воскресенье, 10 марта 2013 г.

Friends After All

By Debra Ayers Brown

Some people say man is the most dangerous animal on the planet. Obviously those people have never met an angry cat.
~Lillian Johnson

Miss Goldie wasn't happy when Lucky Dog joined the family. Though she'd also been a stray when we welcomed her, the elderly cat wasn't as generous when the gentle Rottweiler-Lab-Chow-mix arrived. Her hair was always up.

It took some time for the black dog to settle in with us. He was leery of trusting anyone since he'd been pushed from a moving truck and abandoned. We bonded after he enjoyed a steady diet of food and fresh water, games of fetch, and walks through the neighborhood.

Miss Goldie wasn't amused. She hissed at the too-thin dog at every opportunity. He took it in stride by simply looking at her with soulful eyes. He plopped on the floor at my feet and propped his head on my leg. Miss Goldie glared at Lucky and flattened her ears.

I could almost hear her say, "Don't get too comfortable, Lucky. You're not staying."

But as the months passed, Miss Goldie and Lucky Dog developed a routine. They ate their food side by side. On a good day, Miss Goldie ignored Lucky. Most days, the hair stood up on her back when he got too close for her comfort.

Miss Goldie was all about comfort. First she focused on grooming. After licking her paw, she picked at a tuft of fur. When finished, she jumped on the porch swing, flexed her claws, and kneaded the cushion. Then she stretched out for her afternoon nap. But always keeping one eye open, guarding her turf.

"How are things between the cat and the dog?" my friend Natalie asked while stroking Goldie's soft fur. Goldie purred, but kept her eyes on the black dog in the distance.

"I doubt we'll be a family any time soon. I think the best we can hope is that Miss Goldie will learn to tolerate Lucky," I said. "He's still skittish," I added, wondering how anyone could hurt a dog, especially one as smart and sweet as Lucky. "He is good around Goldie. Very gentle."

I watched Lucky Dog prance across the grass with his head held high, tail straight, and his tongue lolling. A neighbor's large thirteen-year-old chocolate Lab, Mollie, waddled behind him, ears flapping. They played together often.

Miss Goldie glared at them when they approached, but she held her spot on the swing.

In no time, Lucky and Mollie tussled by the porch. Lucky barked. Mollie growled. Lucky snapped at Mollie's ear. She yipped. Mollie bit at Lucky. He snarled and bared his teeth. They rolled on the ground, bodies tangled, and sand clung to their thick coats. The musky scent of dog slobber and sweat permeated the air. The playful scuffle escalated and had become a full-on dogfight.

"Lucky!" I yelled. "Mollie! Stop!"

Before I could utter another word, Miss Goldie flew through the air. Her deep, low yowl turned into a shriek. A flurry of orange-and-white fur and outstretched claws pounced between Lucky and Mollie. Lucky stopped in his tracks. Mollie hesitated and cocked her head. Goldie bowed her back, hissed, and then smacked the stunned Lab on the nose with repeated one-two punches. Mollie yelped and headed for the safety of home.

For a moment I couldn't speak as I watched Miss Goldie turn to Lucky Dog as though to say, "Don't worry. Everything's okay now. I'm here to protect you." I shook my head.

"I can't believe Goldie did that," I muttered.

Natalie raised a brow and echoed my thoughts. "That was unbelievable."

But no more so than in the evening when I spotted Miss Goldie curle
d up against Lucky Dog's back. Who could have imagined it? We had turned into a family after all.

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