Sunday, January 3, 2010

People and Their Pets

One neighbor acts as a kindly way-station keeper for strays. Recently a boxer was the subject of spirited discussions on the community classifieds system, with some insisting he was a menace to small children and other folks (posters began referring to him as Cujo) while others claimed him to be gentle of spirit. I met him last week with his Sister Teresa, and he was sweet and velvety soft. Thanks to her and her husband, Butkus now has a home with a new family in Chattanooga. All are happy with the results, and I am admiring of Lynne and her determination.

Another neighbor sent a photograph this morning of her two dogs and one of her cats (three others were elsewhere) sleeping, stretched out on the heated tile floor, before a space heater. Her email title said, "Our house is really really cold." Indeed, it was 14 when I got up this morning. Jill and Ronn, her husband, had a motley collection of 4 feline and 2 canine companions who rule the roost and charm their visitors.

Later today, an email arrived with a link to a posting by a pet babysitter with whom my former canine neighbor spent Christmas. Cheyenne, the blind dog intended to be a seeing-eye dog, is lovingly described in the 7-part story. Indeed, reading the series made me miss her and her family, who moved to Baltimore two years ago. A clever and sweet dog, Cheyenne never made one feel sorry for her, as this writer has made clear:

As for my own companion, Lucy snuggled all night last night moving against my lower back every time I moved. She's a slugabed in winter, content to sleep under the covers all day and on top of them all night, purring and stretching, her fur filling with static upon petting. I too accommodate her peculiarities -- as we all do who love our pets -- misunderstood, motley, blind, or lazy.

On a cold winter day, it is good to remember the furry ones who warm us.

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