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cat : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog My brother Paul was a dog person–then a surprise

As children, my sister, brother and I usually had an assortment of dogs and cats and other pets depending on where we lived. Since my father was a minister we moved several times during our growing up years. 

In Wyoming, we lived in a small oil town. The last pastor and family left their large dog behind because he refused to leave with them. Most were scared of this dog. As the lady showed us the property, she was about to warn us about the dog, Skipper, when Paul marched down the sidewalk and embraced the big animal. From that moment on, we were his family. 

In Kansas, we lived on a farm kept up by the church. I had a horse. Paul had a pig that thought it was a hunting dog. He and Paul would go out after birds and that pig actually pointed. Later Paul had dogs as companions as he trekked through the fields. He became a dog person. 

In Iowa, we had a large cat. After Paul received a puppy, that cat would make his life miserable. When that little puppy grew into a large dog, he turned on that cat. The cat suffered when the dog would grab her at the neck and shake her until, at times, he tore off chunks of hair. We had to be vigilant to keep them apart. By then, Paul didn’t much care for cats.

When our son was seven, he asked and we got him a dog for his birthday. Chris loved his black lab Midnight. Paul provided an insulated dog house. When Cassie was about the same age, she preferred a cat. Our neighbors Sandie and Dennis brought her a little bitty black cat. Cassie called her Cutie. Cutie turned out to be quite the stinker, but she and Midnight got along. 

Years after our kids left home and Midnight passed on, we still had Cutie. When we were gone for one reason or another my sister-in-law Lorene took care of Cutie. Cutie wasn’t a people cat and usually hid under a bed when we had guests. Still, Cutie and Lorene bonded. 

A couple of years later, we asked Lorene to care for Cute, but she was unable to take care of Cutie the whole time we were gone. She elected Paul to step in. He did so reluctantly. Lorene told us when they came in the door, she called for the cat. Cutie took one look at her, one look at Paul and came to him. He reached down for her. Paul and Cutie bonded. Lorene was a bit put out. After that, Paul didn’t mind taking care of the cat when we were gone. 

When Cutie was eighteen and in ill health, we needed to take our three grandkids back home to Indiana. We’d had them for six weeks. This time Cutie needed special food and sometimes coaxing to eat. She also required a daily shot. We didn’t even know if she’d be alive when we got home, But Paul took extra time with her, fed her, gave her the shots and reported to us how she was doing. We returned home to a cat that lived several more months. 

I find myself remembering such things at odd times now that Paul is gone. I never know when another memory will struggle to the surface of my mind, but this one makes me smile. It’s the story of a dog person bonding with one very special cat.

By Carolyn R Scheidies

Published in Kearney Hub 9/2/19 as Brother Paul had way with dogs, even with one cat

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