Monday, November 30, 2015

Bird Brain

I am thinking about getting a bird.

Obviously, because I don't already have enough codependent pets who are clamoring for my attention 24/7.

I'm not sure when the idea hit me.  I think it was sometime between realizing my life was a meaningless shell when I was constantly crying, and an intense drive to land myself in the insane asylum because if I actually do get a bird, that is where I should be.  It could have been that moment when I was at Petco, buying my cat's amazing cat litter (BEST LITTER EVER) and saw the adorable parakeets fluttering around in the display cage.  That might have been when the idea seedling began to sprout into full blown insanity.

The idea took on more power when I was at the grocery store the other night and locked eyes with what is possibly the most adorable baby I've ever seen in my life.  She smiled and cooed and waved her tiny arms and I went home and cried because I now know I will never have one of those for myself.  I am the eternal steward of animals.

Thus the bird.

I have cats and dogs.  Might as well mix it up a bit, and since I've already had ferrets and never again, why not?  Seems perfectly logical to me.

At least I'm not going off half-cocked and getting pregnant.  That stupid I'm not.

I have always wanted in the back of my mind an African Grey Parrot something along the lines of Alex, the one that could count and do math, but since I already have a dog who is smarter than I am, I really don't think acquiring the bird who is smarter than the both of us put together is such a hot idea. I'm not worried about such a bird being eaten by the cats.  I'd be more worried about coming home from work one day with the African Grey out of its cage and somehow having manged to put all three cats IN the cage, and possibly in the oven.

Having taken the ""What is your Ideal Pet Bird" Quiz my top three choices are the canary (woo-hoo, I'm not as out of touch as I thought as that was exactly what I was thinking about if I ever seriously went through with this!); the parakeet (cute, cute, cute! and you can get them in GREEN!); or the lovebird (well, I really don't want TWO birds...).  My "What is your Ideal Pet Bird" asked such important questions as "Is this your first bird?" (yes); "Do you live in an apartment or house?" (technically it is a townhouse, so it's tiny); "Do you have allergies?" (yes, and the cats do too); and "Do you wish your bird to be able to talk?" (NO NO NO!).  Having answered all these questions truthfully, I was pleased to see my intuition for adding more useless pets to my household is still intact since canary showed up as number one and that might be all I can handle right now.

Truthfully, if I want something to fit right in with the rest of this rabble, my ideal bird should be a cockatoo.  Apparently these birds are so codependent that if they do not get your attention 24/7 they start pulling out their feathers and pine away to the point of having to go to the bird version of a shrink.  There are actual cockatoo shrinks out there hired to help these birds when they are mismatched with owners who don't consult with them for every minor decision (like leaving the house to run to Starbucks for five minutes).  I am smart enough to realize with the four nuts that already inhabit my house, another creature that desperate for attention is going to overwhelm me and they really will be carting me off to the Funny Farm. I not only will have cat paws on the laptop. I will have bird beak glued upside down to the screen while I type. Plus they are something called "powder birds" meaning they are bad for allergies and leave feather dust everywhere.

Just no.  I vacuum enough as it is.

The decision has not been made yet and of course I will go rescue if I decide to pursue this particular avenue of insanity.  My friend is on the board of the Dog and Cat Shelter and she said they get birds in all the time.  I have seen cockatoos there and also parakeets.  Cockatiels are nice birds too, lovey-dovey like cockatoos but maybe not quite so codependent.  Again, they are powder birds and that's not something I really want to deal with.  My biggest obstacle will be Willow, the eternal murderer. Tess accepts anything in the house as part of her pack.  Puckett could care less as long as it is understood that she is queen, and Percy just wants to play with everything.  As usual Willow is the wild card.

If I got an African Grey, it would be as big as her, so that would solve that problem.  A macaw is just out of the question.  I don't need something that big, that noisy, and that diabolical fluttering around my house.  I have cats that are diabolical enough.  Macaws are the assholes of the bird world.  My cats are the biggest assholes of any other cats so let's not put that together.

Meanwhile, I might have to go back to the therapist and discuss this sudden wish for a bird.  Do I really want to spend my days keeping the cats away from the cage and cleaning bird poo off the floor?  To say nothing of the fact that the Cowboy will yell at me for making him feel inclined to custom make yet another cage for one of my spoiled rotten pets.  I know most people think it might be cruel to bring a bird into a home with so many cats (I have a place they can't get to that would be perfect for a bird), but my cats really are pretty good about accepting new creatures into the home, even if it is a bird.  Like the dog, once they realize it belongs to the family, they don't bother stuff.  Well, all except Willow, and she's confined to a cage herself a lot of the time.  At any rate such an addition would cause plenty of drama.

Fodder for the blog.  When things get dull, shake them up a bit so you have something to write about.

I probably won't go through with it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a rough year that pretty much began with January 2nd when three friends and I, in the spirit of "A Brand New Year," decided to try something different and go to a comedy club. I ran into the ex, the love of my life, owner of Scary Alice, my tarantula soul mate.  Everything kind of went downhill from there.  Seeing him after three years was such a shock, I think it shook my equilibrium.

Throughout the year, I seemed to just be off.  Nothing catastrophically horrible happened, but it was a series of picks, one after another, that chipped away at my faith, my hope, and my mental health. Two very good friends, people I would have trusted my life with, used me and dropped me, I met an amazing young man that I liked so much - would have seen a future with him had he been older - at such bad timing that I had to let him go and I still miss him.  There have been issues with my job, my family, my friends, this town, and through it all I've been battling anxiety, depression, loneliness unlike anything I've experienced before, and the constant temptation to slip back into the bottle which is where I spent a good deal of my time after the love of my life exited my life, complete with Alice.

But I digress. Mr. Love of My Life has his own story in my short story, "Snake Bit."

Thanksgiving has never been my holiday.  I'm of Swiss heritage - my parents were both born in Switzerland - so we never really celebrated this strange American holiday where everyone stuffs themselves to the gills with turkey and then passes out on the couch in a food coma.  My family doesn't mind food comas, we just aren't turkey fans.  So I usually treat Thanksgiving as a much needed day off for mental health because everyone is off spending the day with family and friends.

I am left in peace to contemplate where exactly my life went off course.  Don't get me wrong, I do get invites and it's nice of everyone to invite me, but there is something about spending the day by yourself knowing that the usual street traffic and people rushing about is not an issue because everyone is indoors battling the food coma.  Besides, I always feel like I'm imposing.  Thanksgiving is a family holiday.  My family is 1,000 miles away.  One spends Thanksgiving with the ones they love.

And today I realized as I took my dog for a much needed run in the snow, that I am spending the day with the one I love.  As usual on a holiday, there was almost no one about.  A few cars drove by, but the streets were deserted.  For one of the few days of the year I was able to let her run free off  leash for most of the walk.  I leashed her on the one busy street.  In my neighborhood it was so deserted that I think we passed one car driving by the whole time we were walking.

At the dog park we encountered a nice lady with two labs - a black one and a white one - and Tess did so well with both of them.  I wasn't sure what to expect given her aversion to other dogs, particularly labs.  She ran around the dog park and wrestled with the younger dog.  Then she raced the cars through the fence. Then she played with the other dog some more.  She got her much needed run and exercise and I got a bit of social interaction with the owner of the dogs.  A lovely trio, if ever I saw one.  Her dogs were well-behaved and sweet.  She was friendly, but not too in-your-face. After a spell Tess and I left the dog park and continued our (off leash) walk.

I mentally went through the list of things I'm thankful for today.  My dog, after a long spell of loneliness herself because of her isolation from other dogs, got some much needed social interaction with others of her own kind.  She did great.  She got to run and play and roll in the snow, once again acting like the one-year-old pup I remember adopting almost eight years ago.  She was happy and I am thankful for that.

I am thankful that Tess is almost nine years old, yet still behaves like a puppy and looks ageless.

I am thankful that given the fact she is a purebred German shepherd, she has zero health problems (aside from her awful teeth).  No hip dysplasia, no eye problems, no ear problems.

I am thankful that I have been able to share my life these last few years with such an amazing dog. After all she is one of my dreams along with "publish best-selling novel" and "open chocolate shop."

I am thankful for the fact that having her with me is one of the reasons I feel like I am starting to climb my way out of this black hole of despair that I've been trapped in for almost a year.  Today was one of the first days since January where I have gone for a walk with my dog and remembered why I love this town so much.

I am thankful that when I feel like I've lost all hope in humanity, people have let me down and hurt me, and I am battling that terrible loneliness, I have this dog who reminds me that there are wonderful, nice people in this world.  She finds them all the time.  All I have to do is look in her eyes and there is hope because with her, how can anyone be lonely?

And then I realized the other things I'm thankful for:

My family even if they are 1,000 miles away.

My true, good friends, even if the circle is shrinking.  I still know who the solid, important ones are.

My job.  There are issues, sure, but I love my job.  It's a good job, my coworkers are great, and my boss is great.

My cats, who are an endless source of amusement.

I have a few bucks in the bank, my physical health (mental is touch and go), a roof over my head, and food.

Things aren't so bad.  It's taken almost a whole year to see it, but I do finally see that light.  Things aren't so bad.  In fact, things are pretty okay.

And I'm thankful for that.

I am also extremely thankful for the huge pan of double fudge brownies I just pulled out of the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What a Good Girl!

I took Tess for a walk on Sunday.  This is nothing new, but Sunday it was colder and there was snow on the ground so I assumed not a lot of people would be out and maybe I could sneak a visit to the dog park.  Tess gets sick of walking on her leash.  Our usual ritual is to take the walking paths to the river and then I let her loose to sniff around the river and jump in for a swim.  I haven't taken her to the dog park in a couple of years for two reasons.  One is that she started getting snarly with other dogs, particularly labs, and since everyone and their brother owns a lab in this town, the dog park stopped being a safe place to go.

The second reason is that some people who go to the dog park seem to have developed a God-given right and authority to tell other people how to raise their dogs.  I had one too many know-it-all big mouths tell me when my dog was getting overly stressed and needed to go home, as if I wasn't smart enough to see it myself.  I just live with the dog.  It's not like I can tell when she's getting overstimulated.

I do know when it's time to take Tess home, thank you very much.  And I may be biased, but in the past a lot of the reason she would snap at another dog or put one in the ground is because the other dog was behaving badly and she was just doing her alpha duty.  If we just tossed the dogs together in the park and let them work it out for themselves instead of getting in the middle, thinking we know better, everyone would work out there pack hierarchy just fine and no one would be neurotic.

Sunday was a nice day.  I let Tess loose to walk along the river.  When we walked past the house with the two annoying white labs and yappy dachshund, she started to run over and I called for her to stop and come back.  She did.  Whenever she strayed too far or into someone's yard, I called to her and she would come right back and stick close to my side (well, until there was a bush or tree stump to mark).  We made it to the dog park.  There were two other dogs there, a black lab puppy and a white lab puppy.  I kept Tess on her leash and walked her the perimeter of the park, getting her re-used to the place and giving the other dogs a chance to sniff her without getting bullied.  I love my girl, but she can be a bully.  Of course the black lab puppy, full of himself and full of energy, barreled face first into Tess and tried to wrap his paws around her neck.  This is bad behavior in the dog world, and Tess growled and snapped, but did not pick a fight.  The white lab puppy was immediately submissive, recognizing right away that Tess is alpha.  She rolled over on her back and let Tess sniff her.  Considering how long it's been and both dogs were labs, Tess did really well.

After awhile both dogs left and we had the park to ourselves.  Tess loves to chase the cars through the fence.  She's the worst cheater at it too.  She waits until the car is within sight before she races along the fence line, trying to beat the car to the other end of the block.  The more she does it, the sooner she takes off, so that she wins every time.  She's slowed down over the years, but she still loves to run and this is still her favorite game.  She never chases cars when she's loose in my yard or walking along the path loose.  She's smart enough to know this is only okay when there's a fence between her and the cars.

And I realized how lucky I am to have this dog.  When I was younger I used to pray for the German shepherd of my dreams.  I had one growing up, but he was my mom's dog.  Tess is all mine and while she's bossy and crabby with other dogs, I really couldn't ask for a better dog.  She doesn't stray, she comes when she's called, she's housebroken.  She's not a cuddly dog but she's attached to me.  She doesn't chew or dig in the yard or bark.  She's not a counter surfer and she's not particularly food oriented so she doesn't beg.  She gets along great with cats.  She really is a great dog.

So I got her home, congratulating myself on my awesome dog, and fed and watered her, and gave her a doggy pop. Then I got wrapped up in a project. Hours later, going upstairs, I noticed the wood floor in the hallway had a trail of puddles.  At first I thought it was water until I checked the carpet in the bedroom.  There was a puddle there too and this one smelled of urine.  It's hard to tell with female dogs - harder than cats of course because their urine stinks.  Tess' urine has such a faint smell that it took me a moment to realize that my dog had an accident in the house. My dog does not have accidents.  She has not had one since she was about a year and a half old when I was still housebreaking her.

Looking back, while wrapped up in my project, I do remember that she had come to stare down at me several times, but I thought she was just being needy and irritated that I was hiding in the basement again working on something rather than hanging out with her.  Turns out she probably really really had to go and was trying to tell me.  When I failed to realize her cues, she peed on the floor.  She felt terrible.  She moped around the house all evening, acting like she did something wrong. I told her multiple times she was not in trouble, as she did nothing wrong.

I still believe I have a pretty amazing dog, despite the accident.  I'm the one obviously who needs some work, since it's entirely my fault the poor dog lost control of her bladder in the house.  Maybe she needs Mrs. Ladypants for the next time I get so wrapped up in something that I can't even distract myself long enough to let the dog out.

She's such a good girl.  Bad owner, though.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Off to the Vet - or the Funny Farm

I think maybe my animals are not only codependent on me, they are codependent on each other.  Or maybe they just enjoy making my life a challenge especially since our lives just aren't very exciting as of late.  The most exciting thing going on is that we make a trip to the vet's once a week.  Maybe they are trying to shake things up by creating a competition of who can get rushed to the vet faster.

Of course there is something to the power of suggestion.  When one cat eats, all cats have to eat. When one cat uses the litter box, suddenly the other two have to use it as well.  Naturally if one animal gets sick, the rest of them have sympathy pains, or at least a sympathy need to lighten my pocketbook.

Since Tess' trip to the vet where she went in for a teeth cleaning and came out missing eight teeth, Puckett seems to think that she needs to catch up in the vet department.  It was several weeks ago when I took both of them to the vet, Tess for her shots, Puckett because she was acting lethargic, and it became a two-for-one special.  Just bring the cat in too, and we'll take a look at her!  That was when they told me Tess needed her teeth cleaned so she went back two weeks later where she wound up losing her eight teeth.  Not to be undone, now Puckett has taken up coughing and sneezing like some kind sinus infection patient, and the other morning she actually woke me up by sneezing twenty times in a row.

Maybe she really did have sympathy pains for Tess, I don't know. I do know the vet bills are piling up fast.  Then on top of it I'm probably a little codependent on my animals as well, because I spent the day crying when I brought Tess home from the vet after her surgery.  When I left Puckett at the vet for the day to find out what her deal is, I felt the most enormous amount of guilt ever, just because of the look she shot me when the vet techs carried her into the back (or lugged, as the case may be).  She continued to make me feel guilty when I picked her up and they informed me she was perfectly fine and hadn't sneezed or coughed all day.  She continued to not sneeze or cough the rest of the evening as if she was sticking it to me for having the nerve to take her to the vet at all, given that there is nothing medically wrong with her.

Or so she'd have me believe if for no other reason than to make me feel worse for making an unnecessary trip to the vet.

She forces me to take her to the vet, and then she makes me feel super guilty for it.  This is actually just a part of her whole diabolical plan.

If Puckett ain't happy ain't nobody happy.  And Puckett sure isn't happy unless she's causing some kind of discord in an otherwise placid, almost boring, household.  She likes to shake things up.  She also does not like it when the dog gets all the attention, unless of course, she is the one paying attention to the dog.  That isn't always fun for the dog.

Of course Percy and Willow, also not to be outdone, are both due for their shots and I'm fairly certain Percy is due for another teeth cleaning as well. He'll probably need another tooth pulled too, though hopefully not eight. Then the whole drama of hysterics will start all over again.  Percy can be a little asshole, but as soon as he's injured or sick I go all to pieces.

Incidentally Tess is now perfectly fine, back to eating hard food, with no memory of having ever been in pain or on weird medication that made her see two of me, and yet I'm still feeling the emotional affects of it.  I could also just be a weepy, emotional mess for the most part, and that is a fair bet anyway.  I sure cry a lot so I might as well cry over my pets.  At least they deserve my tears even if they do treat me like I'm absolutely crazy most of the time.  Pretty soon they start acting all depressed and crazy too, so we are definitely something to see, the five of us moping around like someone has just informed us that The Walking Dead has been canceled.

I have not yet scheduled the next vet visit (I believe it's Percy this time) but I need to get on it.  I have, however, scheduled my next visit to the therapist, so not only am I paying an arm and a leg for the health of my pets, I'm also shelling out a good deal of money for my own.

Mine isn't working.  Puckett is a hypochondriac.  Tess seems to come back from the vet missing parts. We've got a good thing going here - we all depend on one another to have some issue or other so that someone is constantly visiting the doctor and the rest of us can feel sorry for whoever the lucky candidate of the week is.

This week it's my turn to see the therapist, and as I've spent a good deal of the week already sobbing my eyes out, I don't anticipate the appointment going so well.  The animals are sure to be here when I get home to sympathize and choose one among them to develop something chronic so he or she can join in the sympathy party.

We are all going to need straight jackets eventually.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Your Cat May Be Codependent If...

Codependency in cats is easy to spot because most cats conduct themselves with a general air of "Screw you and the horse you rode in on" with absolutely no regard for the feelings of others.  It's all about them.  Most cats seem to walk around with a perpetual middle finger raised.  With codependent cats, it's all about them too, but it has to be all about them with the caveat that you cannot leave the room, ever, or they become completely dysfunctional.  How can you tell if your cat is codependent?

1.  The codependent cat will only use the litter box when you're in the house.  If you happen to have a full time job or just leave for a weekend (this is ill-advised because the codependent cat will be on the verge of collapse when you come home Sunday night) your cat will actually hold it to the detriment of his bladder until you get home, when he will fly to the litter box as soon as you sit down, preferably with your lunch.

2.  Your cat refuses to eat unless you are in the kitchen, standing right beside the food bowls, preferably holding the bag of food for immediate refills.  The codependent cat will also come find you, chirping her "Feed me" song until you go to the kitchen where you realize her food bowl is already filled to capacity, she just wanted company while she ate.

3.  Showering is a spectator sport.  If you have a codependent cat, learn to live with the fact that you will never shower alone again.  Privacy is out the window.  The codependent cat might even try to get into the shower with you depending on his bravery concerning water.  Remember, it is always your fault if he falls in and gets wet.

4.  Going to the bathroom, like showering, is also a spectator sport.  If the door is closed it will be forcefully banged open as the cat marches into the bathroom as if he has every right to be there.  The codependent cat will even try to get in your lap as you try to relieve your bladder.  If you lock the bathroom door for a few precious moments of privacy, paws will soon be seen in the crack under the door, beseechingly reaching out towards you, pads turned upwards in a desperate plea of "Why did you leave me?!"

5.  As soon as the toilet flushes, scratching can be heard in the litter box.

6.  As soon as you sit down to dinner/lunch/a snack with your favorite TV program, scratching can be heard in the litter box.

7.  As soon as your head hits the pillow after a long, late night of writing during which all three cats have been sacked out in a deep sleep, scratching can be heard in the litter box.

8.  Having finished eliminating, the codependent cat will run through the house like a herd of stampeding elephants, yowling and caterwauling, demanding recognition and praise for a job well done.

9.  As soon as you sit down and open your laptop to get some work done, there is a cat in your lap with paws on the keyboard.

10. When you get up from the couch to grab a snack or to pick up a piece of lint on the carpet, your codependent cat will immediately slip into the exact spot you were just sitting in, regardless of the size of the couch.

11. The codependent cat cannot function or get any exercise while you are out of the house, thus developing a reputation for laziness.  As soon as you get home, tired and crabby from a long day wanting nothing more than a quiet moment of rest, the codependent cats will start fighting or chasing each other through the house, making as much noise as they can.

12. When the codependent cat thinks you've been asleep long enough, he will race through the house once again like a stampeding elephant, always making sure the bedroom is the main stop for each lap.  If banished from the room with the door shut, the codependent cat will then sit just outside the door and make extremely sad, pitiful noises as though he has just found out his favorite brand of catnip has been discontinued.  

13, The codependent cat will only sleep comfortably on the bed if you're in it.  She will get as close as she is allowed, preferably by your side or on the book you're reading.  Sometimes it's easier to just sit on your face.

14. If your codependent cat's wishes are ignored (like you're not spending 23 hours a day with her or you walked by her without stroking her) she will let you know of her displeasure by foregoing the litter box and leaving her offerings in a shoe.  Most likely your best and favorite shoe.  If she can fit, she'll leave it in your Uggs so that you won't see it until you attempt to put your foot in.

15. The codependent cat is always thrilled to see you so he or she will greet you at the door as soon as you walk in.  Likewise the codependent cat does not appreciate you leaving the house, ever, so he or she or all three will attempt to trip you on the way down the stairs so that you sprain your ankle and can't leave the house for several weeks.  This is all part of a greater plan to keep you bedridden so they can surround you with their love and purrs and make you just as codependent as they are.  After all, can you really imagine your life without them?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Heart of A Pet

If there is one thing about animals that always truly amazes me, it's their capacity to love and forgive.  Unlike humans they really don't hold grudges.  My animals don't anyway, except maybe for Puckett.  It doesn't seem to matter how many times I yell at Percy for destroying a knickknack or taking a dump right when I'm in the middle of eating my lunch, he is always right back in my face, purring and begging for a scratch or a cuddle.  The same goes for Tess.  Minutes after she is disciplined for bad behavior, even if it doesn't happen very often anymore, she is right back at my side, tongue hanging out and ready to play or go for a walk.  Puckett might hold a grudge longer, mostly because she is the one who gets disciplined the least, but she too will forgive me almost any slight eventually.  There is the occasional poop in my shoe when I've really made her mad, but once we're even, we return to the status quo.  Willow is so neurotic she just begs for love and attention no matter what's happening.  Most of the time she doesn't know what's happening anyway because she spends her days in a fog.

 I remember one episode with Percy and Willow.  I still feel bad about this.  Percy was on the brink of bullying Willow.  I caught him in his stance, ready to pounce and ruin her day so I chucked a candle holder towards him, intending to throw it just to his side so that it would make a loud thunk and distract him.  It hit him square on the head.  It made a thunk all right.  I couldn't have hit better had I actually been aiming for him.  It did the trick and distracted him, but he was furious with me.  He went under the couch and sulked.

For five minutes.  Five minutes later out he came and crawled into my arms, purring and rubbing his head under my chin.

I doubt I would have been as forgiving had someone thunked me on the head with a candle holder.

My animals definitely have the capacity to be assholes, don't get me wrong.  Percy bullies Willow, annoys the dog, releases his anal sacs all over my bedspread, and makes really foul stinks when he goes to the bathroom.  Tess will still pick fights with other dogs if she thinks she can get away with it, and she still will knock me over in her rush to get to the Cowboy whenever he comes over since he is still part of the family even if we have broken up.  Puckett likes to bang the cabinet door with her paw to annoy Tess whenever she thinks Tess is too comfortable or I'm trying to take a nap.  And of course the pooping in my shoe if I have crossed some kind of line with her.  Willow pees on the floor, scratches the furniture, hisses and spits at the dog for no reason, aggravates Percy into bullying her, and rips me to shreds if I attempt to brush her or clip her claws.  Despite all of this the four of them have a bond unlike anything I've ever seen among three cats and a dog.  They behave like siblings.  They annoy and bully each other, yet at the end of the day they have true compassion and love for each other.  Percy, the only groomer of the three cats, grooms Puckett and Willow.  Tess will groom Percy.  I've caught Tess and Willow snuggled up together on the dog bed at bedtime.  Willow will curl up right between Tess' legs.  I've caught Puckett and Willow doing the same thing.  Percy and Willow play.  Percy and Puckett play.  All of them play with the dog.

On cold mornings all three cats are curled up on the bed, sharing each others' warmth, and no one chases anyone else off the bed in a territorial fit of pissyness.

And they all surround me when I'm sad and crying.  The cats purr and join me on the bed.  Tess licks my tears. 

I've been crying a lot lately.  I've been extremely unhappy.  Sometimes I know why, sometimes I don't.  My animals are constantly there.  They especially hate the loud sobbing and snotty crying.  That they put a stop to by getting right in my face, all three of them, and purring as loud as they can. 

It's hard to keep crying like that when three cats have their butts in one's face.  Although the snottiness gets worse as all that fur and dander aggravates the allergies.

Crying spooks Tess anyway.  It makes her think someone is breaking into the house as she keeps making trips to the door whenever I'm having a moment in tears.  Perhaps she is just waiting for the Funny Farm to come pick me up.

I'm definitely not as forgiving as my pets and I have trouble with compassion towards my fellow man.  I have my mother's road rage.  People on the road are frequently cursed as idiots for entering my orbit without permission.  I'm not proud of this, it's just a fact. I've had a rough year with friends and boyfriends and I always seem to wind up getting devastatingly hurt.  One in particular was a friend first, then a boyfriend, and treated me so poorly that I've had several fantasies on how to get back at him.  One was to quadruple knot the horrendous underwear he'd given me around one of the mirrors of his truck.  The second scenario involved me marching into the bar, underwear in hand, and dropping it on the pool table mid-shot before flipping him off.  The third required just wrapping the underwear around his neck and saving us both the trouble of his existence.  I can't forget the bad treatment (and the underwear is especially insulting as I would never wear such filth as what he gifted me) and I can't seem to forgive.

Another "friend" behaved similarly minus the ugly underwear.  At least he spared both of us that stupidity though I have now been using his name to describe what Percy does in his litter box, inspired by "Just Go With It" starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

I still can't forgive the love of my life, the one with the tarantula named Scary Alice, though honestly, I may be unwilling to forgive him because he divided me from Alice forever.

I still get angry with the Cowboy for no reason and I'm not very nice to him sometimes.  I'm probably lashing out because I'm still angry that he ended the relationship, yet insists on hanging around as a friend.  Like the pets he has an endless capacity to forgive and just let me rant.

How would my pets handle such slights?  Tess would forget a slight even happened and wrap herself around his body begging to be pet and loved (or maybe slyly tripping him into a pile of dog poop).  Puckett would poop in his shoe and then glare with those eyes that say "Take that, human!" and then everything would go back to normal.  Willow would be in his lap, purring and gazing into his face with mushy eyes.  Percy would do the same.  They just don't care when someone hurts their feelings.  They move on and get past it so quickly it amazes me.  I wish I could be like that.  I wish their capacity to love and forgive was as easy as just emulating them.  They forgive me, they forgive each other, and they care.  It's not rocket science that exercising compassion and loving each other makes life more bearable and us crabby, disgruntled humans happier.  If you don't believe me, just look at the way animals handle hurts and slights, and everyone loves them even when they are being assholes themselves.

And their lives are super happy.