Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Animals That Touch Our Lives

(Tango hanging out in my yard.)

Pets have a way of touching our lives, leaving their little footprints across our hearts and souls. And they don't even have to be our own pets. I've written about my cats before, but my neighbor Steve's cat, Tango, is also my little buddy. He hangs out at our house a lot and sometimes keeps me company when I sit on the swing and read or write. He has a habit of yelling as he's coming from where ever his wanderings have taken him. It's kind of funny hearing his voice echo around as he crosses the neighbors' yards. Like he's announcing his arrival.

(My favorite picture of Max.)

Right after Steve moved in next door, we met Max. I'll admit that at first, I thought he was a kind of aggravating dog. He would stand at the edge of our yard and bark like crazy. One night, he chased a raccoon on our deck. I went outside to find the raccoon clinging to the side of our house where Max had "treed" him. It didn't take long though for this Australian Shepherd mix to find his way into our hearts. My neighbor drives big rigs and when he was on the road, Max would come hang out on our porch. There were days when we would have to get him to get up so we could even open the front door, but I liked how he would hang with me when I'd sit out on the swing.

Max had bad arthritis problems and ended up unable to walk. He had to be put down on May 19th. I miss finding the big lug laying on the porch against our front door.

(One of the few times Rastas sat still for a photo)

Steve's other dog Rastas was a bit slower about getting friendly. At first, he would come as far as the edge of the yard and just bark at us. If we tried to approach, he would turn around and head back home. When he finally started coming to visit, I would give him a doggie snack, which he would gently take from my hand then carry back home to eat. At some point, he started hanging out on the porch with Max. He turned out to be a fairly friendly dog.

Rastas died about a week or so before Max. He had been sick for a couple days, and we found him one morning in our yard; curled up like he had just gone to sleep. He and Max are buried in Steve's yard near the property line. I visit once in a while and take them a flower or two. I think I will always miss them. I think Tango does, too. He used to walk up to them and rub against them the way cats do and hang out with them.

Sometimes, we don't realize how an animal has affected us until they're gone.

{One of my writers group members recently lost her wonderful Golden Retriever. I set up a small memorial on our group's blog: www.maylandwriters.blogspot.com.}

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