continued from part IV –
Mr. Bean, the cat, and I arrived at an armed truce, but I had the upper edge. I know that in skirmishes between dogs and cats, the cats often lose. I didn’t wish Mr. Bean harm, but I have thousands of years of instinct in me, and as much as I want to please my person, instinct is powerful.
The woman began supervising the cat and me at all times. This seemed unnecessary to me. Why, there were many times when Mr. Bean and I slept near each other, when he wound between my legs, when we walked by each other without comment. To be fair, there were some times when I’d stalk him, when I hunkered low and keened on him, my eyes glittering black. I knew I wouldn’t do anything actually, but the woman didn’t know this and she did not approve of my behavior. She was irritated with me far too often. I did not deserve this.
The trainer suggested that we adopt a second dog; she said that would likely get my focus off of Mr. Bean. The woman said no–one dog was enough. So that was that.
We went to the family reunion of adopted pets and their people at Main Line Animal Rescue. I recognized the scent of the place before we turned down the lane and I sat up tall in the back seat to look. When I jumped out of the car, I saw Jenny, a pit bull who was still there. I overheard someone say that people have the wrong idea about pits and that they are actually one of the most devoted dogs.
Jenny and I greeted each other and I see other dogs I’d peripherally known who were now romping happily with their families. There were new dogs there, many brought up from the South like me, and others rescued from inner city Philadelphia.
The shelter director saw me, walked over, and stooped down to pet me. She asked us to walk through the kennels together; she wanted to show the woman something.
We passed the dogs, some with pleading eyes, some turned in on themselves and sad, some barking. I was so happy not to still be there. The shelter director stopped before the kennel I had been in, and there was Kentucky, who came up from Alabama with me. He was the only one who had not been adopted, and he’d been at the rescue for a year. Pointing to him, the director said, “Kentucky is a sweet fellow and has some remaining neurological defects from having contracted distemper in Alabama and survived it.” Apparently the rural south is not big on vaccinating, spaying and neutering, and there are millions of homeless dogs, and a lot with preventable diseases. Main Line Animal Rescue had had Kentucky checked out by University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, and his neurological defects would not affect his ability to learn but his gait would remain odd, and he had a rounded back. On occasion he fell over.
Kentucky and I sniffed at each other through the chain link door and he did a little jig, hopping on three legs and spinning in a circle. The director said, “If you would consider adopting him. He’s a good dog and he needs a home. He’s very shy and the shelter is not a good place for him. The likelihood of him getting adopting is slim. People don’t typically want a special needs dog.
My person looked at him and grew very still. I watched her and knew what she was thinking.
to be continued