Favorites - Besotted with Pets

These are some of my favorite columns about pets:

Fleas

A few months ago a Chicago friend called me on a Saturday morning. There was panic in her voice.

"The school sent home with a note yesterday that we didn't read until late last night. They say our daugher has head lice! What do we do?"

I sighed. I'm not sure what it says about the success of my life when I am the person people call for lice advice.

I tried to rise to the occasion cheerfully. "First of all, thank your lucky stars that you are in a two parent family and that this is a weekend. This is the best possible scenario for lice."

Rosie and Hershey

I was not raised in proximity to cats. Far from it. I was raised by people who thought cats were for secular humanists and dogs were for Christians. Dogs are (well, they seem to be) motivated by guilt and obligation, which is (to certain folks) theologically superior to cats who are chiefly interested in warm spots and wet food.

Roxie Cat

She came into our lives in a furry flurry.

We were already a "three kids, one dog, one cat" family when my sister-in-law called. "My friend Peter's moving to Colorado today. He found a home for one of his cats but no one will take Roxy. I'd take her, but my old cat won't tolerate another newcomer. Is there anyway you can take her in?"

Several hours later we were a 'three kids, one dog, TWO cat' family.

Cats Again

I don't care what you say, I haven't written about cats in almost two years. Okay, once last year I mentioned the week my dog went to church, but that hardly counts. I think its time to write about cats. Again.

We still have four of them and they are all still healthy. Living with four cats is sort of a New Jerusalem thing for folks with low expectations.

Cats bring humor and passion to ordinary life.

Dogs

My dog is beautiful and brilliant. She is also soulful, earnest, loyal, enthusiastic, and loving.

Let me guess. Your dog is all these things too, right?

That's one of the things that's so amazing about dogs. You can look right down at your tubby, speckled, stale behind the ears, worse further back, muddy-pawed, dun-furred wonder -- and if you are a fairly ordinary dog-owner, what you see is the Princess of Persia, the Duke of Your Heart.

Why, just this morning, before I was all the way awake, I heard my husband start to get up so I mumbled a sleepy "Hi."

Foster Cats

Normally, we have four cats. (If that isn't a great straight line, I don't know what is.) For most of May and June we had six.

A friend of our kids moved in with her aunt. The aunt's family is allergic to cats, of which this gentle girl had two. This perilous situation was described to me. (One of the secrets to contentment in life is, I think, to never ask "Why me?")

The foster cats arrived at our house a few days later.

Rosie & Cat Habits

Critical information you will need to read this column: A milk ring, in case you do not buy your milk in family packs of teeming gallons, is the plastic ring that secures the factory-attached cap on a container of milk.

I have been listening to a witless noise for years, though today is the first time I actually considered it. The small noise I'm finally paying attention to is the shuffle-swish sound a milk ring makes as our cat Rosie bats it around the back part of our basement.