Monday, December 24, 2007

The Town of Cats

Sailor here.

Mom has branched out into new directions, geographically speaking. We go to dog shows and hang out. I carry my own water. We go to parks and hang out. I carry my own water. We go to new towns and hang out. I carry my own water. In fact, Mom is so pleased with my water carrying that she meets friends for walks to show off how versatile I am in this new backpacking mode.

Why just this morning, Mom dragged me from my futon, remarking that yesterday must have worn me out, what with all the water carrying and hanging out in the park and all. Was this sarcasm at its best? To show Mom I was NOT tired, I sprang down the stairs and went straight to the front door where my leash lives. I was ready for my morning walk.

Mom redirected me to my dog bowl in the kitchen and gave me what she calls a quick breakfast, a misnomer if I’ve ever heard of one. A quick breakfast is actually eaten in the same amount of time that a slow breakfast is. Only the amounts change, not the inhalation time. She should have called it a small breakfast. She could have called it a miniscule breakfast. She could have called it a snack. I definitely did not qualify as a regular breakfast.

Anyway, having eaten, we jumped into the dog car, water bottles, backpack and all, and drove another million miles on the freeway to a town named (are you ready?) THE CATS!! Mom said the name is actually Los Gatos, but translates as The Cats, as any good Chihuahua would know. I thought a town full of cats was a fantastic idea. Imagine so many sporting opportunities all in one place. Imagine the chance to show how very well behaved and non-cat-aggressive I am. This is my kind of town!

Mom put on my blue backpack and shoved the water bottles into my side pockets. She put on her backpack, too, and we set off toward the town square in search of cats. I was admired by all who saw me trotting at the end of my leash, face grinning, paws prancing, Mom in tow, looking for cats.

Just as I was about to check the rear pockets of one of my admirers, Mom tugged mightily on my leash.

“Sailor,” she said, “meet Conner.”

I abandoned my cat search and turned around. There stood Conner. Conner is a collie. He has a blue backpack, too. His backpack smells a lot like mine but with spaghetti instead of water. His human, Neato, is Mom’s friend and she brought Conner along on our walk so they could admire my backpacking talents. I love Neato. She smells like cookies and collies and knows how to give great butt rubs.

We headed southeast, sniffing the sidewalk for cats, and paused on a bridge directly over the freeway. Cars whooshed below us, causing me to perk up my ears and drool a little. This was decidedly odd and maybe a little dangerous. Remembering my goal and forgetting my nervousness, I sniffed the bridge, but there were no cats lurking over the interstate.

Instead of cats, we met almost as many dogs as miles driven that morning. Los Gatos, it seems, is teeming with dogs. I saw big dogs. I saw small dogs. I saw dogs with kids and dogs with hats, but nowhere did I see dogs with cats.

Conner had a lot to say about each dog in town. I found this a bit startling at first, and turned around during a couple of his alerts to see if anybody was running up on my rear end. Nobody was, but he kept announcing dogs anyway.

“Dog! Dog! There’s a dog! Look, over there, a dog! Drooling dog! Hairy dog! DogDogDog!”

Sheesh. I mean, all right already, yes, dogs.

Dog, not cat, was Conner’s mission of the day, and Conner was exceptionally good at telling us about each and every one. Nobody got past him, not even dogs too far away to smell. He must have great eyesight and a keen sense of dog.

But no cats. We saw no cats.

Mom and Neato kept up with us quite well and even stopped twice for water. We looped back around through a neighborhood of dogs and flowers (and NO CATS), and ended up where we started, at my car. Then I had a bad moment or seven when Mom left me with Conner and Neato and drove off. Conner was quiet, and for a change, and it was me who I felt like barking as I watched Mom disappear down the street.

So I yelled inside my head, “Hey! You forgot the dog!” I did my silent bark thing. Conner was impressed.

Neato told me is was OK; Mom just had to move our car so it wouldn’t end up in the car pound. She fed me cookies and gave me water and life was good again when Mom trotted back down the street to find us. Mom said all was well; she found a parking place off the street. I wondered how high in the air it was and whether she would take off my backpack before asking me to jump into my crate in the back of the car. Or did I have to use stairs?

She may have found a parking place, but she didn’t find any cats.

We walked up another street away from town so Mom could show me where she used to live long before I was born. She said she had two cats then named Sunny and Gray. I sniffed the bushes in front of her house, but smelled no cats.

And then, wonder of wonders, just as we had turned around and started back toward the town square, we saw it. A CAT! It was big. It was black. It had green eyes and was the size of a small dog. True to his mission of the day, Conner started barking.

“Dog! Dog!” he barked, “Black dog!”

“Not quite,” I panted, “guess again.” I shouldered him to the side so he could get a good look at this creature before she fled down her driveway.

“Cat! Cat!’ he changed his tune. “Big cat! Black cat!”

Neato told Conner for the umpteenth time that she could hear him. Mom chuckled. I whispered to Mom that this cat was not a big as Josie the FatCat, but she was definitely a cat. Mom agreed.

And with that, I was content. Mom and I were able to drive home with our mission accomplished. A cat was found.

So, where ARE all these Los Gatos cats, anyway? Maybe the town name should be changed to Los Doggos.

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