Sunday, 10 March 2013

Charley and the Gang

Photo: Tim D. McCann
I've already introduced you to Cody, our border collie, who is very photogenic. I think it's time I introduced you to the rest of the gang.

Our other dog, Charley, is a beautiful black Labrador Retriever that we had the good fortune to bring into our lives several years ago. Charley is originally from the United States, where he was a stray stuck in an animal shelter, running out of time. Thankfully, he was brought to Canada for us through the kindness of a local animal rescue group.

Charley is the fourth Lab we've had, and he's typical of the breed: loving, gentle, and in possession of a relatively short attention span. His coat has brown fur mixed in with the black, and in direct sunlight it takes on a beautiful bronze sheen that has to be seen to be believed. This time of year, he loves to go outside and make snow doggies (his variation of the snow angel). However, I've discovered that he doesn't have the patience to go on walks in the forest with me and Cody. When he has tried in the past, he spends his time eating deer scat and disappearing out of sight among the trees. Once I spent a frantic hour tracking him down during one of these walks, and eventually found him several properties over, about two miles away. So unfortunately he misses out on many of our photo shoots.

Charley is known in our house as “the sleep doctor.” Curl up beside him for just a minute, and you're off in the Land of Nod. He's a very peaceful animal. Here's to you, Charley!

I always say I could never imagine living in a house without dogs in it, but we're also fervent cat-lovers and won't brook any unfair treatment of domesticated felines. Cats are a very different species, and you have to speak their language to understand and appreciate them. Around here, we currently have three cats sharing our home with us.

Photo: Tim D. McCann
Tiger is the patriarch and is a long-haired beauty. He's also very fussy about what he eats, where he sleeps, and who touches him. An eccentric by nature, he will eat only certain kinds of food when it's arranged to his liking on a plate. It has to be at the front of the plate, you see, because he pushes it away from him as he eats. We rescued Tiger as a kitten after his hip was broken by someone who shouldn't have owned pets. The veterinarian who put the pin into his injury refused to return him to the young man, and we volunteered on the spot to adopt him. That was fifteen years ago. Since Tiggie had a rough start in life, we allow him his eccentricities.

Photo: M.J. McCann
Sammy (shown top, left) began life as a neighbor's barn cat and quickly discovered that the grass was greener elsewhere. He started by eating food intended for our cats on our porch, and then moved inside. Unfortunately, he hasn't stopped eating since then and is a bit overweight. Sammy is part Siamese (if you please). He's smart as a whip and very affectionate. He also has a wicked sense of humor and loves to tease the border collie. Faithful readers of this blog will remember a previous post in which I described how Sammy uses those hypnotic blue eyes of his to condition me to his will, especially while I'm trying to write.

Last but not least is our son's cat Minnie (shown bottom, left: see her?), who is a short-haired tabby. Tim rescued her from a woodpile, where she was born in a litter of barn cats. When he first brought her home, her eyes were barely open. We fed her with an eyedropper and worried about her survival, but she's since grown up to be a handful! She loves to play and is always keeping us entertained with her acrobatics. Sammy, I daresay, has met his match.

Throughout our many years of marriage, my wife and I have had lots of pets. It would have been a lot quieter in the house without them, but it just wouldn't have been the same. They have deeply enriched our lives.

If you would like to adopt a cat or dog, a local and reputable animal rescue group or shelter is always a good option for giving an animal a second chance at a good life.We encourage you to support these hard-working people in your area, and to treat your pets with the kindness and consideration they need to be your healthy, happy companions.

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