The Uphill Slide

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Our Pets

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Grandchildren and Pets

Spike and Vicious are my son’s cats that live with us while he is in jail. Boots is our Boykin Spaniel who has just returned to the house after maternity leave in the garage kennel.  They are friends with my grandson, although the friendship is lopsided. The cats love my grandson’s attention; although if they could talk, they might deny that.  My grandson grabs a tail as one of the cats coyly strides by him with its tail held high and curling at the end. He grabs that tail watching us and waiting for those inevitable words “leave the cat alone”. He lets go of the tail, but by now the cat has plopped down in front of him. My grandson lays his head on the cat’s belly in a cat-toddler-type hug. “Leave the cat alone.” And so it goes all day. The cats could hide out in the upstairs bedrooms or in the basement, but they do not. It is the cat and toddler game. The cats walk by over and over again taunting my grandson with their quiet steps and twirling tails, and he gives in every time to the cat grab and the hug. Even when my grandson and I sit quietly on the sofa, Spike sprawls above our heads and swishes and swats his tail across our heads and in front of our faces waiting for some response.

Becoming a mother has not mellowed Boots’ attitude towards our human baby. Her throat rumbles slightly when my grandson lies beside her on the dog bed. My grandson had been using it as his own little sofa during Boots absence; he thought they could share it. Boots does not want to share though. She does want to share his food. As quickly as my grandson is given a piece of food, Boots’ clicking toenails are heard crossing the hardwood floor to my grandson’s hand that is conveniently at mouth level. In an instant my warnings are too late, and Boots is licking her lips. You would think that all those treats might mellow Boots’ attitude towards my grandson.

Children and Pets

Jacob and Cary had a veritable collection of pets growing up. Rather I had a menagerie when my children were young. Our first pet was a kitten we adopted when Jacob was three. I think his love of pets stopped with cats. We named that kitten Mrs. Bigley or just Bigley for short. Jacob named her after a character in DuckTales, Mrs. Bentina Beakley. We misunderstood him when he told us what he wanted to name her.

Roy grew up with dogs and even a couple of lizards that his mother hated. He said he did not like cats, but they do grow on you. Spike and Vicious seem especially charming and engaging cats, but probably we have said that about each one of our cats.

Pets were never a big part of my life growing up. My father was a farmer, and I think he believed animals should earn their keep. Entertainment and companionship were just not enough reason to have them, even though my brother did have horses on the farm. He was the farm hand though from the time he was old enough to go to the barn; that made the difference.

The Disappearance of Our Black Cat

When I was quite young, we did have a black cat with not a speck of white. I do not remember that cat, only the story of its disappearance. It was stolen one night when it was out on our porch. Supposedly a car was heard stopping in front of our house, and the cat was gone. I still imagine terrible things as the reason a black cat was kidnapped.

The Death of Goldie

In my middle school years, I had a cat named Goldie. She was hit on the busy street outside our house. A young man who lived up the street knocked at the door; I was home alone. “Is that your cat?” he said as he pointed to Goldie lying prostrate by the side of the road. I picked her up and carried her inside to the stairwell at the top of the basement steps. When my father came home, I showed him Goldie. He said he would take care of her, and then she was gone. She was the last pet that lived at our house.

We did not live on a safe street for cats or dogs. The house was only a few feet from the busy street; it was a state road leading to other towns. At that time, it was heavily trafficked with big and heavy coal trucks that barreled down shifting gears on that 35 mph street. Goldie would just not stay on our side of the street and was often seen climbing the steep hill to the neighbor’s yard. It was on one of those crossings that she was the victim of hit and run.

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Jacob and Mrs. Bigley

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Vicious and Spike

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Boots

 

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