Archive for November, 2019

A Boy and His Dog . . . and His Cats and His Other Dog and His Chipmunk: Part II


chocolate labrador retriever puppy on floor

Photo by Ellen de Ruiter on

Benji is eleven inches tall at the shoulders, has seven inch legs, and weighs fourteen pounds. He has a hairless potbelly which is stained bright red from the iron ore-rich ground he walks on.

Benji loves everyone and is a patient and serene beast. He allows cats to sleep with him, as long as they don’t try to lay on him. When he walks, he wobbles from stern to bow in an appealing waddle.

Above anything else in the world, Benny loves food. Although dry food is left out for the dogs, they still receive a canned treat in the evening, and Benny’s day is centered on this event. While he’s sucking up this canned food, his little body stiffens like a puppy’s, and—between the slurping sounds—can be heard little snuffles, snorts, and moans of pleasure.

This [consumption] has to be done quickly, because the cats are sure to leave some food on their plates, and this fact is foremost in his thoughts before his food is even gone. If he’s not watched, he will bully the cats away from their plates and their food. Finally, he winds up laying on the couch, belly swollen and breathing labored, with a sickly look on his face and periodically passing a foul wind which has on occasion emptied entire rooms.

His constant companion and canine “sibling” is Ammers, the spaniel. She is half chocolate Lab and half Springer. She is a loving soul with eyes the angst in which few have ever seen. She is also loaded with sex appeal and draws males too our door monthly, but chooses to remain chaste. She has already fulfilled her destiny as a parent however, in the embodiment of her adopted son, Kuda the cat.

Two years ago, my daughter was riding home from school with a friend and saw a car stop at the side of the road. The front door opened, and out flew a small kitten, about two months old. When I got home that night, this little guy was already integrated into the household. About a week later, I noticed that Ammers was giving him baths and sleeping with him, and he had started to suckle on her. At first I found this disgusting; it didn’t seem natural to me. Shortly after, Ammers started to give milk, and Kuda continued to nurse on her for several months until she gently weaned him by moving every time he made an attempt. Now they are the closest of soul mates, sleep together every night, and continue to bathe each other. Kuda is the only creature Ammers will actually play with.

Old Peppermint, my fifteen-year-old white Tom, has never been much of a fighter or a hunter. When mice come out at night, Pep is sleeping with me, because he’s been terrorized by more than one vicious little rodent. Which brings me to Rodney. Rodney is a friend of Pep’s who lives in the woods behind the house. He’s a giant male chipmunk. I’ve seen these two wrestling and playing tag in the yard , and when they both tire, they take a little snooze together and then go their separate ways home. I suppose Rodney is exceptional for his race. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of me, either. If I get within a foot or so of him he simply walks away a little and then stops and gazes calmly.


November 7, 2019 at 7:48 pm 1 comment

A Boy and His Dog . . . and His Cats and His Other Dog and His Chipmunk: Part I

black and tan australian terrier puppy

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

(Note: This is an excerpt from a letter written by my brother, Bob Williams, on December 22, 1997. Part I is dedicated to Rae and Patti. Part II will follow on Thursday.)

The other day I was walking in the woods with a small companion who is a very close friend, you might say family status. I became engrossed in other things, and when I turned around, he was nowhere in sight!

I called for him, but there was no response. I looked for him down in the ditches, through the trees—calling his name all the while. After five minutes, I felt the back of my neck start to heat up, and my calls took on a desperate tone: Panic had set in.

It was exactly like the time my daughter hid from me outside the house for fifteen minutes because she thought it would be fun. Three-year-olds think that way; they really haven’t studied worry or panic at that age.

I remembered the sensations and I didn’t like the memory or the feeling. Finally, at full hysteria pitch, I ran down a side trail which hooks up 1/8th of a mile west of the main path, crying out his name. When I came back out, I looked to the east, and there he was, walking nonchalantly toward me, a look of greeting in his eyes.

At this point the sweat I had worked up was burbling at my collar. I could feel the steam hiss in my ears. Now in tantrum gear, I threw down my mittens and hat in W.C. Fields fashion and cursed the very universe he was born in. Suddenly I was flooded with relief, and I picked him up and held him with gratitude. Then I put him back down, and we walked on—me and Benji, the wood-brained Yorky.

How can a man love a creature that much? A lot of it is in him, his good heart and sweetness, but it goes beyond that.

My friend the Professor is a small, balding man with a mad glitter in his eyes. He’s a furniture builder, a violin maker, an accomplished father, and as good or better a blues-harp player as I’ve heard anywhere, in any format. He’s also knowledgeable in many fields of science, including astronomy and quantum physics, but his field is paleontology.

The Professor is the world’s foremost authority on the North American prehistoric bison. He’s published more research on these creatures than anyone else, and has  reconstructed two of the three known complete skeletons in existence. He’s a fascinating and engaging person to be around, and I enjoy his company.

This is all beside the point, however, when it comes to loving the man. Love goes beyond or around liking or interest. There is quite simply something about him that tells me he is my brother, and this sense is not intellectual in any way, but a visceral sensation of affection. As you can see, it’s not possible to put into words.

This is how I feel about my housemates—six little creatures who, in their innocence and joy in living, bring me so much happiness and contentment. You can’t explain this to someone who hasn’t connected with animals; they just don’t get it. Strive as I might to be non-judgmental, I actually think those people are depriving themselves of something good. I know they are missing out, and I feel sorry for them.

**To Be Continued**




November 4, 2019 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

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