Over the years, I've been blessed to have pets share and enhance my life. At this stage of my life, Bernie and Howie follow me everywhere and bring me a great deal of joy. For many years, cats shared my house and heart. I've compiled some older postings, and I will add to this book of Pet Stories as often as I can. Since my house has many pictures of the felines and canines who have graced my life, it shouldn't be hard to come up with a story or two.
I will talk about my very first kitten, Penny, and take you through the trail of cats with names like Leo, Simba, and Mufasa. I will also tell you tales of Rain and Storm. There may not have been as many dogs as cats, but they all have their own stories, too. Stories of Inky, Bear, Honey, and Harley will stand side by side with Bernie and Howie tails…um, tales.
I came to love stories about animals in about the sixth grade. My school library had a collection of books written by Albert Payson Terhune. Mr. Terhune, who was born in New Jersey, lived from 1872 until 1942. He was a prolific writer, known mostly for his books about dogs. During his years of writing and breeding collies, he produced thirty dog-focused novels, such as 'Lad, a Dog,' 'Wolf,' and 'A Dog named Chips.' Many of his dog stories were published in the 20s and 30s in Redbook, Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies Home Journal.
After reading many of his books, I began to write stories about my pets using his anthropomorphized style. Basically, I personify each of my animals with their own personality traits. These stories are some of the favorite things I write.
Though the only pets I currently have are Howie and Bernie, my furry little boys, I often think of the pets that have enriched my life and graced the page. I'm sure that other pet lovers will be able to relate to these stories.
I hope you will enjoy these stories as much as I've been happy to share them with you.
All of the photos included in the stories of this book are mine. I dabble in photography, and I have a huge collection of photos.
Howie curled up in the blanket on the couch. His nose buried under a flap of the blanket because he was a bit put out. The blanket rose every so often as he sighed or huffed. He wanted to be on the pillow, but the Mistress had told him in a very firm voice, "No, Howie. That's mine." Howie contented himself with putting his butt as close to the Mistress as the couch would allow.
With a sigh, he put his head down on top of his long flowing ear. Howie licked his chops slowly and opened his mouth for a big yawn. His tongue curled in an upward motion, and his teeth glistened in the dim light of the room. Stretching his front legs out in front of him, Howie settled down for a nap. Of course, he never knew when the Mistress would decide to move, and he would be forced to settle in a new place.
On TV was one of those court shows, and the people were arguing in annoying voices. How on earth could the Mistress enjoy this stuff? It was beyond Howie's comprehension. Peeking from under the flap of the blanket, Howie saw Bernie sneaking towards him. Bernie's small paws were inching slowly across the couch, and his little eyes beamed. Howie just knew Bernie wanted his blanket.
Without warning, the Mistress got up. Thinking quickly, Howie moved to the much-coveted pillow. As he moved, Bernie took over his place on the blanket. The game of musical spots was starting.
Howie enjoyed his comfortable spot on the pillow. He loved the Mistress's pillow. In addition to its being so squishy, the pleasant scent of the Mistress permeated the material. Stretching his full form across the plumpest part, he waited to hear the Mistress coming back. The best part of the game was being discovered.
The Mistress was in the kitchen, and she filled her water glass. Howie heard her every move. She was doing something with a box on the counter. Anticipating a treat, Howie stood and wagged his tail. He moved just far enough for Bernie to steal the pillow.
Reaching for the bright orange snack ball, the Mistress opened it and placed the treats inside. Howie wagged his puffy tail furiously. He was very excited. He loved the snack ball.
No longer interested in the pillow, blanket, or even the couch, Howie jumped to the floor. He ran to the Mistress and stood on his back feet. Waving his front paws in the air, he begged her to put the ball down.
With maddening slowness, the Mistress rolled the ball on the carpeted living room floor. Howie rushed to the noisily rolling ball. Using his front paws, he swiped and kicked at the ball like a soccer player heading for the goal.
The ball rolled with every swipe. It bounced between walls, furniture, and the ottoman. Too big to roll under the couch, Howie continued to bump it along the bottom edge. With each thud, he could hear the tasty treats bouncing inside.
Just as he started to lose his little doggy mind, a treat slipped through the narrow opening in the top. Triumphantly, Howie picked up the delicious morsel and snacked on its crunchiness.
The Mistress had the pillow again. Bernie had the blanket. Howie didn't care. He had his snack ball.
The alarm went off, and the Mistress reached out a hand from under the covers. She tapped for the black box she always had with her and silenced the noise. Bernie jumped up. It was time for his early morning treat! Nuzzling the Mistress's face, he was surprised when she pushed him away. "No, Bernie. I'm not ready to get up."
Bernie sat down on the bed in confusion. He finally laid on his belly and inched forward so that his nose was next to her hand. It was way past the time they usually got the day started. The bright light in the sky was streaming through the windows. With a deep sigh and a sad heart, he laid his head down between his paws.
Howie was stretched out on the other side of the Mistress. He lay on his back with his paws hanging limply above his body. His head was turned to the side, and Bernie could see he was awake from the blinking of his eyes. Both dogs were confused by this strange morning.
Bernie wondered if they would ever get their morning treats. Howie gave a big sigh as if he were commiserating with Bernie. Howie did understand why the Mistress was in bed so long. She was having one of her bad days.
These kinds of days had been further and further apart lately, but Howie knew all the signs. The Mistress would become short-tempered and refuse to play. There were fewer treats, and while the TV was on, she didn't really look at it. Instead, she laid on her side, on either the couch or in bed, staring at nothing. She didn't talk to the dogs or go into the kitchen to feed herself.
Howie rolled over on his stomach and inched closer to the Mistress. He extended his paw to touch her shoulder. In his own way, he wanted to let her know he was there for her. He shot Bernie a meaningful glance to quietly lay on his side of the bed.
It had been a difficult week for all of them. First, the suitcases came out of the closet, and the Mistress had put some of her clothes in the zippered parts. She went about her chores in a quick manner, and the dogs watched her restless motions throughout the house. Howie knew something was up. He knew that the suitcase meant the Mistress was going somewhere and the kennel was probably waiting for Bernie and him.
The kennel hadn't been too bad. The people there were kind and brought them food and treats. They made sure there were blankets and toys, and they talked to them on a regular basis. Howie and Bernie both missed the Mistress and the Master, but they knew they would come back. They always did.
Both dogs lay on the bed and did their best to be quiet and not disturb the Mistress. She was making constant noise, and they knew she was sleeping. Bernie was wondering if they would ever get their treats and then the Mistress stirred.
Pulling his paws tightly to his chest, Bernie stretched out his little body. Arching his back and extending his neck, his back feet splayed behind him; he tried to calm himself down. Keeping his eyes on the Mistress, he tried to decide whether to make himself more comfortable or stand up to greet her. She finally pulled the covers down and raised her head.
Bernie waited, and then she smiled. "How are you this morning, Bernie? Thank you for letting me sleep in. I needed that." At the sound of her voice, his tail began to wag furiously, and he jumped to his feet. He began to 'talk,' and paw at her. It was way past time.
With agonizing slowness, she finally swung her legs down to the floor. Sitting up, she wiped the sleep from her eyes and brushed her hair from her face. "Come on, boys, let's try to get this day started."
Flipping on the light switch in the kitchen, she headed for the coffee pot. Both boys were sitting at the entrance of the kitchen with their tails waving like flags. After getting the coffee started, the Mistress took one look at them and remembered about the morning ritual. The boys didn't know the 'treats' were real medicine for their eyes, and she was glad they were so eager to take them. Reaching for the container, she shook it slightly. "Who's ready for their tasty morsel?"
Bernie was beside himself with joy. He turned in circles and raised his front paws with each round. Finally!
Howie was more sedate, but he was happy, too. Maybe the Mistress was back to herself, but he couldn't help but notice the time of day, and the fact she was still in her pajamas. What would be in store for today?
When the coffee was made, the Mistress surprised both the boys. Instead of heading for the 'screen' in the living room, she poured herself a cup and headed back to the bedroom. Both boys sat and waited. When they heard the squeak of the mattress, they joined her in the bedroom.
Turning on the TV in the bedroom, she plumped up the pillows in the bed and sat propped up with her coffee cup in hand. It was one of her bad days.
Howie and Bernie jumped up on the bed, and each took a spot on either side of her. Howie propped his head on her leg, and Bernie snuggled close to her side. If she was having a tough time, they would be right there for her.
I tried something new. I wrote this in the third person but presented both dogs' points of view, sometimes referred to as Omniscient POV. Does this work? Or is it too messy?
The Mistress had been sitting in front of the little screen on her desk for most of the day. Bernie watched her as she went to and fro. She would sit for a while, and then go to put dishes in the wash box, sit back down at the desk, and then throw some clothes in the noisy machine in the closet. Sometimes, she would go to the cupboard and take out some treats, making him and Howie do some tricks before dropping the yummy morsels in their mouths.
It was a lazy day. Sitting on the back of the couch, with the Mistress firmly in his line of sight, Bernie surveyed the living room. He liked to spend time up here. He could watch the front door, the Mistress, and Howie all at the same time. Howie didn't move nearly as much as she did, but it was a good thing to know where he was.
Howie suddenly jumped up on the couch and began to make a nest in the blanket. Using his feet and his nose, he moved the blanket to fit his body, and after turning around and round, he laid down. Bernie was tempted to jump on him and disturb his rest, but he wasn't up to the growling and snapping. Howie had such a temper!
"Howie, you will have to move. I need to get up and put the clothes in the dryer." He looked at her with baleful eyes. He was so comfortable lying on the blanket next to her. He liked it when she simply laid on the couch and watched TV. Her depressions were much more comfortable for him. When she felt better, she moved around too much for his taste.
Bernie watched this exchange with interest. If the Mistress was getting up, there was always a chance for a treat. He wagged his tail at her in a plea for attention. As she petted him on her way to the closet with the machines, Bernie started to try to 'talk' to her. The moaning sound coming from his throat was the sound of his gentle words. It wasn't a bark or a growl, but a low moan like a whisper. He often tried to tell her something, and it was his greatest sorrow that she didn't always understand him. This time, she heeded his words. After switching the laundry, she went into the kitchen and grabbed a few treats.
He and Howie waited at the edge of the kitchen as she had taught them. She walked towards them and smiled. Holding the treat above his head, the Mistress ordered, "Up!" Bernie stood on his back legs and gently accepted the tasty morsel. He moved away and heard her repeat the process for Howie.
Returning to the screen, the Mistress looked at something she called the 'tracker.' She called out to them, "Okay, boys. It's time to fence you in. The pizza man is coming!"
She went to the bedroom and grabbed the hated gate. Bernie wanted to growl, but he knew it would be of no use. She placed the contraption in front of the bedroom door and gently placed each of the dogs behind it. Bernie's heart hurt. How long would he have to be away from the Mistress? Within minutes, there was a knock at the door.
The smell of pizza wafted through the front door. A large man stood holding the flat box and waited for the Mistress's signature. She thanked him and closing the door; she inhaled deeply.
Bernie and Howie were extremely excited. Whining in anticipation, they waited for her to move the gate and give them their freedom. Her progress was slow as she put the box down and went to the cupboard for a paper plate.
Finally, she came and took the hated thing down. Running freely into the kitchen, the tantalizing smell was close at hand. Salivating, they waited for the Mistress to eat. They knew she would share some crust after eating the first piece. Bernie could hardly contain himself. The delicious smell was driving him crazy. His wagging tail was a blur.
Voluntarily, they both stood on their hind legs in anticipation. The pizza man always brought extreme happiness with him. With the tasty morsels in their mouths, they chewed to great satisfaction.
There's MUCH more to learn about Howie and Bernie