Animals have been an important and fulfilling part of our lives. I’m sure this is also true for many of you, so sharing a few experiences with our animals might bring back memories of your own. Perhaps you can share some of those in the comments.
After Lenette and I were married, we had three animals. Brutus was our first, a brown and black Beagle who entertained us with his math expertise and other antics. While sitting up in my arms looking like Charley McCarthy, he—so help me, responded to my questions with barks. If I asked him the answer to two times three, he barked six times. Two from four, two times, and so on. He could count, multiply, divide, and subtract numbers. I swear I gave him no help whatsoever. He knew.
Brutus’ best friend was our huge German shepherd, Heidi. She was a puppy brought over from Germany and given to us as a gift. She grew into a remarkable protector of our family, which, of course, included Brutus and Cleo (a pure white cat who in her lifetime arranged to have a total of 60 kittens). Every time Cleo had kittens, Heidi would stick her head in the birthing box, pick up each kitten almost as if to swallow them. Then she’d take them to her box and totally clean them before returning them to the birthing mother. Clearly, the three animals cared for each other.
At dinner, Cleo the cat would play games with Heidi’s bowl and food. Many evenings we would watch Cleo attempt to take over Heidi’s food bowl by slowly pulling Heidi’s bowl towards her. After each relatively successful move, Heidi would move slightly closer to Cleo until they were a head apart. This continued until Heidi’s bowl came within range of Cleo’s mouth. At this point, Heidi would let out a warning growl and a curl of her upper lip, showing a canine. Only then did Cleo withdraw to a safe distance. Regardless of the games they played, they loved each other.
There was a German Shepherd that lived on our street. This dog roamed off-leash looking for trouble and was known for attacking other dogs in the neighborhood. One morning, Lenette was gardening out front with Brutus on leash and was attacked by this dog. In our back yard, Heidi instantly leaped over the six-foot fence and went to the aid of Brutus. Cleo also did not hesitate and joined in the attack on the criminal animal. Had I not saved the attacking dog Heidi and Cleo would have torn the shepherd apart. Sadly, his owners had no choice but to put their dog down.