When I add up the good and bad in my life, I often wonder how so many things done with such good intentions managed to turn out so poorly.
I’ve done stuff I thought was nice — helpful — only to have it backfire in a particularly horrible way. You know, like the couple you introduced? They got married (yay), but are now in the middle of a hideous divorce (boo). One way or the other, someone (probably everyone) is mad at me. I meant well.
Over all, I did the best I could. I tried to help. Maybe I didn’t succeed. Maybe my kindness turned out to be a massive disservice.
Only my dogs really appreciate me. They want what I can give. They don’t worry about consequences, side effects, or what might go wrong. The want a biscuit. A cuddle. A nice game of tug of war. They never want more than I can give. If I don’t get it right, they always forgive me. Immediately and never hold a grudge.
That’s the thing about dogs. And the problem with people.
Note: Sorry folks, this is a Daily Prompt with non-working links. They may fix it, or not. I hope the little story stands on its own legs.
Once upon a time in a land far, far way, there lived a big shaggy dog by the name of Bob. Bob lived, with his family of mom, dad, and 2.7 children, in a modest home in a subdivision not far, as the road goes, from a major metropolitan city. Which we will call “The Hub.”
Every morning, Bob’s task was — after cleaning every last drop of maple syrup off the family’s breakfast plates — to trot to the mailbox. There, Bob would pick up the newspaper which the truck delivered before dawn.
Bob would clamp the paper between his big jaws and haul it inside, sometimes the worse for wear. His intentions were honorable. Nobody minded a bit of mauling to the paper. All anyone ever did was scan the sports section and check if any of the coupons were worth clipping. The rest of the paper got thrown away anyhow.
All that ink and paper was truly wasted on the family, but Bob didn’t care and neither did any of the humans in the household.
This particular morning dawned bright and sunny. Just as Bob was about to collect the morning newspaper, he spied a bird — maybe a bluejay? — on the branch of a nearby shrub. Unable to contain his enthusiasm, even though he was no kind of bird dog, Bob took off to catch that bird.
And so the paper was left in a heap by the mail box. Bob discovered a great new world of birds, squirrels, bunnies, and (uh oh) cute girl dogs.
After that, life was never the same in the little house in the cookie cutter subdivision not far from the great, metropolitan Hub.
The end — or is it just the beginning?
The Great Blue Heron is basically a black-and-white bird, making him something of an ideal subject for monochrome studies. The only problem I encountered was making him “pop” out of the background.
I also got into making it look a bit like an old-fashioned wildlife study. Not sure how well I succeeded, but here’s my Blue Heron, in living black-and-white.
Next, we have Bishop. He is not sleeping. He is faking it, hoping that I will go away and take my camera with me.
Nan is next. She enjoys photographic attention more than any other of our dogs. She is the only one who will sit for her portrait without trying to run for the hills.
Thank you Cee, for being the ever-perfect hostess.
Racket had gotten out of his cage. Nothing unusual about that, except that usually when I let him loose, I’d make sure to put away anything I cared about to avoid having Racket destroy it. It was futile but I felt obliged to try.
Racket, as his name implied, was a charming, noisy Sulpher-Crested Cockatoo. He was the perfect example of why cockatoo owners invented stainless steel perches. Racket could reduce anything made of hardwood to splinters in seconds. He had gone to work on the sofa not long ago … not the upholstery. I think the upholstery wasn’t a sufficient challenge for him. He had gone all out to redo the carved wood frame, perhaps with the intent of correcting the original artist’s errors.
The arm of the sofa nearest his cage was a pile of wood chips and splinters. No evidence of the original design remained. Having completed his work on the sofa, he had refocused his efforts towards acquiring wisdom. He began ingesting the Encyclopedia Britannica, one volume at a time. At this time, he was about half-way through the project. I could see that he’d had a busy morning and had consumed two more volumes.
There wasn’t much I could do about it. I had no where else to put the books. The flat was tiny and there was no storage space. Racket couldn’t spend all his time in a cage. Parrots need freedom, at least an hour or two a day. They are smart birds. They need to interact with the world, with us, to explore and have fun. Racket was doing what Cockatoos do for fun: tearing apart everything on which he could lay his beak.
I wasn’t sure who’d let him out that morning. Probably one of the kids. But he couldn’t stay out all day. I had to go to work and no sane parrot owner would leave their bird loose, unsupervised with no one at home. Or at least no one sane would leave this parrot unsupervised.
I shuddered at the thought of how much damage he could do given an entire day to wreak havoc. It was time to put him back into his house.
“Come on, sweetie,” I cooed. “Time to go home. Mommy’s got to go to work.”
“CAWWWWWWW! SQUAWK!! ACK-ACK-ACK!” (No M’am, I have other plans) he said. Ah those melodious tones.
He was a tame bird, bad habits notwithstanding and would stand on my hand, nibble on my ears. So far he hadn’t taken it into his head to remove my ears, though he had tried to rip an earring out. But tame and obedient are in no way synonymous. He knew I wanted him back in his cage and he clearly didn’t want to go there. I needed a proper bribe or he could easily elude me for hours.
“Come along, baby,” I continued, sotto voce. “Mommy needs to get going and we don’t have all day to hunt wild birdies.”
I offered him my arm and teased him with a piece of watermelon in my other hand. He was ever so fond of fruit. Finally, after trying his birdy best to get the fruit without having to climb up on the arm, he gave in and climbed aboard. Quick as a wink, he was back in his cage, a squishy piece of red fruit dangling from his beak.
I pondered how much worse this would have been if I not have been able to get him in hand and instead, had been left with two just like him safely hidden in a bush. It boggled my mind.
It was a beautiful day and the first time the calves had been let our of their cribs into the corral. Everyone was busy on the farm. Spring through autumn, there’s plenty of work for everyone.
I petted the calves who were friendly, if a bit skittish, meeting strangers. I could feel the bumps on their head where their horns were beginning to come in. A warm, bright spring day on the farm. A good day.
Back in another life, I lived in a little house on Long Island, not far from the university where I’d gone to school and at which my husband worked. We always had a dog and several cats. In those days, we let our cats outside. There wasn’t much traffic and everyone’s cats roamed the neighborhood.
One day, while we were out in the yard, we had a visitor, a medium-sized black and white cat. He was extremely friendly. Sidled right up to us, purring, and doing that little head butt that’s so endearing. Maybe he was hungry? Of course we fed him.
My son fell immediately in love and we said he could keep the cat.
My husband had a passion for the classics. He named the cat Ahab, which he said meant “wanderer.”
Ahab was a sweetheart, the most laid-back cat I ever knew. My 4-year old felt Ahab needed a bubble bath in a bucket. Ahab purred his way through the bubble and the rinse cycle, then continued purring all the way through dinner and a relaxed evening on the sofa with the family.
We couldn’t figure out why anyone would let a sweet fellow like Ahab go. He was young. Healthy. Litter trained, though he preferred going outside to do his business. His coat was shiny and he showed no sign of abuse or neglect. He oozed charm.
Ahab settled in like he’d always lived with us. He got along with the dog and the other cats. Loved children. Loved everyone. We made a date to take him to vet and get his shots.
He never went to the vet, at least not with us. The following day, without so much as a “by your leave,” Ahab moved down the block and took up residence with a different family. We were a little wounded. We’d never been abandoned by a cat before. His new family adored him but Ahab only hung around a few days, then moved on.
We eventually lost track of Ahab. He moved from house to house, charming everyone and purring his way to his next home. He never stayed longer than a few days and was always the perfect house guest.
Was he a stray? If he was, it was because that’s what he wanted to be. Ahab was indeed the wanderer.
Originally posted on Kim Harrison's Drama:
It was a very tough choice, but I’ve narrowed almost six hundred cat photos down to five for you to vote on to become Peri Reed’s cat and be featured on the phone cling. (This year’s freebie to help promote the new series coming out the first of September.
[Amazon blurb] [B&N blurb]
I have a lot of honorable mentions. You guys have some seriously fun and beautiful cats.
Below are the winners. To vote, pick out your favorite, and then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your pick in the subject line.
1. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE NAME OF YOUR PICK IN THE SUBJECT LINE, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT BE COUNTED.
2. IF YOU SEND MORE THAN ONE EMAIL, ONLY THE FIRST WILL BE COUNTED.
3. If you mess up and forget the name of your pick in the subject…
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