Call In the Experts

Nothing takes the place of experience when it come to dealing with a crisis.” Edward said. “There’s always the temptation to search for easy answers, but in order to triumph in the face of a crisis, one needs to be thoughtful, deliberate, and leverage the collective wisdom of experts.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Billy, Edwards younger brother, hardily agreed.

“Good,” Edward said, “So hop on your bike and ride to the fire department and tell them to send out their hook and ladder truck to retrieve our cat, who is stuck up in a tree.A33EDBE7-B8A0-4AFB-811F-AA413AE14D00Written for today’s JusJoJan prompt from Linda G. Hill, where the word, suggested by Dan at No Facilities, is “experience.” Also written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompts (nothing), Fandango’s One-Word Prompt (crisis), Word of the Day (temptation), The Daily Spur (answers), Your Daily Word Prompt (triumph), and Daily Addictions (bike).

Tale Weaver — Peaceful Coexistence

C97B5C06-E9B8-4700-8229-70424A896D84.jpegBack in 2008, a black cat, about a year old, began hanging out on our porch. We had many feral cats in our neighborhood, but this cat wasn’t one of them. Feral cats skedaddle when a human approaches them. But this cat would permit us to pick him up and put him on our laps and would purr while we sat down on our porch swing and stroked him. We figured he escaped from someone’s house or yard, and so my wife decided to take him in until we could find his owner. I took a picture of the cat and put “lost cat” posters up all around the neighborhood, but no one ever called to claim him.

And that’s how we came to have a cat in our household.

About a year later our, daughter and her husband rescued a four year old, all black shepherd/lab mix from a kill shelter. Two years after that, our daughter and her husband got divorced and they each moved away, so my wife and I offered to “adopt” their dog.

And that’s how we came to have a dog in our household.

Our cat and our dog live together in our home in what can best be described as “peaceful coexistence.” Even though our dog is at least five times the size of our cat and outweighs him by 60 pounds, she typically gives him a wide berth, since, if she gets too close to him (i.e., within striking distance), our cat has no qualms about swatting, claws fully extended, at our poor, hapless dog.

But we love them both and they bring so much pleasure into our lives. We are empty-nesters and our dog and cat are like our children. In fact, my wife often refers to them as her “little black babies.” She’s obviously not bothered by political correctness.


Written for this week’s Tale Weaver prompt from Michael at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. We are asked to write our ‘pet’ story, be it about “the pet you have or once had or some imaginary pet.” Mine is about the pets we have.

The Elephant and the Cat

0053C41E-A8B1-4A17-AA8D-5227E759347D.jpeg“Do you mind?” the elephant said to the cat when he saw him sitting on a rock in the stream. “I’m taking a shower here and I don’t need or want an audience.”

The cat looked up at the elephant and said, “I’m curious. Why don’t you just lick your fur with your tongue. That works for me. I hate getting wet.”

“First of all, I don’t have fur,” the elephant, who was getting quite irritated, said. “Second of all, I enjoy spraying myself with the water I gather up in my trunk. Third of all, you should just mind your own business. Now go away so I can finish my shower, dammit.”

“Aren’t you curious about what I’m doing here?” the cat asked the elephant.

“I couldn’t care less why you’re here,” the elephant responded. “I just want you to go away and leave me alone!”

“Fine,” said the cat, “because I’m not really here anyway.”

Now it was the elephant’s turn to be curious. “What do you mean you’re not here?” he asked. “I see you right there, sitting on that rock and looking up at me. Of course you’re here.”

“It may appear that way,” the cat said, but that’s not actually true.”

The elephant was getting very angry at the cat. He leaned down to the water, filled his trunk with water, lifted up his head, aimed his trunk at the cat, and blew a torrent of water directly at the cat. But the cat didn’t move at all.

The perplexed elephant said to the cat, “I don’t understand what just happened. Why are you still here?”

“That’s the thing,” the cat said. “I’m not here. I’ve been photoshopped onto this image, so I’m not really anywhere near you, elephant. And I never have been.”


Written for Sadje’s What Do You See? prompt. Photo credit: yo.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — December 13

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 13th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on December 13, 2012 in my now defunct blog. Also note that when this post was written, we hadn’t yet moved to our current house, which is just three blocks from Golden Gate Park.

Dog Duties

Dog ownership has its rewards, like the unconditional love and eager companionship you get from your pooch. It also has its challenges, such as walking the beast three or four times a day in all kinds of weather and gathering up its poops in little, eco-friendly, compostable bags.

Before we moved to San Francisco, our neighborhood back east offered plenty of grassy areas where our dog could do her thing during her daily walks. And, of course, in deference to our neighbors, we would always pick up afer her using those aforementioned poop bags.

But dog ownerhship when living in the heart of a large urban center has even more challenges, especially when it comes to finding suitable places for your dog to do its bidness in the concrete and asphalt jungle where you live. While there are trees planted in small square plots along many of the sidewalks — thanks to a local organization, Friends of the Urban Forest — there are no expansive lawns anywhere.

Large, grassy areas are not just around the corner, either. A nice, dog-friendly (read: off-leash permitted) park with great views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz is about five blocks to the northeast of where we live. Another, slightly larger park with spectacular views of downtown San Francisco is nine blocks southeast.
853E15DA-09B1-43B5-8642-C4B4408457C4The closest grassy area that doesn’t require climbing steep hills to get to is a not-so-dog-friendly athletic field four blocks away. The athletic field has a sign that specifically prohibits dogs from the field.

I guess I can understand that. If I had a kid playing soccer on that field, I wouldn’t want him or her to trip and land face-first in a pile of dog poop.

Still, we do take our dog to that field and allow her to poop when she has to, but we have our disposable poop bags with us at all times and diligently clean up after her. Hey, it’s a messy job, but someone has to do it.

There’s also the option of getting into the car and taking the five minute drive to Golden Gate Park. Or we could head to Land’s End, Crissy Field, or the Presidio (just west, east, and south of the Golden Gate Bridge, respectively). We could drive for ten minutes to Ocean Beach or to other green and dog-friendly venues in and around the city.

But that means, well, getting in the car. We often do take our dog in the car for her late afternoon outing. But at most other times, we walk her to either the small park to the north or the athletic field to the south of our place.

What has surprised me, though, is that in San Francisco, a bastion of individual freedom and personal independence, I’ve run across so many signs of intolerance when it comes to our canine friends.

And by “signs of intolerance,” I’m speaking quite literally about physical signs, both the informal, hand-crafted kind and official, professional ones.
C4234E51-1A58-4E26-84CA-0F7803DACC56But my favorite hand-made sign is this one warning dog owners that “dog duties” are not allowed. Hmm. I wonder what specific duties the sign-maker was thinking about?AE34A0AF-8ED8-4DEB-9240-A1854C9D628D

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — December 6

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 6th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on December 6, 2010 in my now defunct blog.

Never Fly With a Cat

There are some adventures that you just have to experience for yourself. One such adventure is flying cross-country on an airplane with a cat. Sure, there are a few websites that suggested it’s a bad idea to fly with a cat. And just about everyone raised their eyebrows when my wife and I told them we were going to be flying from Boston to San Francisco with our beloved pet cat. But seriously, how bad could it possibly be?

67E7A5EF-94BB-48FC-8D86-5AD4382F2F0FThe simple answer is that flying with a cat is worse than you can ever imagine. Have you ever seen a cat panting like a dog? How about drooling some sort of clear, mucous-like substance from his mouth? Or throwing up all over the inside of his Sherpa travel carrier at 38,000 feet? Gross!

What a disaster that flight was for our poor kitty. I’ve never seen so miserable and frightened an animal in my entire life. It was an awful trip for him and not so pleasant for us. Throughout the flight we were trying our best to comfort and reassure him while struggling to keep him inside his carrier from which he desperately wanted to escape.

At one point during the flight my wife had him sitting on her lap while I put a fresh “pee pee” pad inside the carrier, but one of the flight attendants told her that the cat had to be back in the carrier. “Sorry,” he said. “FAA regulations.” So I finished my clean up job and we put him into the carrier, and it was right about at that time that he chose to toss his cookies. Timing is everything.

Later we were petting and comforting him while making sure he was still mostly inside the carrier (his head was peeking out) when a nasty flight attendant told us the carrier had to be fully zipped. What a friggin’ bitch! We zipped him in for a minute or two until she went to the back of the plane and the cat started crying. Then we then unzipped the top of the carrier and resumed petting and, as best we could, comforting him. My wife was holding his head and stroking him through much of the flight, while I was cleaning up the mucous-like substance that was pretty much constantly drooling from his mouth.

Although he was a very unhappy kitty for most of the journey, in the end he managed to survive the traumatic flight from the east coast to the west coast. As did we.

He is now adjusting to his significantly downsized living space in San Francisco and he seems to be doing fine. As are we.CC22F42F-E26E-4243-B7CC-904E106BEB17