I was kind of hypnotized by the gently swaying tree branches dancing in the breeze. They were still naked, but not for much longer. Some buds that nestled at the very tips looked like they were about to explode at any time. The mere thought of the first leaves of the season sent my mind whirling. Soon, I would be outside playing diggity dog. My tongue flopped out of my mouth at the manifesting images of Daddy tossing the ball and joyfully yelling “diggity dog Mylo! Diggity dog!”
Fate chose that moment to make the images of life beyond the window fade into the background, leaving only my reflection to stare back at me from the windowpanes. I tilted my head to the side and the tan me trapped inside the window, the one with the big brown eyes and floppy ears did the same thing. I often wondered how he knows what I am about to do, but try as I might to figure it out, it remains a mystery. It didn’t take long for me to become bored with me, so dropping down off the window seat I decided to check on Cindee.
The house was quiet. Too quiet if you ask me, especially for eleven in the morning, but it had been that way since Cindee had become gravely ill. You see, she has incurable kidney disease and was now in the final stages of life. We didn’t play like we used to, instead, we fill our time with conversations, mostly about life and the past.
Turning into the living room, I found the big brown dog sound asleep on the sofa, with her best friend Rapi snuggled up next to her, purring one of Cindee’s favorite songs to her.
“Shhhh, Cindee is sleeping!”
I immediately crouched and prepared to pounce. It had only taken a split second but my pulse was already racing. I would protect Cindee at all costs. Even if it was with my life!
Sometimes Yehudi is so small and quiet that she blends into the background. This was one of those times. Once I realized the black and white tuxedo cat was behind the small, tiny voice, I lowered myself to the ground as nonchalantly as I could. I wouldn’t want to give her the impression that she could strike fear into the heart of this dog.
“Whatcha up to, Mylo,” the black cat asked.
“Not much. Just got bored so I thought I would see what was going on with you and fat boy over there,” I answered, nodding in the direction of the chubby orange tabby who in turn scowled back at me.
I shifted into a sitting position and lifted my head to sniff around a little. I could feel my eyes involuntarily narrowing and my forehead scrunching up. Something was off.
Rapi had stopped humming long enough to ask the question, then picked up the tune right where he had left off.
“Yeah. The room smells kind of … you know, kind of …” I mumbled, searching for the right word.
“Right, weird,” I barked, confirming Yehudi’s suggestion.
“Shhhhhhh, Cindee,” Rapi reminded me.
“Sorry,” I answered sheepishly, then sniffed at the air in the room again.
“Rapi and I first noticed it about a week ago, right,” the small tuxedo asked, glancing in the direction of the tabby.
“Right,” the older cat whispered back.
“I wonder what it could be,” I mumbled more to myself than anyone else.
“Dunno,” Yehudi answered anyway.
Now I was intrigued. This was a mystery that needed solving and I was the perfect sleuth to find the answer.
Not wasting a moment, I was on my feet and using my not-so-secret weapon … my super sniffer snoot! Closing my eyes, I inhaled deeply, taking in as much of the odor as I could, then set about my task.
I may look more like a labrador, but I am also part hound dog, and I quickly put that part of my heritage to work. With my nose on the ground, I began to sniffle and snuffle about until I caught a firm whiff of the offending scent.
“Game over,” I barked triumphantly.
Once my super sniffer had taken control, I simply let my body follow along behind my snout. After a minute, maybe two, of tracking, my friends threw their support behind me.
“Go Mylo! Go Mylo! Go Mylo” their exuberant chant filled the room.
Much to our shock, a third voice had joined the mayhem. My curiosity was too much to handle. I gently lifted my head until my eyes locked with hers and began to water.
“Go Mylo! Go Mylo! Go Mylo,” Cindee had joined in, her face covered with a smile that ran from one cheek to the next.
A howl of intense happiness escaped from me. Filled with pride and joy, I resumed my task which led me across the living room straight to Cindee. It felt like a load of cement had been dumped into my tummy when I realized that the strange scent could be coming from my best friend.
“No,” I whispered through a parched throat.
The big brown dog leaned forward until our foreheads were touching. My eyes slid shut and a deep shuddering breath escaped from me.
“Concentrate. You can do this. Put your nose to the ground and sniff!”
I opened my eyes to see her smiling at me.
“C’mon Mylo, sniff!”
I nodded, then inhaled the deepest breath I have ever taken in my life. Wouldn’t you know it, Mommy had chosen that exact moment to open her office door.
I big cloud of invasive odor filled the room to overflowing. I had gotten such a whiff that I was dizzy and off balance. Everything was spinning, but my sense of hearing was fine, and what I heard next struck terror into my heart.
“Aaaaaaaaaaah! What the heck is it?” the orange tabby shrieked.
“Monster! Keep it away,” Yehudi squealed.
The sheer horror of the moment had helped me regain my composure. My head tilted to the side watching my friends quake in terror. I had never seen this side of them before and quite frankly I found it to be disturbing.
“I think it’s a cat,” Rapi shouted, all the while trying to force his oversized body under the sofa.
“It’s deformed,” the small tuxedo cat wailed.
I do not like it when I am not in the know, and right now I was collar deep in not knowing.
“Would someone tell me what is going on,” I barked.
“It’s his … his …” Yehudi stuttered trying to find the words.
“Big head. He has a big head,” the orange cat blurted out from his safe spot.
I had finally turned to see what all the commotion was about, and when I saw it, my jaw hit the floor.
“It’s a Bella imposter,” I screamed, convinced some cat was trying to take the place of our friend who just left us for the rainbow bridge.
“Calm down,” Cindee’s voice cut through the din and echoed off the walls.
Silence filled the room, and we all focused our attention on her, including the Bella imposter with the big head.
“Jeepers! It’s just Berkley. Don’t you remember Berkley?”
We all stared at Cindee as though she were speaking in a language from some far-off land.
“OMG! You guys, the homeless cat that would always come and visit us out on the porch?”
Now Cindee was starting to make sense. Of course, it was Berkely. Judging by the looks on everyone else’s faces the truth was beginning to dawn on them too. I guess just seeing him in our home and all cleaned up took us by surprise. That’s when we all realized. He was moving in with us.
“What? No! Not another cat,” the tabby grumbled, then leaped from the sofa and wandered up the staircase.
“But he is a street thug,” Yehudi gasped, then followed along behind Rapi.
Cindee and I looked at each other and shrugged.
“Don’t worry about them Berkley, they were none too happy when I first arrived either. Just give them some time and soon, they will love you too!”
“Mylo is right. They just need time.”
“Thanks. You know, you two are alright considering you are dogs,” the grey and white piebald cat said with a grin.
“I’m going to explore, okay?”
“Sounds good. See you later Berkley!”
The cat smiled and trotted off across the living room and into the kitchen, leaving me alone with Cindee. The old brown dog leaned into me, so I rested my head on her shoulder.
“You did a good thing there Mylo. You are growing into such a mature dog,” she said as she rested her chin on the top of my head.
“I love you, Cindee,” I whispered.
“I love you too,” she whispered back.
For the first time in my life, I simply relaxed and relished the moment not wanting it to end.