I've mentioned here before that I have a small 17-pound buff colored Bichon-Poo female puppy that I gave my wife Monie for her birthday 14 years ago. Monie named her Choochie. She is a delightful, compliant, little puppy, and yet with a curious mind, and opinions of her own. I am often amazed at the places where she will find an intriguing odor that will capture her imagination and urge to study, bare pavement for example. She lives by the motto, "Follow your nose."
Back in very early April, when I went out early one morning there was a young, slender, completely black kitty that had apparently taken up emergency residence in the small shed where I keep my golf cart. When I came out to the yard, she came running out, constantly meowing her SOS for help. The way she followed me around meowing it was clear that she was not a feral cat, but very human oriented. I live in the country and assumed that someone had taken that dismal practice of getting rid of an unwanted pet by just taking her to the country and dumping her off.
I would have taken her in sooner, but Choochie has owned our house for a long time, and I was sure she would not be tolerated. When I took Choochie out for her walk and the cat appeared, Choochie would hit the end of her leash at top speed to hustle the cat to wherever she could scramble for safety. I couldn't ignore her plaintive pleas for help, but was perplexed at what to do. I did feed her and she looked like she needed it. She looked thin and not quite full grown.
After a few days it promised to be quite cold that night so I thought I'd let her in the cellar to spend the night where she would be warm, secluded and safe from Choochie.
There is a cellar entrance from the attached garage, so I just walked in the garage and went down cellar and she followed me, mewing all the way. I then stepped quickly out of the cellar and closed the door. It was about 11 at night so I then went up stairs and went to bed. Of course Choochie joined me. The cat found the stairway that leads up to the living area. She sat there on the cellar side of the door and kept sending out her SOS for help. Choochie and I were in bed, and every time the cat meowed, Choochie would answer with a threatening bark. As I realized this could go on all night, I got up, got dressed, and went down and let the cat into the garage. She could at least find better shelter there than in the cart shed.
She had decided this was where she would live, one way or another. So in time, with regular recognition, and my coaching, Choochie slowly came to accept her as someone who belonged to us. It has now become that when I go to bed, and after Choochie tucks me in, she and "The Witch," as I have named the kitty, sleep on the empty bed next to mine that was once Monie's.
About 5 in the morning when they know that breakfast time is fast approaching, I awake with Choochie snuggled up to me on my left side and The Witch lying on top of my legs. They remain there till I get up about 7 o'clock. Their constant attention makes me feel kind of important, whether to any one else or not.
When I get up and dress myself they can hardly contain their eagerness to rush downstairs to greet their feeding dishes, and bless me with my kindness. It is somewhat of a wonder to me, the simple things that can be so satisfying to experience, especially I guess when most of the workaday challenges are no more. I'm still good for something.
May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org