Canine Kindness

True story from some friends…

Peaches was a rescue dog who liked being the only dog. A big, arthritic German Shepherd, she had the air of a retired police dog (though she wasn’t one). On walks, she avoided other dogs, and when house guests visited they had to leave their dogs at home.

One night on a walk, she suddenly dragged her people across a street toward another dog. They feared her attitude had worsened and that she was about to pick her first fight. Instead, she stopped next to a morose stray and sat down. Never had a dog looked as unhappy with freedom as this stray did.

The stray was short and funny-looking, with a barrel chest and a long pointy snout. The people named her Edna and – with Peaches’ clear permission – they brought Edna home. No one ever answered the Lost Dog signs they plastered around the neighborhood and so Edna joined the family. Peaches continued to tolerate her until Peaches succumbed to various old-dog ailments several months later. 

Edna lived for many more years, delighting all who met her with her goofy, gregarious, and loving ways.

Edna looked like a cousin of Frankenweenie.

Edna looked like a cousin of Frankenweenie.

(Written for today’s  Daily Prompt.)


Which One Are You Like?

Waking up.

Bo, Leo, and Arrow.

Recently our kittens had to wear cones after surgery. Their reactions captured their personalities and some basic differences in approaches to life’s troubles.

The cone disturbed Bo mightily.  He didn’t know what to make of it and he immediately became miserable. I’m trapped in a cone. This is terrible.  He dragged himself backwards until he hit a corner, where he hunched down and gave up.

Initially, Leo also wigged out and dragged himself backwards. But he quickly adapted. I guess now I’m a cat who — wears a cone. Okay! Within a few minutes he had evolved an odd but successful, neck-craned gait and had found new ways to pursue his favorite pastime, playing with tiny pieces of crud.

Arrow rebelled against the whole concept of cones. As soon as we put a cone on her, she began whipping her head from side to side and pawing the cone’s edges. No way am I wearing this, get this @#&%$ thing off me. She had it removed and hurled across the room within about 10 seconds.

So far, I have gone through life with responses on the Arrow-Bo spectrum, but I aspire to become more like Leo. How about you?

Cuteness in Seal Form

Here is a baby harbor seal, once injured and nursed back to health by a Santa Barbara, California, rescue group. When able to fend for himself, he will be returned to the nearby ocean. And not a minute too soon – he is mighty bored!

Humans are as disturbing as they are inspring.  In the aggregate we do so much harm to so many critters but there are always a few to step in and reverse any bad trend.

R.I.P. Boink


Is there a cat who is not partial to ridiculous nap sites?

Tomorrow morning I take our nearly 17 yo cat to the vet to be euthanized. Her kidney disease has advanced that far.

She has been part of our lives for most of my kids’ existence and every memory of her lights up some corner of their childhood for me. My son and daughter were 3 when they got to choose kittens. Actually, this cat chose us, and from the moment we entered the big common room shared by all cats at that shelter, she pestered my son until he selected her. He named her Cock Boink Doc but we convinced him to just use her middle name.

It took more than a decade for the scar on my daughter’s cheek to fade. Boink ran across her face one night while she slept. What a wild kitten that was.

She chose us then shunned us. It was years before anyone got to pet her for more than a swipe or two. The kids would get so frustrated with her lack of affection. Then out of the blue she would hook a claw into their clothes as they passed by, to get them to stop and attend to her.

Eventually she transformed into a relentless lap cat – and has remained patient with these clueless humans, too. Remove her from your lap 100 times, she climbs into your lap 101 times. No resentment. Clearly we simply do not understand.  She is in my lap as I write this, but tonight I had to place her there; she lacked the energy to move on her own.

In her day she was lightning fast. We’re grateful she had little interest in hunting, but we did once enjoy having a landlord thank my son profusely “for having such a smart cat”, because she had caught the gopher who was  destroying his lawn.


Boink (back) and Luna (front).

She had a peaceable nature and no ego problems. She never fought although she would stand up to a bully when pressed. Mostly she was indifferent to other cats. She accepted the rabbits, she made friends with the large nervous dog. When she was 7, we got a kitten, Luna, that she has groomed ever since, even though Luna is now 10 and twice her size. The last couple weeks, she hasn’t groomed Luna.

Our vet warned me that it wouldn’t be simple – she isn’t going to die in her sleep from this disease. I have to decide when she is no longer enjoying life.  Certainly, she hasn’t eaten much of anything for ages. But she still has interest in her favorites: asparagus and feta cheese. Every day this week we’ve been staring at her. Sure she looks awful, but does she look worse? Until today, when one answered yes, another answered no. But this evening there is no denying it. She is worse. It is time.

Goodbye dear friend and family member. We will miss you and all the days we shared.

Many Thanks to the NK Movement

In southern California, at least, it can be a brutal experience to go to an animal shelter, where overcrowding gives the residents a scant few days to live. I had last been to a shelter a decade ago, after one of our cats vanished. (We never found her.) I went last weekend because it was time to add more cats to the family. I wish I could have rescued all of the horrifyingly vast number of 5-, 10-, 15-year old dogs and cats I saw there, who have no clue how their lives took this terrible turn – and who have so little hope of adoption.

The death camp atmosphere in the shelters is not as pronounced as it was a decade ago. I believe that is thanks to the large number of dedicated shelter volunteers – who offset the effects of budget cuts – and because of a grassroots, growing, no-kill movement. There are folks who provide foster homes to dogs, cats, rabbits, and others, to buy them more time than the shelters can give them. In fact, some of the animals stay in foster homes for years. There have always been foster homes but the number and the network of them has increased considerably over the last decade. Another populist movement to appreciate!

Thank you to all the foster homes!