Saturday, January 30, 2010

Streak Going to the Dogs

She's leaving home
After living alone
For so many years.

The Beatles

Today is Streak's last day with us. Our good friend Caroline - well aware of our plans to live the vagabond life this year - offered to take custody of the cat who has lived with us for more than a decade (which is a writer-ish way of saying I don't recall how long ago we got her but it was definitely more than 10 years ago).

Despite being an older cat Streak never grew very big, Coupled with her calico markings, she has kept a fair share of the kitten about her. That and the fact that she can be quite affectionate if, in fact, you are lucky enough to be in that category of people she likes. Caroline and Streak obviously bonded while Caroline was house-sitting for us earlier this year. Or perhaps the cat is just clever enough to have figured out that she would have a better life with Caroline than having us throw her into the cattery for months on end every time we head overseas.

No forget that last bit. Streak isn't clever at all. As fond as I am of her, I have to be honest and say that Streak is one of the dumber cats I have owned. And I am fairly certain she has no recollection of us ever having abandoned her to the joys of the cat spa resort (as we explained it to her).

But she is lovable, and that is why she is getting a new mommy. There is a slight question mark looming over this, though. Caroline's roommate has a couple of dogs. Given that Streak has been unable to get along with any of the neighborhood pets, we aren't too sure how she will adjust to her new life, and Caroline is already recruiting contingency foster parents if it doesn't work out.

So yes, you could say that Streak is going to the dogs. While literally true, I have learned that a bit of wordplay is not wise when talking about getting rid of pets.

When we moved to this house our dog, Sadie, absolutely hated the change. She became very destructive and was obviously a dog in depression. The woman who cleaned our house loved pets and had a passel of them on the farm where she lived. She liked Sadie and offered to give her a new home. The idea of the dog having open space and other dogs to play with was a perfect solution.

Well, it seemed so. The problem came about when our friends would ask where Sadie was and we told them we had sent her to the farm. Invariably they would nod. Some, mostly animal lovers, would frown deeply and go Hmmm, while others would shake their heads Yes and say they understood.

This went on quite a while until eventually Linda and I realized that everyone was assuming that when we said we sent the dog to the farm we were using a euphemism for having her put down. So we then spent the next several weeks making sure we told everyone that we really had sent Sadie to a farm where she was living the good doggie life.

Some of our animal lover friends looked a bit skeptical until we added that she was so truly on the farm that she had even been kicked by a horse she tried to play with. At that the animal lovers smiled as if to say all was well in the world of friendly fauna.

So we will not be telling folks we sent Streak to the dogs. Instead we will say she has a new mummy. And that she was a good little cat whom we enjoyed while she was with us.

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