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, while cats want you to please them.
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 it and the woman said “I see you like dogs”.
I told her that my mother always had one by I hadn’t got one. As we were talking a puppy wandered in, saw that its mother was sitting on my left foot and sat on right foot. The woman said “She obviously likes you, do want it? I told the woman I wasn’t expecting it and obviously hadn’t discussed it with my wife and children. The woman then added “If they didn’t want it, you can give it 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 the sorry look on her face and the wagging of her tail I had no choice but to 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.
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 had been dumped in the lake. I couldn’t leave it, 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.
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 it was the boss. Later, it often followed behind us when we took the dog for a walk. After thirteen years Bess, the dog, a black Labrador-cross dog, died and, now being confirmed dog-lovers, we bought another dog, a pedigree yellow Labrador.
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 while Penny, the new dog, sat 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.