I promise I won’t make this blog about how spiritual and loving and magical pets are to us. I think that is a given. Ok, I have purchased the dog sweater at the local garage sale and actually put it on my dog when it has gotten “cold”. In Los Angeles that is all relative. But it makes me smile and she doesn’t seem to mind.
One of the many things I liked and like about my pets was they never had an agenda except to make you happy. Even cats, as aloof as they may seem, have an agenda which includes making us happy. The first pet my husband and I had was Snow, a beautiful, white, blue eyed, deaf Angora Persian. We were living in a loft in NYC inhabited by a plethora of mice and we thought her presence would at least scare them to leave but no such luck. She would sit regally with her front paws crossed and watch as they scurried around our open space.
So we got Boo Boo, a big black and white alley cat with six toes, hence the name, that needed a home and we needed a mouser. She had an agenda to rid us of mice because she was really good at it and because she knew it would make us happy. After the first night the mice knew she meant business and they never returned. That job was done but we loved her and so did Snow, happy to have a partner in crime.
Our third cat, Mink, was found at a backyard party in Brooklyn that feel asleep in my lap. The story was already written after the first few minutes and she became a part of the family. She was a stunning sable colored Burmese, hence the name, and lived up to her decadence. Our loft was also a photo studio and my husband’s photo assistant would carry Mink around like a princess. Mink’s only agenda was to make him and us happy.
We moved to Park City, Utah and our indoor cats became outdoor cats. They never ran away and never, thank God, got eaten. They lived to be at least one hundred by cat years and each one of their losses stayed with us for a long time.
Our son was born in NYC and loved the kitties as much as we did. When they were gone he was still quite young and wanted a dog. We lived in the mountains and needed a dog that understood the territory. Rocky, a rugged Chocolate Lab, came into our lives and captured my heart more than I ever expected. He showed his true heritage around water or snow and was always ready to fetch anything. And his agenda was to make us love a tennis ball or the outdoors even more than we thought possible.
Of course, our son thought Rocky was lonely and needed a buddy. Alexander found Blonde at a shelter or Blonde found him. She was a six month old mutt and had been abused. She was shy and scared and our son was kind of shy so they understood each other. She climbed up into his lap and, like Mink, became part of the family. Blonde would stand beside Alexander and he would rest his hand on her chest.
We moved to LA. Over the years, Blonde stayed the same height but Alexander grew taller and his hand now always rested on her head. When he left for college, Blonde somewhat adapted, but when he came home, we didn’t exist. She slept with him, followed him and stood beside him with his hand gently resting on her head. Not difficult to know what her agenda was for the sixteen years we had her.
I found Lizzy on a commercial. She was a matted, scrappy terrier mix who was frightened but so sweet I just couldn’t help myself. “Fostering” turned into parenting. She slid right into the routine, the other dogs and her new family. Animals are clever like that. They kind of know when it’s time for them to appear. Our other two dogs are gone but Lizzy is a constant reminder of how all of this has come full circle.
Humans have agendas that aren’t always clear and can be hurtful at times because they hurt. They don’t let each other know and sometimes they don’t even know themselves why they do what they do. But animals are very clear in what they need. They know their simple needs of love and nourishment can make even the hardest soul soft. I can’t imagine an agenda more powerful than that.