With all the craziness going on in the world today, both tragic and unbelievable, I thought I would take a break away from the serious side of life and work on a simpler, slightly amusing blog, while enjoying these strange "dog days of summer."
I was recently reminded of something that happened to me not long ago and it concerns dogs and cats.
I was at a meeting in the home of a friend who owns a cat. There were 14 people in the room. Thirteen of them were cat lovers. Enter one silky black cat. It surveyed the scene in typically superior feline manner and headed straight for the one person in the room who dislikes cats. Me!
Settling itself complacently on my lap despite my initial protest, I then pretended I was enjoying the attention. Inwardly I was trying to tell it—nothing personal, fella, but I’m a dog person! Always have been.
I admit that cats are definitely intelligent creatures. How else would every last one of them in the neighborhood know when there is a freshly dug border in our yard ready for planting? With an instinctive built-in radar system they all head straight for it. They then proceed to open an account and leave a deposit!
Another thing about cats is that they don’t seem to need people. Mostly they live out their nine lives as independent beings, oblivious to us humans other than for a need to be stroked, fed or to act as their obedient slave. I feel they are always judging us and more often than not we are found to be lacking.
Dogs, on the other hand, love you unconditionally. You are their pal for life. I know I am biased, but most dogs we have owned confirm this belief.
When I was a child we owned a German shepherd who was so intelligent she always knew when a visitor to the house had outstayed his or her welcome. She would stand up, stretch, walk over to the visitor and yawn very loudly. It always did the trick!
More recently we owned a dog that was part French poodle and part English Terrier known as a Terripoo. Because of his mixed heritage he was cursed with an adorable split personality. The poodle in him liked to be bathed, perfumed, fed treats, cuddled and thoroughly spoiled. His terrier blood enjoyed digging holes, chewing and eating rags and going for long walks with the wind in his nostrils and his ears blowing behind him. We named him Jake (a mixture of French Jacques and English Jack.)
Territory is always important to a dog. Jake knew exactly where he was or was not allowed to go. In our kitchen, breakfast nook, hallway and family room he was King, but he was never allowed in the front room or upstairs. The temptation for him was great, but his four tiny blonde paws never strayed across the imaginary lines. He respected our decision. We respected his control.
I could continue to extol the virtues of the dog although I have to admit that the last dog we owned, Rupert, was a little different from the rest. He was a breed apart. He was part poodle but mostly Shih-Tzu. He was lovable and cute but very stubborn and thought his Chinese background allowed him to lie on a cushion all day and guard the “palace” as his ancestors had once done.
I am sure I have already alienated myself from every cat lover I know and for that I apologize. And somewhere out there is a cat who knows I have written this piece and is lying in wait for me. He wants revenge and he means business.
So I will continue to enjoy these “dog days of summer,” an expression which dates back to ancient times when people in different parts of the world began drawing images of the sky by connecting the dots of stars now called constellations.
Among the images they drew were dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor) and the brightest of the stars was Canis Major (a big dog named Sirius) which rises and sets with the sun in late July. This star adds heat causing sultry weather to follow, sometimes well into September, hence the name the “dog days of summer.”
And I think I will continue to “go to the dogs.”
But I’d love to hear from both dog and cat owners with your opinions. I have thick skin, so please let me know if you agree or disagree. I can take it!