She went out to play Thursday afternoon, and didn’t come home that night. Or Friday, or Saturday. Nor Sunday or Monday. I put notices on the neighborhood message boards, asked friends to hold the vision of her return, and tried not to fret. Cats do these things, sometimes.
There were moments of imagining the worst, then of knowing she was fine. Moments of intense longing, and wishing.
Finally, she came bolting in, mewling loudly, demanding food and water. I filled her bowls, and waited for her to tell me about her five-day adventure. But noooooo. No explanation. No apology.
I tried to be at least a little ticked at her, but wasn’t able to. My friend Christina said of four-leggeds: “ . . . they know not the ultimate depths of how they touch us… which may be part of the charm they hold.”
Dictionaries say joy is “great happiness,” which I think of as a big emotion. But what I love most is her rubbing up against my ankle, or nestling against my side or my neck on the sofa. Sliding under the covers to curl up in the crook of my knee or at my feet as I sleep. Her purr after she dines or when I scratch her neck. My elation at her homecoming was somewhat short-lived, yielding quickly to the simple pleasure of her presence, her company, her touch. Is there something smaller than “great happiness” but equally as grand? As important?
I don’t know what it’s called, but every day Miss Kitty brings me sustainable, consistent, unadulterated joy. I’m glad and grateful that she’s home, and I think she feels the same way. She’s been stuck to me like Velcro ever since.
Until recently, we only had Abbey Road, our Australian Shepherd. We just adopted Eli Moses Velcro Watkins a month and a half ago. He is a border collie/terrier/hound/wild man mix. Abbey is 8 years old and we think Eli is a year and a half or so. They have raised my Joy Factor in ways I could not have imagined. Watching them play with each other is so sweet – it fills my heart with joy. They truly exhibit the ingredients of raising your Joy Factor.
Passion is a way of life for them. Whether it is eating, playing, sleeping or stalking the squirrels, they do it at a 100%. When they want love, they ask for it. When they want to give love, they do – sometimes by licking my face in the middle of the night.
Authentic Expression is all that they know. They have not been taught to be anyone but themselves. They do not care what other people think. This is evident by a bit of their Self-Care. Who else can sit in the middle of a room of people and clean themselves in areas that I do not have to describe here today?
When they play, and they play hard, they have boundaries that they honor most of the time. When Abbey needs her own time, she takes it. Eli gets it and leaves her alone. They take a break and go at it again later.
My intentions today are to honor my passions at 100%, be myself and not let what others may think of me stop me from doing what I love. I will take care of my body and my spirit. I will take time for myself to re-energize, so I can jump back into the game feeling great. And most of all, I will wag more and bark less.
What do your pets teach you?