The derisive laughter doesn't bother me. I will still write about my pets. Since I can't fly to Hawaii, or even drive to the shore very often, I've learned to accept and deeply appreciate what my pets have to offer by way of deep relaxation and amusement, and, yes, I'll admit it, therapy.

Lucy, RIP, was my heart-of-gold, solid diamond rock. I miss her courage. I think I may still have some of it. Fred: the wire-walking valerio, the mesmerizing hypnotist—blood pressure pill in a pile of fur. And his brother Barney, with us only two years, RIP: gentle-souled zen master. Don't just do something, sit there. And then came Boots, the catnip sniffin' easy rider, like the 60s, part rascal part scaredy cat. And now the baby of the family, two years old already: Julie. Not the alpha, but definitely the omega, wounded by thunder and vacume cleaners and motorcycles and fireworks, a creature who needs you as much as you need her.

The unconditional love (if you don't count the endless treats and meals and leftovers) just keeps flowing. Never an ebb. Nope, they never seem to care about my relative rating on the greatness-to-failure scale. I am what I am when it comes to these guys and they couldn't care less. Lucy, the warrior of a Boston Terrier, fourteen year veteran of every one of my moods, would sprawl across the couch observing me as I'd write, or read, or look out the window in a paralyzed daze. I always had to glance over at her. She'd always reward me with a look that seemed to say, "Big deal, whatever that is you're doing." Indifferent to everything but the guitar, which she loved. I still play for her.

My pets. God bless my wonderful pets.


Special New Feature!

Julie (of the Wolves)
Born in Lebanon, Missouri
Oct. 17, 2002
First day home in West Chester, PA
Jan. 4, 2003


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