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Saturday May 27 , 2017
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Pet Stories

Wait for the tail

My first dog was a Brittany spaniel. Speckles was 3 months old when he came into my life and his tail was already docked.

As he grew older, and his hair started to lengthen and feather, several long, curly white strands of hair extended outward from the tip of his tail stub. I remember playing with the curl, wrapping it around my finger. My ex-husband used to joke about cutting the curl off, but I prevented it.

For 12 years I had a dog without a tail. My new dog, however, has a whip.

Trucker has a long body and long legs, and his tail stretches out with similar length. In fact, 16 inches, as I measured one evening with a yardstick.

 

My generous hunter

What types of surprises does your dog bring to you?

Trucker and I were taking a stroll one evening when he dropped behind me a few steps about half a block from home.

I didn’t think much of his lagging since we had walked a ways and he was tired. It was during a short approach up our driveway that I looked down at him beside me to see a severely decomposed squirrel carcass, as flat as a frying pan, sticking out of his mouth – front legs on one side, tail on the other.

He had managed to scoop up the furry pancake so quietly from leaves piled along the road that I had no clue he was carrying it. He nearly brought it in the house with him.

My eyes must have grown wide when I saw it. He surrendered it proudly as I grabbed it barehanded, in a panic, from his mouth.

I realize that he was just “being a dog,” perhaps bringing me/us home a snack, presenting me with this gift of love.

Sometimes I think that he mimics my arrival home from grocery shopping, weighed down with bags full of goodies and boxes of dog biscuits like a hunter that just dragged home a dead animal to feast upon.

   

My pillow with surround-sound purring

First Joan, my now 14-year-old feline, started curling up beside my bed pillow to my right. Because she rested there often her fur gathered and I began placing a flannel shirt in the spot for her to lie on.

Then Forest, my now 8-year-old male, began curling up beside my pillow to my left and I placed a shirt in that spot for him.

The sleep-by-mom’s head routine morphed into scenarios that have made me smile, find peace, feel honored and fascinated.

I wake to them licking my forehead or eyebrows, depending on which cat I am facing. I reach my hands up to either side of my pillow while half asleep and they commence surround-sound motors, purring me back to sleep. I find toes of a back paw pressed against my forehead or a soft front paw touching my hand.

   

Trucker’s mysterious, beautiful embrace

From time to time when I come home from work or shopping, Trucker is so happy to see me that he stops in front of me blocking my way, sits patiently and puts his front paws up like he’s begging.

I stop to acknowledge him and he places his front paws on my thighs as I bend down. He leaves them there, demanding what I have learned is a hug.

I have to embrace him, wrap my arms around him and tell him, “I love you.”

He then bounces on happily fulfilled.

   

Finding joy in the same old, same old

It’s a common phrase ringing out through my mom and dad’s house, “There’s someone at the door!”

The banging at the back door isn’t from strangers, but from one of two black cats my parents own, Blue and Iris.

I have spoiled the young shorthair felines, allowing them to explore the fenced-in backyard when I visit. They have learned that if they want back inside, they come to the backdoor, leap up against the storm door and hang from the screen like spiders.

My mom inevitably hears a thud, then nails screeching against the aluminum door due to climbing and hollers out, “There’s someone at the door!”

We have to hurry our way to the scene and usually laugh over the black bodies with wide golden eyes hanging from the door, looking through the screen. It’s that look of panic, that look of, “Save me!” that has us laughing. Sometimes they drop to the porch before we swing the door open. Other times we have to swing them along attached to the door screen by their front claws and pluck them off like cocklebur seeds.

   

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