May I Digress from my usual column today?

I read a lovely story by Phil Hoskins (yes, our Phil Hoskins) on how to study our dogs and learn from them in their short lives; short compaired to ours.

My home has been the refuge for dogs (and cats) for as many years as I have in my memory bank. My dogs were members of the family and often soothed the tempers of my teenage girls. For years we had 3 dogs and for some reason each chose a member of the family. That gave us all the help to survive with each other through the years of stretching our independence from the group.

I ended up with the Mother dog of all Mother dogs. My Kate was a large yellow Labrador with a heart bigger than any animal I’ve ever known. When she died of old age, I learned how much she loved our cats. I was separated from the feline Price family due to my working the store 7 days a week. I took the old dog on long walks to benefit both of us with exercise and the rising sun that finally popped up over the Santa Lucia mountains. I would feed the group before opening the store and come home in time to run around the block with Kate in the evening. Running around the block in the mountains is harder than it sounds.

At this time I still had 3 cats although not the same three throughout the years and suddenly they became almost strangers. For 16 years these lovely cats ate, slept, napped and played with Kate. They would never complain about going to the Vet in their carriers as long as Kate sat with them in the back seat. I also learned that the cats did not sleep with me but with Kate, who did. As she grew too weak to make it up on my bed, the cats joined her on the floor. The first week after she died, my cats put on the last act of Tosca which is filled with some of the most beautiful and sad music possible. My God, they were in mourning….. I have one of the original Kate’s cats left. My Emma has just now become my friend. I got her a playmate of a pound cat and she is gradually realizing she is not an only cat.

During her life, Kate was the perfect example of unconditional love; apparently I was not. The cats were content with the love they received from Kate and two followed her in death (old age again) and it made me aware of my distribution of love in the animal world of my home.

I’m too old to take on another dog and my days of running around any block are behind me. But when I read Phil’s post on R.R. I realized how desperately I miss my beautiful Kate. I shared many of her experiences on Reader Rant because she had a better more exciting life than I did.

I now return you to the home page of political debate.