Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Scout (and other pets)

Scout, my cat, finally arrived in Maryland. It's amazing how important a pet can be. She's my best non-human friend. She is so incredible, having stayed in her carrier nearly 12 hours for the flight out here, plus the drives, and then having to bear a friend's basement for a couple of days until the paint dried at the house. But she's no fraidy-cat. No drugs, no tranquilizers. She took it all in stride, and has already claimed the house as hers. It really feels much more like home when she's there. She's already scouted out the best locations, including my chest in the early morning hours. I feel so happy just seeing her lie on her back, or looking out a window. She's just so darn cute! I really lucked out with this cat, and I feel blessed to have her in my life.

Sadly, in other pet news, our desert tortoise, Touche (accent mark over the e, but I don't know how to type that here) wandered out of my parents' backyard about 2 weeks ago or so. The thing about tortoises is that they can be easy to forget and even more easily go unnoticed. So when workmen came, my folks didn't mention his existence. Touche has been in the family about 30 years. He came to us as part of an adoption/rescue program at a time when desert tortoises were endangered species. By the time I was working at the zoo, they were no longer "endangered," but "threatened," and I had then learned that he was quite possibly a she. They can live 100-150 years, and my wife took quite a liking to him. She often asked who would inherit him, since he would outlive me and my siblings. So, while he isn't the cute, cuddly pet like Scout, and doesn't create quite the equivalent void, let me tell you it's still tragic to lose a 30+ year member of the family. He's out there, practically invisible to the world. Large for a turtle, but small for a neighborhood. He can blend into rocks and the ground, and he digs deep for shelter, so he could be buried. He could also be run over by a car, eaten by a dog, or just aimlessly lost for the rest of his days.

So, if you see a big turtle walking aimlessly around the SoCal suburbs, please let me know. And in the meantime, I think I'll be going home and giving Scout a great big hug!


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