I live with two cats – Nala and Beowulf. The first is small and completely black, a rescue the neighbors made when Nala was born. She was a gift from one human to another on Christmas. Beo is a big fluff ball, black and white, who tells me he was once feral, then lived in a huge cellar for five years until my humans adopted him. Now he struts around the house, meowing for food, pissed when he can’t go out at night, but basically a nice cat who isn’t afraid of me or any other dogs. In fact he goes out of his way to make friends with us.
But when I arrived here, two other cats were the family kitties. Powder, a totally white beauty but really old, and Simba, this orange tabby who was kind of bossy but slept with the human every nite. His name meant he was king of the cats and when Nala arrived she was supposed to be his girlfriend. at least according to Disney. But that’s not how it worked out.
When Powder was dying, Noah, Nika, and I were there beside her, licking her, feeling what she felt, asking her to stay. But she was tired, done, thirteen years, and she told us where she wanted to be buried So the three of us went over to this spot by the outside wall and dug a hole for her grave. When the humans found it, I think they really understood how connected all of us are.
Humans like to think of themselves as connected in this way – and some of them are – but most of them don’t get it. After Powder died, the hole we dogs had dug was where the humans buried her. And I discovered there are other beloved pets buried here – three cats now, a bird, a guinea pig. Jessie and Noah, the Golden Retrievers who lived here before me, were cremated but their spirits hang around.
Five months after Nala arrived, one of the humans took Simba for a ride in the car and he didn’t return. The lady human arrived home in tears with his body in a little box and he’s buried out back here, too. He had so much fluid in chest his lungs were floating. I don’t really understand what this means except that it was fatal.
So my tenure with these humans has been marked by both grief and joy, by great insights into the nature of these relationships. I’m the “most chill” pet they’ve ever had, I’ve heard them say that my bro and I were adopted at eight weeks by a couple who were really high achievers and didn’t have time to take care of two pups. So two weeks later, they gave us up.
Someone from the dog park texted one of my humans about a free Golden and that afternoon, me and my bro met two humans. My bro, Sunny, went to a young family with two kids. I ended up with these writers and get to travel to Orlando at least once a month where I have my own fan club. I went to Georgia, too, and to the Florida keys and I’ve liked every place my humans have taken me.
I’ve heard my humans talk about how I would make a great emotional support dog. But you know, I’m happy where I am. And honestly, the emotional turmoil these humans put themselves through won’t be remedied by my acting as an emotional support for strangers. Right now, I’ve got my hands full!