Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Monday, July 19, 2010

C: Sweet Homecomings

Like Dorothy, I have learned that there’s no place like home!  Last weekend I spent one night away from home with Mom, MIL and Aunt E.  My own bed felt so good when I came back.

But, it’s not just my familiar bed that beckons me back.  No, it’s the warm greeting I receive from those who await me: my pets!

Last Saturday, as we were making were way home, my phone rang.  It was my son:

Mom,” he said, “The weirdest thing…the dogs won’t come home!” 

Now, let me give you the back-story:

My two dogs, Chili and Scout, are usually home whenever I’m home.  When I leave for work each morning, they immediately head to Grandmom’s just up the driveway toward the road from me, where they spend most of the day. MIL spoils them, letting them in and out of her house and providing treats.

WhDSCN1075en I return, the dogs greet me at MIL’s and watch to see if I am turning in to visit her or if I’m passing her turn and going straight home.  Wherever I go, they go.

Friday, when I went to pick up MIL and Aunt E, I just parked my car there, and we took MIL’s car.  According to Son, the dogs never moved, and he could not entice them home to eat—he eventually fed and watered them there.  He was  amused at the fact that they would not budge from where my car was, thinking they had reasoned that it is place to which I would come back!  (So smart, they are!)

On our return, the dogs were ecstatic!  Never has any being been so welcoming to another!  Chili dutifully followed me home and spent the night beside my bed.  Little Scout had her share of my petting and opted to spend the night with MIL and Aunt E.  If I know her at all, she ended up stretched out on Grandmom’s couch in the night!DSCN1081

This reminds me of another welcome I received, unexpected, which made it even nicer:

Probably eight years or so ago, being strapped for cash at the time and fretting over my husband’s Christmas gift, it came to me! At the time  we had been “kitty-less” for some time, a fact that my husband had often bemoaned. So, I determined to get him a cat from the local animal shelter and a promise to help with the litter box.

My in-laws were enlisted in the project, and the two of them took off to the animal shelter. I got a phone call: “C, there’s a wonderful little grey brindle female,” MIL said (just what I had ordered!), “but there is a most handsome male red kitty who is just playing up a storm with her. I think you need them both.” (See what a bad influence she is…)

I authorized the adoption of them both, and the Christmas surprise that year was one of the best. This is how “Miss Kitty” and “Red” came to be part of our family.

Sad to admit, we fell down on our obligation to Miss Kitty, and she found herself “in trouble,” obviously having taken up with the tomcat across the carlandcat creek. She delivered six kittens and was just the best mother. We gave away two,  but were left with four of the litter. All six cats lived in relative happiness on our wide back porches, protected from the world by our backyard fence.  (And we learned our lesson—everyone was neutered!).

Living in the country is hard on kitties and, one-by-one, these kitties just failed to show up for dinner. Clearly, they were venturing out of their haven for excitement and finding more than they bargained for.  Here is my late father-in-law with one of the litter, who was soon thereafter to disappear.

There was, however, one exception.  Sasha is a shy type, running from strangers and children, which is surprising since I know she has never been mistreated. But maybe it was this tendency toward standoffishness that had kept her alive the longest, our only remaining cat—natural selection in full view.

And Sasha’s shyness is conflicted. You can see her “wishing” to be petted and held but just not quite able to bring herself to be the lap kitty.

So, for the past three years, Sasha has lived a quiet life oDSCN1148n the back porch.  This, and the large, fenced back yard, is her domain, and I don’t think it’s half bad for a kitty.  She has her soft little kitty bed, which is boxed against the wind and plumped with additional bedding in the winter.  She has a good life.

Most humans seem scary to her, and even with me it takes coaxing for her to finally come, purring and smiling, for attention. She does not come in the house.  When we bring her in, she is so uncomfortable that she goes back to the door, asking to go back outside.

While I was gone on the cruise in February, my son saw that she got her regular meals. But, being who she is, she was unable to get any attention whatsoever. It must have been this missing element that brought about my sweet surprise.

Our back porch wraps around my house, with the far “L” portion being just outside my bedroom. We have screened it in, but I seldom make use of it now, and the screen door stays ajar. I believe Sasha considers it her territory, and is in and out of the screened portion.

When I arrived home from my trip at 10 p.m.—dog tired after being in airports/on airplanes for twelve straight hours—I snuggled down into my own bed and was out like a light. DSCN1140

About midnight I was awakened by a bumping and scratching sound at my bedroom’s back door. Weird! I rubbed my eyes and sat up in the bed to listen again. I noticed that it was accompanied by soft meowing!

I got up and stumbled to the door. It was Sasha. She darted  away from me to the other side of the screened porch, but she arched her back and rubbed back and forth against the leg of the chair, obviously wanting attention but not knowing how to really ask for it. I approached; she skittered away. Remember, I was half asleep—I took myself back to bed. The sounds had all stopped; I snoozed away.

At about 2 a.m. the process started again. This time when I opened the door, Sasha strolled right in, meowing, tail up. I bent down. Not only was I able to hold and pet her, but she returned the affection, lifting her little face and rubbing against my cheek. It was the sweetest thing! I carried her back to bed with me, and she—to my utter amazement—settled right down DSCN1147 against me purring, and I fell back asleep.

Sasha did not stay the rest of the night. After only an hour or so, I found myself stumbling, yet again, to the door to let her back out. But the broken sleep was so worth it!! I do believe I was missed by this cat!  She has not repeated this door-knocking.

So, just indulge me, here: I believe  our animals consciously care for us and await our return.  Do you?  C


Vee said...

Yes, I do. What a sweet story about Sasha. Reminds me of a James Herriot story and he's a favorite with me. I don't know what you're going to do about that Scout, though. ;>

Happyone :-) said...

Oh yes, I do!!
Have you seen the movie Hachi? It's about a dog who waits at the train station every day for his owner even after the owner dies. It's based on a true story. Sad, but a great story.

Char5 said...

I believe it heart and soul. The kitty that I had for 16 years, when I was a child, would wait on our fence post for my dad to come home from work every day. She just instinctively knew about what time he was to get home.

Zuzana said...

Wonderful post for a kitty lover such as me.;) What lovely cat too, it looks like she has some Maine Coon in her.;)
We will never know what pets think or feel, but intuitively I am convinced there is a connection between people and animals, just like the unspoken bond between humans.;)

Vickie said...

I definitely believe our animals let us know in mysterious ways what's going on in their minds. I'm a big animal lover myself and my pets talk to me all the time! And they DO have emotions. Anybody that loves their pets know this!
Glad you shared this with us! I love me a great animal story.

gaelikaa said...

I'd love some pets, but as I live in a combined family it is rather a problem as everyone has a say here, and they all say now. I'm working on getting some budgies. I'll take it from there....

carla said...

Absolutely! It's embarrassing how excited the beagle is on our return from anywhere. When we're gone overnight the cats coming running to the door when they hear the key in the lock.

Sasha is lovely. She reminds me of our Molly Pitcher, who disappeared from our acreage. We have lost so many cats, it saddens me. After having had about 12 outdoors (all spayed and neutered), there are only 2 left. Thomas Jefferson must stay in the house now. He is blind in one eye (after an attack by Martha Washington). Benjamin Franklin goes out for just a bit and then wants right back in. General Lafayette is in bad need of tutoring, so he isn't allowed outside at all.

Your dogs look and sound wonderful.

Sandra said...

I think anyone who has loved and been loved by a pet would agree with you. I have no idea how they rank in God's pecking order in Heaven (I wouldn't be at all surprised if they are waiting for us there), but they are definitely one of the wonderful blessings He has given us here on Earth! I love hearing about your wonderful pets. It makes it a little easier that we no longer have any.

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