When we’re ready to settle down in the evening, we call for company.
“Kitties,” we say laughing, “you only have one job. Which one of you will deign to perform it tonight? Someone, come and keep us company.”
As we are calling all the cats, hoping that just one will come (we dare not expect all three to care, but we would love it if they did) the dog at our feet is squirming and flopping about wildly.
“Why call them?” she seems to be saying. “Here I am. Here I am. Pet me! Pet me!” Her wet nose squishes into us; her revolving body hoping for attention bangs into us.
Dogs have their moments, but they just can’t be the soft, fuzzy companions relaxing on the couch with you that cats can be.
I realize that statement just ruffled the fur of many dog lovers, my dear mother in heaven, may God rest her soul, included, but I stand by it.
A dog is like a best friend who never quits. You wake up in the morning with a wet dog nose propped up on the edge of the bed, eyes searching for your first movements. If you accidentally let on that you are awake, the excitement begins: Pet me! Take me out! Let’s tussle around on the floor!
A cat, on the other hand, is a mysterious being that shares your living quarters and expects to be fed regularly (that last quarter cup of food in the dish doesn’t count; it must be filled to the top), and in exchange every now and then allows you to pet her for about 30 seconds before she becomes offended and walks away.
The dog who is so thrilled with you follows your every move. As we get dressed in the mornings, the dog gets various items of clothing out of the hamper and brings them to us proudly, helping.
The cats, meanwhile, remain immobile on the dresser or shelf, watching idly through half-closed eyes. One – they seem to take turns – stays on the bed.
When it’s time to make the bed, the cat on the bed remains in position, whether she is pulled along with the sheet being straightened or lifted from the sheet and placed on the bedspread. It may take moving her three or four times until the bed is ordered, which she watches, half lazily and half with suspicion, through slit eyes. If she accidentally gets shifted out of position or topples over, she rights herself back into position with an indignant glance toward the offender.
Her serious business of napping has begun, and fie on the intruder who causes such interruptions. The dog, meanwhile, continues to follow the morning routine with rapt attention.
About 20 minutes before it’s time for us to leave for the day, the dog’s demeanor changes. She sulks around, head hung low.
Mournful eyes filled with despair gaze upon us as we carry our stuff to the car.
The dog sulks over to her spot under the bushes, where she curls into a ball and watches, face fallen with a look of tragic sorrow, as we get into the car.
As we pull off, we notice a cat or two sunning in a windowsill. If we are lucky, or perhaps if we are imagining things, we see her eyes give a little squint and yawn in our direction, and then she continues with her day’s plan of luxury rest, not a care in the world.
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.