Thursday, May 20, 2010


Being too cheap to buy a cooler or anything, I always bring my lunch to work in a leftover plastic bag from a grocery store or wherever.  The other day, I noticed the bag I had used still had the sales receipt in it.  I looked at the items I had purchased.  There were only three--Puppy Chow, a squeak toy and a rawhide bone.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I've always been a cat person.  Yeah, there were dogs around in my youth, particularly Penny, the beloved family mutt, who always followed me around on my adventures all over the farm, and I realize now that many of my fondest childhood memories involve her presence.  But a presence was all she ever amounted to, forever in the background, just sort of there.

For one thing, she was never allowed into the house.  Cats were, and as a result, they became the ones that could get up on my lap and curl up with me in bed and form attachments.  If I started rattling off the names of all the cats I've had in my life, I'd also start describing their individual quirks and personalities, which were all as different as snowflakes. 

That's what I always thought the difference was between cats and dogs: Cats are all individuals, whereas dogs have predictable personalities dictated by their breed.  And maybe that's true, for most dogs.

But it's not true of Isabella.  She's not a typical beagle at all.  I mean, sure, she is constantly on the scent of something or other, and has a friendly nature and has a loud, piercing bark.  Sure, she looks like every picture of a beagle you've ever seen.  But Bella's different.

Because she's my baby.  It's my lap she climbs on, it's my face she nuzzles, it's my fears and anxieties that are magically relieved by hugging her.  I don't know from dogs, but I know I've been crazy for my baby girl since her first ride home, when she burrowed under my arm as I steered, then bounced into the house when we arrived home, immediately claiming the recliner as her personal chair.  I still love cats--I mean, Delmar's still here, and he still gets plenty of attention--but it's weird how I look forward to coming home from work, just so I can take Bella for a walk, followed by play time and hug time.

There have been some turnarounds in my life lately, some misfortune, trip-ups I hadn't imagined.  Melancholy has returned, but I've discovered how easily it can be transcended.  All it takes is a pair of big brown eyes looking at me, and a heart full of love.