A Cheeky Cat

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Sometimes the story of how animals come into our lives are just as interesting as the animals themselves. The story of how our cat Goose came into our lives is not as interesting as him, but the story is amazing…to say the least. Our paths crossed a couple of summers ago when I was working at my part time Summer job. I was trying to clean up the large fenced in area behind the shop and my last task was to mow the grass. I was mowing along when I had to come to a complete stop.

A fluffy gray kitten had made himself a small burrow under some tall bushes near the edge of the fence. He had scurried away and the fact that I had almost ran over him disturbed me. What disturbed me even more was the fact that he was all alone. Why was this beautiful kitten out here all alone? I finished my mowing and my best friend (he’s the owner of the business) and myself were talking behind my vehicle which was parked in front of the building. I explained to him what happened and since he lives adjacently to the building; I asked if he had seen any stray cats around. It was about that time that I heard a faint meow coming from the distance. He laughingly says, ‘he must have heard you talking about him’. I walked to the edge of the building and starting calling ‘kitty, kitty’. The meowing started to get louder and then all of a sudden we see this little gray kitten; running towards us as fast as he can. He ran right up to me and scaled my leg and crawled into my arms. My friend and I quite literally couldn’t believe what had just happened.

He rode home with me, still cradled in my arms. By the time I got home, he was fast asleep. My wife and Daniel came outside to greet me and our new friend. We named him Goose, because we figured that since he was gray…why not name him after Gray Goose Vodka? Even though we don’t drink, we already had a cat named Whiskey because you guessed it, he was the color of whiskey. Goose grew up to be the sweetest cat that we have ever had. He would crawl into our arms and let us rub his belly. He would meow loudly and run up to us when we got home. Sadly our sweet Goose was killed last year. Since his death, we have thought a lot about how the purring of some cheeky little cat can impact your life. How soothing that the soft fur of a loving kitten can be as it brushes up against your ankles. Or just knowing how unconditionally you are loved by this animal that trusts that you will protect them and bring them food. All dogs may not go to Heaven while all cats may not live in Purgatory…but what I do know is that the animals that elegantly impact our lives, do forever live in our hearts.

This picture of Goose is my favorite. Since he constantly wanted our attention and wanted us to love on him at all times; he just took it upon himself to ascend to the top of a ladder that we had outside doing spring cleaning so he could be in arms length of us. The moment was so funny and was so indicative of the loving cat that had come into our lives. I miss him but the beauty of pictures is that it brings us back to the good times that we captured via that photograph.

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From Dawn til Dusk

IMG_0199Before we all had phones in our pockets that had picture taking capabilities; I would ride around with a disposable camera in my car to take pictures of whatever image that I wanted to capture. I would hold my camera out of the sunroof of my Mustang and snap pictures of a beautiful sunset or stop to take a picture of an old building. I guess you can say that I was Instagram…before there was an Instagram.  I was taking pictures of sunsets when the symbol for the hashtag was still the pound sign. When cell phones began to advance and the tiny little cameras were an finally an option for our smarter phones; I took advantage of the technology.

Over the years, technology is starting to capture the images the way that we see them. In the case of Snapchat and Instagram filters, the images that we take sometimes look better than the ones that we actually take. According to Apple, the most popular thing to take a picture of, according to iCloud uploads, is either a selfie or something found in nature. Whereas the 2nd (or 3rd if you don’t like that that was a tie) most popular thing photographed is some sort of animal. One of the most popular animals (second only to our beloved household dogs and cats) is a bird. Of course the category of ‘birds’ encompasses everything from ducks and geese to chickens and pigeons. The places that are photographed the most is Paris, New York, and Barcelona.

Is that an indication of how we perceive beauty in our society? We either find ourselves being drawn to the beauty of nature, historically beautiful places, or the beauty of ourselves. I think I’m okay with that honestly because nature photos are my favorite. While driving home from work, heading to the store or the gym, if I look and see the clouds and horizon line have that glow that appears to be so much more than the sun reflecting upon them, I’ll just stop on the side of the road to capture that moment when the clouds light up with incandescent oranges and vivid yellows. Now-a-days my phone is full of landscape photos just like all of those rolls of film from disposable cameras back before the time of smart phones. Technology may have changed…whereas my appreciation for nature has not.

Big Man + Little Dog = Perfect Combo

FullSizeRender-3Image-1-1I was always a ‘big dog person’. Despite at one time having a chihuahua, I always had Country Bulldogs or I would domesticate one of my dad’s big hunting dogs as a pet. I would grow to hate little dogs due to my grandmother’s half chihuahua – half feist – all demon possessed Hellhound that would growl at us and bite at our ankles if we moved too quickly around his aging food bowl. In my adulthood, I began to make fun of Paris Hilton and her little Chihuahua accessory dog whose little head we would occasionally see pop out of her Gucci purse. So when my son asked us for a dog that would ‘always stay puppy size’, I knew what that meant. My worst fear of having a yelping, ankle biting tiny demon dog would now come to fruition.

I was against it, as you can image, but you do what you have to do for the happiness of your children. So to make my child happy; my wife & I settled on a respected small dog breeder (ensuring that they were not a despised puppy mill) and went to visit her facility. In the entryway to the facility, the owner’s husband greeted us and Image-1asked us to dip the bottoms of our shoes inside of a shallow container of miscellaneous liquid; whose Bitter solution would keep us from bringing in outside contaminants into the dog’s sterile environment. The air conditioned building’s walls were a dull gray and instead of a cages, the puppies lay on nicely padded beds inside of their own 4 foot walled rooms. As we rounded the first corner, we found the area where a Mini Yorkshire Terrier and her newly born puppies lay. Most of the tiny black and brown puppies were barking and  jumping up as high as they could on the 4 foot cinder block wall that kept them from running around the facility. Five tiny female puppies were energetically trying to gain our attention….except for their little runt of a brother who sat alone in the corner staring up at us. We asked about him and the breeder picked him up and gave him to us.

As I held him in my hand, he laid his tiny head down on my thumb and went to sleep. IMG_2254Tears filled my eyes and my heart was broken. The walls of animosity towards tiny dogs was gone. The angst and fear of having a yelping ankle biter had dissipated. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I looked over to my wife and we instantly knew. We knew that we had found the furry addition to our family and that puppy that would never grow too big for Daniel. Seven years later, our little Deacon (that’s what we named him) has been joined by another Yorkie that we rescued named Ginger; a fat, energetic English Bulldog named Annie; and a skittish, fawn colored Chihuahua named Cookie that we rescued from an abusive family. I went from closing my heart to little dogs to having a wife that laughs at me because the ‘big tough man gets out of his big four-wheel drive truck after working out at the gym after work, sits down in his big manly recliner only to pick up, hold and commence baby talk to a 2 lb. dog in his arms’. Sounds like a perfect picture to me. 🙂

via Photo Challenge: Friend