Hello to all my fans and friends of the feline, canine, and humanine persuasion. Have I got a story for you!
I – Zoe the Fabulous Feline, owner and master of one foolish (but loveable) human named Emily, good friend of Bella the Courageous Canine – I, Zoe, have done something I thought impossible a few short days ago.
Those who know me know that I have always been an indoor cat. Not that I chose that lifestyle for myself; if I had my druthers, I would be out running around, nosing into all sorts of things and maybe . . . just maybe . . . getting into all kinds of trouble. I guess Emily knows that, because she will not let me go outside. She did say something about not wanting ticks and fleas around me. I have no idea what those are but I bet that, if I could just meet them, they and I would become good friends, just like Bella and me.
In a previous story, I told you of the day I snuck out and met Bella. Emily still does not know about that adventure, fortunately for me; because, had she found out, she’d be a lot more careful shutting the back door. I have snuck out a few more times to play with Bella, but we stayed in the backyard so that I could scoot back inside quickly.
But yesterday, dear friends—yesterday I craved a new adventure, I braved a whole new world! Well, OK, I didn’t do it on my own; in fact, it wasn’t even my idea. It was Bella who practically took me by the paw and pulled me to the street before running off, full steam ahead.
Sighing, I ran after her—I mean, what else could I do? She was my friend. I could not leave her to roam on her own. She might need me to rescue her from some horrible fate.
I caught up with Bella at the corner. “I have an idea,” she said. “Let’s have us a friendly little competition. See who can find the biggest, best treat.”
I grinned my Cheshire cat grin. I knew how good I was at getting treats from my human and I figured this would be a piece of cake, no pun intended. I agreed on one condition. “One rule, Bella.” (We felines are big on rules, as long as we are the ones setting them). “The goodies have to come from people in stores or restaurants. NO trash picking!”
Bella grinned. “Game on!” We went our separate ways, Bella galloping down one side of the street, and I strutting down the other side.
My attention was drawn to a building with a large sign over its front door; the sign was bright yellow and was marked with red squiggles. I went inside. The woman at the cash register took one look at me and disappeared into the kitchen. I was rubbing my paws together in anticipation of some big treat to come, and I hadn’t even needed to beg! Out of the kitchen came a man who did indeed have something big in his right hand. I was momentarily blinded by the light bouncing off the blade of one large butcher knife. I wondered: Instead of my getting a treat, was I going to be a treat?? Well, I would not be taken so easily, no sirree bub, I would stand my ground! I arched my back. I issued a warning hiss. I growled deeply. And then . . .
I hightailed it out of there!
My keen nose took me next to a fish market. Before entering, I stood up on my hind legs and looked in the front window to check out the goodies, squinting against the glare. A one-eyed cat, peeking in a seafood store, I began to salivate at what I saw, but then I remembered what my secret mission was and realized this was not the place to get my treat.
I saw Bella coming my way. She hadn’t found any goodies yet either. So we swapped places, each thinking we might have better luck on the other one’s side of the street.
Right away, I came to Bobby’s Butcher Shop. Of course! But . . . how did Bella miss this gem? Maybe she just did not know how to beg properly. I strode in and confidently approached the man standing behind the counter. I gave him my saddest expression, then my brightest smile, and finally my most mournful meow. None of those ploys moved him. I decided honesty might be the way to go here. I really preferred being my true “East Coast Direct” self anyway, and simply told him what I needed and why. That sweet old man grinned broadly; gesturing that I should stay put, he left but returned a minute later, a huge steak in hand. He tied the goody package to my backside with thick string and patted my head. I licked his hand and headed home, eager to see Bella’s face when she saw my treat!
I returned home to find Bella waiting patiently for me. Laying at her feet was a brown paper bag; it was big, almost the same size as my prize. Bella worked the string off the package on my back and, taking it in her mouth, laid it at my front paws.
“OK, Zoe, on the count of three, let’s open our packages together. Then we can decide who won the contest. One . . . two . . . three!”
We ripped open the goodies and sat in confused silence for a moment. Our questions came simultaneously. “You like fish, Bella?” “Steak, Zoe? You begged for steak?”
Suddenly, it came to us; we’d had the same thought! We exchanged our gifts and sat on the deck, watching the sun begin its descent, giving us a light show to remember and turning the air a bit chilly. But we basked in the warmth of a friendship that I would have thought impossible, just like the excellent adventure we’d had today. Good things come from taking a chance. And by the way, who do you think was the winner?