Okay, I admit it: I’m a cat person. I come from a family of cat lovers and there hasn’t been a day in my life that I haven’t had a cat as a pet. That’s why I was very upset when I received a hysterical telephone call from my daughter, in tears, telling me her beloved cat, Maddy, had gone over the Rainbow Bridge. I was upset, because I have lost dearly-loved pets and I knew how she felt. Our pets become so entwined with our lives that when they die, it feels like we’ve lost a family member. My daughter was forlorn for many days.
My favorite cat, Dewey, was the sweetest cat in the world, but could be a little spitfire when she wanted to be. (Just ask my son’s ex-girlfriend and she’ll tell you.) Dewey was bestowed her name because she was always batting around a cap from a Mountain Dew bottle. I would come home and find her sprawled out on top of the ironing board, lazily sunning herself. I joked that she was a re-incarnated housewife and purposely chose the ironing board as her favorite place to sleep. She’s been gone a few years now, and I still miss her.
Just because I’m a cat person doesn’t mean that I don’t like dogs! I love them just as much as I love cats (so maybe, I’m just an animal person). My favorite dog was my very first pet, Colonel, a gentle, purebred boxer. I still remember how he would circle himself three times before laying down to go to sleep, how he wandered around the farm with me and my siblings throughout our childhood, and how he would go to the neighbor’s house to beg for food every morning (even though he was very well-fed).
I’ve had several “grand dogs” over the years, too. Jack, a Yorkshire terrier, has been my son Jeff’s little buddy for 16 years. He got Jack after suffering a work injury that required many surgeries on his feet. Jack helped him heal; they’ve been inseparable ever since. Joining the family a few years ago was Jill, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell terrier mix who become Jack’s second-best friend. Jack is showing his age now – blind in one eye and not as spry as he used to be.
My other grand dog is my son Matt’s adorable little dachshund, Nahla. She brought much joy to him and my granddaughter after they moved away to Charlotte, North Carolina. Before Nahla, Matt owned a German Shepherd named Duke – he ran off when Matt was moving and, much to everyone’s dismay, was never found. Duke was a very large, majestic creature and would always try to sit in your lap, despite his size. I swear that when I left to go the airport after a visit there, he barked “goodbye” to me. I just loved that dog.
As much I love dogs, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch with my big, fat cat, either watching a movie or reading a book as she contentedly purrs away. In the words of Charles Dickens: “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”