Yes, They All Get Along
By Ann Chiappetta
Eight years ago, a tiny short hair tuxedo kitten entered our lives. My daughter rescued it, hiding the 6-week-old fur ball in her closet. Unbeknownst to my husband and me, she took her lunch money to pay for formula and saved it’s life.
Looking back, I thought the increased interest in her room by our dogs was odd but dismissed it for wanting to get in the room to scavenge for crumbs and candy wrappers.
I’m sure that by now, dear reader, you are asking, so when did she let the cat, um, kitten, out of the bag, um, closet? 🙂
It was my husband, actually. He asked me to cup my hands and since I am blind, I did not need to close my eyes; he deposited a palm-sized kitten into my hands and all my protestations of “no more animals”, fell away as I felt his little body and listened to his kitten cries.
A year later, Papa the cat and my other dogs were ready to meet my new guide dog, Bailey. I sent out a prayer that it would all work out and walked inside, unharnessed Bailey and told him to sit. My daughter stepped forward with papa. Bailey stood up, straining at his leash. Papa growled. Bailey whined. Papa hissed and Bailey let out a loud bark, which made Papa jump from April’s arms and onto the wall unit where he hid for the rest of the day.
We knew that one day Bailey and Papa would become friends, but it would probably take longer than expected. It was a few years later, after our beagle mix died, that I noticed Papa rubbing on Bailey’s paws and letting Bailey sniff his head. Now the two of them jump in our bed and sleep together. When someone asks if our animals get along, I smile and say, yes.
When writing a short story, I determine if the theme and characters merit the mention of pets or service dogs. It’s about fifty-fifty. In my new short story collection, A String of Stories, From the Heart to the Future C 2020, I’ve managed to sneak in a guide dog and a pet dog and cat. I’m not going to spoil it but below is an excerpt from the short story, Kender.
After dinner, Kiki and Kender are introduced. Abbie sits at the base of the upstairs and has no clue what is going to happen. She is excited and nervous at the same time. Kathlyn sits above her on the carpeted step, brushing her unruly hair. She doesn’t even flinch when there is a knot, being absorbed in watching Dad and Nora bring the dog and cat into the room at the same time. Kender barks, Kiki arches his back, hissing. Kiki runs up and swats him on the nose. He yelps and jumps away. Dad hangs onto his collar and talks to him. Kiki, hair standing up in agitation, jumps past Abbie and Kathlyn and runs up the stairs, most likely to hide under Nora’s bed.
“That wasn’t too bad,” Dad says, “Doesn’t look like he’s hurt.” Dad pets Kender on the head while looking at the scratch on his nose. He smiles when the dog licks his face.
“We can tie him up outside tonight and try again tomorrow,”
“Tie him up outside?” Nora says, “But I want to keep him in my room tonight,”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea until we get rid of his fleas and clean him up a bit first,” Dad says, “Besides, Kiki wouldn’t be happy about that.”
Nora’s face turns red and she runs upstairs, stomping her feet all the way to her room. She doesn’t slam the door, though. Door slamming is forbidden.
Thanks for reading and love-up those fur-faces!
Ann Chiappetta M.S. author and poet.
Making meaningful connections with others through writing.
Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, the Avocet, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her first two books, a poetry collection, UPWELLING: POEMS C 2016 and memoir, FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST C 2017, are available from all eBook sellers in electronic and print softcover, and as audio books from Audible.
Ann’s third book WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS C 2019 can also be purchased in all eBook formats and in softcover. The Audible audio book will be released in Fall 2020. Ann’s newest title, A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future C 2020, is also available as an eBook and softcover.
Ann’s author page: www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/