Saturday, February 12, 2011

The kind of friend you need

This is Randy and Wink. Randy is the one who looks like he's snarling; he is just having a yawn. Up until the moment I snapped this pic he was laying curled around Wink looking for all the world like a teenaged boyfriend with his arms wrapped around his girl.
My cats are pretty important to me; I've always loved my little non-human friends but since we had our unintended cat population explosion I have realized that all of them, not just the specials I had before, have distinct personalities. Randy is laid back, chatty on occasion, and loving to human and feline alike. Wink is a (spayed) little flirt and likes to snuggle with the big males of the house. George is a cranky SOB except when Wink or a kitten has laid down with him. Otherwise he is chasing sister Trixie or swatting his twin, Cabrillo. Romeo is a very large flame point Siamese who used to also be very timid. When the cat accumulation began, Romeo, as senior cat, developed a backbone of sorts.
When I came home from the ritual hunting and gathering at Walmart this afternoon my across-the-street neighbor was in his front yard tossing a football with his girlfriend's kid. Russell is an easy-going guy in his early 30's, likes to talk, likes to hunt and take his truck to bog-ins. I waved, he waved back and I started unloading my haul. Oddly, only 5 or 6 of the cats were around to escort me inside and politely request feeding. I put down food and treats and kept putting up groceries and then heard a non-My House sound - dog barks in my back yard. There were two silly canine faces with a backdrop of windshield washer tails in one of my breakfast room windows!
I went out through the French doors to the deck and patio and there were DOGS. First thought on surveying the scene: My gate was closed, how'd these guys get here? Second thought: Oh hell, the big one has seen Romeo!
If we'd been dealing with a beagle sized dog Romeo would have immediately won this encounter. He arched his back, fluffed out his fur and presented himself as 30 pounds of pissed off instead of his actual 16 pounds of sweetness.
Big Dog, who appeared to be shepherd and collie, was unimpressed and ran at him along with his young American pit bull partner. Romeo cut his losses and ran like hell. I tried to grab the dogs and put them out of the yard but my gate WAS CLOSED (how'd they get in?) and I couldn't open it. Deciding that panic had made me stupid I ran through the house to get help - Russell!
I got into the front yard and yelled "Russell! I need help!"
I wasn't screaming or anything, just a yell. He didn't ask me what I needed until he had run across the street and through the yard to get to me.
He got the gate unstuck, helped me get the dogs out of the yard and identified one of them as belonging to another neighbor and left me to rescue my panicked fur babies. Trixie was up a tree, Wink had gone to visit the old slow dogs on the other side of the house and Romeo and Fuzzbutt were perched on my other neighbor's chicken coop. Long story, but previous husband raised exotic chickens and now he and the chickens were gone.
After calm had been restored it occurred to me what a good guy Russell is. And how exactly appropriately he responded to my request for help. None of this "what's wrong" while standing like a stump in his yard. No leisurely stroll from his yard to mind. No laughing at my problem, no having to stand still to think.
So remember - the next time someone calls your name for help, don't stand around, just run like hell and think on your way. If you can't think and run at the same time, just don't go outside, ok?

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