Animal Love

I’ve been the blessed owner of 3 dogs: a precious, loyal Miniature Schnauzer, Wolfgang (“WG”), a gorgeous, sweet Irish Setter (“Coors”—yes the beer; he and WG were stepbrothers in the 70’s), and a happy, playful Black Lab, “Shadow,” in the 90’s. (I couldn’t find a picture, but he’s highlighted in the “FYI” chapter of Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity

I understand canine loyalty…UNTIL they catch a “can’t-say-no” scent, decide to cause mental distress from a run-away-offering-cash-reward-for-information-of-their-whereabouts, or just to take a cooling swim in the nearby lake!

Even though they were all indoor dogs, they car-traveled, hiked, camped, and jogged with us; and, the Lab loved duck hunting, especially retrieving in the frigid water!

I’ll agree that loved/cared-for dogs will develop a steadfast loyalty to one (occasionally a second) member of their human family. I can even attest to it. The minute I stood up, WG came to attention anticipating our destination. And every day after work, he was waiting at the door to greet me. (Before Coors, WG’s feline stepbrothers, Trampas and Trooper, were associate “look-outs” in my front windows.)

But, let me tell you: my EVERY move is accompanied by my Chinchilla-furred cat, the debonair Fred Astaire—a feral I tamed. His unclipped claw’s dance taps behind me. He knows my routine so well that half the time he leads me, anxiously looking over his shoulder to make sure I don’t get lost on “our” way! He’s as much unconditional love as any dog doesn’t think about being!

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To squeeze in as much time as he can with me, he sits in the bathroom sink when I brush my teeth, as well as when I put on and take off my make-up; on my desk in front of my computer screen as I write and research; beside my chair when I eat, read, talk on the phone, and go to the bathroom. And, of course, my lap; that goes without saying! Your dog, and Mary’s lamb, have nothing on Fred!

Not only can he scale my fireplace to spring onto the horizontal wood beams adjoined to the outer walls, but he can jump vertically, almost 5-feet, straight up, from my countertops to the top of my kitchen cabinets…to keep a look-out while I cook.

And HONESTLY, I carefully take over-the-shoulder rear views before moving! Even after 13 years of accidentally pressing a claw or tail, he’s still bad about sitting under and behind my wheelchair.

What an unconditionally loving, loyal dat! Or, could it be “separation anxiety?”

Have you a “Big Fish” tale?

Here’s more on Fred: (an excerpt from Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity )

“He’s a Russian Blue on the outside but pure dog on the inside. He’s that rare breed, half dog/half cat, that I call a dat!

The cat part of him has sleek, satiny slate-colored fur, grass-green eyes (all three of my cats got my eyes), and exceptionally long, fang-like canines. They make it appear as if he’s always smiling. He head butts for kisses, closes his eyes in feline bliss when petted, and stands up on his hind legs to politely pat my arm for attention when I am otherwise predisposed.

The dog part comes running when I whistle, drools when his ears are rubbed, climbs my chair, cat-like, to stand show-dog-style on top of my push-handles, and rolls over on his back with front paws extended…offering up more belly for a belly rub.

Most nights he sleeps propped against my chest under my right arm, on my right shoulder or at my head.”

*The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed that may have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia. They are also…called Archangel Blues. It is believed that sailors took Russian Blues from the Archangel Isles to England and Northern Europe in the 1860s.

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