Monday, January 7, 2008

Worst Damn Birthday Ever, (con't)

A rare arty momentWhen I first tied off the docklines here, I had to work out some space and territory issues with the other male occupant. Mouse† (a composite of a Maine Coon cat and David Niven) begrudgingly shoved over, still dominating the couch and eventually developing some tenuous enough trust in the vile usurper (me) who stole some of his mistress' attention. But, I shared my kippers and advice about diabetes. So, he let me watch Farscape because of Dominar Rygel, with whom he identified. Mouse† is no longer a physical presence at The Manor, but there isn't a day when one of the current occupants doesn't feel a little memory of his life.

"Pooh" (Sherman T. Pooh, above and below, center) and his lovely, sociable, but bad-tempered sister Maybelline moved in at about the same time I had hung my toolbelt in the mudroom and scratched out a parking spot near the hayfield. Since then, we've become that zany anthropomorphic mixed-species "family."
As a child, I shared my parents with a Golden Retriever named -- of all things -- "Buddy." Buddy† was aptly named, never leaving my side -- or the floor just under it -- for those important pre-teen years. Buddy† was much cheaper and hardier than a little brother, and caused substantial damage to every neighborhood Saab and Volvo that struck him. Really: He would run out to greet the driver, not realizing that there was a ton of vehicle between him and the face he planned to lick. He usually walked happily away from these confrontations. Eventually the syndicate that stole dogs and sold them to veterinary schools got him in one of their sweeps through our neighborhood for Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, and Labs. I never thought I would have that kind of pal again. Even my sophomore year roommate wasn't as affable.
So, through the luck of a delightful custody agreement my Beloved negotiated, I met Pooh, "the blonde one." In this file photograph, (here with his sister and a not-so-giant Tuki) he's trying to decide how to work out as one of Eartha Kitt's level-challenged set pieces on Batman. (Maybelline was hoping for Lee Meriwether. Tuki, as you can see, was all Julie Newmar.)Don't let the Sam Elliot look confuse you.Pooh certainly exhibits the same qualities I found in my first animal pal, including an undeniably dog-like demeanor and physical stature. He and I aren't afraid of a little rough-housing or physical work, but we'd really rather have a snack and a drink and find a nice spot in the warm sun and stretch out with (or on) a good book. Unlike some cats (*coffcoff* MAYBELLINE), Pooh doesn't resent his thumblessness, preferring to grapple with the happy challenges presented by refrigerator doors and kitchen trash bin lids. Like his literary namesake, Pooh is, indeed, the uncarved block: devoid of arrogance, free from complexities, unburdened by thought.
Until this morning.
It's not a bad way to spend one's birthday. Wrap up your best pal in a warm blanket and take him for a drive. But the last thing on my mind today is a picnic basket. Except maybe because he hasn't eaten in three days, hasn't been himself for a while, and ... We lost Mouse† and Lucy† and, what, do you have to lose one every year? Having gone through rounds of dialysis, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but if you could do it for him... A cat with kidney disease? Just to see him again effortlessly jump the three feet to the counter, where he tried to help with the cooking (by taste-testing) only four days ago. To see him jump the back of the couch to butt his head against mine. To feel him tap-tap-tap my arm while I'm eating, to remind me that he's there. To hear the purring that -- I SWEAR -- drowns out the farm equipment.
I'm keeping watch right now as he rests in one of his boxes. (He loves to squeeze himself into the most improbable cardboard). I look every so often to mark how he's breathing. If he's breathing. Please keep breathing.

Worst damn birthday ever.


bitterandrew said...

Our thoughts and best wishes are with you and Pooh.

ThirdMate said...

Hanx and especial thanks to Maura, Queen of Animals, if she can pull any strings.

cat said...

Even under the weather Pooh is a gracious host, sitting and cuddling with us 'strangers'. Hang in there, little man.

Dr. Momentum said...

Those "worst" posts are not supposed to continue.