Oct 17, 2010

Penis the Dog and the Ghost Cat

Who would name they’re dog ‘Penis”?
I’ll tell ya who- my neighbor. They live just above me, through the trees, so normally I hear more than I see. I know this…they have two dogs. One is named Jake-a dogley sorta name. You know the other one.
Later mid-life has changed my habits a lot, especially my sleeping schedule. I used to sleep like a normal person, going to bed at 10 or 11pm and awake at 6 or 7am. Not anymore. Now it’s asleep at 10pm and up at 2am…then sleep again until 4am.
I like going out on my front porch in the early, quiet morning, listening to nothing in particular while having my first cup of morning Joe. It was this very scenario that I found myself in when I first heard that name.
The couple next door always let the dogs out at night to run and ramble, not an unusual thing in this very rural setting. Since there isn’t much traffic on the roads around here the animals are relatively safe from human harm. And they don’t cause any damage in the hood as everyone locks down the trash cans to keep the raccoons at bay.
The male half of the neighbors would usually be out around 5:30, calling the dogs back in for the morning meal before the couple left for work. I had gotten familiar with the sudden sound of the front door of their small trailer opening, followed by the man yelling at the top of his lungs “Jake…P…come on boys”. Although it always shattered my early morning serenity, I dealt with the short intrusion with no ill effects. Then came the morning that rocked my world.
I’m sitting in my porch chair, a cushioned Adirondack chair that my butt really sits well in, wearing only my wooly robe. There’s a chill in the air as autumn is finally upon us and football is in full swing. I take my first sip of delicious, hot coffee and I hear the neighbor’s door swing open. Expecting the usual, I brace myself for the air-splitting sound of a male voice. Instead I hear a shrill, almost siren-like yell – “Jake!” “Penis!”
The dogs didn’t respond fast enough for her so again - “Jake!” “Penis!”
I didn’t really know what to think. Checking my robe to make sure I wasn’t accidentally ‘open’, I sat dumbfounded. I listened carefully to make sure I didn’t imagine what I had just heard. She screams again, this time calling for dog number two – “PENIS!!!”
I had to yell back – “Jeez lady…keep it in the bedroom!”
Well, what would you do?
While we’re on the subject of animals in a rural setting, we have been cursed with a ghost cat. Back in the heat of the summer I discovered a white Siamese cat about 40 feet up a tree in my yard. For five days this poor feline braved 105 degree weather with no food or water while perched on this lofty branch. I tried everything I could think of to get the poor thing to come down from the tree. I sat out food near the tree…the neighbor’s dogs loved it. I moved the pickup truck to the tree, placed a 16 ft. ladder in the bed and tried, to no avail, to reach the cat. This setup left me about 15 ft. under the cat. I then rounded up a couple of 8 ft. poles, taped them together to form a 15 ft. pole and tried to prod the cat from her perch. She hung on for dear life to the limb, leaving me out of ideas. I called the fire department – (didn’t I read a story somewhere called “Fireman-Save My Cat”?) only to be transferred to the animal control office. “She’ll come down when she gets hungry” was the reply from this office. By then, my brother had stopped by, so I enlisted his help with my quest. I attached a bucket to the long pole that I had fashioned and moved it up the tree while Brother Gary secured the ladder. Gary’s observation was “what the hell do you think the cat is going to do with the bucket?” “Hopefully, she’ll crawl into the bucket and I can then lower her down”, I replied. “Well, maybe you should put a note in the bucket so the cat will know what to do”, says the brother.
Of course, this brought me to the realization that this was a futile attempt which depended on the cat’s knowledge of engineering and escape opportunities. Our final attempt was to hopefully scare the cat down. I setup my pressure washer, turned it to low and directed the spray at the poor thing. She lapped away at the water that was pelting her, but stayed in the tree. It was decided to take the advice of the animal control guy and just let her make her way down on her own.
Two days later, I heard no more ‘meowing’ coming from the tree, but instead the sound emanated from beneath the deck. The poor cat was emaciated from not eating for days, so I fed her a hearty helping of cat food courtesy of Gomez. Bad move – now she thinks that she lives here. Not having room for another cat, I took her to the animal shelter – knowing these guys could find a good home for this lovely cat. Problem solved, right?
A week later, late one night Laura looks out the glass door and sees a ghostly figure shaped like a cat. “She’s back”, Laura says…”the white cat is back”. “Impossible”, I mutter, since I had personally escorted her to the shelter. She is back. I’m not really sure how this happened…did she stage and execute the great escape? Did another cat slip her a file in a cat cake? Did she morph into a mouse, slide between the bars and re-animate as a cat again? All I really know is that she is now on the deck again, purring and meowing that she now resides here, has formally announced her change of address to her feline friends and stares at us through the window, her eyes somehow saying to us “you’re mine now…you’re both mine”!