Moonlighting with Judy Cools

March 5, 2012

Cat Person or Dog Person?

 

By JUDY COOLS

mcp blogger

 

I used to think I was a cat person. Cats, after all, are graceful, self-contained, and relatively low maintenance. Heck, you can even leave a cat at home on her own for a weekend – if you’re prepared to hear about it when you get back.

 

I grew up with an amazing little Siamese we named Pandora. She was a consolation prize for some tough years at home. And yes, she served to distract me from my sadness. Pandy slept under my covers with me and was a good companion. I had chosen her over the other option: a Chihuahua puppy. I was a cat person.

 

Early on in our marriage, Gary and I lived in an apartment outside Ann Arbor, and could have cats but not dogs. That was OK with me. We got a pair of litter mates: a classic orange Tabby and his sister who was an orange and white calico sort of girl. These two clowns kept us entertained for years and moved up north with us when we came.

 

Soon after moving we bought a house, and my husband started wanting to add a dog to our mix. I knew nothing of dogs. My only experience with dogs was a puppy we had briefly when I was a kid, and which my folks soon gave away because they said he got too big. Oh yes, and the lady who watched me after school. She was the connection to the Chihuahuas. I’m still not sure how I feel about considering those as real dogs.

 

If anything, my heart was drawn to the elegant look of the classic sled dog – Huskies and Malamutes. I was willing to perhaps consider a dog if it at least looked like that. We eventually got connected to some folks who had a racing kennel and some sled-dog flunk outs that were looking for homes. We selected a black and white Alaskan mix with deep brown eyes, then very un-creatively named him Nikki, and took him home.

 

He got along well enough with the cats. They quickly let him know it was their home, and he was merely tolerated. He was accustomed to being an outside dog, so we set him up with a doghouse and a run. I used to go out at night and visit him. Then he started to come in and spend the evening, returning to his solitary outside world at bedtime.

 

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, that didn’t last long. We learned about the pack mentality of dogs, sleeping in the pack’s “den” and all of that. Pretty soon Nikki was a fixture on the floor beside our bed. The cats were less than thrilled.

 

The cats continued on into old age, living companionably with Nikki, and our new 6-year-old son when he came to be with us. But when their time came, I had no desire for another cat. I had found something in the bond with a dog that I had never known before, and it has spoken to my heart ever since. I am a dog person.

 

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