I wouldn’t consider myself a pet-lover, by any means. However, since I became the mother of two furry, meowing, shedding, barfing beasts, my tune has changed just a hair(ball).

Our first dog — a boxer named Andy — was cool enough. He liked to protect me by pouncing on every friend that came over and knocking them down (to give them a big lick). He used to sleep at the door to my bedroom. Annette reminded me last month about the time she spent the night, and we woke up to barf on both sides of the bed. Yum.

We had a hoard of barn cats, spawned by Patches, who we got from the Ellwoods. They were the fountain of kitties. At one time, I think we got had about 20.

But these mundane pets weren’t the source of our amusement. Our best stories came from larger and scarier animals.

One night when I was a senior in high school or so, I was on a sand road about a mile and a half (north) from home. I was in my little yellow rabbit. To my great surprise, a big black cat ran in front of me. I’m not talking a house cat here. I’m talking a 100-pound mountain lion.

I’d heard these wild creatures existed in our parts, but I’d never seen one. So you can imagine how excited I was when I got home 60 seconds later. I tore through the front door (with a mix of excitement and a bit of scaredy cat syndrome), and exclaimed the story to my brother.

Being a big manly guy of about 15, he immediately ran out the door, jumped in our late 70s model pickup, and spun out of the yard towards the place where I’d seen the cougar.

About 45 minutes later he came traipsing in…on foot. As the story goes, he spotted the animal in about the same place I did. It took off into a neighbor’s pasture, and he proceeded to go cross-pasture to follow it. Unfortunately he got stuck. No cell phone (we were still on a party line at home, for heaven’s sake).

So he left the pick-up, and had to run home. A mile and a half.

Had that been me, I think I would’ve had a panic attack from fright. (Up until the very last night I spent in our old farmhouse, I was convinced that a big scary tiger was going to pounce through the window on the stairs landing and chase me to bed.)


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