Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Furry Friends

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to bring my real life into my blogging. A lot of times the posts I write are a reflection of what's going on around me. This week it's all about my cat. Yes. My cat. The dumb jerk was hit by a car the other day. Okay. He wasn't a jerk. But I'm feeling a bit put out about the whole thing. We had to put him outside because he decided that the litter box was for wimps and he preferred my bath-mats. Well, maybe he was a jerk. But I still miss the old fart and I'm feeling a little guilty about the fact that he wouldn't have been hit had he been living in the house. Granted, I didn't throw him in front of the car, but still... Anyway. The thing that's been standing out to me this week is how much our pets affect our lives in ways we don't even realize. For example, I always had to hit my garage door opener twice when I came home because my cat always tripped the child-safety sensor as he'd run into the garage. Usually I'd get a little grumpy about that but this week I miss it. I'm getting maudlin. So naturally I've begun to reflect on animals and how often they appear in our favorite entertainment. It's actually pretty interesting when you think about it. Most people love animals and the characters you see on the screen, from Lassie to Flipper, are pretty happy and sunny. Then there's Stephen King. What kind of childhood do you suppose this guy had? Not surprisingly, when I was thinking of animals in film, especially a fantasy/sci-fi context, I thought of "Pet Semetary." Yeah. Happy thoughts. Cat gets hit by car, buried in an Indian burial ground and resurrected as a horrible shadow of its formal self. Child then gets killed-- repeat cycle. Thank goodness this stuff doesn't happen in real life. At least I hope not. If "Pet Semetary" was the only book or movie by Stephen King to feature a crazy animal I might not think too much about it. But then there's "Cujo." A happy tale about the family dog getting rabies and trapping a woman and a child in a car for three days. "Cujo" makes "Old Yeller" look like it has a happy ending. And then on the complete opposite end of the spectrum you have Dean Koontz. I don't know if his childhood was any happier than King's (word is it wasn't) but Koontz must've had a furry friend to help him through the tough times. The first book I ever read by Koontz was "Watchers." I haven't read that one in awhile but I remember liking the book. The animal in "Watchers" is a golden retriever, a breed that Koontz puts in a lot of his books and is frequently pictured with on the back cover. Einstein, the golden retriever, is a product of a government experiment and possesses human-like intelligence. Einstein isn't fully anthropomorphized, but he is certainly idealized-- not that there's anything wrong with that. Koontz recently brought back the golden retriever as an example of all that is right in the world with "The Darkest Evening of the Year." That particular book was way too saccharine for my taste, but I guess you have to appreciate the sentiment. Yeah, there's nothing like animals to tug on the heart-strings is there? I haven't watched "Old Yeller" since I was a kid because that movie is guaranteed to make you cry. Thank goodness my son prefers "Garfield" and "Underdog," those hardly make me mist up at all. Stupid cat.

7 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

From all I've heard, Koontz had a worse childhood than King. I always liked Koontz's dogs. I'd say Koontz has definitely moved toward the saccharine end of the spectrum with some of his latest works.

furiousBall said...

yeah, people like Dean that own Goldens get a pass from a fellow big orange goofball owner like me.

Jhianna said...

I'm sorry about your cat. It's amazing how important they are even when you think you're just putting up with them.

I loved Watchers, but I haven't read many of his other books.

Steve Malley said...

The Pet Semetary reference makes me wonder, if Butler were possessed by a murderous spirit from beyond the grave, how would I know?

And my sympathy for your loss.

Mulluane said...

I lost so many cats that way when I was younger that I never let my current cat outside. But I feel guilty about it, so many joys she will never know. I guess it is a catch 22 with no right answer.

(And yes she gets mad and uses my bath mats too sometimes!)

SQT said...

Charles

Koontz's dogs are definitely the best part of those books.

Furiousball

We grew up with sheepdogs, which are basically big goofballs too. I kind of miss having a big dog around. My eight pound Maltipoo might disagree though.

Jhianna

Thanks. That cat was the first pet I picked out when I moved out on my own. He was kind of a symbol of independence to me and I loved him. Dumb cat.

Steve

I think my cat would have gotten nicer for sure. Might have even used the litter box.

And thanks.

Mulluane

The fact that my cat enjoyed being out makes me feel better. He was also shamelessly spoiled by the neighbors and was getting a big belly. So he was a happy little mooch.

Virginia Lady said...

I can really feel for you about the cat. My current cat is very stupid and periodically decides the bath mat is the litter box as well. Out of all the cats I've had this one I've liked the least, but just the other day I was telling my husband that when she died I'd probably miss her anyway. Annoying. She's not good for anything but eating and leaving hair everywhere. She's supposed to be killing mice and things, but when she has caught them, she doesn't know what to do with them and they get away again.

My sympathies on your loss though.