Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Primate Muse
The Modern Human Primate
is a lover of all things petable; a manifestation of the mothering instinct in most cases, 
as it was with "Koko" the gorilla and her kitten: http://ask.yahoo.com/20000905.html 
a redirection of the herding instinct in others:
This animal companion inclination sometimes appears with bizarre effect, as in the case of those tea-cup sized dogs that became so fashionable a while back, they were purchased to accent the wardrobe.  Many dogs of all sizes are dressed up like children, or costumed for occasions.
(pictured above by the brilliant Gahan Wilson)
Kings and Queens throughout time, have been notable for their castle-animal favorites.  Breeders breed, buy, sell and show for prize and profit, some with sincere intent to improve the genetic pool.  It must be noted, that scientific tinkering can produce unexpected results ranging from positive to severely negative.   

When wolves and coyotes decided to attach themselves to our Homo sapien circle, it was with survival in mind. We turned them into working partners for the hunt, cave guards, playmates for kids, and extra body heat for those cold nights of the ice ages.  Though that was some 50,000 years ago, it persists to this day, sometimes funny, sometimes touching,  always illuminating as a window onto our collective psyche. 

The border collie is a case in point, one of the most intelligent breeds, requiring a lot of work and time,
illustrating the necessity to think carefully before allowing a specific breed into your life:


Then a book
was published

 I have been a caretaker of many, many rescued companion critters. They changed me, and I changed them.  As with all things of a material cast - no darkness without light, and no love without loss.  
Although I no longer have canine, feline, or avian beings living with me in my walk-up city flat, I'm probably a  better person for the experience of those relationships - deeply grateful to have had them.
A  website devoted to the last days (however many) of a sheepdog who has been showing his age, having bad days and good days, and exhibiting canine wisdom befitting his generous character. It's posted by the owner, whose erudition, humanity, and humor make it a delightful, sometimes poignant read.
After all, it's about love.

Post Script
Sixty Years Of Naming Them
by Ms. aka Michelle Slater

Patsy, a jet-black Spaniel, and her puppies--Nip & Tuck, who were somehow poisoned while playing outside-- Cleopatra, the cat who wandered away, never to return, after her six unnamed newborn kittens disappeared. I was told they choked on chicken bones while I was at school--Dixie, the water worshiping Springer Spaniel-- Charlie/Ollie, a terrier, whose dual name made peace between my brother and me--Roger, the six-toed Coon cat, neighbors thought was a small dog--Sweet Alice, who was that, and much more--Marilyn A. Wolf, a perfect miniature poodle--The Howler, a classic American short-hair tabby everyone loved, was buried under a rose bush which bloomed prodigiously that Spring--The Lord Kitchener, who came to be known as Kitchen-Fur--the gallant, Sir Galahad--Little Mary, a favorite feline--Connie Dear, tubby, nondescript canine found tied to the local church steps with a supply of food to help her through the night, but, no note--Delia Cunningham, rescued from a train on her way to the pound, and named after my mother's mother, who died before I was born--John Doe, a terribly clumsy mutt, who, as the name implies, was first "unidentified"--Tiny Katie, the elegant Papion pooch, who should have been named Katherine The Great. Then, finally, because a surfeit of stretching to open, clenching to close, and straining to open again as each one passed from the world, had worn me down, and grief, I think, is cumulative, and because the retirement income had diminished my capacity considerably to provide well for others’ needs, I swore a solemn oath to leave that tender space empty for a year, just to see what keeping it blank would feel like. I resisted every impulse to take the easy out. Then, one abandoned kitten confronted me suddenly: eight weeks-old, riddled with fleas, hungry, and cold, where no kitten ever, ever ought to be.  Three weeks later, and nine hundred dollars lighter, I passed a healthy, clean, adorable Murray Angus into the waiting arms of a younger, richer woman, and oh, missed him terribly for quite a while. Now, I must admit to having forgotten, not the beings, but the names of eighty-two other creatures who came and went through my life (dogs, cats, lizards, rabbits and doves). Some stayed until their natural end, some were well placed close to the beginning. Memories fade, and names, never faces, eyes, odors, feelings, nor all those lessons gleaned of such intimate, close- companionship.  Flashes of animal, avian or reptilian beings sometimes incarnate as translucent light-streaks, passing swiftly from room to room if I turn my head too quickly, or the sun is at a certain slant.  They have all taken turns in my dreams as well, dutiful still.  What was once loved, is never dead. Or, so it's said, and sounds true. Yes, it is true, I'm sure- a fact, a verity, the gospel, an absolute, whose proof is permanently stamped in me for any fool to see.

1 comment:

deanna7trees said...

i grew up in an apartment where my parents would only allow a bird. so, tweetie, a parakeet, was my only pet until i moved to austin and into a house where i adopted 2 kittens, pica and elite. they were my constant companions for 18 years and i still miss them. and yes, flashes of animal, mostly of pica, appear off and on, out of the corner of my eye.