January 14, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Man's Other Best Friend

Since I've been alone so much lately, it was nice to come home from my recent road trip to someone truly happy to see me. It couldn't have been more obvious. She sat on my lap for hours, purring like a Mercedes, as I caught up on my mail (paper and electronic). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, I'm talking about my beautiful black cat Europa.

She came to me quite randomly, on my birthday back in 1997. The day before my birthday, Michelle's dog Bacina broke into our roommate's stash of chocolate chip cookies, eating 12 of them before giving up. Needless to say, the dog spent the night locked in the bathroom, vomiting... and doing other, messier things. By the morning, she hadn't shown much sign of improvement, so we decided to take her to the vet. She ended up needing nothing more than a rehydration I.V.

While Michelle and I waited for her to be checked out, a couple suddenly entered the vet's office, carrying a tiny ball of black fur. They had apparently found a day-old, orphaned kitten in the bushes near their house, and didn't know what to do with it. We overheard the vet volunteering to take it off their hands, but confessing that he'd have to put it to sleep, since the facility lacked the manpower to raise the baby.

That was all we needed to hear. Soon, we were on our way home with a dog on the mend—and a newborn kitten, my birthday present. I spent the next couple of months feeding the cat at all hours of the day and night with a little eyedropper bottle. Soon, she was rolling around all by herself, having as much fun as any kitten. It was quite an experience.

It's often said that when animals abandon their young, there's a reason—the animal knows something's wrong. I have to say, there are moments when I wonder if there's a brain in Europa's tiny little head. But I've never known a cat to be as loveable and affectionate and fond of humans as she is. And entertaining: give her a bag, a box, a suitcase, anything she can climb into, and she'll entertain herself—and you— for hours. Living alone as I now do, I feel luckier than ever that she found me.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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1/13: Sea of Fire
1/12: Back to the Books
1/11: America's Finest Climate
1/10: Sunshine in a Bottle
1/9: What Would Jesus Drive?
1/8: Southwestern Sojourn
Wheel of Fortune
Class Warfare
1/5: Very Large Dream
The New Nuclear Age
Going Solo
New Year, Old Cave
1/1: All Things End

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