My daughter Mary came home with her boyfriend T.J. two weeks ago on a cold and windy night. A big storm was coming in. They were in the garage for a long time and I finally peeked in to see what was going on, not wishing to interrupt any heavy petting. Petting was going on, but not the kind I expected.
They had found a brown kitten cowering under our old van parked outside. It was a female, about three months old and very hungry. It ate an entire bowl of food, lapped down half a bowl of water, spied our litter box a few feet away and promptly hopped in and made a donation. I immediately began protesting what I knew would be a plea to keep it.
“No, Mary. No more pets!” I said firmly. The kitten purred loudly, weaving her skinny little body between all of our legs, really pouring on the charm. I offered an open door to our backyard, hoping she might leave and head home after her rest stop, but instead she spotted our cat door and scurried through it into our house, sending our dog, Napoleon into a psychotic frenzy.
This attracted my husband’s attention, who, up until this point had no idea what we were doing in the garage. He saw the kitten but didn’t say a thing. Perhaps the poor man has finally been beaten down. The kids and animals just keep multiplying around here, so I think he’s just given up.
Mary said good-bye to T.J., but not before I begged him to take the kitten home with him. He told me we should wait a couple of days in case the owner came looking for her.
No one came looking for her, even though Mary posted signs all around the neighborhood. I now believe she was dumped! What kind of person abandons a defenseless little kitten on the street on a stormy night? I guess she was meant to join our family because all the animals in the house accepted Mu-Shu immediately. Yes, I named her after a Chinese entrée. Hey, I was hungry when I named her! She cuddled with all the kids, used the litter box faithfully and entertained us all with her spastic kitten behavior.
A few days later I rounded the corner of our street to see a golden retriever wandering around the neighborhood. He looked lost but happy. Golden retrievers always look like they’re smiling, don’t they? I slowed down to see if he had a collar. A woman outside her house said he’d been hanging around all day. She called the phone number on his tag but it was disconnected. I couldn’t believe it. Could someone have dumped him, too? What is the world coming to? My 7-year-old daughter fell in love with him instantly. “Oh no, Haley! We are not keeping this dog!”
“But Mom! We can’t leave him on the street!”
I stopped my truck in the middle of the street and opened the passenger door. He hopped right in! He sat there like a kid in the back seat smiling at us. Haley giggled. I drove him to our house and fed him two bowls of dog food and some water. Napoleon looked on from the living room window baring his little terrier teeth, yelping and scratching at the glass. Just then my husband drove up. This was the end of his rope.
“I’ll drive him to the pound!” he said, not even getting out of his car or asking any questions as to where Old Yeller came from.
Just then an old woman came hobbling up the street waving her arms. “Chico!” she called. Thank God. The dog recognized her and took off down the street.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Perhaps I’ll come home to find a push-me-pull-you in my backyard …