A trip to the zoo

Thursday, May 31, 2001

I'm sure all of you readers out there have families. Families these days are defined in many ways. My immediate family consists of my fiance (Chuck), myself, two dogs, (Cheyenne and Freddie Leigh) and a cat (Lily).

Since I am only 23-years-old, have no children and have never been married, I think of my pets as my children. Now don't get my wrong, sometimes I think my family is more of a zoo than anything. In several ways my pets are like children. Just the other day one of the "kids" chewed up a hat that was left lying around in the living room. None of the "kids" would own up to it. Imagine that! They are just like children, huh?

Each of the "kids" has a different personality and special needs. Freddie Leigh, the original Heinz 57 mutt, is just a puppy. She needs lots of attention, but what three-month-old doesn't? She loves to lick or "give puppy kisses." She has an innocence about her that can be found in a child. Cheyenne is a little different. She is a little over a year old. She loves her "Daddy" more than anyone or anything in the whole world. She is a very sweet, smart dog. She loves to play with children, but never jumps on a child. Even though she is a year old, she has regressed slightly, back into puppy hood. About three months ago she had a litter of pups. (Yes, Freddie Leigh is her daughter.) Since her initiation into motherhood, she has taken to shredding various household items, including a Jonesboro telephone book, my graduation announcements, ink pens and host of other objects.

Lily, my beautiful Himalayan cat is a whole different story. She, like other cats, is extremely moody. She doesn't like to bothered during her afternoon or evening catnaps. She has certain places she likes to sleep in, normally on clothing, and if you decide you want to wear a piece of clothing she has claimed, you are going to have one mad cat on your hands. One of her favorite spots is on top of my dress in my bedroom. When she is enjoying a siesta on the dresser and I happen to go in there and turn the light on she lets out an awful sound and you know you are not a welcomed visitor. She is very demanding too. When she feels it is time for quality time with "Mommy" I have to stop whatever it is that I am doing and give her some attention and petting. I don't know about other cats, but Lily likes to head-butt. I don't know if that is normal, but she seems to enjoy it. Cats do a lot of funny things. Just the over night I was lying in bed, and Lily had stopped off for a quick session of quality time session before turning in for the evening. I petted her and she was just purred her little heart out. After awhile she decided to take her post on top of the dresser and catch a few Z's. She tiptoed away in stealth like manner, full of grace and beauty. All of a sudden, I heard this awful racket.

Maybe she is getting older, or maybe in the darkness she misjudged the distance, but she missed the dresser and made quite a ruckus on her decent to the carpet. That poor cat!!! I sat up in bed and laughed for five solid minutes.

Over the weekend, Chuck and I took the dogs to visit their sister, and Chuck's parents. Those two puppies played a day long. Chey was kind of happy that Freddie had someone else to play with for a while. Chey just layed around and got petted and refereed for two youngsters when they got a little to rambunkious. At one point during the afternoon, Freddie Leigh and her sister, Boots (another pup form Chey's litter), got to playing a little too rough. They were growling and barking as if they were actually trying to hurt each other. Sisters would never do that, would they? This little incident was brought to an immediate stop when Chuck's father turned around and hosed those two down good with the garden hose. As soon as the water hit the snarling mass of teeth and fur, the two each shot off in different directions. After they got their hosing, they ran off into the yard together. It looked like they "high-fived" each other and were laughing about getting in trouble.

That evening, after leaving the home of my fiancee's parents, we stopped by his grandparents' house to say hi. We decided to leave our two canine kids in the truck while we ran in for a quick visit, leaving the truck running with the air conditioner going full blast. We visited for a few minutes, looking out the window every few moments to make sure the dogs didn't accidentally slip the truck into gear or settle into the floor board for a nap, laying on the gas pedal in the process. Finally we said our goodbyes and made our way back to the truck. When we arrived a few feet away from the truck, we experienced a Kodak moment. Chey was in the passenger seat and Freddie was in the driver's seat. They looked like they were ready to go. Chuck laughed that laugh that only he can laugh and between chuckles exclaimed, "It looks like they're driving!!" And it did. Freddie was looking out the windshield with a paw on the steering wheel and Chey was in my seat looking out the windshield as well, just like Chuck and I do when load up the family and go for a visit somewhere. Of course, when we opened the doors to reclaim our posts, we had to fight them for our respected seats. Eventually we got the kids situated in the backseat, and we made our way home while the kids napped.

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