Stanley the Comfort Cat

Something’s happened to Winston – our very old and very stupid lab. He is over 100 in people years and has never been accused of being brilliant during any one of those years. In his early days, we were forced to move his food bowl because he developed a phobia of heat returns that wouldn’t allow him to get near them. That bowl has been in the same place for a decade, but about once a month our genius forgets its location and has to go on a quest for discovery – like we’re hiding it from him.

Change is hard for Winston. We started getting cats a few years ago and he still doesn’t know if we have one or thirteen. He notices when a cat comes into his line of view. But if there are two of them in the room at the same time, he looks back and forth between them with as much of a bewildered expression as a dog can muster – as if wondering how the cat keeps moving so quickly from one side of the room to the other.

This is the beautiful mind we’re dealing with. In his old age, his fragile mental state has gotten considerably worse.

This mental downfall accelerated when we had to put down his cohort, Misty. It was sad for everyone, but that event pushed Winston over the rugged cliffs of sanity. Losing a pal he partnered with for thirteen years was a lot to handle. Predictably, he couldn’t. He began to wander around the house searching for her. When found, he would look up confused as to how he arrived. We truly suspect doggy dementia – which we discovered is a real thing called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

Along with the wandering, he began going outside more frequently. But half the time he never goes off the porch. He either seems to realize he just went out or have no clue as to what to do. There are times when he insists on going out 10 times in 5 minutes. That’s fun.

And everything is worse at night. His sleeping pattern has been reversed like a colicky infant.

Winston has become a team effort and one new member surprised us. Suddenly, our fat cat, Stanley decided to enter the Winston fray. It has truly become a sweet relationship. Stanley sits with him, talks to him, and guides him. That’s the funniest part. When Winston wanders down the hall, Stanley will follow him and nudge him back to the rug in the den. All the while he meows loudly as if comforting him. They lay together often and Winston even licks Stanley’s head from time to time.

Stanley is Winston’s Comfort Animal.

This is a shift in purpose for him. We got Stanley during Kylie’s cancer treatment because she wanted a fat cat to lay with her after chemo. He was the smaller of two massive cats at the shelter and she was afraid she couldn’t even lift the other one. So Stanley came home with us and became her Chemo Cat. He served that purpose well and now has another.

IMG_0597

From Chemo Cat to Comfort Cat… animals are pretty amazing, sometimes.

My New Friend

I’ve made a new friend.

Making friends can be difficult, especially if you’re like me and poor at first impressions. In my half-century, I have been initially fooled by bad people who I let into my inner circle, only to later regret it. More often though, I have written off a people because of something odd during our initial encounter, only to become good friends with them as time passed.

In my twenties I met a couple and thought she was perfectly lovely while he was a buffoon. I wondered about their compatibility and it took a long while for me to realize that he was a little awkward, yet a genuine, caring, and hilarious guy. Fortunately, he was patient with me. We became friends, and maintain that friendship today.

I’ve learned this about myself and try to hold off on judgment when I meet someone. But I’m not sure about this new friend. I never thought him my type and honestly have forcefully pushed away his type before.

I’m fairly certain I have enough friends in my life already. That sounds arrogant, but I don’t mean it that way. I realize I’ve been blessed beyond measure with wonderful people in my life and I try not the take that for granted. I could absolutely use more friends and am open to meeting new people. But I’ve reached a point when I’m having trouble keeping up with the ones I’ve collected. There’s not enough time to sit down with all my friends for a cup of coffee which leads to serious guilt when you get that text from one that says, “It’s been too long…”

Which of you could honestly say that you would recognize every one of your Facebook friends if they marched past you on the street?

You almost have to rank your friends, don’t you? There are social media friends, work friends, text-only friends, friends you actually talk to on the phone, and friends who don’t even have your phone number. There are once a week friends, once a month friends, and I don’t really want to see you in person but I don’t dislike you friends. And those rankings are just for surface things.

The real rankings involve intimacy. Who do you tell things to? The real friends are the ones you call on their birthday instead of posting well-wishes on their wall. The highest-ranking friends are those who you trust with secrets, who know your business, and show up on the ICE list on your phone.

My new friend is a daily friend, but I don’t want him to be. He’s pushy and confrontational because every time I see him, he reminds me of my age. And he’s bringing more friends to the party – I meet his cohort next week.pillbox

This is my friend, Pillbox. After a recent heart scan, my age and heredity are catching up with me. Nothing dire, but some cholesterol to mind.

The first day on my new pill regimen, for the life of me I couldn’t remember if I’d taken them. THE FIRST DAY! I got seriously flustered and although I swore I would never have a pill organizer, I bought it on day two.

And now he’s my friend. Next week I will meet his plus-1 – my new cardiologist. As nice as he might be, I truly hope he is only a once a year or less friend.

 

 

In all seriousness, I’m not arrogant enough to actually rank friends. I appreciate every one very much. Thank you for being my friend and if I didn’t return your text, it doesn’t mean that you’ve slipped. I’m just old and have a heart condition