Zoe’s New Friend
Hello, dear fans! Today was a good day. I want to tell you about my new friend. First, if you don’t know me, my name is Zoe and I own a human named Emily. She is only a small part of this story, but . . . and I hate to admit this . . . definitely an important part. If not for her—how can I say this kindly?—her absentmindedness, I would not have made this new friend. And just the thought of that makes me sad!
You see, I am an indoor cat. Never been outside. My outdoor experiences have been limited to watching, through the glass of our deck doors, all kinds of wildlife—animals I’d only seen on television—flying by, running around. Enjoying life and liberty.
That is how I met my friend, whom I named Duke. He came to the door and put his nose right to the glass. The first time he did that, I was shocked. I mean, he’s quite a bit larger than I am. Still, I had to let him know he was on my deck. Didn’t matter that I could not be out there; it was still my territory. I would hiss, spit and arch my back before lunging at the glass. He would back up a little, and I knew he was grateful that there was a glass door between us. This became our daily ritual.
One day, my super sense of smell and hearing told me that there was a door open somewhere. I could feel a breeze blowing through the house. I could hear it and I could actually smell the outside. I could smell something else, too, although I could not quite put my paw on what it was. I followed my nose to the kitchen and saw that the back door was ajar. Oh joy! It looked as if it were open just enough that I could fit my paw through, open it a bit more, and squeeze through. To my delight, it was, I could, and I did.
Suddenly, this big wolf came lumbering across the deck toward me! He was vocalizing loudly, and . . . wait, was that a bark I heard? I don’t think wolves bark, do they? Anyway, he startled me but I was not afraid. No sir! I puffed out my fur and hissed at him.
Suddenly, he sat down, tilted his head toward me as if to say “hello,” and then he did the darndest thing. He laid himself down and rolled onto his back, exposing his belly! I’d watched enough Animal Planet to know that this was a gesture of submission, one that said, “I won’t hurt you; let’s be friends!” Moving cautiously toward him, I realized that, yes, I had indeed heard a bark. This was no wolf; it was a dog. I wasn’t sure this was going to work out.
Thinking a wolf would make a nice, exotic friend, I was disappointed at first to learn he was just a dog. But then I realized that this was not important. Before calling him “friend,” though, I had to put him to the test.
I put a paw to his snout; no reaction. I growled a bit; still no reaction. I heard what sounded like a sigh and he looked like he was smiling. I liked this dog! I asked his name and he half-whimpered, half-barked something that sounded like “Bella.” That surprised me! I had not noticed but my new friend was not a “he.” I licked Bella’s face, then tossed my head to indicate she should follow me, and off I ran.
She followed and we ran around the yard, rolled in the grass, sniffed under the deck, and chased some birds. I even got to sink my claws into a tree and race up and down its trunk, chasing squirrels while Bella barked her excitement. We didn’t catch any birds or squirrels, but sure had fun trying!
After a time, Bella laid herself down, belly to ground. I climbed up on her back and stretched out. We rested for a while, me purring contentedly, a warm feeling in my belly, and Bella– well, I think she’d fallen asleep. It felt so good to be out in the fresh air and to just relax with my new friend.
Finally, I told Bella that I had to get back inside before my escape was discovered. I would never hear the end of it if Emily learned I’d snuck out. I promised Bella that I would do my best to get out again the next day. She barked her understanding.
So, maybe Bella wasn’t “exotic.” Maybe I didn’t know a wolf from a dog or a he from a she. But I do know this: Differences between true friends matter not at all. A friend is a friend, and she wanted to be mine. It was a good day.