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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

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Belle of the Ball

Frankie has been getting entirely too much attention lately. But long before there was the constant barking, gnawed-on shoes and half-eaten garbage, there was the quiet, peaceful existence of a writer and her cat.

Bella found me (quite literally) in December of 2005. I had recently put down my cat of 14 years and I was outside raking leaves. Raking and crying. It had only been a couple of months since his passing and yard work had been our “special time.” Tears were streaming down my face when a white kitten with blue eyes jumped out of the bushes and started chasing the rake. I decided it was a sign.

We spent the better part of an afternoon getting to know each other. She dissolved into purrs beneath my hand. She was attention starved and oh-so loving. My next-door neighbor saw us outside. He didn’t know who she belonged to, but he’d seen her the night before on our street. I knew it had been close to freezing on recent nights. She had on a pink collar with rhinestones. I was falling in love with someone’s pet.

I left to run an errand. I knew she might be gone when I returned, but I secretly hoped she wouldn’t be. When I came home, there was no sign of her. I opened the door and looked up and down the street. Nothing. The third time I checked — there she was — across the street, in a driveway. She looked up at me and bounded across two yards to my front door. The same next-door neighbor laughed and hollered over to me, “She picks you!”

As it turned out, some college girls had adopted her before learning that their third roommate was allergic. They’d been keeping her outside and planned to return her to the Humane Society the next day. They’d been trying to find a home for her. At last attempt, she’d been shipped off with a boyfriend who owned two big Boxers. They were relieved to give her up to me. I’m sure she was relieved to get away from the Boxers.

She came with her name and her pink diamond collar. I took the collar off, but it was too late. Her personality was already infused with the entitled air of a princess. She’s clearly an indoor girl. She goes outside in my small yard only when I’m watching. She would never jump the fence. She doesn’t jump. Or climb. Or even relish high places. My mom says she’s the perfect cat for me cause I take so long at the door and she never runs out. My mother once accidentally left the door ajar and the wind blew it wide open. It was like that for half the day and I came home with Frankie in a panic to find her lounging on the bed.

Maybe her first few months served her well. Now she can really appreciate attention from someone who’s not allergic and treasure a warm bed on a cold night. And after holding her own against Boxers, she can certainly handle Frankie.

Frankie has made me love dogs in addition to cats and I’ll always be writing about him and his mischievous ways. But behind this adorable dog that hogs the spotlight is a sweet and unassuming kitty. When it comes to these two, it’s true what they say: you never forget your first love.

Pet People

I’ve become one of those crazy animal ladies.  Notice I didn’t say crazy cat ladies, because, to be honest, Bella and I have never had a problem.  And Bella is just one cat.  I think you have to have four or more to be official.  Three is pushing it.  If you live with a significant other or kids, you’re safe.  Don’t ask me why.  I don’t make the rules.  No, the problem started when Frankie came to live with us.

I bought a cat condo last week so Bella would have someplace to get away from him.  I always thought they were kind of tacky.  But, like parents who say they’ll never leave toys strewn about the living room, it happens.  Out of necessity.  And for me, guilt.  Guilt for bringing a dog into the house.  So I bought what I considered to be a more tasteful one.  A ridiculous amount of money for carpet and sisal rope, it sits unused in the corner.  She hasn’t touched it.

Mealtime has become tricky too.  First, Frankie got a can of wet food because it successfully disguised medicine.  Now Bella happily munches the moist stuff too.  Again – guilt.   I couldn’t very well treat him and not her.  My apartment used to smell like eucalyptus and incense.  Now it smells like salmon and giblets.  And that’s just going in.  With the two of them lying around all day passing gas, I’ve decided the cans should come with warning labels.  Possible side effect: intense flatulence.

I’ve even found myself saying the very things I used to roll my eyes about.  Things like, “We need to set up a play date!” or “Frankie will be at doggy daycare that day.”  I used to think daycare was for spoiled little rich dogs.  Now I defend it.  “He needs to socialize with other dogs!”  I say.  I believe in the power of the pack.  I think Cesar Millan is a god.

A friend of mine has a theory about all this pet mania.  It affects those of us who’ve never had children.  Or empty-nesters.  I’ll leave this one to the mommies and daddies out there.  I’m in no position to object.  All I know is my once impeccable apartment is littered with squeaky toys and if you’re wearing black, I’d advise against sitting down.  But I make no apologies.  They’re part of the family.

Sooner Than I Thought

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Amy and I’m currently working on a book, Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability. The working title really tells you a lot about this blog and its categories.  There’s On An Adventure (or misadventure as the case may be,) my perspective on life as a recently disabled person (From Down Here,) and my happy heart (or overall positive outlook.) Continue reading “Sooner Than I Thought”

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