Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Herman - In Rememberance

Herman. He was one fine-looking chocolate lab. Sporting his hunter green collar he would swagger about the dog park, sit on people’s feet and generally be cute as hell. What is there to say? He died too damn young.

Though I’m hardly more than a casual observer – our dogs were park pals and I consider his mom and dad friends – I know a few things for certain. Herman was loved, well cared for and his absence has left heartbreak in its wake.

On our first day at the dog park, back when Henry was a year old, we met Mark and Herman. I liked to call them the “H” dogs and Mark and I talked up a storm, in between marveling at the silliness of our dog's behavior. Our first day at the dog park was also Mark and Herman's first day, and how nice it was to share that experience with them. The “H” dogs were instant friends – wrestling, running, chasing, tugging – they instinctively knew how to play with one another.

Over the next couple of years we spent many afternoons at the dog park. Enter Moki, Crash and a few others – and their moms and dads (Moki is the other dog in photos on this page). Dog days were fun. Life was good.

Then one day, not all that many weeks ago, Herman was diagnosed with cancer. It was an aggressive type without many options for treatment. Despite a strong albeit brief comeback, Herman died August 21. He was not even five years old.

This writing is intended to honor the missing "H" dog. My heart goes out to his mom and dad. I hope to always remember Herman’s lovely gentle spirit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tiger the Trickster

Our cat sitter, Craig, has never met Tiger. He knows what kind of food she eats, where to feed her and he knows what she is supposed to look like, but they have yet to meet. The last time my husband and I (and our dogs) went on vacation we got a call from Craig. He was concerned because several days had passed and there was no sign of Tiger. He couldn’t even be sure she was eating because we have two other cats and none tend to eat much while we're gone (it just dawned on me that this could be because the dogs aren’t circling their food like sharks when they aren't there). At our direction, Craig looked in all of Tiger’s known hiding places as we waited on the phone, but she wasn’t in a single one of them. While this unnerved me a bit, this was Tiger we were talking about…

Tiger is an Abyssinian. She’s shy yet flirtatious, always slinking along the walls and the edges of our furniture. She rarely requests affection, preferring instead to be the voyeur. I suspect she watched Craig while he looked for her, mocking him with sly enthusiasm. Tiger is brave and in excellent physical shape for her age (she's 11). She is the only one of our cats that dares walk the catwalk – that’s what we named the ledge high above our A-framed living room. She saunters across it without a care in the world.

When we came home from our vacation, I rushed to unlock the door and check on Tiger, even though I was sure she was fine. She looked up at me from the edge of the dining room door frame as if to say “Oh, hey. What’s up?”

Cats - always playing tricks on their humans!