News and Views



Our beloved Bonnie
My cousin, Carrie, who lived 450 miles away from me at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, gave me her cat when she became allergic to him. He ran away soon after I got him back to Mississippi, and I thought it better not to tell Carrie. Eight months later, she called to tell me that she had heard a scratching at the door, and when she opened it, her cat ran to where his food bowl used to be.

One summer afternoon I was walking across the backyard when I passed my blue heeler, Bonnie, walking in the other direction. “Hello Bonnie,” I said and continued on my way through the shut gates that separated the front yard from the backyard. When I got to the front yard, Bonnie was lying in the sun, sound asleep. Now that she is buried in the backyard, I sometimes look toward her grave hoping to see her.


Scully and Ollie

Yesterday I awakened to Peggy threatening to strangle our kitten, Scully, for wrecking her Christmas decorations. Peggy has always been able to have a perfect “Christmas house” despite many dogs and two other cats, but Scully has put an end to that. We can’t even keep her out of rooms, cabinets, and closets by shutting their doors because she’s so good at slipping past us and hiding until we’re gone. Ollie and Brewsky have done less damage in their entire lives than Scully can do in a day. “If you weren’t so beautiful,” I tell her, “you wouldn’t have any good points,” but I don’t really mean it.

Sassy and me with Mother’s shadow
St. Vinnie’s had a half price book sale last week (hardcovers were $1.25 and softcovers $0.65), so I bought 17 books about cats and three about dogs. This puts me up to sixty-two cat books. 

When I was seven, my parents and I were in the front yard raking leaves when a car turned around in our circular driveway. My dog, Sassy ran at the car and got under its back wheel. As the driver sped away, Sassy ran to me and died in my lap while gazing into my eyes. I lost so many pets to cars that I came to expect it. My father was forever bringing abandoned litters home from a roadside dump (my mother would feed them with a baby bottle), so we were never short of dogs.

One day, a stray dog came into our yard, and my father lured him to a bowl of water and bashed his head in with a galvanized pipe. Dad alternated between kindness—as when he rescued puppies—and cruelty—as when he gave me a .22/.410 and let me wantonly kill small creatures when I was eight. He also had me decapitate roosters with a butcher knife every Sunday. Because I was so little, it took me awhile to saw through a rooster’s neck, but when I was done, my father would cast the bird a few feet away and blood would fly while, to my delight, the rooster “danced.” My transgender father was a walking contradiction, and since he was my only role model, I became confused, and it didn’t help that I grew up in the Deep South, which was itself a contradiction between Christian charity and racist cruelty.

The first creature I ever killed was a songbird that I shot out of a pecan tree within an hour of getting my first gun. I felt so guilty when I saw its shattered body that I tried to justify the killing by asking my Granny to cook the bird for me. Because, as she sometimes said, she loved me more than anyone she had ever known, she painstakingly removed the shotgun pellets and fried the tiny bird. I felt like Daniel Boone as I sat at the kitchen table all alone eating my quarry. After that, I left the creatures I killed to rot where they fell.

A few years ago, I wrote about killing dogs as a member of a humane society (I
’ve written about many of the things in this post before because they’re so often on my mind), so I won’t go into it again except to say that there is nothing I have ever done that I feel worse about. I have since avoided humane societies because if I were constantly exposed to the neglect, callousness, and brutality that my species shows to other species, I would become so angry that I would want to turn my gun on us. My highest respect doesn’t go to those who help people, but to vegans who help nonhumans, but I’m not a vegan, and I do little to help any creature.

Most of what I do to make the world a better place comes from my resolve to be kind to humans and other animals. I talk to strangers; I tell store clerks that I appreciate their help; I praise employees to their supervisors; I open doors for people; I say hello to those whom I pass on the sidewalk; I offer to help people who are having car trouble; I let other drivers change lanes or exit driveways; I give money to panhandlers who play music or sell homemade greeting cards; and I try to remember to listen more than I talk. It doesn’t matter if someone strikes me as admirable or despicable, I’m going to be kind to them because I can never know what’s in a person’s heart or what burdens they’re laboring under. I have sometimes judged people harshly for their ragged clothes, nose-rings, facial tattoos, or saucer-like earlobe rings , only to have those very people do me a kindness.

I also rescue lost dogs when they’ll let me, and I pet nearly all dogs, but my greatest satisfaction comes from winning the trust of a dog who wants my affection but is afraid to receive it. Such dog
s’ people invariably thanks me for this, the story usually being that it was an abused rescue animal who needs people like me to convince him that the world isn’t so bad after all.

Cats tend to be either off or on when it comes to being petted by strangers, and many is the time that Peggy and I have fantasized about stealing an especially friendly cat because it worries us that such cats are vulnerable to cat haters. I suspect that it would be for such cats’ benefit if, instead of petting them, we rebuked them, but we never do.


I started my kindness project when I finally accepted the fact that I’m never going to be a Big Gesture person, so if I’m going to make the world better, I have to do it through small gestures. One advantage of this is that I am forced to pay attention to people other than myself. I don’t doubt but what suicides have been prevented through little kindnesses but, at the very least, energy and optimism can be restored to someone who is drained. 

I only remember two occasions—out of hundreds—when I was rebuffed. On one of them, a man resented me opening a door for him, so he stood back and refused to go through it; on another, a woman seemed offended when I joked about how long a check-out line was. Usually, the worse that happens is that someone doesn’t thank me for something I do for them, although I have a friend, Jake, who was called an asshole when he opened a door for a woman. This was years ago, and I sometimes wonder if the woman ever felt bad about it. By showing goodwill, I nearly always receive goodwill, and doing little kindnesses is surely a gift from which I get more than I give, there being almost no cost to myself.

63 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

The little things are huge in my world. And a kind gesture can make a day brighter and sweeter. Thank you for all you do.

Emma Springfield said...

I often read about pets who return home after being hundreds of miles away. It is an amazing feat.
We fondly remember past pets just as we do human family members who are no longer with us.
Pets dying are so sad. If they are allowed to roam free they might be run over. But for someone to run over your pet in your own driveway is akin to criminal.
We have fed babies who were abandoned. Pet formula is more expensive than human formula.
Killing animals for food is a part of the food chain. Vegans and vegetarians are certainly entitled to their beliefs and practices. I like meat and I recognize that humans physiology was designed to eat both meat and plants. That being said I also believe that any animals killed for eating should be killed as quickly as possible. It might have been easier for you if your father had provided you with a small hatchet to kill the chickens.
Politeness and kindness are two traits we should all cultivate. A smile or a kind word go so far to make another person feel good and they cost absolutely nothing.
We have always had rescue dogs. The one we have now was almost 2 years old when we got her. She had been mistreated by men her whole life. She is technically my son's dog but it took her a long time to learn to trust him. Now she adores him.
People who are rude about opening of doors irritate me. I find it to be an act of courtesy when someone holds the door for me. I always thank them. By the same token if I get to the door first I will hold it for the net person in line whether it is male or female. Some people are too touchy.

angela said...

Animals are generally much nicer than humans. And if there not. It's because of humans
I think your turning into a crazy cat lady. Lol but I might be wrong
It's the little things that count. I always say that. Where ever I go I always try to smile and say good morning or good after noon. You never know how much that will influence a persons day
Thanks your for influmine in a positive way xxx

Stephen Hayes said...

Mentally I understand that there are times when animals need to be put down, but I could never do it and I don't think it makes anyone manly just because they have no issue killing creatures.

Tom Sightings said...

We had a cat named Sassy who, the first day we brought her home, was lying in our nextdoor neighbor's driveway when the woman came home and ran over her backside. Fortunately, we didn't lose her. But she lost her tail ... and so Sassy was an indoor cat forevermore and mistaken for a tailless Manx for the rest of her 18 years of life.

kj said...

how did that cat travel 450 miles to get home? that's amazing. i want to know how.

i like this post a lot, snow. there's a lot of support for the role of kindness in whatever forms. if i were to chose one more and BIG career or passion, it would be animal rescue; most likely dogs. my heart especially goes out to pit bulls because they are so loyal and yet because of that small chance of snapping a neck they languish in shelters or are killed. i can't choose one myself because of my grandkids but i don't think they get a fair shot in life.

i am always upset to hear about your father. what he exposed you to sounds pretty traumatic. i'm glad kindness won out.

take care, hope all is well.
love
kj

kylie said...

Snow,
Your mindful and intentional kindnesses are the essence of love and there is nothing higher to aim for.
I hope people are appreciative

Charles Gramlich said...

We had lots of dogs and cats growing up, mostly because people threw them out in the country when they tired of them and they ended up on our doorstep. I well remember "dancing" chickens too. I wrote about quite a bit of this, and my father's handling of animals in my memoirs, Adventures of an Arkansawyer.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Good for you and your kindness project. I wish more people would try it. Boo to the woman who called your friend an asshole for showing a bit of kindness.

Dangling ornaments tempt kitties too much. I'd put the unbreakable ones on the bottom of the tree to save them cats and toddlers.

One of my scariest moments was on a cold night standing outside of our car. My dad started the car and I heard an awful yowl. He turned the car off and popped the hood. All we saw was copious amounts of fur with me yelling murderer!murderer! though he had no idea that Kitty climbed into the engine compartment to stay warm. But Kitty was alive standing under the at with blood dripping out of her mouth. My father thought that was due to internal bleeding saying she would not survive. But she had bit her tongue, which was sewn back together. The real injury was a big slash in her side from the fan blade. It was deep but missed vital organs.
she survived.

No more kitties, or what I really prefer, dogs here due to grandkids' allergies.

Snowbrush said...

“Thank you for all you do.”

You’re welcome. America has what it calls the “Presidential Medal of Freedom,” which is the highest honor that can be given to a civilian. I’ve noticed that rarely does anyone who isn’t famous receive it, and this turns it into an occasion on which the rich and famous honor the rich and famous. The reason your comment brings this up is that just last week it was given, and I reflected that a lot of people deserve it much more than, for example, Ellen DeGeneres for “all that they do,” and a lot of cats and dogs deserve it too. I would especially like to see it go to people who help nonhumans, but it will never happen.

“Vegans and vegetarians are certainly entitled to their beliefs and practices.”

Vegans—and to a lesser extent, vegetarians—are commonly despised and ridiculed for their beliefs because their beliefs are an implied criticism of the practices of others. This causes meat-eaters to assume that such people regard themselves as superior, as indeed they do in regard to their dietary practices. I consider meat filthy and don’t even want to smell it, but since I eat dairy, eggs and fish, I cause the needless killing of nonhumans.

“It might have been easier for you if your father had provided you with a small hatchet to kill the chickens.”

It might have cost him his hand at my age. I don’t know what his goal was—to harden me, I suppose.

“I will hold it [the door] for the next person in line whether it is male or female.”

And whether that person is old or young. I also hold it for the disabled. I suppose a lot of disabled people take this as condescension, but for me the condescension would be if I made an exception for the disabled. With the woman who cursed my friend, I suppose she interpreted his holding the door for her as sexism, but even if she had been right, to curse another person is a wicked indulgence that can only make the world worse.

“I think your turning into a crazy cat lady.”

You might want to look up Louis Wain, a schizophrenic artist and cat lover whose cats became more frightening and abstract as his mental state deteriorated. I think it’s worth noting that the adjectives used to describe the feline character and physical appearance are often the same ones used to describe women’s character and physical appearance, and to remember the many superstitions surrounding cats, and the millions of cats that were tortured to death during the Middle Ages. Moreso than with dogs, there IS something about cats that brings up powerful feelings in our species, and that leads people who have mental problems to focus their weirdness on cats moreso than on any other animal with the possible exception of snakes. People tend to either love dogs, like dogs, ignore dogs, or become phobic of dogs, but comparatively few people despise dogs the way they do cats. As for my own near obsession, I have no explanation for it. I always liked cats, and as a teenager I romanticized them and envied them their “coolness” and independence, but my current attitude is definitely more absorbing.

Snowbrush said...

“Mentally I understand that there are times when animals need to be put down”

It’s one thing when it’s done because a creature is ill with no future but suffering and quite another when it’s done because our species doesn’t spay and neuter. Every Thanksgiving, Peggy and I watch the National Dog Show, but I feel ambivalent about it because I heartily disapprove of breeding dogs and cats for money and for competition when other dogs and cats are being killed because nobody wants them. I’ve bought three pedigreed dogs and one cat in my lifetime, but never again unless it’s a rescue.

“the woman came home and ran over her backside. Fortunately, we didn't lose her. But she lost her tail …”

What a shame, tails being so useful, beautiful, and expressive. I know people who think it’s awful that we keep our cats indoors despite the fact that their cats die young from going outdoors.

“how did that cat travel 450 miles to get home? that's amazing. i want to know how.”

It’s actually not uncommon for dogs and cats to travel long distances, and, of course, the ones who are known to have done it are simply the ones who survived the journey. Cats also go the other direction, by which I mean that they sometimes return to their old home when their family moves and takes them to a new home. The reason for this is that cats are extremely attached to place, but if they’re also extremely attached to their family, there’s a greater likelihood that they will stay with their family after the move. I’ve also read of cats who were intentionally left behind only to travel to a new home that they had never been to. I don’t know whether to believe this, although I’m not able to say it’s not true either, because who knows what nonhumans are capable of in regard to abilities that we don’t have and that are hard if not impossible to test for? As for how cats and dogs return home, I have no idea. Some birds can travel 10,000 miles and land on the very rock they left, and some fish, mammals, and butterflies make similar journeys, though not as far, but it’s even more astounding when a cat or dog is moved to a new place in a car and then goes back to where he or she came from. When I think of all the challenges that that cat faced, I feel breathless. (cont.)

Snowbrush said...

I’ve thought about your statement that cats are unable to ever feel the intimacy with their humans that dogs so easily develop, and in all honesty, I don’t know if it’s true, there being so many cats who grieve horribly when their humans are lost to them, whether temporarily or permanently. Part of the reward of having cats is that I know they aren’t going to be close to me simply because we live together and I give them even a little encouragement. It instead takes considerable time and effort on my part in order for me to feel that their trust and affection for me is solid. Now that we have three cats, their individual differences, and the joy that I experience in their closeness to me, is no less rewarding than any relationship I ever had with a dog. It’s very different to be sure, but it’s no less real and no less precious. Right now, Ollie, our young adult gray cat, is asleep beside me—in another chair and on the pillow that I put there just for him everyday. Ollie seems to be our most sensitive cat, and it took the better part of a year for him to become close enough to me to want to be with me in such a way, and there is no price that I can put on that. A dog would have done as much on the same day I brought him home. With cats, everything has to be on the cat’s terms, but when they reach the point that their “terms” cause them to seek me out for intimacy, it’s indeed a very lovely experience. There is a beauty to a cat’s spirit that is simply unsurpassed by any other creature including ourselves. The more I know about cats, the more seriously I take them, and the greater my appreciation of them. My greatest disappointment with cats is that I can’t take them places with me, yet one of the main reasons we got cats is that we thought they would be content to stay home. As it turned out, they hate it when we go out the door, yet they hate it when we take them along. If they had their way, no one would ever go anyplace.

“my heart especially goes out to pit bulls because they are so loyal and yet because of that small chance of snapping a neck they languish in shelters or are killed”

Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are the dogs most likely to be abandoned because too many unstable people get them and because you can’t (so far as I know) get homeowners insurance if you have certain breeds, and they’re at the top of the list. I know I would never have one because I could never trust one. One attacked my last schnauzer, and a few weeks later, another pit bull would have attacked my heeler if I hadn’t had pepper spray.

“i am always upset to hear about your father. what he exposed you to sounds pretty traumatic.”

Well, he was a mess to be sure, but he did support his family, and he didn’t drink, do drugs, or beat us.

“Your mindful and intentional kindnesses are the essence of love and there is nothing higher to aim for.”

Insecurity and callousness get in the way sometimes, not of doing small kindnesses but of doing bigger kindnesses.

Snowbrush said...

“I wrote about quite a bit of this, and my father's handling of animals in my memoirs, Adventures of an Arkansawyer”

I didn’t know about your memoir, and I’ll be buying it if I can get it in hard copy form.

“Dangling ornaments tempt kitties too much. I'd put the unbreakable ones on the bottom of the tree to save them cats and toddlers.”

But of course. Peggy loves her ornaments to the extent that she stores them in their original boxes, so this is no small matter for her. Last Xmas, we saw the tree shaking, and when we peered into it, we saw Ollie’s beautiful green eyes peering back at us, and Scully is twice the athlete of our other cats, but, so far at least, she hasn’t been up the tree.

“Kitty climbed into the engine compartment to stay warm…All we saw was copious amounts of fur with me yelling murderer!murderer!”

How horrible, and how sad for your father to hear your words, although I can understand your anguish in that moment. My sister-in-law killed two of her cats (on two different occasions) in that same way. After that, way after she would honk the horn and wait a bit before starting her engine. Now, she keeps all of her eight or nine cats indoors.

“No more kitties, or what I really prefer, dogs here due to grandkids' allergies.”

They’re allergic to both cats AND dogs? Wow! That’s terrible. Peggy breaks out almost instantly if she holds a cat to her face, which means that she can’t cuddle them the way she would like, and she certainly can’t kiss them as I do. I’ve read that people can develop an allergy to cats almost overnight, so we’re both very much hoping that hers won’t get worse. I’ve asked her what she would do if it did, and she said she would keep the cats. Not only would it be sad to put them for a new home, it might be hard to even find a new home for the two that are grown, plus they’re so attached to one another that I would do my best to see that they stayed together and remained indoor cats. I know that people sometimes give up their cats when they fall in love with someone who’s allergic, but I simply wouldn’t give myself time to fall in love with such a person because I so deeply want cats in my life.

Winifred said...

A smile is priceless. It can cheer people up who are having a bad time. So keep up the little gestures Snowbrush.

Strayer said...

I love that you have so many books about cats. I love your kindness gesture life. I too worry about friendly cats allowed outside who think every dog and every person could be their friend.

Snowbrush said...

“A smile is priceless.”

I’m more in the direction of deadpan, I think, but I do have a sense of humor that comes out pretty easily.

“I love that you have so many books about cats.”

I’ve found several that are really good, including the one that I found an extra copy of for you. I also have quite few to get rid of, but if I don’t think they’re good, it wouldn’t make sense to give them to someone else. Some of the stories about cats are phenomenal. I have a big cat story book that contains science fiction stories, and stories from many eras in which cats become human, impregnate humans, humans become cats, cats pass as human, and all kinds of other wild stuff. One excellent book I just finished was “Secrets of the Cat” by Barbara Holland (see her Wikipedia page), an author who also wrote in defense of such vices as cursing, drinking, eating fatty food and smoking cigarettes (she died of lung cancer). I question whether she and I would have hit it off, but I liked her cat book so much that I’m in grief that she’s dead. She writes with a lot of humor except in her chapter about the church’s treatment of cats. I wonder when the pope is going to apologize for that (ha), and I fear a return to that given how nutty a lot of people’s religion is.

“I too worry about friendly cats allowed outside who think every dog and every person could be their friend.”

I’ve noticed that such cats are prone to suddenly disappear in which case my thoughts go to right to the depths of hell regarding their fate. I can’t believe the irresponsibility of most people who have cats. If cats cost $1,000, maybe they would be treated better, but when you can get them for free, it makes them seem expendable. The more I’m around cats, the more I imagine myself to really SEE, ACCEPT, and UNDERSTAND cats. I envy you your apparent enlightenment in that regard. I try to imagine how they must seem to you, and I wish you would write about them in this regard. You surely know more than most authors who write about them based upon the ten or so cats they’ve had over their lifetimes.

only slightly confused said...

Your post sent me on a journey to the past remembering all the dogs and cats that have been in my life. Currently we are without pets and will probably stay that way now. I like your idea of small kindnesses.

Myrna R. said...

I think it's so beautiful that you strive to be kind consciously as your gift to the world. Most of us cannot do great deeds but can always do many small good deeds. But I'm convinced some people never give kindness a thought. I do think about it a lot, but I'm afraid I'm not focused on it all the time and I probably pass up opportunities to infuse kindness into this world. I thank you for your deeds to humans and animals and hope you receive much kindness and love in return. I know you do it without expectations of reward, but still I hope the world treats you kindly.

rhymeswithplague said...

In my response to the last comment you left on my blog, I mentioned how you and I are different. In my response to your post here, I have to admit that you and I are also alike in some ways (besides the obvious). All three of my childhood dogs liked to bark at car wheels and all three were hit and killed near home. We slaughtered chickens too, or rather my dad did, but I remember the blood and the dancing vividly. Maybe East Texas and Mississippi were a lot alike as well. I like both cats and dogs, although at present we do not have any. When Jethro died it was very painful for both of us and I am not yet ready to have another pet, but I think Mrs. RWP is. Call me crazy but I would never want to have 62 books about cats.

Snowbrush said...

“Currently we are without pets and will probably stay that way now.”

I dread the day when I am so old or infirm that it would seem cruel even to get an old pet.

“But I'm convinced some people never give kindness a thought. I do think about it a lot, but I'm afraid I'm not focused on it all the time and I probably pass up opportunities…”

I know what you mean. With me, it’s just a matter of taking how I relate to Peggy, and extending it to my daily life. Because I have come to find such joy in being helpful, it’s not hard for me to remember to pay attention to what others need. As for people being kindly in return, most are, but I have had to let go of needing it. At Costco this week, I was in the line to return merchandize, and because the desk to do this is near the door, people were stretched out the door into the cold. I began encouraging people to come in and stand next to me so they could stay warm. Some did this, but one woman declined, saying, “You’re awfully sweet.” I couldn’t be sure, but there was something in her tone that I took as mocking, so I had to ask myself if I was going overboard. I still don’t know, but all I can do is the best that I can do, and accept that it won’t always be perfect. On another occasion, Peggy and I were going to a second floor doctor’s appt, and when we entered the building, I saw a man helping an old and frail woman down the sidewalk. I told Peggy to go ahead while I stayed behind to open the door for them. When I did, the woman thanked me, and I strongly felt that here was a radiantly strong mind and wise spirit in a frail body. I walked a little ahead of them, hit the elevator button for them (there being no place for them to go on the first floor), and then went on up the steps. They went to the same office, and it had to have been obvious to them when they saw me with Peggy that I had stayed behind to help them. When they took a seat, I wanted to sit near enough to them to talk, but I didn’t because I didn’t want them to think that I wanted anything from them in return for my kindness—even conversation—although the truth was that I did. I wanted to know that woman because it’s a rare day when someone impresses me so. It was an instance in which I could easily give, but I couldn’t easily allow myself to set myself up for rejection by wanting to receive. If I hadn’t been kind to them, it would have been easier for me to strike up a conversation.

Snowbrush said...

“When Jethro died it was very painful for both of us and I am not yet ready to have another pet, but I think Mrs. RWP is.”

When our schnauzer Wendy died in 1993, I wanted another dog right away, but it took Peggy until 1997, and she wasn’t looking for or even wanting a dog then, but when she saw Bonnie in the window of a mall pet store, she had to have her. I objected because of the source (pet store dogs come from puppy mills), but Peggy pleaded with me to at least come and look at Bonnie. I remember being at store with her, and her telling me that if I really didn’t want Bonnie, it would be okay, but then under breath she said, “I want that dog.”. Peggy later said that she didn’t remember saying that, and I believed her, but it certainly showed how strongly she felt.

“Call me crazy but I would never want to have 62 books about cats.”

Do you tend to own a lot of books, though? When I was young, I both liked owning books, and I liked the hopefully intellectual image they gave me. Then there came a point when I realized that I would die before I could read all the books I owned. I got rid of hundreds, but here I am buying books again (Victorian era books as well as cat books). If they weren’t so cheap, I could resist, but as it is, I tell myself that I can always get rid of them and not be out much, and I do have dozens in the garage waiting to be disposed of somewhere. Still, I had to move a catch-all shelf from the laundry room into my room this week to hold the many books that I can no longer fit on my bookshelves because I literally had books stacked on the floor. I knew a man—a brilliant intellectual who became well-known in the atheist community as an author and debater—which is now too big now to even be called a community) who had so many books that I worried about his two floors collapsing. I asked him if he ever got rid of any, and he said, “Why would I buy them if I didn’t want to keep them?”

All Consuming said...

A beautiful post from a beautiful person. I felt so many peaks of emotion reading this. I've never knowingly killed any living creatures with my own hand beyond spiders and bugs, and now not even those for a very long time, but that's down to circumstance because I could have had a father like yours or been influenced badly early on in life I'm sure. Bonnie. Such a beauty, I had no idea that's how you found her, or rather she found you, it's amazing how animals will choose specific people, they know clearer than we do often.

You are practising kindness, or as I think of it - the kindness initiative- it's both rewarding and makes for a better world. By just the smallest of actions you may unknowingly brighten a stranger's life just enough to stop them jumping off the building they were heading for, or simply lighten their load enough to give them some hope in humanity again after feeling so bogged down by all the cruelty and neglect we see constantly on the news. Also, people tend to ignore each other far more these days, so a simple "Good morning" with a smile can take the most miserable of faces and have them turn to beaming smiles back. It can seem quite miraculous at times. You love animals deeply as I do, and therefore do plenty to help them, for a start you're helping those three scamps that are ruining poor Peggy's decorations! She's a patient woman is our Peggy *nods*.

You're such a loving person Snow, and you can show it, which means you make a big difference whether you realise it or not. Love you sweetie Xxx

Snowbrush said...

“A beautiful post from a beautiful person.”

Get out of here, now! You obviously had multiple windows open and intended your high praise for another blogger, but I’ll pretend that it was for me just to make myself feel good.

“I've never knowingly killed any living creatures with my own hand beyond spiders and bugs, and now not even those for a very long time”

I used to catch spiders and put them outside (to the very great frustration of Peggy who was, and still is, phobic of arachnids and very much wanted them D…E…A…D. I finally concluded that even if the very spiders I put out didn’t themselves make it back in, then their offspring surely would, or, at the very least, I would have to sweep their webs off the outside of the house. So, I finally took to killing them, which I still do. I also live-trapped mice because they looked so pitiful dead, but this meant driving them out of town and letting them be someone else’s problem, so I went back to killing them. I finally replaced all of our crawlspace vents, so we’ve only had one mouse in years now, and the cats killed it.

“You are practising kindness, or as I think of it - the kindness initiative…

I had to look that up, and, as near as I can gather, it’s meant to hook people up with organizations.

“people tend to ignore each other far more these days, so a simple "Good morning" with a smile can take the most miserable of faces and have them turn to beaming smiles back.”

One of my major problems with cellphones is that people who are walking while using them don’t make eye contact and wouldn’t want anyone to talk to them if they did. The promise of much technology is connectivity, but the people with whom one connects are never the people who are right there in front of him or her.

“I could have had a father like yours or been influenced badly early on in life…”

Yes, but, as you know of course, nature and nurture both matter, so I would be astounded if you had turned out to have worked as a butcher and gone hunting on weekends.

“You love animals deeply as I do, and therefore do plenty to help them, for a start you're helping those three scamps that are ruining poor Peggy's decorations!”

I read last night that, here in the U.S., 4.5 million cats go into shelters each year, but only 500,000 come out alive, so I know that my cats could have done far worse than to be with us, but at the same time, it’s as hard for me to think of myself as having done them a good turn as it would have been had I paid a thousand dollars each for them. By the way, who knows why, but Brewsky was half price at the shelter on the day we got him (all shelters expect to be recompensed for their expenses, although the amount they ask (between $75 and $190 is the price here depending upon the pet and the shelter that has the pet) is far less than it would cost to have the same things done privately), so when I’m mad at him, I remind him that he’s such a sorry piece of work that no but me wanted him, and I only brought him home because all the of the good cats cost more. Naturally, he neither believes me, nor would he care if he did, or else I wouldn’t say it. Such meanness is just how we macho males express our love for one another.

All Consuming said...

"I had to look that up, and, as near as I can gather, it’s meant to hook people up with organizations." - Oh, no it was just something I made up for myself! Hahahaha. However I have since found that it's also an art project about being kind too -

https://twitter.com/kindness_2016


KL said...

Really enjoyed reading your article. It's true that little gestures can go a long way. I believe that good gesture goes a long way.

I love animals and especially dogs and so shocked to hear that humane societies kill them. Really? I donate to many humane societies but would never do so if I know they kill animals :-(...

It's so great to know that you rescue dogs/cats/other animals. Absolutely awesome.

KL said...

I tried to follow you but getting the forbidden error 403 message. Do you know why?

joared said...

Somewhere along life's way I concluded being nice to others takes such little effort it's best -- besides, we never know what's going on in somebody else's life -- so a little kindness just might make a difference for them. Makes a difference for me, too.

Killing wild creatures just for recreation isn't justified from my point of few. Attitudes toward this have evolved over the years. I think there are situations when an altered environment (usually having been caused by humans) has upset nature's balance that adjustments must be made. I think of how much acreage might be required to support a certain number of animals such as buffalo herds in the West that have required thinning. Then, in the northeast over populations of deer, other animals in some areas -- or rabbits -- cause the natural predatory animals that once were present are no longer.

I guess we each form our own values when it comes to respecting life -- and some value life differently than others. We have to ask ourselves if the sames rules we want for ourselves apply to all life forms, or ......?

Snowbrush said...

“I tried to follow you but getting the forbidden error 403 message. Do you know why?”

I’m awfully sorry for this, but no, it’s nothing I’ve ever heard of, and I certainly didn't mean to make it impossible to follow my blog. I Googled “403 Forbidden,” but I can’t even tell for sure from what I read that the problem is originating on my end. I will go into my settings, see if there’s anything I can do, and get back to you (probably later today). Thank you SO MUCH for letting me know.

“I love animals and especially dogs and so shocked to hear that humane societies kill them. Really?“

Worse yet, the one I belonged to was in a small town, and the only way I had to do the killing was with a gun (the local vet wouldn’t give me nearly enough drugs). The sad truth is that WAY more pets go into shelters than there are homes for (for example, 4.5 million cats are taken to shelters in the USA yearly, and only 500,000 come out alive). It’s also true that the odds of finding a home are lower for some animals than for others because many people want a kitten or a puppy rather than a grown cat or dog; many of the animals are seriously ill or have behavioral problems; and in the case of cats, feral cats simply don’t make good pets. “No kill” shelters claim that distinction by refusing to accept animals that they deem unadoptable, which puts the burden of killing animals (and accepting the bad PR of doing so) onto other shelters—usually city or county shelters. I don’t fault no kill shelters for this, but it does create the impression that all pets can be adopted but that some shelters care enough to get the job done while others do not.

“It's so great to know that you rescue dogs/cats/other animals. Absolutely awesome.”

Only when I come across them, which isn’t too terribly rare since I live near a park and a popular walking path. That said, I can never tell if a cat is lost, while few dogs will let me anywhere near them. I try to approach them as unthreateningly as possible while radiating all the good will that I possess in their direction, but most lost dogs are such in a state of abject terror that I can rarely get within fifty or a hundred feet of them. Still, I’ve been able to bring home quite a few over the 26 years I’ve lived in this house. Fortunately, most of them had tags, so I was able to either call their person’s phone number, or the Animal Control if the only tag the dog was wearing was a rabies tag.

“Killing wild creatures just for recreation isn't justified from my point of few.”

I think that, in urban areas, it would be easy to find agreement about this while rural areas are filled with hunters and fishermen. I would also question the morality of even raising animals for food given the land and energy that it takes and the fact that we can live healthy lives without the killing. I have been either made fun of or otherwise treated with disapproval many times over the years because I wouldn’t eat meat, chicken, or turkey. What could be stranger, though, than for a person’s mouth to water over the prospect of sitting down to a dead carcass but be so grossed out by tofu (soybean curd), that he or she won’t even taste it?

“ We have to ask ourselves if the same rules we want for ourselves apply to all life forms, or ……?”

Would this not mean that a person couldn’t have predators for pets; swat mosquitos; kill disease causing bacteria; destroy invasive species or even dig up dandelions; drive cars for fear of running down insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals; kill plants in order to build houses or to clear a space to grow other plants; cut down trees for wood and paper or cotton for clothing; etc.? I would argue that one can survive without killing, but if the stories are right about the reverence with which Native Americans killed, their attitudes were so far removed from our attitudes that it’s as if we are so many rabid wolverines. I think that, if you look at our behaviors, it’s a rare modern human being who cares how much needless pain and death he or she causes.

Snowbrush said...

“I tried to follow you but getting the forbidden error 403 message. Do you know why?”

I can’t figure it out. I’ve been over all of my settings, and see nothing restrictive there, and the suggestions I find through “help” don’t apply to Blogspot, and relate to people having problems with their own blogs rather than with other people having problems with their blogs. I also signed up to follow your blog, and the process went without a hitch. Perhaps, you could try again and tell me if you get the same message. Is anyone else having this trouble, or does anyone have a suggestion?

E. Rosewater said...

i got directed to some strange site when i clicked on your address. so it goes.

i find nothing works better than a smile when it comes to dealing with people. i usually give money to panhandlers but my intentions aren't always altruistic. when it comes to preserving my lifelong good luck, every little bit counts.

OneOldGoat said...

Sometimes a smile from a stranger is about the only thing preventing me from wanting to dig a hole and hide in it. Never underestimate the power of a smile and thank you for doing it.

Snowbrush said...

“i usually give money to panhandlers but my intentions aren't always altruistic. when it comes to preserving my lifelong good luck, every little bit counts.”

I don’t know, E, isn’t giving money to panhandlers for luck a bit like carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck? I used to have a rabbit’s foot-got it at F.W. Woolworth’s and it was pink as I recall. At the time, the idea that I might be doing something unethical didn’t occur to me.

“Sometimes a smile from a stranger is about the only thing preventing me from wanting to dig a hole and hide in it.”

Me too. It’s a sad state of affairs to be in but it is surely one of the things that has made me more compassionate to others.

KL said...

I could follow you now. I guess something was wrong with blogger that day and was giving such error messages.

kj said...

snow, i'm stopping by to wish you happy holidays and a good year ahead. i have a lot to be thankful for and i know this is true for you too.
with love
kj

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Wow from cats to pets to Pa the good and evil and then you a wonderful good samaritan. I agree that helping others is usually rewarding.I found myself singing carols softly here and there lately and it made some folks smile and even comment about my cheerfulness. I thanked them and wished them well. All feels good after that.
Your comment are as long as some posts I read and with visual difficulty but you remain in my head ever since we met here years ago.

I came by to wish you and Peggy a happy holiday. Hopefully the cats will not be too mischievous while decration are around.

Snowbrush said...

“I could follow you now.”

I am so glad. Glad because I value you. Glad because I don’t have to worry about the problem being the result of something I did and was too dumb to fix. And glad because others probably won’t encounter the problem. I just love it when problems “get well” on their own.

“snow, i'm stopping by to wish you happy holidays and a good year ahead.’

Much love to you too, Sweetheart. What a treat it is to have you in my life.

“you a wonderful good samaritan.”

I have far too many failings to feel wonderful, but the little bit of good that I do in such minor ways at least makes me feel less un-wonderful.

“Your comment are as long as some posts I read and with visual difficulty but you remain in my head ever since we met here years ago.”

Thank you for all the kind words that you’ve said about me. Yes, it has been years now. I don’t even know when I first started blogging, but you and KJ (who left the comment just ahead of yours) go way back with me. The longevity of a relationship matters a lot to me because the longer someone “puts up with me,” the greater the likelihood that they will continue to do so, and that’s what makes me feel like they’re my friend, and that they don’t just value me based upon a misunderstanding of whom I am. I’ve so many new readers over the years who wrote wonderful things about me, and then disappeared, some of them because I made them angry, and others’ for reasons unknown.

As for the comments being long, this is mostly because I respond to as many people as I can in the same comment frame in order to reduce the amount of mail they receive. It’s also true that I LOVE long and thoughtful comments. So often, people will apologize for the length of a comment they make (someone even apologized to me on her own blog today for doing that), and I just hate it when they feel the need to do that because what a long comment means to me is that what I wrote interested someone enough for them to take the time and energy to respond thoughtfully. Honestly, if I didn’t value that, what would be the point of blogging? It’s exactly what I want, yet, I suppose, most people, for reasons unknown to me, think it’s inappropriate. I tend to give what I want in this regard. That is, I leave long comments on other people’s blogs, and not just one comment either but often an exchange of comments with the blog owner. So far, no one has ever complained. I have worried that the blog owner’s other readers might find me tedious, but it’s a risk I’ll have to run, I guess, if I’m to approach blogging in a way that I value.

“Hopefully the cats will not be too mischievous while decration are around.”

It was the baby (Scully) that we mostly worried about, so we simply didn’t put out a lot of things, and we put some of the more delicate tree decorations high on the tree so she couldn’t stand of the floor and bat them around or, god forbid, bite them. However, she has been much better than we feared. Our only “problems” are that all three cats love to sleep under the tree, so the tree skirt is a mess, and we can’t store our presents in a closet. Also, they tend to walk right through the middle of decorations on tables, so those decorations get moved around a lot, and the artificial snow that Peggy spreads around her table decorations stays a mess.

possum said...

I do adore your kitties. I wish I could have my outside babies inside, but Rusty is feline HIV and must be an only cat. But he seems quite happy here and has long conversations thru the kitchen window with Spook and now Hoover. Otherwise he contents himself with his toys. Rusty is one of the most loving little animals I have ever had.

As for holding doors open, most of us around here just automatically do that for each other - except for the younger folks. Somehow the kids the age of my grandkids don't seem to have any concept of holding a door for anyone else, not even the elderly or those who are struggling to get in or out a door. They will let a door shut right in your face as they go merrily on their way, chances are they are blabbing away on their phones - or tweeting something.

Serena Lewis said...

OH NO! I had a massively long comment ready to go but, when I clicked on 'Publish', it wouldn't go through and replaced my comment with a pop-up window saying something about my HTML not being accepted and then, it disappeared into cyberspace. I'm kicking myself for not 'copying' my comment before I hit 'Publish'. I promise to return and comment again but I must go out now.

Snowbrush said...

“They will let a door shut right in your face as they go merrily on their way, chances are they are blabbing away on their phones - or tweeting something.”

No matter their age, people on cell phones are off in a private world that precludes eye contact and therefore awareness of what’s going on with others. I have a friend who offered to include me in his cellphone package because he said it would put our friendship on a whole new level if we texted all day, and I thought, my god, I don’t to text all day—or any of the day—so I guess our friendship won’t flourish, and indeed, he has withdrawn what little he was already giving, all because I didn’t want an iPhone. It’s good to set boundaries though. As for young people being worse than older people about opening doors, I just know that most of the people who open doors for me are a good bit younger than I. However, I know that there have been studies in which it was shown that young people are more likely to stop and help an old man whose car has broken down than they are to stop and help an old woman. I don’t know why this would be, but the study I read years ago (and probably couldn’t find again) seemed like a good one to me. Maybe younger people are simply more likely to want “father energy” in their lives than “mother energy.” I just know that I feel very well treated by young people, both males and females, and I especially value being able to relate warmly to young women because since there’s no sexual energy—or the fear thereof—in either direction, it gives me a feeling of safety from the lust that I once would have experienced, and, I suppose, it gives them a feeling of safety because they don’t worry about me me misinterpreting their friendliness. I instead feel interested in, and protective of, them. Some might call this sexist, but I believe it’s natural and desirable.

“I'm kicking myself for not 'copying' my comment before I hit ‘Publish’."

I do know the feeling, but only horrible people write long comments anyway, so I naturally expected better of you (I know I certainly wouldn’t leave a long comment because I prefer comments that say, “Grate post. You have a grate talent for espressing yourself. I’m so glad I find your blog, and I look forwarded to reeding more of what you have to say on your blog” this followed by a link to a penile lengthening creme that will also care cancer. It’s your hassle and my intellectual loss that your comment disappeared, so I’m kicking myself over it too (I'm SO glad you visited me!). What I’ve had happen was to write a long comment, and then the damn page would mysteriously decide to reload (I think such things are called the devil in the machine), and it would all be gone. I therefore write nearly all of my comments in Pages (the Apple word processing program). Sometimes, I’ll take a chance on getting a short one done on someone’s blog but I always feel like a daredevil doing it.

possum said...

Hey Snowy, Thanks for stopping by. His name is Rusty... just go back one post: http://possumlane.blogspot.com/2016/12/rusty-and-his-chrismouse-tree.html

Serena Lewis said...

From now on, I will be using a word processor to write comments. It has happened to me in the past but I guess I became lax after it hadn't reoccurred in a long time. Lesson learned — sigh

A comment will be coming forthwith.

Serena Lewis said...

I think I may split my comment into two to be on the safe side. It was a very long one and Blogger may have a limit for comments. It won't be the same as the original unfortunately.

Okay, here goes —

(Part One)
I have heard of dogs and cats travelling long distances to reunite with their beloved human companions. Bonnie was beautiful. So sad about Sassy though. We used to have a blue heeler many, many years ago. He was such a sweet dog.

Scully certainly likes to stay active or perhaps she just enjoys keeping you and Peggy on your toes. hehe Cats do love to play with their toys especially when they are young.

I have to confess that some parts of this post were hard to read, however, I do appreciate your honesty and the sharing of your personal experience. That's what blogs are for, after all.

I find it hard to understand how people like your father can alternate between acts of kindness and cruelty towards animals. I admit that I am hypersensitive when I read about, or see footage of, animal cruelty. My heart aches for the animals involved and my blood pressure literally sky-rockets. I know this because I have to take regular readings with being prone to hypertension over the last five years.

I think the deep connection I feel with animals stems way back to childhood. I clearly remember an incident in Grade Two when we were out in the playground at lunch time. A boy had found a grasshopper and we all gathered around to see it. He then stated that he was going to kill it and I immediately screamed "No, don't!" and started crying. I raced off to get the nearest teacher on playground duty. She came over and, through tearful sobs, I relayed what his intentions were. I remember her giving me a look that basically said, "It's only a bug. Why are you getting so upset?". To her credit, she told the boy to place the grasshopper in nearby shrubs and leave it alone.

I mentioned a few more individual experiences in my lost comment but I'll skip them this time around. Suffice to say, that all my life, I have experienced a deep feeling of anguish when it has come to animals being harmed in any way. It is no surprise to me that I eventually chose the vegan way of life.

Serena Lewis said...

(Part Two)
My son worked for a time at the RSPCA and he ended up leaving because he didn't cope well with having to euthanise healthy animals due to overcrowding. It played heavily on his mind and he once came home in tears. Humans are the main reason animal shelters exist. It breaks my heart to think of the weak excuses many people gave for no longer wanting their pet. In my opinion, when people get a dog/cat, it should be a lifetime commitment as they are not disposable commodities. Puppy farms are horrific places and they should be banned. It is ludicrous to me that people buy puppies when so many cats and dogs in shelters need loving, forever homes. I am a firm believer in the 'Adopt, Don't Shop' slogan.

Your kindness project is very similar to the way I was raised. I also open doors for people and strike up conversations with strangers in the check-out queues, etc. My youngest son used to admonish me when I would slow my car down to allow a waiting car to join our busy lane of traffic. I always responded saying that it doesn't hurt anyone to be kind and courteous, even on the road. Now, my son is a Learner driver and he too stops to let cars into a busy lane. hehe

Agreed, appearances can be quite deceiving when it comes to people. I admire people who march to the beat of their own drum. They make the world a more interesting place, that's for sure.

I love the idea behind random acts of kindness. Sad that your friend, Jake, was called an asshole though.

Okay, believe it or not, this is was the shorter version of my previous, lost comment. haha

Have a lovely week.

Serena Lewis said...

In the area we live in, it is illegal to allow cats to roam free although many people ignore it. Cats are domesticated and can live quite happily indoors. People must also register their cats, as we do for our dogs, at the local council. This is an annual registration fee. Sadly, cats have become a big problem because they cause a lot of harm to native wildlife which are protected by Australian law. It wouldn't be so bad if people kept their cats indoors and had them neutered. Many responsible cat owners do adhere to the rules and they also recognise the fact that it is actually safer for their cats to remain indoors too. Some owners erect cage-like tunnel-runs which connect to a pet-door on their house so that their cats can still enjoy the outdoors at their leisure.

Snowbrush said...

“We used to have a blue heeler many, many years ago. He was such a sweet dog.”

Ours would bite. She would bite other dogs, she would bite other people, and she would bite us. At the same time, if I scolded her, she would act as if she she wanted to die, she would be so sad. She was the most interesting dog I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe that I was actually keeping a dog who would bite her human family, but I loved that dog intensely, and I realized that when she would snapped at me, it was often because she was defending her considerable sense of dignity. People—including myself—often treat dogs with condescension, and Bonnie wouldn’t put up with it.

“Scully certainly likes to stay active or perhaps she just enjoys keeping you and Peggy on your toes.”

Scully is like a daughter to me, and I dread her becoming an adult because kittens are so darn much fun. I get up in the morning all excited about seeing Scully.

“I have to confess that some parts of this post were hard to read”

Peggy—my wife—says the same. I have written parts of this post before, and at one point included a scan of a one page essay that I wrote about Sassy soon after her death.

“I find it hard to understand how people like your father can alternate between acts of kindness and cruelty towards animals.”

My father was mentally ill. Also, he was transgender in Mississippi back before he even knew that there were others like him. He was also morbidly shy to the point that he had trouble ordering food in a restaurant (one of the few times he wasn’t shy was when he was mad). He had been a bar brawler before he met my mother, who was his fourth wife, and their marriage was deeply unhappy. He hated inland Mississippi and really wanted to move to some coastal area (he loved Galveston), but mother wouldn’t agree, plus he felt trapped in a low paying job. So, Dad had a lot going on his head that pushed him toward inconsistent behavior. Of course, it’s also true that inconsistency is the human condition. (For example, Donald Trump’s most numerous and outspoken supporters in the recent election were evangelical Christians whose most cherished values completely contradict those endorsed by Trump, both in regard to what he says and how he behaves. It is even true that one of the groups that will perform at his inauguration is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the years, I have moved more and more toward what is, to me, the inescapable conclusion that what organized Christianity says it believes and what it really believes couldn’t be in greater contradiction. I would love to be able to take people at face value, but 100% of what I see in organized Christianity is hypocrisy.)

“I think the deep connection I feel with animals stems way back to childhood.”

This was true for me too because I believed that all things—animate and inanimate—had feelings, but I shared my father’s inconsistencies. For example, I had a model horse collection. If I were in a store shopping for a new horse, and found that one of the horses had been damaged (broken legs were common), that would be the horse I would buy because I knew that no one else would want it. Yet, I would also shoot small animals, and this went on for upwards of ten years before I not only stopped but came to regard hunting as an ethical failure borne from callousness.

Snowbrush said...

“I mentioned a few more individual experiences in my lost comment but I'll skip them this time around.”

I’m sorry you stopped when you did.

“ It played heavily on his mind and he once came home in tears.”

It’s the best people who are called upon to do the worst things. The animals I killed were through a small town rescue group that was composed of several women and myself. The killing had to be done, and the women refused to take any part in it (one even saying that she was too “kind-hearted”) and sat looking at me. I took the job and killed truckloads of dogs before abruptly quitting not only the killing but the group. The saddest thing was that we had no way to kill dogs except with a gun, and this made it a true nightmare for the animals because they knew what was coming.

“I am a firm believer in the 'Adopt, Don't Shop' slogan.”

I am too, but as with hunting, this was a realization that only came to me after many years of having pets, during which I bought a blue heeler and two schnauzers. I can understand why people choose pedigreed dogs and even cats, but at the same time, an animal can be a marvelous pet that has no pedigree and comes from tragic circumstances, and oh the joy of knowing that I might have saved that pet from death. Of course, kittens and dogs are so easy to adopt out that I personally probably haven’t actually saved any animal from death (all that I’ve adopted were my three kitties), but it still gives me a good feeling to adopt a “rescue” animal, plus most pedigree animals have hereditary health issues that aren’t found in non-pedigrees. What we lack in the US is an animal bill of rights because unless the law catches you physically abusing or starving your pet, your pet is at your mercy, so pets often receive the worst treatment that our species is capable of.

“In the area we live in, it is illegal to allow cats to roam free although many people ignore it.”

Peggy and I both strongly believe in keeping our cats indoors, but there are many people here who consider it unconscionable to do this because they don’t believe that an indoor cat can have a rewarding life. Part of the reason we have three cats is precisely this concern. We’re also at home almost all the time—literally 24 hours a day most days—and are therefore able to spend a lot of time with our cats. As with a lot of things, having to keep our cats indoors is unfortunate in some ways, but letting them out is a far, far worse decision in my view. If they seemed unhappy, I could make an escape proof area for them that they could access through a cat door, but so far, I don’t see the need, and since our neighborhood is overrun with outdoor cats and even feral cats, I would anticipate significant stress coming into the lives of our cats if they went out because they would feel that their home was being constantly invaded by outsiders and that they would be unable to do anything about it. Such stress can come into a cat’s life simply by seeing other cats through a window, so think of the tree that would come from being nose to nose with such cat through a fence.

“Many responsible cat owners do adhere to the rules and they also recognise the fact that it is actually safer for their cats to remain indoors too.”

Indeed. Since you’re new to my blog, you probably don’t know that I’m a collector of books about cats, and that I spend a whole lot of time actually reading those books, so I know a great deal about the advantages of keeping cats indoors. Of course, nothing I can say means anything to those whom let their cats out (in regard to safety, for example, they can always respond by saying that they knew an outdoor cat that lived to be twenty). A person can make it all the way through college in America without ever taking a logics course—again, Donald Trump (and his millions of followers) being our best known example of how appallingly tragic and dangerous the illogic of the masses can be.

Serena, I'm so sorry that you had to reproduce your comment.

Darla M Sands said...

You make me even more grateful for my dad. Bless you for your kind efforts. The smallest things can make a huge difference. And thank you for stopping by my blog. Friendly comments really brighten my day.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I live in Ontatio Canada and also have a cat named Ellie who is a senior now like me. She sleeps under the tree and is not very playful as she once was. I wonder though how a cat who sleeps most of the day and night can have such a big appetite. She loves her food to be served when we eat and has dry food snacks in the night. Her recent vet check up was costly but we learned she remains in good health. I managed to get her arthriris to go away be keeping her on herring based wet cat food that is pricy but cheaper than frequent vet visits for meds. Vet was surprised she has her movement back in her affected hind leg. I'm pleased for Ellie.


Snowbrush said...

“You make me even more grateful for my dad.”

I’m grateful for mine too, because despite all his problems, he tried to do right by his kids. In his mind, that meant not beating us, supporting us financially, not making us work hard like he had, sending us to college, and buying us such things as he could afford. In my case, this meant a car, which I started driving at 14, which was a year before I got my license. The important things which my father didn't give my sister and me at all was guidance, discipline, belief in our abilities, and a sense of responsibility,

“I wonder though how a cat who sleeps most of the day and night can have such a big appetite.”

I’ve read that cats evolved to sleep 16-hours a day to save energy for hunting, but, like people, I guess, they need more sleep for other reasons when they get old. I know that old cats often eat very little and waste away as a result, so it’s good that she’s eating. I’ve also read that cats are prone to senility, the early signs of which appear after age ten, so I’m wondering how old your cat is and if you can tell that’s she becoming senile.

“I managed to get her arthriris to go away be keeping her on herring based wet cat food that is pricy but cheaper than frequent vet visits for meds.”

And certainly way cheaper than the drug Metacam, which the vet might have given her. It works wonders in dogs, but I have yet to give it to a cat, and I hope I can remember what you’re doing when my cats get arthritic. If herring works for cats, maybe it works for people too. Sardines are herring, and I like sardines. I also wonder if the type of fish has to be herring, or if some other cold water fish would do since they’re all low in mercury (though the small ones are preferable) and high in Omega 3.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

did your sister end up keeping the cat??
cats and dogs have been known to go back to an old house miles away, would be interesting to see GPS readings from where they go to get back.


rhymeswithplague said...

I've never had 50 comments on any post in nearly ten years of blogging, and if I have to write about cats to achieve them I guess I never will.

A very happy and safe 2017 to you and Peggy.

Joe Todd said...

Have a great New Year

Kranhu said...

Happy New Year, Snowbrush! I am thankful that I found your blog.(via Sue)--Kris

Snowbrush said...

“did your sister end up keeping the cat??”

What cat? Maybe I worded myself poorly, but I don’t even know where, so rather go back and look, I’ll just say that my younger sister, Gay, ran over—and killed—her own cat when she dodged my cat while backing out of her driveway one day. At the time, she lived on my parents’ property, and I had given my cat to my parents (i.e. dumped it on them). So, my sister never had my cat, and she thought pretty poorly of my cat after that incident.

“I've never had 50 comments on any post in nearly ten years of blogging, and if I have to write about cats to achieve them I guess I never will.”

And you accuse ME of being a sloppy and/or senile reader of YOUR posts! You are free to correct me if I’m wrong—indeed, I rely on you for corrections, and appreciate them greatly— but I counted 13 paragraphs in this post, only four of which had the word cat in them one or more times, yet you consider this to be a post about cats! Come on now and tell the truth—you’re just jealous of my cats because you think I love them more than I do you. I can but offer that you love your wife more than you do me, and although that has hurt me through the years, I've come to terms with it.

As for 50 comments, a good many of them are mine, and there would be more than there are if I devoted a response window to each of the comments I receive. Part of the reason that I don’t do that is that I don’t want to be the source of anymore mail than I have to. Among the blogs I visit, Elephant’s Child (Sue) receives the most comments, and she responds to every last one of them. I can but be grateful that you don’t lust after comments to the point of being willing to prostitute yourself by writing about cats.

Happy New Year to you all, and, Kranhu, I'm glad you found me too.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I miss read, sorry. was your cousin with the wandering cat, not your sister :)

rhymeswithplague said...

You are right, this post was more about dogs than cats. But cats were mentioned more in the comments. The main body also included chickens and the comments included horses. A regular menagerie.πŸ˜ΊπŸ˜½πŸ˜ΈπŸ˜ΉπŸ˜ΏπŸ˜ΎπŸ˜»πŸ™€πŸΆπŸ΄πŸ”

Serena Lewis said...

Snowbrush, our blue heeler was so placid and never bit or snapped at anyone although I have heard that blue heelers can have that tendency.

I was raised Roman Catholic although my parents were not strict on religion. It was up to us whether we went to church or not and they themselves never attended church regularly, particularly Dad. For years, we attended Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve which we kids thought was fun. I do remember my parents becoming outraged once when my sister and I told them we wanted to convert to Mormonism. Of course, at that time, we were immature, love-crazed teens infatuated with our teen idol, Donny Osmond, who was Mormon. My sister's friend was Mormon and he made it sound great, however, the deep-seated reason was Donny. We never did convert and, in my 20's, I soon started to see a lot of hypocrisy in all organised religion. Now, I don't feel affiliated with any religion. While some refer to Buddhism as a religion, technically, it doesn't fit the category as, for one, they don't believe there is a God. The Buddha apparently said that nobody should believe his teaching out of faith but should go by their own experiences to determine if what he said was true.

"I had a model horse collection. If I were in a store shopping for a new horse, and found that one of the horses had been damaged (broken legs were common), that would be the horse I would buy because I knew that no one else would want it."

In my eyes, that is commendable. I have always found myself drawn to the underdog rather than the one everyone else felt drawn to. If I ever do get another dog, it would definitely be a rescue, and it would be the dog everyone else would determine as ugly or old — the one that nobody else would want.

"It’s the best people who are called upon to do the worst things."

Very true.

Serena Lewis said...



"...plus most pedigree animals have hereditary health issues that aren’t found in non-pedigrees."

Definitely! It saddens me greatly to see how the German Shepherd breed has been ruined over the years because of breeders interbreeding them in search of the 'perfect' dog. It has happened with other breeds too. Several years ago, I went to a dog show with one of my sons who had to attend for the course he was studying at the time. I was shocked to see that the German Shepherds couldn't even walk properly because their hip areas were so low to the ground. They walked like they were crippled and it made me so upset. I adored German Shepherds as my parents used to breed and show them. I have always loved wolves and German Shepherds do have a strong resemblance to wolves. Yes, I think my parents were also looking for that perfect dog to win a championship which did eventually happen but, over that time, I recall that they sent a few of our much-loved dogs to 'live with friends on a farm' and we never saw our beloved pets again. I look back and see the lies they told us which still upsets me to think about, however, I'm glad my parents left the Dog Show world after about eight years of participation.

"I’m a collector of books about cats."

Fiction or non-fiction? I have a blogger friend who also enjoys reading books about cats. She mentions a series of 'The Cat Who...' books on her blog. Have you read them? I find myself reading books about dogs but, as I am a lover of all animals, I am not averse to reading books on cats and other animals too. Have you read the true story called 'A Street Cat Named Bob' by James Bowen? Quite a nice story. I have a few other non-fiction books with animal themes such as camels, pigs, dogs, elephants, etc

Snowbrush said...

“It saddens me greatly to see how the German Shepherd breed has been ruined over the years because of breeders interbreeding them in search of the 'perfect' dog.”

As you mentioned later, they walk like they’re deformed, which I’m sure they are. Yes, “perfect dog” goes in quotes because I doubt that even dog fighters hurt dogs as much those who are willing to do any cruel tinkering with their genes in the quest for ego, money, and ribbons. I am adamantly opposed to breeding dogs except where they’re need for a particular purpose—herding for instance.

"I’m a collector of books about cats. ‘Fiction or non-fiction?’”

Both, along with books of art and poetry, and whatever else attracts me. I want to learn about cats, but some cat fiction is excellent, and it’s easier to read it late at night when I’m tired. I’ve also read a few books about an individual person’s cat, but I rarely finish most of them.

“Have you read the true story called 'A Street Cat Named Bob' by James Bowen?”

I started it, but didn’t finish it, although I think Peggy did. I don’t remember enough about it to say what I didn’t like, but I’ll just say that, in general, I am drawn toward books that are about cats themselves, but not so much drawn to books that are as much—or more—about the author’s life as about the author’s cat. As I recall, this author had been a drug addict who attributed his recovery to a cat, and I was turned-off at the start by that because I didn’t consider it realistic. If I could only recommend one book about cats to you, it would be “Roger Caras’ Treasury of Great Cat Stories.” While most of these stories are centered on cats, it’s interesting to reflect upon how different cat stories are from dog stories. For instance, an ancient theme that has been written about many times regards a man who either unknowingly married a cat in a woman’s form, or else found a way to turn a beloved cat into a woman. Have you even encountered anything like this for a dog? For better or worse, cats and women are imagined to share many of the same attributes, which might be why the stories of our childhood were about girls and their cats versus boys and their dogs.

“I find myself reading books about dogs but, as I am a lover of all animals, I am not averse to reading books on cats and other animals too.”

Same here, although I’m no so much interested in horses.

“I have always loved wolves and German Shepherds do have a strong resemblance to wolves.”

German Shepherds are often substituted for wolves in old movies, which can be really laughable when one observes that the supposedly fierce wolves are running about in a playful mood wondering what in the hell they’re supposed to be doing. I love wolves too. I recall a PBS special on which a couple went to live with wild wolves. As you can imagine, it took the wolves awhile to warm up to them, but when they did, they warmed-up the the man better. I don’t know so much about cats, but dogs are clearly aware of people’s gender.

“my parents becoming outraged once when my sister and I told them we wanted to convert to Mormonism….we were immature, love-crazed teens infatuated with our teen idol, Donny Osmond, who was Mormon.”

Girls are different that way, which I realized when I watched in horror and disgust as girls who I would have mistaken for goddesses screamed, shed tears, and even fainted over the Beatles. As a boy with aspirations of coolness, I felt both an honest and an obligatory distaste for the Osmonds, and the fact they were wholesome Mormons only made them worse.

Snowbrush said...

“I soon started to see a lot of hypocrisy in all organised religion.”

Which has never looked worse in this country (in my lifetime) than it does following Christians’ widespread political support for a man who is no more ethical or loving than Satan. If anything has given secularism a boost, it has been Christian support for Trump.

“While some refer to Buddhism as a religion, technically, it doesn't fit the category as, for one, they don't believe there is a God.”

As I understand Buddhism, it varies a lot across national borders, so while the teachings of the Buddha didn’t refer to a deity, Buddhism in some nations is theistic and even superstitious. Even here in America, it seems to me that most Buddhists believe in reincarnation, but if there is no deity, what is the guiding force for reincarnation?

“If I ever do get another dog, it would definitely be a rescue, and it would be the dog everyone else would determine as ugly or old — the one that nobody else would want.”

You would surely enjoy the book, “A Dog’s Life: Autobiography of a Stray” by Ann M. Martin. Both it and the cat book I recommended can be had for a penny on Amazon, and I haven’t even checked eBay.

Snowbrush said...

"'A Street Cat Named Bob'"

If you enjoyed this series of books, you would surely enjoy Cleveland Amory, who wrote at least three books about the same cat, and was a noted friend to animals. His unremitting efforts to help animals gave his books a credibility in my eyes, because I assume that all such books are part fiction, it just being a matter of degree combined with my concerns about the motives of the author. It's so very important to me that I trust an author, that, rightly or wrongly, if I lose that trust, I lose interest in his or her writings.

Snowbrush said...

“an ancient theme that has been written about many times regards a man who either unknowingly married a cat in a woman’s form, or else found a way to turn a beloved cat into a woman.”

I just remembered that, in the Caras’ book, there is a story by Henry Slesar entitled “My Father, the Cat,” which is about a woman who married a cat and had a male child by that cat. This was my favorite story in the book for many reasons: it was well-written; fascinatingly weird; and spoke to what I mentioned earlier regarding our species' myths and fantasies about cats. As you no doubt know, for centuries, cats were deified, and then for additional centuries, they were seen as the embodiment of Satan, at least in Europe. Why cats? Then, there’s the fact that, in the Moslem religion, cats are esteemed, while dogs are despised. Also, why is it that in some places, black cats were considered lucky, while the opposite was true in others. The meaning of cats in the life of our species is one aspect of our existence that fascinates me. In my own life, one of the things that puzzles me no end is whether I would know that a neutered cat was male or female based upon behavior alone. It’s hard to believe I wouldn’t, but equally hard to believe I would. I'm very sure that I would know that Scully is female, but while Peggy thinks our male cat, Brewsky, seems very female (for one thing, he is still nursing our young adult male named Ollie), he seems quite male to me.

Serena Lewis said...

...but not so much drawn to books that are as much—or more—about the author’s life as about the author’s cat.

I understand. I enjoy reading both types. I will look into the Cleveland Amory books. The fact that he is a noted friend to animals is a big draw card for me.

Have you even encountered anything like this for a dog?

No, I haven't — sounds quite interesting.

...special on which a couple went to live with wild wolves.

I saw that same special too. Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived with the wolves for six years. They were also founders of the website — Living with Wolves — which you are probably aware of.

I watched in horror and disgust as girls who I would have mistaken for goddesses screamed, shed tears, and even fainted over the Beatles.

I assure you that my sister and I were never that bad but, agreed, there are a lot of young teens who still behave like that over their celebrity idols. Back in their heyday, the Osmond family gave a testimonial speech at a Brisbane Mormon church when they toured Australia. As the father of my sister's friend was head of that church, he gave us the opportunity to meet the Osmonds in person. Their testimonials are what prompted my sister and I to want to convert but, as I said, that never eventuated.

As you no doubt know, for centuries, cats were deified, and then for additional centuries, they were seen as the embodiment of Satan, at least in Europe.

I think human nature is a mystery in itself.