Little friends called pets

Did you read the story in the papers this week about a little dog named Muffy? After being gone for nine years, she was returned to her owners who lived 1,250 miles away. It happened in Melbourne, Australia and the owners were really excited to get their little dog back. She had a microchip implant which was how they tracked the owners. No one really knows where she has been, but for the last two years she has been living in bad conditions in a filthy back yard. I’m sure that was a tearful reunion for that family.

As I read that story I was reminded of our cat “Mutso.” Years ago we were building a house in Walton, Ky. We were living with friends who already had a cat and a dog and we decided it would be best for our kitty to just stay at the building site. We were there everyday and could take care of her. She disappeared one day and we assumed that one of our new neighbors took her in. We put signs up along the road with a phone number, but no one called. At least not for nine months. We had already moved into the house and had gotten a little puppy when we got a call from a neighbor about three miles down the road. They found our cat living at the local dump.

When they brought her to our door she was filthy and looked so raggedy, but we knew that she was “Mutso.” It was a wonderful reunion that our family will never forget.

“Mutso” had some adjustments to make getting used to a new puppy, but after awhile she did a wonderful job of mothering that dog.

We get so attached to our little animals don’t we? They become part of the family and when they aren’t there anymore, it leaves a big hole. It was a sad day when we had to put “Mutso” to sleep. She had feline leukemia and just didn’t have a chance for survival. We have some wonderful memories of her time with us. She was the only cat I have ever known that would come running when she heard a potato chip bag rustle. She loved potato chips and she also enjoyed M&Ms.

When we had to put our dog to sleep about eight years later we cried for days.

Those little friends gave us years of entertainment, they had an unconditional love for us that is hard for us to understand and they had a way of leaving a lasting impression.

That little puppy named “Biskit” became a big dog who could almost talk to us. She would greet us with the funniest voice when we arrived home and it seemed like she was telling us all that we missed while we were gone.

We trained “Biskit” to get the newspaper from the end of the driveway which was no easy task when the huge Sunday paper arrived and there was a covering of snow or ice. She was also the official greeter at our church. We lived next door to a little country church and every Sunday she would be in the parking lot greeting everyone as they got out of their cars. She never attempted to enter the church, but would wait to walk people to their cars after the service.

Those little friends are both gone, but we have some newer ones who are making more memories for our family.

The calico we now have is named “Peanut” and she is really a good cat. She’s elusive when the grandchildren come over, but I think when they were little they must have pulled her tail one too many times. She’s a good mouser and can catch a mole like it’s nothing. When she brought a dead bird into the house the other night to show us her catch, that was almost too much. Another memory.

Our little labrador/beagle mix is almost as smart as our first doggie. She knows lots of tricks and as she is getting up in years and very well-fed, she tends to show off her “snoring” trick more than any others, but we still love her. She has always loved to be with the grandkids because they eat closer to her level and drop food on the floor. In her eyes, the kids are the greatest.

If you’ve never had a pet or never lost a pet you just can’t imagine the heartbreak of saying goodbye to these dear friends, but for all of you who have lost a pet, it makes it easier to cry with those who have to say goodbye.