Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cats are from Mars, dogs are from La Cañada

There are ages and stages to life. Now that we are down to one feline and one canine, there’s more time to attend fundraisers and other benefits in the community. There’s also more time to ponder theology, theodicy and the meaning of life in the Foothills.

Last weekend, Miss Audrey Hepburn, our black lab rescue dog from the Pasadena Humane Society, left for a girls’ night out with our daughter. A girls’ night out for a canine generally involves watching pedicures, manicures and listening to the girls sit on the bed and discuss important stuff, but this time there was more substance. It was shortly before Oscars night, so it involved costumes, betting and hors d’oeuvres. Miss Hepburn finds these encounters more interesting than, say, sipping cocoa and watching NCIS with me and Len.

While she was gone, her nemesis, The Cat, slept on the doggie bed, ate from the dog bowl, opened the trash cans and hid all the doggie chew toys. The Cat woke us up each morning at 4 a.m., asking for Miss Hepburn. Like they say, there’s no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

While the dog was gone, I spent my time perusing old news clippings (yellowed with age) concerning our pets’ skirmishes with fame and fortune in the Foothills. Here’s the one about their diaries:

The Dog’s Diary

5:00 a.m. — Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 a.m. — A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 a.m. — A walk in the yard! My favorite thing!

12:00 p.m. — Chase The Cat! My favorite thing!

3:00 p.m. — Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 p.m. — Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

8:00 p.m. — Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 p.m. — Sleeping on the sofa! My favorite thing!

And, here’s the diary from The Cat:

The Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of my captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape

Was it my imagination or was The Cat happier these days, particularly in the absence of the dog?

As soon as she came home, however, Miss Hepburn spied The Cat’s food bowl on the kitchen counter and, in one graceful movement, she hoisted her svelte 50-pound frame onto the counter, where she gobbled leftover cat food.

The Cat and Miss Hepburn fight over the cat food bowl the way kids used to tussle over the TV remote, back in the days before individualized media centers, which have clearly deprived an entire generation of the theoretical underpinnings of military strategy.

Five years ago, when she first arrived, frightened from unknown abusers, Miss Hepburn shared everything. She was submissive to me, she kowtowed to Len and recognized her subordinate position with respect to The Cat. Every night at 3 a.m., we’d wake up to their negotiations. The Cat, always the aggressor, would have cornered Miss Hepburn, who would cower in a corner of the bedroom, her nose pressed to the corner of the wall, whimpering. Like they say, time spent with cats is never wasted.

Lately, Miss Hepburn has begun to reassert herself. After all, she has her own stationery.

She is a minor celebrity in La Cañada. She has a Facebook persona on Farmville (level 3) and Mob Wars (level 2). Len feeds her, walks her and says affectionate things, like “Die! Little Sucker!” at the oddest moments. Miss Hepburn follows him everywhere and licks his hand. She’s learned to open the kitchen trash can and how to pry the top off of the snap-on, dried dog food container. She can open the cupboard above the oven and pull out the crackers.

Meanwhile, The Cat’s diary continues:

Day 3723 of my captivity. Today I attempted to assassinate one of my jailers with a sit-in at his feet. I must try this again tomorrow at the top of the stairs. The dog continues to receive special privileges. He is regularly released but always returns I will try to escape again, tomorrow


March 11, 2010 Around Town La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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