Why do I prefer dogs to cats? It’s simple really, dogs have masters while cats have servants. Dogs want to love and please you and give you a wet kiss, while cats want you to please them or to chase and kill birds and small animals.
Out of the blue, because I had done a favour for someone, I was offered a puppy. I was sitting and talking to the person’s sister when a black Labrador wandered into the room. It came across to me and sat on my left foot. I stroked her and the woman said: “I see she knows you like dogs”.
I told her that my mother always had a dog but I wasn’t keen on them, as they were always small and snappy. Then, as we were talking, a very young puppy wobbled its way in, saw that its mother was sitting on my left foot and sat on right foot. The woman said: “She obviously likes and trusts you. I have sold the rest of the litter, would you like to have her? You can have her for helping my sister.”
I told the woman that my family had only recently moved into our new house and we hadn’t thought about getting a dog. I obviously hadn’t discussed it with my wife and children. The woman then added: “If they don’t want her, you can bring her back to me”.
On the half-hour drive home, I sat the unexpected gift on my lap. She quickly settled down and fell asleep. Unfortunately for me, by the time we reached home she had wet on me. It was not a good start but, with an “I’m sorry” look on her face and robust wagging of her tail, I had no choice but to instantly forgive her.
My wife and children, like me, instantly fell in love with her and and called her Bess. As she grew older, my sons started to dress her in clothes such as football shirts and shorts and she became well-known in our little village. Local children used to ask if they could play with her, or take her for a walk. She was popular with everyone, young or old.
About a year or so later, I was fishing in a small lake near our house when I heard an unusual sound coming from the nearby bushes. On investigating, I found a very young kitten in a box. I assumed that the rest of the litter was also unwanted and had been dumped into the lake. I couldn’t leave the kitten to starve to death, so I took it home and asked my neighbours if they wanted it. Unfortunately, I was told that, on the previous day, five kittens had been found and offered around the village.
This meant that we now had a dog and a cat! Fortunately they didn’t fight but as the kitten grew up it soon became obvious that she was the boss. Later, it always followed behind us when we took the dog for a walk. After thirteen years, Bess, a black Labrador-cross died. Then being confirmed dog-lovers, we bought another dog, a pedigree yellow Labrador. We called her “Penny”, although she cost a lot.
By then we had moved to a town and lived in a quiet close near to a school. Our dog and cat used to sit together, at the entrance to the house, and mothers, bringing their children back from school, often used to be heard saying: “You can stroke the cat but don’t touch the dog.” This was usually followed by a scream, as Paddy, the cat, had lashed out. Meanwhile Penny, would be sitting still, with her tail wagging, longing to be stroked.
One day, a few hours after I had returned from walking with Bess we realised that Paddy was not around. I searched the area where we always walked the dog with the cat following but found nothing. Then, as I crossed the road back to our house, I saw a dead cat laying further down the road. It was Paddy!
I buried her in spare land next to our house and, when I told my wife, we realised that, despite her faults, we had still loved her very much.