There’s a lot of little routines in our household driven by a lumpy old tomcat named Pete and an irritable tortoiseshell named Owney. Each night when I lay down to sleep, I hear a series of thumps. Pete comes down from whatever perch he has been flopping on, pads across the wood floor, leaps onto the bed, and plants himself firmly on my stomach. If I don’t get to the petting, he taps his paw on my face.
As spring arrives, fashionably late, the cardinals, norther harriers, black-capped chickadees, finches, and dark-eyed juncos busy themselves all around our house. At this very moment, a male mallard has plunked himself down in the middle of our yard, while rabbits nibble about its edges. This is all to say, we’ve learned to coexist in a way that means our furniture never remains pristine, my gardens have a gnawed-at appearance, and animal food is always on our grocery list.
The most painful thing about sharing our lives with animals is that we will likely see them to the end of theirs. The cost and anxiety of dealing with aging animals is high. At some point, we have to measure their quality of life against the extraordinary means available to prolong it, and ultimately, in many cases, decide how they die. It’s a heavy responsibility and an unwieldy gift.
Welcome to Fearless Friday.
Fearless Fridays are about lives lived in spite of our fears, living a life that is about curiosity, compassion, and courage. If you just got published, something wonderful happened to you, you witnessed an act of kindness, or you have someone in your life who amazes you, drop your story into my contact page or email it to TheGreenStudy (at) comcast (dot) net and I’ll run it on a Fearless Friday. If you’re a blogger, it’s an opportunity to advertise your blog, but this is open to anyone who would like to share. These will be 100-300 word stories, subject to editing for clarity and space.
Poetry in Furry Motion
Luanne Castle is a poet and the companion to many grateful furry bodies. You can find her at Writer Site for a delightful mix of poetry, animal stories, and book reviews. She talks about how her latest cat found her (to both their good fortunes!).
My latest cat, Perry, wandered into my backyard one night, and I was determined to get him inside where he wouldn’t get eaten by the pack of coyotes or huge bobcat that live in my neighborhood. That’s how most of my animals have come into my life—me trying to protect them from danger or homelessness or hunger. Then I end up falling wildly in love with them. I volunteer for a local no-kill shelter. It’s wonderful for a shelter, but no place to call home.
Besides helping cats find loving homes, my greatest joy has been busting a few cats out of there and offering them my own home.
My connection to animals really didn’t show itself clearly until I was in my twenties. I began to volunteer time to help both local and national animal welfare organizations. And because charity begins at home, I adopted a dog my mother-in-law found on the street. Then one I found on the street. Over the years, my husband and I have adopted many dogs, cats, and even a very sweet rat who was living in a stressful classroom environment.
Winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, Doll God, Luanne Castle’s first collection of poetry, was published by Aldrich Press. Luanne’s poetry and prose have appeared in Phoebe, Copper Nickel, Six Hens, Story Shack, The Antigonish Review, Crack the Spine, Grist, TAB, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, The Review Review, and many other journals. Luanne’s 2017 chapbook Kin Types, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf Chapbook Contest.
Taking the Lead
Deborah Taylor-French is a novelist, arts educator, and full-time dog companion at www.dogleadermysteries.com. She is passionate about the care and safety of dogs, writing about everything from canine food recalls to adoption issues.
Deborah writes Dog Leader Mysteries that are full of positive dog leadership and animal rescue stories. She serves as Author Support Facilitator for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club. Red Sky at Night, the first in her series of Dog Leader Mysteries will be published in June 2018. If you sign up on her email list you receive free updates, freebies, book launch invites and a free The Skinny on Dogs newsletter.
It’s Not All Cats and Dogs
I’ve never thought much about chickens as pets, but Cate’s poem “Meet Me in Heaven” is heartbreaking and illuminates a relationship with these feathered creatures.
Cate at Meditatio Ephemera is a former journalist and runner who raises hens in the Colorado Rockies. Cate’s blog is a potpourri of one shot photos, poetry, and essays on a wide range of topics.
Silence has now stretched across our household. I have about two hours before the noise starts again. They’ve got me scheduled for treats. I’m pretty sure it’s a coordinated effort as they both manage to rouse themselves from naps and conveniently begin walking about the house meowing loudly.
Owney: You go first, gray lump. Do that low wail that makes her think something is wrong and makes her get up.
Pete: Yup. What if that don’t work?
Owney: Well, it’s my baby cry meow, then. How many times do we have to go over this, you dimwitted ogre?
Pete: No dimwit does speed bump way I do.
Owney: Anyone can walk in front of a human and flop over suddenly.
She licks the top of Pete’s head, followed quickly by a hiss and head swat.
Pete: Ack, arphh, glumph, cough, cough. Hairball. I go over there. She blame you.
Owney: Victory – she’s getting up from her chair! I don’t understand what she’s going on about. I wonder what hairy bastards means. Probably more treats.
TGS Writers’ Book Club Reminder: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is the April Reading Selection. Discussion forum opens on May 15th. The May Selection is a collection of poetry, Afterland by Mai Der Vang. Follow the blog for updated selections, writer-reader guidelines, and discussions.
Have a great weekend!