Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Revelation

Abigail, my old cat, warming her ears under my desk lamp.
Photo by Elmore Reese
I'm a cat person. This isn't really a revelation, but the way it impacts my being a dog owner is, at least to me.

Like many people I consider myself an animal lover and have only acknowledged my preference for cats along pragmatic lines: cats can take care of themselves for a weekend, cats are more independent and better suited to a busy adult life style, you can travel and move much more easily with cats, and so on down the familiar list. And oh yes, cats purr which is really cool.

I suppose I always thought it was a kind of laziness on my part, preferring an independence-loving cat over a loyal, loving dog. Now I see that was just a cover. Really what I love about cats is that they just don't give a damn. Abigail in the photo above couldn't stand my husband (who was taking the photo) but she was going to warm her ears under her favorite lamp and stare him down until he left. If she had been a Chihuahua I bet her tail would have been wagging and she would have forgotten her ear-warming mission the moment he opened my office door. Since I hate it when people open my office door while I'm trying to work my response is much more likely to be in sync with Abigail's than a happy Chihuahua. Sometimes the truth hurts.

And then there's Jack. My struggle to be a good dog owner or dog trainer or pack leader or whatever it is I'm supposed to be for him can pretty much be summed up in Abigail's determined stare from that photograph of more than 20 years ago. Who the heck opened the door and let him in while I'm busy warming my ears (metaphorically speaking).

Jack, New Year's Day 2012, completely ignoring me.

And so on New Year's day 2012 in a snow storm in my pj's I have to trudge out into the snow and retrieve my wayward cat-dog. I have only myself to blame.

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