Love at First Sight—Old Man Adopts Dog

Yves here. I hope readers don’t mind a change from our regular programming in the form of a sentimental animal story.

By Dr. Shepherd Bliss, a retired college teacher. He has contributed to 24 books and owns Kokopelli Farm. You can reach him at 3sb-at-comcast-dot-net

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

`- French Nobel Prize winner Anatole France

Searching for a dog, I recently visited three animal shelters. At the final one, I saw a dog that I instantly connected to.

I consulted with my friend Debbie Melmon and decided to adopt this dog — one of the best decisions in my 73-years. Or was it she who adopted me, as we gazed deeply into each other’s brown eyes?

Loving and being loved by animals can be especially important for elders, as well as children and humans of any age.

I had been dogless for half a year and it was time to once again have a dog companion. My new side-by and I have grown quite close; it is hard to imagine life without her.

Daisie is playful. This old-timer has prayed for more play. She enjoys wrestling, as I do. Dasie is around 50 pounds, so I can still pick her up, especially when she is a naughty girl. She gets jealous when I play with other dogs or give too much attention to humans, writing, or farm work.

We both like body contact. She is very visual. As I write this in my writer’s cabin, she looks out the window. She naps many times a day. She takes good care of herself and let’s me know what she wants. When I work on my computer, she comes over and puts her pretty face and pinkish nose in my lap, a welcome break.

When Daisie arrived home, I set up 2 doggie beds for her. She checked out both. When I went to my bed, she jumped in, and spent the rest of the night there. It was one of my best, deepest sleeps in a long time. She slept through the night. Daisie does sometimes snore, but not very loudly.

Someone had taught her many good things, including commands such as the following: sit, stay, come, shake, down, roll over.

Daisie is alert, embodied, and affectionate. She makes and holds direct eye contact, being relentlessly curious. When she wants to go out, she waits patiently at the glass door, which opens up to trees, flowers, my farm, and many creatures.

Daisie feels like an angel incarnated in a four-footed. Perhaps she was sent to this old-timer to bring love and stimulate my joy at still being alive, during our dark historical moment, and my own wounded knee.

My only other dog as an adult – a wonderful Catahoula Leopard Hound – barked too much for this sound-sensitive guy during our six years together. Daisie does not bark, though she does growl. She is also sound-sensitive; my foot massager startles her.

Our eyes often meet. She radiates a strong life force. Since wounding my knee half a year ago, by falling into a badger hole, my life force has diminished. Daisie is a delight to look at, and have her return the gaze. She has a strong presence and loves to be petted.

“She’s clearly been loved,” said Debbie. “Someone put their time and attention to train her.” She added that Daisy is “fit and athletic. You can see in her eyes and how much direct eye contact she makes that she is smart and curious.”

“Best Friend Forever” reads the bag full of goodies that the Sonoma County Animal Care shelter gave us. If you rescue a dog from a shelter, you may have a life-long friend.

A difficulty with Daisie has occurred, which I work to correct. When a couple of my friends extended their hands to greet me at the Sebastopol Farm Market, she became protective. No damage was done, but my friends were startled, as I was. Was she getting jealous?

Her main competitor for my attention is my computer. When I use it in my writer’s cabin, she does not hesitate to lay her head on my lap. I would rather cuddle her than be online.

Being childless, I sometimes think of Daisie as my child, for whom I must care and provide. Since she’s four-years-old and I’m 73, I think about which one of us will survive the other. I will soon add her to my will and think who among my friends would be the best person to leave her to. Love and death are deeply connected. What else is there at such depth?

Shelters are full of animals, waiting to be adopted and move into homes with two-footeds. They have a lot to offer. We humans have much to learn from dogs and other four-footeds.

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  1. skippy

    After the death of one of our dogs, after an age based accident [fall], the wife succumbed to finding a new friend for our other dog [small cross breed]. It was a interesting set of factors, wife and kids did want another dog after a respectful period of grief [natural] and our other dogs apparent loss of a dog friendship.

    After a bit of family discussion [wife and kids] and looking around a suitable canine was found, so… how did that pan out – ???? – wellie a female Belgium Shepard cross Australian Kelpie that was the runt of the litter. ZOMG so intelligent, loving, soft ginger coat, and legs that would give Yves a run for their moeny. Instant addition to the family and more importantly a focal point for altruistic behavioral conduct for all concerned.

    So why stop there…. as she is a bit big and rambunctious for the small fella, in the great scope of things, another dog was sought out to fill the additional needs of the new comer. Again a family discussion* was had… and just of this Friday we have included a pitch black long hair biggest of the litter German Shepherd male with breeding papers to the family. At 8 weeks its 6.7 kg and almost half the size of the Belgium and bigger paws.

    Best bit is its half invisible in low light [looks like a cut out of a dog] and completely invisible in the dark, talking about getting it an LED collar.

    This is going to be interesting…..

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      Just a thought on older dogs and falls: our two big rescue galoots have recently started to struggle with wood stairs (and wood floors in general) and our vet suggested keeping their toenails as short as possible. The short toenails have helped a lot! It is $10 per dog at the groomer every two weeks. They use an electric file that really buzzes them down as short as possible. It was awful seeing a hundred pound dog fall down the stairs.

      1. Otto

        We laid down non skid strips that are glued to the hardwood specifically for our dogs. The chance of a fall was greatly reduced, and now that we are getting long in the tooth, too, it really helps. We also get our dog’s nails trimmed about once a month.

  2. Jen

    As I am writing this, one of my dogs lies sprawled across the sofa, her head resting on my knee. The other lies on the floor right in front of me. They are both nine years old now. Though they have the energy of much younger dogs, their faces have grown white, and even the boy, relentlessly exuberant dork that he is, needs less play time than he used to.

    They make me laugh every day. They get me out to exercise in (almost) all weather. They are both excellent cuddlers. And because there seems to be some sort of magnetic attraction to two golden retrievers, they have introduced me to many new people.

    I can’t imagine life without a dog.

  3. Kokuanani

    We share our home with the last of the four chow chows that came back to the Mainland with us 9 years ago. I’ve been working on chow rescue for 38 years, the same amount of time I’ve devoted to “husband rescue.” [No comment.]

    During those 38 years, our family has always had a black chow, in addition to blonde and red ones. The current chow, Kela, is small and sweet. Our vet describes her to everyone as “the nicest chow I’ve ever known.”

    Kela is approaching 14 and spending most of her time gazing out the back window at our yard and the occasional squirrels, foxes, chipmunks and deer, and never fails to bark at neighbors who have the audacity to work in their yards adjoining ours.

    She is grizzled & slow, and as she’s struggled with ailments, I’ve wondered if her time is drawing to a close. But she then seems to pep up sufficiently to escape that fate.

    I think often about what we’ll do when she passes. In 38 years we too have become a lot less energetic. Chows’ low energy lifestyle suits us, and I detest small yappy dogs, so after a suitable time, I imagine we’ll look again for a rescue. I too can’t imagine life without a dog.

    1. HotFlash

      Our vet describes her to everyone as “the nicest chow I’ve ever known.”

      My own vet doesn’t like chows, so maybe that is faint praise ;). He doesn’t like tortie cats, either, probably for the same reason: wonderful to their own people, not so nice (mildly put) with others.

      OTOH, I am a cat person, that is, a person belonging to cats, and many have owned me over the years. What I have heard about chows is that they are dogs very well suited to cat persons.

      Robert Heinlein wrote several books about long-lifers who hooked up with short-lifers. I think his conclusion was, they’ll break your heart every time, but it’s worth it.

      1. JCC

        My tortoiseshell cat was very friendly to guests, including children. In fact, her patience with kids always surprised me. On the other hand, she was like a fighting pit bull with other cats.

        She passed away at 17 years of age (approx) last fall… still bothers me. I never thought I’d miss a cat. Heinlein is right. I need another cat around the house to keep me honest :-)

    2. Jen

      My last golden made it to 15 and a half, and was in pretty good shape until the last 6 months of his life. His first setback was a fall in th middle of the night. I heard him whimpering and found him on the dining room floor. I used a towel as a sling to get him up and moving, cleaned him up, got him back on his dog bed and spent the rest of the night lying awake wondering if I would have to put him down. We’d just done a three mile walk that afternoon, so even though he was old, and I had been preparing for the inevitable, I wasn’t prepared for the inevitable to happen just then.

      When I walked downstairs in the morning, there he was, standing by his food dish waiting to be fed as if nothing had happened. I took him out for his walk, and let him trot part way down the driveway as I would often do before hooking him on his leash. Some days that little outing was enough, sometimes he wanted a longer walk. That morning he marched down the driveway without looking back. He could not have said “I’m not done yet,” more clearly if he’d been able to speak the words out loud.

      I put him on pain meds and he got better for a while, but he slept more and
      more. His hearing was long gone, now his eyesight seemed to be fading as well. I’d been taking him with me to a lakeside house in Maine for many years, and I started saying to him, “let’s go to Maine one more time, buddy.”

      And so we did. He did mostly the same thing in Maine that he did at home, which was to sleep 23 hours a day, but he was smiling as he sniffed the breezes blowing in off the lake. One morning I opened the door to the deck, and to my astonishment, he walked out, flung himself down the stairs, walked down to the beach and into the water. He sat there for a long time with his eyes closed, sniffing the air, and I sat with him, petting him and telling him what a good boy he was. Eventually he clambered out and back up to the house. He did not go down to the beach again. One month after we got home, he fell again while I was at work, and it was clear that all of his good days were behind him.

      It is hard to see them get old, especially when you know they are nearing the end, but the memories I have of those last few months are precious.

      Despite my intent to get a rescue dog after Gus passed, I ended up with a puppy. The difference between a nearly 16 year old and a 16 week old was quite something. My second golden is a rescue, and both love the lake house in Maine. I imagine some day, hopefully not for a long while yet, I will say to them as well, “let’s go to Maine one more time.”

  4. Lupemax

    thank you. My animals, rescues all, are my life. They keep me going and I adore them. Truly special beings. At the moment I have a bonded pair I adopted 3 years ago. Their owner was homeless and had to take them to the shelter. I fell in love with one of the pair online but of course took them both. How could I separate them? One is a jack russell mix, a tri-paw – supposedly lost her rear leg in an auto accident. But who knows. Most people don’t even notice. The other her protector is a shih tzu – who is indeed very protective. The jack russell came with heartworm and then developed addison’s. All cured or under control now. The Shih-tzu is healthy so far. The jack russell is now 10 and the Shih tzu is 8, give or take. I also have a cat rescued by a family member from a barn in Vermont when she was a kitten. She is now 8; on meds for a heart murmur but is doing fine. I inherited her because I ‘work from home.’ Cat named Abby. JackRussell named Gina. Shihtzu named Bella. Sorry to go on…But as I say they are my life – Much to my husband’s chagrin. They ask for so little and give back so much. I wish I had the energy (or the life partner who would help) to adopt many more.

    1. HotFlash

      For one thing, dogs are not obligate carnivores. As for meat, they are happy to eat waste from both household (table scraps) and commercial processes (commercial dog food). Dog $#1^ is, when composted, a good fertilizer and (ahem) was used in Dickensian London in the tanning of fine leather for gloves (see, Mayhew Brothers’ London Characters, “pure finder”). And dogs are life companions, as per the video above.

      SUVs have no legitimate use.

    2. Dirk77

      I like: “Clark Williams-Derry…scoffed at the study, which is how scientists express disdain”. Oh those wacky scientists. Anyways, I infer that the environmental damage of an animal might be proportional to its weight, along with being the class of eater it is. Vegetarians being less damaging because raising plants for food is less damaging than raising animals, the latter a dog or cat diet would require. A better comparison than dog vs suv might be dog vs child.

      1. Alex Cox

        The SUV article is silly – like the Russia Russia Russia meme it’s all assertion, not a fact in sight.

        Of course you can waste money buying imported Chinese gee-gaws for dogs, but you don’t have to. Our dogs (three of them, all rescues) eat American-made dry food and sleep on Oregon-made dog beds bought at Bi-Mart. We cook for them, a mixture of oatmeal, offal, and vegetable scraps.

        Owning an SUV contributes to misery, obesity and inaction (I have had two of them, as well, and it certainly seems that the more you drive, the less intelligent you are). Owning a dog contributes to good health and increases the amount of love in the world.

      2. HotFlash

        A better comparison than dog vs suv might be dog vs child.

        Well, yes. Not to mention the *yuge* amount of ‘organic’ babyfood I see packaged in Mylar pouches with plastic caps the size of (family blogging) doorknobs! For instance, these.

        Eat real food at home. Grind it up for your precious child.

    3. pebird

      The article states “eco-footprint”, which is not equivalent to carbon footprint.

      Also, the article states “The study apparently didn’t take into account the emissions of either the SUV or the dogs.”

      I wish people would read links before they post them.

  5. DorothyT

    Wonderful piece.

    Only disagreement with this “old man” — 73 isn’t old!

    However, he makes a very good point about considering our ‘actuarial statistics’ when adopting a dog and making plans for our beloved companion(s) if we die or become infirm before they do. I think many seniors make the sad decision that they are too old to get a dog or cat out of concern for them for this reason. Adopting a middle-aged or older pet helps with this decision and enriches life for both human and animal.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think once you have an injury that reduces your capabilities you feel old. I took a bad fall a year ago and I will never be the same. I can’t walk a mile in a day without limping and having serious pain. I consider myself to be old.

      1. adrena

        That’s why I’m into powerlifting. I want to remain super strong and well balanced while I age.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I’ve weight trained for 30 years and lift weights that sometimes give men pause.

          I tripped over my shoelaces and landed on concrete. So don’t flatter yourself that your are immune.

          A woman in my gym who is not as old as me but has also clearly been very disciplined about exercise had an SUV clip her while she had the right of way in a crosswalk, and then rolled over and stopped on one of her ankles. She will also never be the same.

          1. adrena

            Yes, one can never predict one’s fate. I have a feeling that Alzheimer’s will do me in – my demented mind will reside inside a strong body.

  6. The Rev Kev

    You want to know the great thing about a dog? They always seem to be glad to see you. They will never remind you of the time you forgot to feed them two years ago one cold night. They don’t hold grudges and every day is a new day with them. They know if you are having a lousy day and try to snuggle up next to you. As I write this, one of our dogs is whacking me with her paws and trying to get a game going with me. No ulterior motive. It is just fun loving. I think that I share KLG’s sentiment here. And to quote Jerome K. Jerome here:

    ““He is very imprudent, a dog; he never makes it his business to inquire whether you are in the right or the wrong, never asks whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, sinner or saint. You are his pal. That is enough for him.” “

    1. RMO

      My wife and I both love all animals (yeah, even our fellow humans though that is difficult at times) but she is a little more of a cat person and I a little more of a dog person. I always joked that I didn’t have high enough self esteem to have a cat and the greeting at the door upon your return is where it really shows up. We lost our dog recently but he was 15 years old and was happy healthy and mobile up until the last two days which is about as good as it can get. His absence still hits me when I come home, open the fridge or pass a Husky gas station (a Canadian business – their logo is a silhouette of a Husky and it looks a lot like my dog!)

  7. Paul Handover

    Perfect! Just loved this one, Yves, plus all the wonderful comments above. There is nothing, repeat nothing, so special and precious as a loving relationship with a dog (or six)!

  8. HotFlash

    Or was it she who adopted me, as we gazed deeply into each other’s brown eyes?

    This same very odd thing happened to me at a travelling petting zoo, over 20 years ago. But it was with an elephant. There were many other two-foots around, but we connected. I knew what she wanted. But I did not have a place for an elephant. My failure to help her has haunted me ever since.

  9. KB

    Thanks so much Yves for introducing this writer…..and yes, a nice change of pace. So lovely….Our family cared for a German Shepherd/Doberman mix to the age of 16 1/2…It is in the last year of his life I discovered something about myself I hadn’t known until then. That I am not comfortable deciding when is the right time to end his life….It took forever while he had declined cognitively (stood in a corner for a while), becoming incontinent, and in pain…Our loving Vet spoke often to me on the phone about the timing the last year and comforted me. He told me to ask him. and, I did….I waited for his loving eyes to somehow hear him. About a week before he injured his shoulder on the ice of our deck he for the first time in a long time came (in pain) and laid against me and told me it was time…So, when a week later he could no longer walk on his front leg we called the vet to our home and lovingly put him to sleep on the couch…Thought I’d never do that again….But, we have rescued a puppy from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (at 8 weeks old) from certain death as they were starting to shoot feral dogs…and, he is a little guy. Previously not a little dog lover and he has filled our hearts with laughter and joy every single day…, 4 years old and I hope to out live this little guy and use our lesson to know when and if it is his time…Thanks again.

    1. HotFlash

      Yes, they tell you when, if we have learned how to listen. I hope for the same mercy when it is my time. Not all of them asked, but when they did, I hope I obliged timely, as I hope others will do for me.

      RIP, Sgt Major Ralph G. (for Goodfellow) Reebok, Shy-shy (he was *very* shy), Princess Juliana (damn you, Wiemarauner owners who did not have dog on leash!) and so many, too many, others. Hope to see y’all on the Rainbow Bridge. And that the chickens will forgive me (from my earlier days).

  10. In the Land of Farmers

    There is something perverse about the effusive love some people express for their dogs. To me it stinks of a type of authoritarianism. “My dog loves me no matter how much of an ass I am” is just one example. And the syrupy “Or was it she who adopted me, as we gazed deeply into each other’s brown eyes?” is an excuse to hide who really controls the dogs fate. (Leaving aside is borderline perversity.)

    Is human love the same as dog love? Do dongs really love us unconditionally? Is it love or have they just found a way to manipulate the more gullibile of humanity?

    Dogs are virture signalling, just walk in any liberal town for proof. They have turned into accessories, or worse, an excuse to hide from the beatiful complexity of human relationships.

    (I grew up with a 70 pound dog who slept in my bed every night for 15 years and fostered dogs for five years.)

    1. kareninca

      In my experience, people who claim that loving animals distracts people from loving humans, love neither animals nor humans. They just talk about how much more important it is to love humans. And the people I know who love animals are full of love, and love humans as well (although if they are cat people they may do this in a more reserved manner). Coming up with an excuse to not love animals, in my experience means that a person doesn’t want to love, or can’t love. They want to criticize.

      1. kareninca

        Also, people who don’t think animals should be loved, in my experience are not getting love themselves. They are jealous of the loved animals, and feel as if any love the animals are getting is love that they should rightfully be getting themselves. This is of course a bad situation (and I’m not claiming it is the case for anyone posting here; it is a general observation). I do wonder if when those people finally get love from some source (and no longer feel deprived), they will then be willing to believe that animals deserve love too.

        People who think “people should come first” and loving animals is wasteful, often point to poor homeless people or destitute people in developing countries to show that loving animals is so wasteful. But the thing is – there are many, many poor homeless people and destitute people overseas who have animal companions whom they love dearly. They would not want to be loved by some animal-despiser who rejected their animal companion, and any help they get from such a person they will share with their animal friend.

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          I do not know if you are directing what you are saying at me but just want to make it clear that im not an animal despiser.

          There is a difference between loving animals and anthropromophising them, which is the point I was making. I think most humans would save a human before a dog or cat and no one would criticize them. It does to mean they do not love animals.

          I think there are a lot of people who have animals and do not love them because they treat them as accessories. I fostered dogs, I have seen this.

          In the Philippines they eat dogs, half a million a year. A woman I know was fed her pet dog by her brother who did not see the problem. So your poverty story does not cross all cultures.

          1. cripes

            “I think most humans would save a human before a dog or cat”

            This hypothetical is unlikely to present itself anytime soon, and so what? Those humans also are more likely to “save” their immediate family before neighbors, and neighbors before strangers ad infinitum.

            Interspecies altruism is well established, and the devotion between humans and dogs is legendary and real.

            seeing that you have cared for animals, perhaps your complaint is “liberal” jerks, anthropomorphising and pointing out that the attachment isn’t “love;” whatever that means to you.

            When you figure out the diff, do let us know, it’s time to take my dog for a walk..

            1. In the Land of Farmers

              What I am finding fascinating is the strong reaction to my opinion about how i see some people treat their dogs and what I think is a changing trend. The reaction so strong some of you are finding it easier to call me an animal hater and imply I cannot even love humans than possibly believe I might have a deeper understanding.

              What i also find interesting is you implied I thought the people in liberal towns were “jerks”, something I never said and do not believe.

              I come from the understanding of attatchment vs love from a Buddhist perspective.


              I have never said people cannot love dogs, merely that many people do not know the difference between love and attachment, which you admitted to yourself just now. When ever I see strong reaction, I see strong attachment.

          2. kareninca

            Just because someone’s brother does something to her – and does not himself see it to be abnormal – it does not follow that the action is considered normal in the culture. I could give some pretty horrifying examples. In any case, your Philippine anecdote doesn’t work as a counterexample to my claim that poor people who love their dog/cat would not want to be loved by some animal-hater. All it means is that people who are hungry will eat pretty much anything; that is no revelation.

            You were doing much more than arguing against anthropomorphizing animals. You argued that people use companion animals “as an excuse to hide from the beautiful complexity of human relationships.” That begs the point. You are taking as assumed that human-human relationships are superior to human-animal relationships. I’m sure you believe it, but you haven’t proven it.

            1. In the Land of Farmers

              Do you have sex with your dog? I think that proves one of the benefits of human-human relationships!

              Note an article recently that “millennials” are choosing pets over relationships.

              That is all I am pointing out, this trend I see more of in liberal cities.

              But I never said one relationship was superior. I am saying human animal relationships are easier. Dogs are much easier to train than people.

    2. cripes

      I have seen people who treat their pets as accessories, and their spouses or children.

      Or maybe some people just love animals.
      I figure its the least we can do, seeing that cats, and dogs especially, are a product of human interaction.

    1. In the Land of Farmers

      Sorry, typo, virtue signaling.

      If dogs have learned how to get humans to release oxytocin for their survival is that love or manipulation? I feel it is empathy we feel on our part, not love. It is easy to confuse the two.

      And this would mean there are genetic reasons for “dog people”. I am one, since I have the polymorphism noted here:

      However, this does not keep me blind to how people, and dogs, can manipulate my empathy. A trick sociopaths, and NGOs, often use.

      1. athena

        If dogs have learned how to get humans to release oxytocin for their survival is that love or manipulation?

        Dogs have oxytocin increases from eye gazing with their owners, too. It’s “the love hormone”.

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          No, it is not the “love hormone”. Oxytocin is much more complicated. Oxytocin does not cause love, it is released by loving actions, but is also released when a woman’s cervix is dilated during child birth.

          You could say oxytocin is the “lactating” hormone as well since it causes milk to drop in a mother’s breast. You can also call it the “patriotic” hormone since “People also show more affection for their country’s flag while remaining indifferent to other cultural objects when exposed to oxytocin.” You can also call it the “addiction” hormone since it is known that it increases the chances of addiction.

          So this oxtocin your dog causes to be released in your brain might actually make you dislike people in the long run!

        2. In the Land of Farmers

          This is an interesting addition to the conversation. It seems oxytocin has a dark side, or may be more related to memory than love:

          Oxytocin appears to be the reason stressful social situations, perhaps being bullied at school or tormented by a boss, reverberate long past the event and can trigger fear and anxiety in the future.

          That’s because the hormone actually strengthens social memory in one specific region of the brain, Northwestern scientists discovered.

          If a social experience is negative or stressful, the hormone activates a part of the brain that intensifies the memory. Oxytocin also increases the susceptibility to feeling fearful and anxious during stressful events going forward.

      2. pebird

        “If dogs have learned how to get humans to release oxytocin for their survival is that love or manipulation?”

        Why can’t it be both? Just like humans.

        1. RMO

          We’re both hierarchical social pack animals and cooperative long distance pursuit hunters. Dogs and humans had a lot in common that let us work together well many years ago. We’ve both changed as a result of the other’s presence.

      3. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

        In the Land of Farmers: I would not wish to be one of your dogs or pets. The
        distinction you make between dogs and humans is specious, and you think too
        much about yourself. Protect your empathy? Ugh!

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          Dear Doctor, I hope you do not make such poor assumptions in your practice. Can I tell you about the time I spent $6000 to bring my 3 year old cat back to life after he was bit by a brown recluse spider? For three weeks I flushed tubes coming out of his stomach that had the skin removed and sown back together. Fed him from a syringe like a baby. I can go on and tell you what I have sacrificed for ANIMALS AND people, but makes me feel gross that I even have to justify my life to a stranger based on his emotional knee jerk reaction.

          I cannot believe the vitriol against me and the assumptions being made. And you are delusional if you think there is no distinction between how species treat their own.

          Sorry I harshed everyone’s buzz here.

          I hate the internet.

          1. blennylips

            You did not harsh everyone’s buzzing mellowness, In the Land of Farmers.

            I very much appreciate you persisting in expressing your, to me, enlightened views.

  11. Unna

    We got our last cat from a home health nurse friend who had a client, an old man, alcoholic, who was squatting in an abandoned apartment in town. That’s where the nurse did her home visits. Electricity (hydro) somehow got turned on…I guess nobody asked too many questions. Eventually he fell, broke a hip, entered a care home and could no longer take care of the cat which the nurse locked in the apartment until a home could be found. The nurse visited her every day to feed her. The cat was a stray who had wandered into the old man’s place and made herself at home. She was a street cat who came and went as she pleased. The old man and the cat had formed a friendship. We agreed to take the cat.

    This was the smartest cat we ever had. This cat was an outdoor cat. Feasted in the hay field to the south. Bossy. When it was time for bed she’d herd you into the bedroom unless you were willing to endure a half hour of back and forth ritualized psycho acts of mutual intimidation. Very affectionate. They’ll love you intensely, and they crave that you will love them in return. They don’t need you for anything but they do need your affection. This cat, as well as others we’ve had, enjoyed taking walks. If you’d go for a walk, she’d follow five or six feet behind. People would tend to stare at you in disbelief. So if you wanted to go for a long walk, you had to lock her up in the house first.

    One thing about a cat: you don’t own her and you’d better make it very clear to the cat the she doesn’t own you either. But once you’ve established that, cats are great. We’ve always had outdoor cats meaning they come and go as they please. With an outdoor cat, they may be killed or eaten, and if they’re smart and experienced being eaten is not likely to happen either. But one thing, they’ll never get lost. When they come back, it’s because they want to come back. Of course, that means living in a somewhat ex-urban area.

    We got this cat as an adult and she lived with us for another eight years. When she died we went up into the mountains and, after a short ceremony, we buried her in the snow.

      1. Unna

        “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”

        This comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of cats. Generally cats hunt alone and live alone. Awareness of their surroundings is vital. That’s why cats hate change. That’s why they are cautious, intensely aware, and intensely curious. Consequently, they try to dominate their environment in order to ensure safety and food availability. Cats try to “own” you because you are part of that environment and they understand themselves to be alone in it. And so, what cats really are is insecure. Humans can understand cats in their environment, but cats can’t do the same with humans. Score one for humans.

        Cats have the advantages of physical agility and speed plus focus, determination, and amorality. Humans have the advantages of physical strength, superior intelligence, forethought, and immoral cunning. These respective sets of advantages, when properly set off against one another, can form the basis of a happy and affectionate human cat relationship.

        1. rburnham

          Thanks Unna for going beyond the cliche.

          Cats’ amorality paired with humans’ immoral cunning is fun to consider.

  12. a different chris

    Note to self: do not ever party with “In The Land Of Farmers”. Wheezers. Dude/Dudette get help.

    We’ve had such a range of dogs. (and yes, sadly we humans *have* dogs, it isn’t at all a mutually balanced relationship. Same goes with my cats, just in the other direction :) ).

    I found it interesting the number of people above that got non-puppies. I love puppies, and we’ve had many, but our last adoption was older dog to replace the older dog that unexpectedly died. We also got her quickly, 3 days – it was funny, we didn’t expect to do that. We also had the “respectful period of grief” thing in our minds but it turned out

    1) the grief is going to go on a long time, and will never totally go away
    2) there was a space for a dog here, and suddenly there was a group decision: Why wait to fill it?

    This is NOT NOT NOT a criticism of skippy, just the opposite!! Just our rather unexpected experience. And we did actually go expecting to get a puppy, or maybe a young adult, but wound up with an old lady. Who replaced the previous sweet dog in such a way that it seems he never left… total lie you couldn’t find two more different dogs. So she didn’t replace him at all, which we realized was the point. And yet she is wonderful.

    Anyway, that’s my most recent story. My screen background is a dog beyond all dogs, gifted in every way possible. Ok, she could be a bit of a jerk sometimes… flinging herself down with a large thump and sighing mightily as I tried to do work when she wanted to hike. Among other things – I’ve actually mostly blanked out her adolescent years for my own mental health, but she eventually got herself under control. Anyway, I can’t even believe that she has actually been gone longer than the 15 years we had her. My wife said outliving her was her only chance for any attention!

    1. In the Land of Farmers

      This is an example of attachment and not love.

      I feel Chris might think he loved his dog but that he “respectfully” waited three days because losing the thing he was addicted to was so unbearable. You got a dog to replace a dog. So did you love the dog or the feeling the dog gave you?

      Imagine if that last sentence said “My wife said (quiting drinking) was her only chance for any attention!”

      Yes, don’t party with me if you want to use alchohol to hide from the world instead of celebrating it.

  13. MichaelSF

    I would rather cuddle her than be online.

    We have the daytime share (many days) of a big tom cat that lives at the north end of the block. When he’s put outside he comes down to our place and comes inside for food, warmth, security, and adoration. He’s gotten accustomed to having a lap available for 1-3 hour naps (but don’t pick him up!) to the point of now watching for me to get with the program and sit down and put the cushion in place (he’s 17 pounds and needs the cushion to even out the surface). I may not be getting anything else done while he naps on my lap, but then I am getting to have a cat nap on my lap. Cat mattress seems like a good retirement occupation, the other projects aren’t in that big of a rush.

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