Some of My Favorite People are Dogs

Bill Hart

In my family we consider pets family members. This practice can be a little confusing for strangers when I tell them that my niece Jetta is twelve years old and usually carries a tennis ball in her mouth. Jetta is a twelve year old Labrador Retriever, but if I don't mention that fact, the bit about the tennis ball can raise eyebrows.

At the other end of the age spectrum is Karma, my four month old granddaughter, who loves to chew on just about anything and romps around the backyard at full speed until she runs out of energy and falls asleep. Karma is also a Lab. There are other family members who are not of the Lab persuasion, for instance, there is Bennie. Unfortunately, Bennie has a thing for catching birds so I have to be vigilant and shoo him off the deck when the birds come to eat. According to his vet charts, Bennie is a short haired cat of undetermined, though probably mixed, breed.

In my opinion, Bennie also leads a charmed life. If the average cat has nine lives, Bennie has thirty nine. He is white with black patches and loves to hang out in the wild grass fields around the house. These are the same fields that our local osprey and eagles hunt regularly. Bennie's distinctive white coat stands out like a beacon in the green and brown grass and yet, the eagles pass him by day after day, month after month, as do the coyotes and other predators.

His owners have tried to keep him indoors for his own protection, but he is miserable when not allowed to roam freely. There are two kinds of cats in this world, outside cats and inside cats. Bennie is the former, a guy who just can't stay indoors. It's not like we are afraid of Bennie getting lost, we can always easily find him because he stands out like a white cat in a green world.

My grandson Pyro weighs seven pounds and likes to float around in the pool on an inflatable float. He also thinks he weighs two hundred pounds and is the toughest dog in the world. If ever there was a classic case of the Napoleon Complex, it is Pyro. He insists on wearing a tee shirt whenever he goes outside, unless he is going in the pool, that is. He also likes to wear boots that originally belonged to his friend Peaches, a Chihuahua who doesn't care for footwear. Pyro is a miniature Australian Shepherd with strange white eyes. He could double as Chupacabra in a horror movie if not for his diminutive size.

My grandson Kash is a huge Cane Corso who lives in the same house with Pyro. Unfortunately, for Kash, he arrived after Pyro was already established, so he is constantly harassed by Pyro. Pyro likes to hide Kash's toys under the couch where Kash can't reach them. Pyro also likes to lie on Kash's bed and when Kash whines and tries to get him off the bed, he does his wild eyed Chupacabra thing and says in dogspeak, "You talking to me? Are you talking to me!" I am sure that somewhere in his little doggie brain, Pyro has a plan to conquer the world and this time, he won't make the mistake of invading Russia.

There are many more animals in the family and each one has his or her own distinctive personality that brings much happiness and pleasure into our lives. Life just wouldn't be the same without them and like they say, "You can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your pets."

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