Monday, January 23, 2012

Mourning In America

Good morning, I think. Maybe not. First off, in Southern California this morning a light rain is bringing life back to the supposed "Winter" season following too many weeks of dry, sunny weather. I love rain, and when California brings actual weather-weather, I'm quite happy. However, rain also brings with it a cat (mine) who thinks that I am responsible for the drops of water falling upon the wooden balcony where she likes to roam for a few minutes following her breakfast.

Usually a calm and quiet companion, my little Familiar looks at me with suspicion, raises her head and sends-out a loud and long, irritated Mee-Ouch-At-You-Now! She paces by the glass door, watching the rain fall and wants so much to go out and play in it. Until I open the door for her and she is hit with the cold air, the splashes of rain on her fur, and backs away with a scathing upward glare in my direction. I shrug. "Not my doing," I tell her.

The Negative Ions in the atmosphere also provide mine furry friend with extra energy, so while I write I see a whiz of black blurs dashing hither and yon in the background, including a leap or two in the air as she tosses one of my errant hair bands around in play.

Ah, good, I think. She's having fun! And then she disappears for an hour. Where'd she go? Under the bed or hiding in one of her extremely difficult to find "safe places" in the house? My parent-owner-friend guilt begins to slip into my consciousness. Shouldn't I spend a little more time with her? Playing? Reassuring her that the rain will eventually end and she can once again stalk around on the balcony to terrorize the nearby birds in the way-too-near trees? No, I think. I've already spent more time than usual petting her tummy, tweaking her nose, and telling her that she's a "Good Girl."

It's okay, I tell myself. She's used to seeing me behind a computer screen at this time of day. And so I return to work. Suddenly I hear a loud galloping sound moving from one end of the house through the hallway. A black blur flies into the room, pounces on a small rug in front of the armoire, makes rumbling-around sounds, turning the rug upside down, and fleeing the scene - all within seconds!

My focus somewhat askew, I decide to take a break and turn on the TV to catch the latest news from voices rather than written words and enjoy another cup of strong black tea.

Relaxing on the loveseat where I have been writing, the TV is turned-on. I'd like to know what's new beyond Heidi and Seal, Mitt and Newt. Instead, I hear the now-maudlin-to-anyone-with-a-heart opening chords of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" - the soundtrack to one of the most depressing commercials in the world!

Cute, sad, frightened dogs and cats who have been abused and abandoned stare out at one with earnest eyes and break-your-heart-in-seconds expressions. Some are in Animal Shelter prisons while Sarah's music pours tons of pathos into one's ears and the accompaning voiceover reminds us that if we don't immediately run out to our nearest animal shelter and take one of these sweet-looking animals home with us they will soon die! Or send money ASAP so they won't die! Whatever, don't let them die!

Gee, thanks, Sarah. I want to throw myself off the balcony now! (By the way, I'd throw your agent off the balcony, too, for allowing you to have your once-beautiful tune forever associated with, thus turned-into, the anthem for pre-euthenized helpless and abused dogs and cats!)

This well-intentioned yet cynical-and-manipulative-in-the-guilt-factor commercial has been running for several years in the U.S. I've learned not to look at the images. I immediately change the channel. I'm one of those people who can't go into an animal shelter because I'd adopt every one of the dogs and cats if I could.

And then I look around my room. I see my black and gorgeous furry friend reclining on the floor near my feet; stretched out near the floor vent where she likes to spend much of her time when it's chilly inside and out. She's calm again. And so am I. It's okay, I remind myself. She was a Rescue. She never had to spend time in a shelter, but a series of Foster Homes brought her to the brink of a cat breakdown until she ended-up at my home over five years ago.

I may not be able to save all the homeless animals in the world, but almost every pet I've had was a rescue in one way or another. It's better to be able to take care of at least one pet than none at all is how I view it.

Just ask my cat. 

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