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  • Writer's pictureRobert John Andrews

Short Stories: "A Pet's Tale"





A Pet’s Tale

A Fable

 

      “Those humans are so gullible,” said Nyssa, having paused from licking the back of her white paw. 

      Gwendolyn dropped the squeaky toy she held in her teeth, then sniffed Nyssa’s nose.  “Right you are again, sister.  Our humans kid themselves if they think they choose their pets.  They can be so cute.”

      “At times,” corrected Nyssa.  “At times.”  She purred while Gwendolyn rushed to look outside at a squirrel. 

      The squirrel darted toward the Maple tree and Gwendolyn nosed up again against a patient Nyssa.  “Your brother,” Gwendolyn began, “told me that famous story – that was shortly before he got weak and left us to die on his own – about one of our humans’ pet cats from years ago who really did make it obvious how he choose our family.   Do you remember the story of Bosco?”

      “Of course.  I remember everything,” said Nyssa appropriately condescendingly.  You too could take more time to curl up and listen.”

      Gwendolyn panted eagerly.  “Apparently, Queen of the House, Mrs. Miniver, told it to Jeremy who told it to that silly Siamese, Pseudolus, who told it to your brother.  Our humans, when our human pups were small, heard him out in the field behind the church.  He was all alone and surviving on field mice.  The little humans wanted to bring him home but the Daddy human shouted, ‘No, no, no!’   They never saw him follow them to their home.  The next day when the human Daddy came home from work, there he was, meowing on the porch.   Those human Daddies can yell loud.  He yelled:  ‘Who brought this cat here?’  The other humans came outside and said that they didn’t know anything about it.  Then they opened the door and that was that, that cat walked right inside their kitchen.  He was clever enough to treat Mrs. Miniver with all due respect.”  Gwendolyn gave a contented growl.  “You are now the matron, the queen of the house.  Well, that’s the story according to your brother.   That Bosco, as they named him, he chose them for sure.”

      Nyssa stretched.  “Bosco the brazen.  Yes, that is the story as I remember it.  When it came time for all the rest of us to join this family, we let them think they were choosing us.”

      “Me too,” bounced and barked Gwendolyn, annoying Nyssa who preferred her dogs more docile.  “Me too, me too!   When the Mommy human looked over at me and my sisters at the farm where we were born, my sisters shied away from her, but I raced in a circle and then rushed right up and licked her hand.  Even gave it a little friendly nip with my puppy teeth.  That’s all it took.”  

      Nyssa let one ear droop.  “Thank goodness they have us.  I cannot imagine where they’d be without us.  What would they be like without our pet magic?” 

      Gwendolyn shivered, her Corgi ears flopping side to side.  “I daresn’t imagine it.”  She scratched her neck with her hind leg.  “After all, without us pets, all they would have is each other and we know all too well how humans can treat each other.”

      “Though you are still a young pup, you have begun to understand the way of things.  Not all dogs realize this so quickly.” 

      “Well,” continued Gwendolyn, uncertain if Nyssa was offering a compliment or not, “what I do see is how I can get them to do what they don’t naturally want to do.”

      “Go on.   Explain, please.”

      “Given what the Daddy human says, he really doesn’t like having to pick up my poop, or for that matter, the Mommy human has to clean out your litter box regularly, doesn’t she?” 

      “Yes, she does, as she should.” 

      “Well, we’re helping them learn to care for us, to be patient with us, to pay attention to our needs.  They feed us, although I do like chewing on the dried worms I pick up in their driveway.  They put out clean water for us.  They play with us by tossing the squeaky toy or playing tug of war.”

      “I do not play.”

      “Alright then, Nyssa, but you do get them to brush you and you do enjoy that.”

      “That is true.  It does calm them down and seem to make them happier.”  Nyssa thrummed in her throat for a moment.  “Funny, young pup, for I do remember when I was younger how I loved chasing a feather on a string and that made them laugh.”

      “See, it really is what you said.  We really do make them better humans.  We bring our pet magic into their lives.  We give them something to love, something to praise beside themselves, something to cuddle with on the couch, something to appreciate other than themselves.” 

      If a cat could sigh, Gwendolyn would have heard Nyssa sigh.  She did see a sadness creep across Nyssa’s face. 

      “What’s the matter, sister?”

      “I was just thinking about all our brothers and sisters who are not as fortunate as we are.”

      “You mean…”

      “Yes, Gwendolyn, all those pets who don’t get the chance to treated as pets.” Nyssa’s claws suddenly sprung out of her paws.  Her tail shwished.  “Sometimes it isn’t so much feeling sorry for those humans, sometimes I can get quite disgusted.”

      Gwendolyn began to whimper in sympathy.  “Yes, sister, they can sometimes be so cruel.  You’d think how they treat our brothers and sisters would make them feel ashamed of themselves.  We’ve all heard the stories.”

      “It is the lot of some of us to suffer so terribly.”  Her claws retracted.  “When will these humans learn?  How much hurt will it take?”

      Gwendolyn stretched out, rolled over, her Corgi rump taking a little extra time, then sat up and sniffed the breeze coming through the screen.  “They really do need us, don’t they?  Sometimes they even can be so unaware that I have to bark and bark to get them to sense the danger I sense.”  Gwendolyn’s ears perked up.  “I protect them.”

      “That is a gift of dog nature.”  Curling up on the easy chair, Nyssa added:  “Even more important, when our humans get angry or frustrated at us and are sometimes less than kind to us, we still love them.”

      “Like when I got too excited when someone visited our house and I tinkled on the floor.”

      “Precisely.  Remember how they yelled at you”

      “I remember.  I was very sad.”

      “And yet what did you do?”

      “I brushed against their legs and persuaded them to pet me.  I licked their hands.”

      “When humans get scolded or yelled at, they get angrier and hold grudges.  We don’t.”

      “By us depending on them, we tell them we just want our humans to play, be safe, be happy, be kind.”  Gwendolyn wagged her tale.  “Wasn’t it grand that God chose to become us.”

      Nyssa purred again louder than before.  “Would there be any better way for God to teach these humans how to be human?”

 

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