Enjoying my Sunday morning coffee and bran muffin this AM, reading the local newspaper and catching up on world news like the advances in democracy in Saudi Arabia and Russian leaders Putin and Medvedev swapping jobs.
Local stores have some good deals on fall shoes and boots-might have to go check those out today, and sweaters also-a girl can never have too many sweaters.
Rather quirky, but the last thing I always read in my Sunday newspaper packet is the little Parade Magazine insert. It usually has an interesting recipe, often vegetarian, a book review or two that sparks my interest, even though I am back into the no-time-to-read-anything-but-textbooks mode, and in the very back a weekly op-ed sort of article in a section called American Stories. Sometimes these are quick little insights or advice but mostly just glimpses into real people life events from not so real life people. One contributor is Connie Shultz, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I have seen her articles in this magazine before. She often writes about her family. Today was another piece about her second family: her pets. Her children are grown now so she and her husband call their three pets their family; their children. I think many, many pet owners can identify with this.
Today’s story carried the title Old Faithfuls and was accompanied by a sweet picture of a jet black cat and a smushy faced pug. Meet Reggie and Gracie:
Schultz has written about these two before, along with a third companion, another cat named Winnie. These pets are of very advanced age, having been members of her family since before she met her current husband. As a reader, I can take one look at the title here and get a pretty clear picture of where this piece is headed. I don’t have to read much farther than the first few lines and I can feel the tug at my heartstrings and that funny, crinkly, twitchy feeling at the corner of my eyes as the very first sign of tears spring up. I, like so many millions of others am a softy when it comes to pet stories. Also, like so many millions, I have taken the attitude with the loss of each family pet that “there shall be no more four-legged creatures entering my house, ever again”, and I have been proven an absolute liar when the next four-legged creature becomes a part of our family.
We all know that when we adopt an animal into our lives the outcome will most likely be a sad one. We realize that the life span of a cat or dog will not outnumber our own advancing years and we will inevitably have to walk down the road to doggie or kitty heaven with more than one pet. Schultz touches on this in Old Faithfuls with this quote from veterinarian Nick Trout, “We’ve come to embrace our animals as family members,” he said. “We are not meant to lose our children. And yet we take pets on, knowing we’ll have to lose them. It’s the package deal, to the very end.”
We know this and we come back for more, yet how can we not when we look at the faces of all the Reggies and all the Gracies out there, many who have no one, many who have been abused, tossed aside or forgotten and all who simply want to belong to a loving family.
I have to go hug my cat now.