Rhonda Catrett: My three year old daughter, Abbigail, was born 4 months early, and as a result she is blind. Abbi has a beautiful solid white kitten, Smuckers, and when Smuckers purrs Abbi lays her head on her to listen to the purring. Well, the cutest thing happened. I heard Abbi in her crib laughing and giggling. I went to check on her, and found the little kitten sitting beside her in the bed. Abbi was sitting there with the biggest smile on her face, and Smuckers looked at me like,,, I dare you to say anything. It was so cute, sweet, and funny. It really is so sweet the way animals are with Abbi and vice versa.
From Kathleen McNerney: I found Buddy at the Humane Society when he was a three-month old puppy and brought him home. Buddy played the part of Sandy the dog in seven productions of the play, Annie, over a span of eight years. First at the Circlestage theater in Milwauee, Wisconsin, which presented Annie in August of 1996. They were so happy with his performance that he was also invited to be part of their performance at the Pabst Theatre November of 1996. The next call for Buddy to play Sandy came from the theatre director at Morris Middle School in February of 1998. Buddy played Sandy for Morris Middle School’s performance of Annie in April of 1998. Buddy played the part of Sandy for the Bay Players September 1999 performance of Annie. March of 2000 found the phone ringing again for Buddy to play Sandy. This time it was for Glenhills Middle School whose production was in May of 2000. November of 2000, Buddy played Sandy for Mapledale Middle School’s production of Annie. Buddy’s last performance as Sandy was in the Whitefish Bay Middle Schools production of Annie, November of 2003. Buddy loved the bright lights and continuous sounds of the theatre. He knew his cues and has always made his stage calls. His favorite cue was “speak” that signaled him to bark which he did at the end of the production as the curtain closed. He always looked around the audience when he was on stage and tried to give a smile and tail wag to everyone. After the show, everyone wanted to pet him, or make him speak or shake and Buddy was always willing to oblige. It was a pleasure to be Buddy’s stagemom and to see first hand the enjoyment he brought to everyone. Besides his show career, Buddy also earned two obedience titles a CD, Companion Dog and a CDX, Companion Dog Excellence. I lost Buddy to cancer on January 6, 2007, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and miss him. I reflect fondly of all the wonderful Annie production memories and the joy he gave to so many people. It was a privilege to hold his leash.
From Alice Ptashnik: We had just gotten a little kitten, Samanatha, who had the cutest face. It was Halloween and my daughter, along with Sam, was giving out candy at the door. A young boy about 4 came to the door. He looked at the kitten, and said, “Here is my candy, I’ll take the kitten.”
From Erika Wood: At my house, we have a cat named Pirate. He has a face only a mother could love, but his personality is priceless! For instance, every morning I drink my cup of coffee while fixing my hair. He loves to jump up on the counter and try to cover it up, digging like he’s in his litter box! My husband and I swear that we should send a video of this to a coffee company. He doesn’t do this occasionally either. This happens every day no matter where you put your coffee cup. Apparently, he doesn’t find my coffee nearly as yummy as I do!
From Doreen Orion, author of QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband and a Bus with a Will of Its Own (Random House): Living in our house is like living with furry little Helen Kellers before the arrival of Annie Sullivan. Our two cats walk all over the table while we eat, grabbing what they can, jump on and off the bed all night, sticking their paws in our faces demanding snuggle (yeah, it’s cute – the first time) and blackmail us with blood-curdling screams while we’re on the phone (and thus not paying attention to them), resulting in more than one potential Animal Welfare investigation.
As for our standard poodle, he has gotten used to going everywhere with us. If, for some reason, we absolutely cannot take him, he shoots us a glance of utter despair as he drags his curly butt to the couch, which he knows very well he’s forbidden to sit on. Of course we don’t have the heart to make him get off, since he’s already being so cruelly abused.
If we’d had kids, they’d be little monsters. Then they’d grow up to be big monsters. It’s a benefit to the entire planet that we have chosen to remain childless. Really, the U.N. should give us a humanitarian award.
From Michelle Giovo: When I was ten years old, I had extremely long hair. During the summer months, I would lift it up and over my pillow while sleeping. The fact that my cat loved to sleep on my hair is not the most interesting part of the story. The fact that she was pregnant one summer and delivered her kittens on my hair is. She was restless and wouldn’t settle down that night, but I was too tired to do more than urge her to go to sleep—until I heard little kittens mewing, that is. I reached up and felt ooey gooey in my hair, yelped a little, then tried to set her and the mess off to the side. I lifted my hair off the pillow and walked into my parents’ room.
“Smokey had her kittens,” I said.
“Mmmm.. ” they said.
“In my room.”
“In my bed, in my hair!”
About an hour later, I’d had a shower, Smokey and the kittens were comfortable in a towel lined box, my bed had new sheets, and I had a very interesting story to tell for the rest of my life.
From Alison Corvi: Other than the occasional goldfish or gecco, we had never been owners of a pet –one that interacts, that is. I had no idea what to expect when we got our cat, Chubbs. As curious as most cats are, Chubbs was no exception. Tiny things that “move” always seem to fascinate him and are cause for chase. Gordon, the pet gecco, dined weekly on live crickets. One particular day when my son, Alex, fed Gordon his weekly ration of crickets, he neglected to slide the screened top closed, so there was 6″ x 6″ opening on top of the aquarium. When I returned home after work, I was puzzled why Chubbs had not come to greet me in his usual manner, but figured he was asleep somewhere after a long day of eating and napping. But as I walked into my son’s room where Gordon resided, I was aware of something moving from the corner of my eye. The room was completely dark except for the warming lamp lighting Gordon’s cage. When I looked, I was completely amazed to find there in the cage, not just Gordon and his cricket friends, but my cat as well. My initial reaction was fright! Did he eat the gecco? What wouldl I tell my son? Would I have a mess to clean? Did I no longer have to buy crickets? The cat’s face reminded me of the cartoon where the cat is in the bird cage looking all innocent as if nothing was wrong. To my relief, the gecco was safe beneath his log tunnel, the crickets survived unscathed, and the cat finally confessed his guilt and came out of the cage!
From Dorie: My precious kitty, Abby was a Russian Blue that I rescued from an alley where all the neighbors were feeding her. Cold weather was about to set in, so I took her inside. She was definitely a lap cat that loved to box with me every night at bedtime just for fun. Rocky, my rescue Lhasa Apso, loved that cat. Once in awhile Abby would play with him, but most of the time it was beneath her dignity. He never gave up, though, and after Abby died of cancer, Rocky looked all over for her. I asked a friend who was an animal psychic to come over and give me some insight to help Rocky. What she said was: Rocky wanted to know what happened to the other dog? All along, he did not know there were cats, he simply thought Abby was another small dog like him.
From Kay Martinez: We were owned by a pair of Siamese sisters named Cagney and Lacey. We’d had a mouse problem and due to having the cats, the only type of traps we could use were the sticky type traps. Cagney, being rather slow (she was lovable, but just not playing with a full deck), could catch a mouse only if it was already in the sticky trap, and then she didn’t really know what to do with it. Lacey could catch mice, but she only played with them, giving them heart attacks. One Saturday morning I woke to the cats racing into the bedroom followed closely by Louis, my husband, who had blood running down his arm. He yelled, “Don’t touch Cagney, she’ll scratch you!” The problem was that Cagney had somehow gotten a sticky trap stuck to the tip of her tail, and couldn’t get it off. She was racing through the house with it attached as if the hounds of hell were chasing her. I got a towel, dropped it over her, told Louis to hold the towel down thus keeping her safely still and gently pulled the trap off her tail. Problem solved. That’s been 13 years ago, sadly our girls are no longer with us. But we still tell this story and smile and laugh.
From Barbara Moyles: Being the owner of a Siberian Husky is always a challenge and adventure because by nature they are not territorial. Our former pet, a husky named Sam, took quite a few adventures of his own. We lived on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY, and just a ferry trip from Fire Island. One day Sam got out and ran a few blocks to the ferry terminal. He boarded the ferry and was so well behaved every passenger thought he belonged to another passenger. He spent the day playing on the beach and in the surf. Late in the afternoon someone noticed that he had been on the beach all day and there didn’t seem to be an owner around. A check of his tag caused a phone call to me. When it was determined that he was a “runaway” the beach resident put him on a ferry home. Well, embarrassing as it was, I had to drive to the terminal to meet the evening ferry and pick up my dog. He never did let on to us why he decided to have a day at the beach.
From Marlene Miller: I have a pet sitter who visits my dog, Bob, and cat, Panda, every weekday, even though I lost my job last August and haven’t been able to afford to pay her. Kelly, of Noah’s Ark Pet Sitters, is so attached to my animal family that she says visiting them and taking Bob for his walk cheers her up even on the worst pet sitting day. Now that warmer weather is finally within sight, Kelly and Bob will enjoy cooling off in Bob’s kiddie pool in the backyard while Panda spends her time rolling and stretching on the warm cement patio, safely out of reach of the splashing. I appreciate Kelly’s visits, too. Her generosity and friendship have brightened my own bleak days. Pet sitters really are a special breed!
From Karen Wosika: My husband and I were greeted by our very excited daschund, Lady, when we returned home one day. Dashing back and forth and leaping up and down she lead us towards the kitchen window. There our cat, Tigger, was standing on the ledge, while below on the floor was a broken planter with plants and potting soil scattered about. I could imagine Lady saying, “Look! Look!, See what Tigger did.” It was so funny, we weren’t very effective at scolding Tigger.
From someone who didn’t give a name: Just after we got married and were working in Hong Kong, Michial met me at the door when I got home. He held out his hand and said “She is called Cleopatra.” I jumped because he was showing me what looked like a small mouse. But what it was instead was a tiny unweaned kitten. Coal black (and with fleas that were almost larger than it was), Cleopatra had been picked up by one of the men at work off the street and taken home as a present for his wife. But after a night of nonstop crying he decided that kittens were not for them and was going to drop it off at the RSPCA after work. Why Cleopatra? Well Michial felt that with such a bad start she needed an important name.
I went to the next door flat and borrowed a small feeding bottle and we learnt how to feed a starving kitten. We set up a box on the floor next to the bed with a clock in it so Cleopatra would think she was sleeping next to her mother. Cleopatra, had different ideas, as I found out when I felt tiny claws pushing against my backbone after an adventurous mountaineering climb up the side of the sheet. Michial ventured to the vet the next day walking through the streets with a small black kitten sitting on his shoulder. Imagine Michial’s shock when he found out that Cleopatra was a he. But he remained Cleopatra (Cleo for short) and didn’t seem to mind that we were not very good at picking gender.
From Patricia Sanders: A greyhound I had named Lorcan was an AKC greyhound, not a racing one, and he loved to help us find our way in the woods. The first time was in Kentucky in a park in the middle of nowhere where we had attended a dog show. It was hot and we wanted to find our way back to our car and water, but we became terribly lost and it seemed like every path we took went nowhere. We looked at Lorcan and said,”Find the trail.” Lorcan sniffed the air and then sniffed the ground. With a wag of his tail he was off. We followed his lead and he took us to the main road directly across from a campground. There we found water and thumbed a ride back to our car. From then on, Lorcan loved to help us make the right choice when we came to a fork in the woods. He was always right and his tail would always wag.
From Theresa Norris: Our late cat Sylvester would turn out the light when he got ready for bed. Flicked the switch. Whenever we watched TV in the living room, he would turn out the light when it was his bed time. That was the only time he did the trick..bed time.
From Audrey Matisa: I have a Basset Hound, Miss Daisy Mae Basset. She is now ten years old. Bassets are gentle but stubborn dogs. I can’t walk her too far or she lays down and won’t get up. She sleeps most of the day but insists on being covered up with her “blankie” and when she gets a biscuit, I MUST give her one of each size. One small and one medium so she can choose. They are both the exact same brand and flavor, the only difference being size. Then she decides which one she wants. If I don’t place one of each size on the floor, she sits and stares at me until I do.
From Beth Stroble: My husband and I are in the 2nd year with our miniature poodle, Brady. We had just retired to FL, and our beloved Rico had been gone for 4 years, so we lost our minds momentarily and went hunting for a new dog. After about a month telling all my friends “Crazy Brady” stories, someone suggested I read Marley and Me. At last there was a dog worst then Brady. Since then, Brady has been to obedience school, top in his class. He is so smart, capable of learning anything. But every day is a fight for dominance, he’s a work in progress.
From Irene Buckingham: In the summer when I go outside, my Gretsky, who is not allowed out ever, always looks for a sprig of catnip in hand when I return. He lets me know if I forget to bring some so that I usually go out again and get some for him. Of course in the winter there is no catnip, but in no time at all he is back into catnip mode come spring.
From Debby Creager: My Rottweiler’s name was Cleopatra or Cleo for short. She was my constant companion for 17 years. She guarded me from the neighbors’ mean dogs, snakes, skunks and whatever came around. Several times she stood between me and bad things happening. She died on my birthday two years ago. She was doing what she always did, guarding my home when she died. She took my heart with her when she went.
From Cathy Gaudet: Whiskey was a very high-spirited Westie. We lived in a downtown neighborhood with plenty of squirrels, who of course, were a major attraction to Whiskey. He would dearly have loved to chase and catch a squirrel, but his exuberance, plus the fact he was always on a leash, made this a hopeless case. One morning, Whiskey and my husband were lounging on the couch, Whiskey on top of David’s chest. It was a mild day, so the patio door was open, with only the screen door in place. Well, Whiskey saw a squirrel. He jumped off the couch, barking, and tore through the screen door. It was quite a while before he was captured – Whiskey never mastered the come command. We had a piece of plexiglass attached to the screen door, so we could rest assured we would not have a repeat performance!
From Wendi Morris: Our Siamese, Tiki, was both an inny and an outty. He lived inside but he also loved to roam, stalk, and hunt, when he wasn’t napping of course. We had a cottage on Lake Huron and I went beach combing while Tiki was outside in the woods doing his “wild cat” thing. As I walked back to the cottage from the beach, I noticed Tiki sitting in the woods very still with his back towards me. The biggest raccoon I had ever seen was about 10 feet away. They were staring at each other, and I stopped dead in my tracks. If the raccoon had babies, he or she might attack Tiki, and Tiki would get the worst of the deal. Something had to stop their stand-off, so I proceeded forward slowly. Finally the raccoon took off and ran the other way with Tiki in hot pursuit. The raccoon was able to climb up a tree to safety, and Tiki came running back to me. I put him in the cottage to be an inny cat for the rest of the day. While he napped I’m sure he dreamed he “kicked butt” with that raccoon.
From Susan Lackey: My dog Ceasar has an affinity for clothes in the clothes basket, and he’s picky about his selections. They need to be no larger than himself so he can drag them wherever he decides to drop them (or hide them) in the house. His favorite choice from the laundry basket is socks. We find socks everywhere including under the bed, under his bed, the couch and even rugs. Now how did he manage THAT? He tiptoes (literally TIPTOES) past me or any of the family with his head down and ears back while looking up with soulful eyes, all the while with a sock hanging from his mouth. Ceasar has an addiction and I just have to keep his “drug of choice” securely hidden away from the tempting laundry basket till laundry day.
From Brenda Riding: I was in High School taking Spanish when I got my dog, a Basenji, which is why an American dog with an African heritage is called “Bueno Amigo.” I could tell a dozen stories (who has pets who couldn’t?), but will limit it to one of my favorites: The time I saw him with a bird in his mouth. I didn’t want him eating a dead bird – who knew what it had died of – so my mother and my sister and I chased the dog all around our huge yard for over 30 minutes before we could catch him. I pried open his jaws and the bird flew away!!!! Amigo gave me a disgusted look, as if asking, “Do you know how long it took for me to catch that thing?” and stalked off.
From Sandra Visconty: We had a black and white manx kitty named Stilgar. We are adventurous souls and for one of our many work related transfers we chose to drive the Alcan Highway, from Anchorage AK to Billings, MT, in our extended cab pickup truck with homemade camper shell on the back. We were traveling with our four cats, german shepherd and two kids. We had a open crate where we packed our food – like an old fashioned milk crate. We thought it was up and out of the way. At one of our many stops, the four human travelers got out and went into a store. When we came back out, we found marshmallows all over the camper!! The bed, the clothes bags, the pillows, everywhere had bits of marshmallow stuck to them! My husband looks up at the peering eyes and exclaims “And who did this?!!!” There was Stilgar, looking totally innocent, with marshmallows stuck all over him. On his black body, it was like polka-dots!!! We all could not stop laughing!! It has become a favorite episode of the family collection.
From Patty Janssen: My husband and I have a black lab named Samuel. My husband is a hunter so naturally Samuel is also. The year before we got Samuel my husband shot a beautiful turkey and was so proud of it he had the bird mounted full-size with it’s tail fanned out just perfect. When Samuel was about 6 months old my husband left him in his crate on the landing of our 2-story house where he would stay if we couldn’t bring him along with us. The stuffed turkey was in full view for Samuel to see when he was in his crate. Samuel, being a crafty puppy, decided to get out of the crate for some “investigative hunting.” He worked his way out of his crate and attacked and got that bird a second time…birds just don’t have a chance around our house:-) I was very glad my husband was the first one home. Samuel hadn’t got into anything else, and he was looking so proud that all my husband could do was laugh!
From Frank Cox: My sister had a budge bird that they named Teddy. Well Teddy got out of the cage and out of the house. My mother announced it on the radio and put an add in the paper about this lost budge. Someone called and said that they had caught the bird and had it at their home, so when my father came home from work he went over to the person’s house to get Teddy. My father carried Teddy under his coat because it was early spring time and it was still a little bit cold. When my father got home my sister was there to great my father and Teddy. When my dad took Teddy from up his coat, and my sister called out “Teddy!” Teddy perked up and fell over dead of a heart attack.
From Mary Garrett: “Chirp, chirp,” echoed through the little eco-home by the pond in Ellington Place, not the smoke alarm, not the oven timer. . . A bit of motion in the corner drew my eye to a little gray tree frog, trying to hide behind a canvas shopping bag. How he had gotten in was a mystery, but there he was.
A frog had come in the past summer when the flooring company installed the cork floors, and the workmen had put him outside. Another had appeared on a warm day in November, blending in with the cork floor perfectly. Placed in the doorway and given a choice, he had hopped off across the deck and into the grass, disappearing in the direction of the little pond.
On December 15th the outside temperature was way below freezing. Didn’t this frog know he was supposed to be under the fallen leaves hibernating? Maybe he had heard me say in November, “Come back when it’s cold and you can stay until spring,” or perhaps this house was built on his territory.
Whatever the reason, he was in my home, a winter house guest, and needed to be cared for. He was white from hunger and dehydration and moving very slowly.
A plastic moving bin became a terrarium, with some fallen leaves from the front sidewalk, a fallen branch from the deck, and a bowl of water. A small flower pot was planted with philodendron and Swedish ivy, but the icy streets prevented a trip out to buy crickets. Just at bedtime, when I was feeling sorry for my hungry guest, a cricket appeared in the bathroom, another mysterious appearance, manna for the frog.
The first six tiny crickets purchased from the pet store disappeared quickly, so the next day I purchased a dozen large crickets and calcium powder for strong bones. That little frog could eat a large cricket in one bite; he must be a wide-mouth frog. The conservation agent wrote that the limit was four or five large crickets a week, or the frog would get too fat and unhealthy. In the wild he would have to work to catch insects and would
probably not get a meal every day.
It seemed a good diet for him, and the warm corner for his habitat suited him. His color got better, a beautiful bright green, and he sang louder, too. He seemed to like high notes: opera, sopranos, violins. He would also sometimes sing in the early morning, calling for breakfast perhaps? I called him “my frog, Prince” and started giving him his daily cricket right after he called out. Who was training whom?
One of the crickets got away and couldn’t be found, perhaps repayment for the gift cricket of the first night. One order of crickets was very mature, and their chirping added to the natural music of the house. A few were too large for such a little frog, and Prince seemed almost afraid of them. I took the huge crickets outside (“good luck, Jiminy”) and found a store with medium-sized crickets. The owner said, “Crickets are crickets” and was amazed that a frog could have a preference. I told him they should put up a sign, “Proud purveyors of perfect crickets for particular tree frogs.” I guess Prince was training all of us.
The Conservation Agent had said he could go back outside once the temperature was above freezing, so one warm afternoon, I put the habitat outside in the sun for a few minutes with the top open, in case he wanted to “go free.” He looked up as if to say, “Are you crazy? I like room service, and it’s not spring yet!” so I brought him back inside.
He continued to eat and get fatter, sometimes hiding under leaves, sometimes perching near the very top on the ledge formed by the handhold of the bin. He did prove the wise conservation agent wrong on one count: he did not keep eating every time there was food. If he wasn’t hungry, he would ignore a cricket, even if it climbed on his head, or if it bothered him, he would climb up high to avoid it.
He sang at interesting times, besides early in the morning to greet the sun. During the Inauguration of President Obama, he sang along with Aretha Franklin’s “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” One day he joined with Nikki Giovanni as she recited poetry on PBS. He joined in on the instrumental theme music and the Huxtable children’s arguments on the Cosby Show. No snob he, he also sang along with the music in Hocus Pocus and Mama Mia.
I had read that touching him could be harmful to him, that the slimy coating on his skin protected him, and the oils on my hands could be damaging. My niece told me that if I had to pick him up, I should have my hands wet to protect him. One day, moving him to a clean habitat, I was surprised that he was in no hurry to jump out of my hand. He obviously wasn’t afraid of me, and my hand probably felt nice and warm. [There’s more about the Price Frog, at http://www.storytellermary.com%5D
From Mello-Dee Simmons: TC was a feral cat who become king of our castle where he ruled with a velvet paw. He was very, very sweet and affectionate, but absolutely not a lap cat. He would want to be near you at all times, but definitely not on you. Then one morning, in the wee hours, I was sitting up reading (I often have bouts of insomnia), when up popped TC. He stood on my lap and looked at me; gave a soft “purrrrrup”, turned around twice and settled in. I couldn’t believe he was there. After a few minutes, I checked the time…it was 3:17 am…Mother’s Day. Who could ask for a better Mother’s Day gift than this? What made him decide to become a lap cat all at once, and certainly at that particular moment, I’ll never know. I do know that since that time, if there is a lap available, he is in it. Apparently, once he figured out what laps are for, he feels it would be wasteful to leave one empty.
From Victoria Jacobs: I’m convinced there is a cat information exchange in our neighborhood, owned, operated, and available only to cats, where in large letters is the notice, “go to the Jacobs house if you are hungry.” On one of our first nights in this house, as we sat in the new hot tub, we saw a small dark shadow behind the flowers. As the days moved on the shadow started coming out during the day. At first only in the far back of the yard, then closer and closer. We started putting out dry food, moving it a little closer to the house each day until at last, one warm spring evening, when the door was open, this cat walked into the den, looked around, jumped up on my husband’s lap, and snuggled in for a nap. “Muffin,” the short version of Puffin’ Muffin,’ was a good sized, young, Maine Coon cat, with a sweet personality, and it has been a great relationship. But I know she has gone back to that cat information exchange and left our address because we continue to get stray cats hanging around, some for a day, and some, like the current “Moochie,” who arrives a.m. and p.m. for a snack, sleeps on the bar-b-que cover, and then heads down the street. Hmmmm, I wonder if there is another good handout available down there.
From Marty Ward: We were living and cruising on our 36′ Morris Yacht with our two Maine Coon cats, Frosty and Sisko. When we were underway, they always stayed down below or in the cockpit. Once we were anchored or on a mooring, they would play all over the boat, chasing each other everywhere. After an 8-month cruise south, we were returning to Maine, and as we made the final turn into Southwest Harbor, Frosty and Sisko, together, went and sat up in the bow of the boat, ready to be home! We were amazed! How did they know after all that time? They are now 13 years old, still kittenish and chasing each other, but we no longer have the boat – just 2 kayaks.
From Heather Court: My Bengal is so precious her name is Maliika which means “Angel” in Swahili. She is very beautiful and has even been painted by a local artist three times. She is a real talker and demands her treats Wildside Salmon and chicken jerky.
From Barbara Geach: Heidi was a German Shorthaired Pointer who came into my life via being field trained as a hunting dog. She had been shot, abandoned, adopted by a wealthy doctor, passed along to a family member and then, miraculously, we found each other. I’d been told that she was a bad dog but I found this was not at all true. Heidi just needed to be an “only child,” and I was a 50-something empty nester who needed something to care for.
Heidi and I had adventures. We lived in a warehouse in a crime ridden section of Long Beach California during the riots. We lived in a bird sanctuary in Mexico when I was laid off from my job in aerospace. We found a beached whale and tended to it for a full day while awaiting rescuers. Heidi stole a whole roast turkey on Thanksgiving Day from campers, dragged it home to share with me and boy, did I get into trouble for that. Heidi set a fisherman’s boat adrift in a strong current with thousands of dollars worth of gear in it. As it headed out of a channel into the Pacific I had to swim out, retrieve it and haul it back to shore. But this is only skimming the surface. [I wish space allowed for all Barbara’s stories about Heidi, because they’re all fascinating. Barbara, you should write a book about your adventures!)
From Janet Roberson: Lucas, my indoor cat preferred outdoors to the litter box so I discontinued the litterbox. Once sometime in the night I was aware of Lucas pawing on my chest, but couldn’t rouse myself. He then began pawing at my face and running his teeth along my chin. Still, I couldn’t awaken to let him out. Then I heard a tiny unfamiliar sound at the bedside. When I opened my eyes, there was Lucas, back feet on the bed, one front paw on the bedside table, the other paw banging on top of my alarm clock. He knew the noise from that thing was what got me out of bed, so he was trying his best to make it happen! What a smart little furball.
From Dona Basile: We have an 8 year old Jack Russell terrier named Cody who loves to go for rides in the car. He especially loves when I take my daughter to work because he knows we have to stop at McDonalds. He starts quivering with excitement as soon as he sees those golden arches! He has to sit in the backseat until we hit the parking lot and then he knows he can climb up onto my lap. His nose goes a mile a minute trying to smell all those wonderful smells until we get my daughter’s order and then he is content to go back to his seat in the back.
One day when I had stopped at my bank’s drive-thru to make a deposit, he gave a yelp of excitement and nudged my arm telling me he wanted to come up front. I let him come up and he stuck his head out of the window. He was smelling and smelling and smelling and the tellers wondered what he was doing. I said “I guess he is wondering why he doesn’t smell any hamburgers cooking.” The tellers got a good laugh that day.
From Sharon Azerrad: I had a dachshund that was very attentive. One day when my daughter was home with a cold he tried everything to get her attention but she did not want to bother with him. He left the living room for a few minutes and returned with a bottle of Tylenol that he got off of her night stand. He dumped it into her lap with a facial expression that said, “Take some Tylenol and get over it.”
Thanks for sharing. I’ve fostered for over ten years and for the last five years had three dog, two cats, geckos, hamsters, etc…I never tire of these stories. How boring our lives would be without these characters!
It’s true. Pets teach us the important things in life.
I love these stories John. I’ve Bern a pet sitter dice 2004, and a pet lover ever since I can remember. Olive all of your moms books, and I have your new book and can’t wait to read it and all the ones that follow!
Thanks again John for continuing and sharing love and wonderful stories from you and your mom!