My Pets - By David Hakim

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MY PETS

 

Most of my life was spent without pets.  However, with my present marriage I also inherited or adopted various pets, which was much to my liking.

 

Hershey was the first pet I inherited with my marriage.  At that time he was a 12 year old, very friendly brown and gray poodle:  hence his name Hershey.  He also liked candy bars, but we never fed them to him too much because they would have killed him.  Many times I took him with me on my job as a Census taker and walked him frequently at the park.  Since he was light, about 13 pounds, I was able to lead him easily so it was no difficulty to walk him.

 

He really liked people and never growled at them.  He was loved and petted much.

 

I remember the walks I took him on the grounds of the church next door.  To add some variety to walking him, I would walk him along the church markings dividing the parking spaces.  Stories would come to me that life was not straight and narrow as were the markings, and certainly has much more variety.  Part of me would argue that one had to tread the path straight and narrowly, but when I viewed my life, it wasn’t straight and narrow.  It had its ups and downs which made it interesting, sometimes devastating, but never intolerable enough that I wanted to terminate it.  Perhaps Hershey through guidance was giving me this message. 

 

Eventually we had to have Hershey put to sleep at the age of 18 because of his severe epileptic fits.

 

The next pet in my life is a 10 year old 13 pound male Siamese cat who we named Kato.   Kato found us on Halloween, 1999.  Perhaps he was hungry and smelled the food I was cooking, so he meowed so loudly that Judy let him in to eat a hardy meal of ground round.  We could not pet him at first, but he came back day after day and finally took up residence with us.  He is usually very lovable and shows that he thoroughly enjoys the scratching and petting we give him by his loud purring.

 

Giving a home to such an exotic cat worried us.  We worried that after falling in love with him his owner would come and claim him, so we adopted him through the procedure established by law through the local Humane Society.  The society published the finding of Kato, so after a few days we were allowed to adopt him. 

 

His meowing is so melodious that with adequate training he might be able to lend his beautiful voice to a symphony:  “Kato’s Symphony” by Kato.

 

He usually sleeps during the day and insists on wandering the neighborhood at night.  We ask him to avoid walking the streets, but he never listens.

 

Having a cat is sometimes scary, since they move so quietly.  When he is outdoors Kato many times appears right in front of me, and I wonder whether he is another animal (in the past we have had visits by skunks, raccoons, opossums, and I have heard of visitations by coyotes.  [Years ago I had to restrain Hershey from attacking a skunk who already had its tail spread!])

 

Kato is a bully.  He will go upon other cats’ territory and challenge them to fights.  Once from inside the house I heard such musical howling as if a fire engine were passing by.  It was Louie, our neighbor’s male domestic orange longhair.  I was fortunate in being able to send Louie off to his home.  In a prior fight Kato’s ear was cut, but he was not severely injured.  Neither was Louie, who came back again the next day for revenge. 

 

I blamed the other cats for Kato’s injuries, believing that they instigated them.  Several months ago he came in with teeth puncture wounds so severe that we had to take him to a veterinarian.  However, I learned very dramatically that he was usually the instigator.

 

A week ago Judy warned me that Kato was going to attack an orange longhaired cat living across the street.  I went out to try to break them up, but they moved away so fast I could not.  Then I witnessed the first catfight I ever saw!  Both cats flew at each other very fast and clawed and attempted to bite each other.  Fortunately both were not injured severely. 

 

I was very unhappy with Kato and showed my displeasure by not welcoming him into our home.  He had actually trespassed upon another’s property and attacked their cat!  But Judy forgave him enough to allow him into our home, although she did bawl him out. 

 

I asked Judy how she knew they were going to fight.  She said that our neighbor’s cat was showing off by huffing, puffing and twisting its body.  Apparently Kato dislikes showoffs intensely, since he is usually laid back.

 

I cannot fully understand Kato.  To us and other humans he is a very affectionate cat, but to other cats he is a tyrant.  I guess I will have to leave it to God to straighten him out.

 

Several years ago over the objections of Judy I adopted a 13 pound Bichon Frise, Toby (See “Toby [Tobius]” on my website, www.davidhakim.com).  However, after he growled at and almost bit the son of a woman I was interviewing, I needed to trade him in.

 

In addition, Toby was a very poor walker, always pulling on his leash.  Trimming his nails did not help.   He would also show Judy much more affection than he did me, choosing to be around her exclusively when she was home.  At the trade-in date Judy loved him so much she attempted to hide him under the blankets with her.

 

It was an easy trade with the lady who ran the adoption agency.  At that time she had just one dog available.  Her name is Mia, an 18 pound black and white Japanese Chin.  The lady pronounced her name “Mi,” but I started pronouncing her name “Mia, as in Mia Farrow.”  The lady tossed in a bonus:  She said that if the exchange did not work out, I could come back and exchange Mia for a new-born Chihuahua.

 

However, despite Mia’s tendency to want to attack other dogs and growl at us when we wanted to go to bed, we decided to keep her.  She loves humans and enjoys being hugged and petted by them.  We believe we would enjoy hugging her more than a little Chihuahua.  She certainly eases my loneliness during the day when Judy has to teach special education students at a local high school!

 

Because of Mia’s weight and strength, many times she forces me to stop when I am walking her.  If I do not hold her leash properly, she can cause me pain.  She loves to go to the park, whining terribly as we approach it.  But because of her frequent stops to smell the ground, we rarely spend much time there, with both of us missing out on meeting other humans and pets.

 

When Mia sees another dog, she is torn between wanting to be friendly with it and attacking it.  She will usually not growl at another cat, and is learning not to growl at another dog, but I have to continually train her to approach the other animals slowly so she can communicate with them.  She does this many times by a nose to nose kiss.

 

As a condition of Mia staying in our household, she had to get along with Kato.  Fortunately, Mia gets along with Kato very well.  They rub against each other and are supportive and affectionate with each other.  In fact, Mia wakes me up when Kato wants to come in from outside!  This was especially true this past winter, when we had below freezing temperature.  Cold seems not to bother Kato!

 

Kato deliberately teases Mia.  He will walk into her or roll over on his back and roll toward her.  Usually Mia will just move aside, but once in a while when annoyed enough she will bark.

 

My pets watch me frequently during the day.  Someone told me that they are learning from me.  However, I believe I also learn from them:  how to be friendly to everyone I meet, how to accept life as it is, and how to enjoy myself.  When I watch Mia whiz around the living room, it makes me wish I could move like that, but it does cheer me up to see her happy doing hardly anything at all.

 

                                                          David C. Hakim

                                                          Rochester, Michigan

                                                          May 22, 2007