This #8216;blended family#039; always brings a smile to my face
If you had told me 20 years ago I'd be living with a husband and four cats, plus three dogs and a couple more cats outside, I would have been surprised.
I didn't realize back then just what a Grade-A, certified pet lover I would evolve into.
I may not come home with groceries for Benny and me, but rest assured, the pets will get their kibble. After all, you can't neglect your babies, and I confess that's what my fuzzy bunch of mixed breed companions are.
When I come home in the evening, I know there will be a trio of figures waiting just down the road for me. I toot my horn as I pass Mama's house. A shaggy black and tan dog appears in the distance, wagging his plume-like tail, a smaller, sleeker black canine wriggling beside him. A lumbering yellow dog, roughly the size of a miniature pony, brings up the rear.
Rascal is a sweet-tempered, handsome German Shepherd-Collie mix. Tutie, ever bright-eyed, exuberant and affectionate, we like to call our genuine Alabama Leaping Dog. This speedy hound could have been a hit in the circus.
Junior has the handsome head and soulful, seal-like brown eyes of a yellow lab; unfortunately, he also has the brain of Jethro from “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Tutie, still pretty much a pup, invariably tries to climb in the car with me, lavishing me with kisses.
Junior, a perennial pup, rakes me with his giant paw while Rascal, polite as always, simply smiles and wags his tail hopefully.
Funny how I can be tired, achy and a little depressed at times, and those three can still put a smile on my face. Oh, I know they're anxious for a treat, but I also firmly believe they're mighty glad to see their mom.
If I am lucky, a cool character named Cheeto, our good-looking orange tom, will be casually lolling in the planter box, also awaiting my arrival (he's happy to see me, too. He just isn't going to get all disgustingly dog-like about it).
Through the dining room window, I glimpse a lovely calico cat inside, the almost-perfect feline we call Callie. If there were Girl Scout troops for cats, she'd win all the merit badges.
Callie is a mere stripling compared to the venerable Ginger, who showed up on our doorstep in Dayton, Ohio in the late ‘80s. She's stone deaf and a little creaky these days, but she hasn't lost her feline charm.
Long-haired, haughty Puddin' has beautiful, big green eyes and tufty ear hairs I love to tweak. Despite her sometimes snooty demeanor, Pud can be terribly sweet when she chooses to be. With her smooth, steady purr and comfortingly well-cushioned figure, she's a divine napping companion, like an extra pillow.
Thumper, our three-legged black and white cat, is a roly-poly creature with a Hitler mustache and a much friendlier personality since we had her “fixed.”
I used to suspect she was always plotting to kill us in our sleep; now she just seems to want to rappel herself up the side of the bed so she can sleep with us.
In the back yard, another tomcat reigns, albeit a very different character than Cheeto. T.W. is a rangy, wild-looking, semi-long-haired cat who talks to us with his constant, woeful cry. Benny calls him “Mr. Lonely.”
T.W. would love to be an inside cat, but his propensity for licking our skin raw and kneading our side until we bleed
– you could call him ferociously friendly - nixes that. He's weird, yet strangely appealing.
That's our “blended family,” largely castoffs who each appeared one day looking for food and a little affection.
They've managed to receive quite a lot of both.
Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.