Huckleberry and Me

Long ago. I found a dog. A cute, little buff-colored Cocker Spaniel. Roaming around my neighborhood. Looking lost. Scared. And hungry. I picked him up. Oh so gently. And placed a bowl of water down, and some food. For him to drink from, and to nibble at. Then I made a sign, determined to find its owner, yet hoping no one would respond. Just so I could keep that sweet little pup. With me. Forever and ever.

Happily, for the Spaniel, someone called. Said they’d be right over. To pick up their beloved pup. And to thank me for taking care of him.

Well, right then and there, I decided I wanted a Cocker Spaniel of my own. To name. To feed. To care for. So I searched the papers. For dogs. And found someone selling buff-colored pups. Only six or so weeks old. So I called. To say I wanted one. But, they honestly told me that the dogs did not have papers proving they were a breed. And because of that, they were selling them for cheaper than cheap. Which I didn’t mind. About the papers. All I knew was that I wanted one. One of those Spaniels. One of those pups.

When the time was right, I picked one up, and brought it home to care for. And to love. And named him Huckleberry. Like Tom Sawyer’s friend.

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Then one day, I moved. Moved far away. To an apartment where dogs weren’t allowed. So, I left him behind. Hoping he’d be okay. And he was. Until the day he was hit by a car. And taken to the vet. Who told me Huckleberry had been injured. That it was serious. And the best option was to put him down. To sleep. To euthanize him.

I went to see him. To say goodbye. I hugged him. Kissed him. Petted him, gently. And then  waited. Until I had to walk away. Sadly. With tears in my eyes.

I returned home. To my boyfriend. And fell into his arms. Crying like an unsoothable baby. Until I was all cried out. Then I began to talk. About Huckleberry. How I felt I had failed him. And swore I would never, ever get a dog again. Not until I was fully dedicated to caring for him.

In the end, I spoke about how special Huckleberry was. How sweet. And gentle. And how forever his name will remind me of a buff-colored Spaniel, from long ago.

man vs. cats

  IMG_0996Our cats came into our lives, unexpectedly, a few years ago. I was a bit sneaky about the idea of the fluffy twins, taking advantage of the fact that Rudy was living and working in Arkansas, when Brad first approached me with a photo of their newborn cuteness. After a lot of thought, seriously, quite a bit, because, well, Rudy is allergic to cats. But, since he was permanently positioned in another state it made sense that during his visits we could make sure the kitty-cats steered clear of him. In the end, I told the kids Sure. Let’s do it. Let’s get ourselves a few cats! And so we did.

The girls joined our household, fit right in with our lifestyle. Enjoying a sense of well-being and comfort. All was good.

Except when Rudy first found out about the fact that, like never before, we were entertaining a pair of pretty kitties, in his absence. He ranted. He grunted. And did so for weeks until he was left with nothing more to say. Nothing more to add to the many reasons we should not have cats. Realizing and considering that he was there and they were here. So, instead, he slowly, over time, began to adjust to Cassandra and Skyler. 

By the time he returned to California, living here, for the long haul, Rudy had begun to accept their presence.

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Feelings began to imprint.

Last night, Rudy quietly opened our bedroom door, not wanting to interrupt my much needed shut-eye and whispered, firmly, without a show of passion, and refusing to say Skyler’s name,

“That colored cat is sitting out there, by the front door.”

“Oh, ok,” I attempt, running a hand through my already messed-up hair. I know he’s telling me this because no-way-no-how is he going to pick her up, because, obviously his allergies will attack, big time. As I was walking down the hall, toward the front door, Rudy continued.

“I saw her sitting out there, way out at the end of the steps. She was just sitting there, staring at the front door, so I opened it, figuring she’d walk in, and go straight to Roberto’s room.”

Roberto’s room. The room with a door to the backyard. Their home within our home, I think to myself. I smiled, knowing how hard this task must have been for Rudy, yet he was doing it for me, because he knows how much I care about our sweet cats.

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“She walked to the door, then stopped. I guess she saw it was me and wasn’t sure if she could trust me.”

Probably, I think.

Out loud I say, “Yeah, she’s trying to figure out what you mean to her. It’s not like she doesn’t like you, but she hasn’t developed a relationship with you either.”

“I’m fine with that. She’s not my cat,” he confirms.

I reach down and pick Skyler up, wrap my arms around her multicolored body.

Rudy doesn’t know it, but his face gives him away. He’s curious about her. Finds interest in who she is, who her sister is, her twin who looks nothing like her.

He no longer feels angry or negative about them; yet, neither does he feel the need to grasp them and love them.

But, he does wonder about them.

And most importantly, he’s decided to fully accept them. Accept them in a way that works for him. By watching and observing. Without touching.