So many people have said they preferred animals over humans. I can well understand why someone might feel that way. I have many human friends but my animal companions have always been ranked in the "best friend" category along with a privileged few humans! Let me share one of my favorite stories about our two favorite family pets.
Luna and Angel weren't your typical pet friends. Angel was a nine year old Jack Russell and Luna was a 3 year old cat. Luna had never met a person or animal she wasn't open and friendly with, unless it was another cat. Angel had never met a cat she didn't want to hunt.
My son and I lived in an apartment complex where Luna and her sister were outdoor cats, fed and semi-adopted by a neighbor. They had been spayed and neutered then released back to the apartments. Luna was the friendlier of the two. She would always approach me purring. I loved petting her when Angel was in the house. But when I had Angel with me for a walk, she would start to approach with a look that said, "Hi, can we be friends?" So I had to avoid getting too close to her because Angel couldn't be trusted. Meanwhile, Angel strained to get closer to her with a different plan in mind. It was almost comical.
One day I was giving Angel a little piece of turkey as a treat when she ran to the screen door and started barking. I peeked around the corner and there was Luna sitting in front of our door expectantly, hoping to come in and visit. I remember laughing and talking to her through the door while I was holding turkey in my hand. Suddenly, I had an idea. Hmmm...
What if every day I gave Luna a treat through the door and then turned around and gave one to Angel? Would Angel respond to this conditioning by associating Luna with a treat? I told my son the idea and he was very skeptical. He reminded me that she had killed our family cat when he was five. But something told me to try it anyway.
For three days I did this in a deliberate way. I made Angel sit down and wait while I opened the screen door and gave Luna her turkey. Then I gave Angel hers with a pet and a "Good girl!" On the fourth day, Angel ran up to the door with her tail wagging and no barking. She sat down expectantly while I gave Luna her daily treat. I was thrilled and told my son about it when he came home from school.
I decided to allow Luna to come in the next day to have her treat, but I kept Angel's leash on and kept her right by me. Luna came in and explored for a few minutes then laid down on the carpet in the living room and made herself at home. I got the treats and sat down between them with Angel firmly held. After giving them the treats, I took Angel for a walk on her leash and Luna followed! I had not allowed Angel to get close enough yet that she could hurt Luna. But as I walked Angel and saw how Luna followed us and seemed to enjoy keeping us company I thought I might make this work!
I repeated this a couple more days and by the third day, I did not have to hold Angel by the collar or leash when Luna sat on my other side. She sat calmly and did not lunge. I was so thrilled! Luna really wanted to go up to Angel but I was still a bit nervous. The next day after treat time I didn't prevent Luna from approaching Angel. She went right up to her and sniffed her on her nose. Angel wagged her tail for a second and then gave a half-hearted lunge; but Luna gave her a quick swipe and put her in her place. Angel yelped but did not attack. She turned tail and ran into the hallway. Seconds later she came back in and laid down in front of Luna with her tail wagging. She never tried to hurt Luna again. Angel had met her match!
I decided to ask the neighbor who had been feeding her and her sister if I could adopt her. They were all too happy because they only wanted one cat. Sadly, about three months later, Luna's sister was run over by a car. I remember that she looked for her sister every time she went out for a few weeks. I could see that she missed her. She became even closer to us after that. She rarely was separated from Angel unless she wanted outside on her own.
From that time on, the two unlikely friends were inseparable. Over the next few years they would sleep together, eat together and walk together. It was the sweetest thing to see their unusual friendship. Neighbors would stop me and ask how I got my cat to walk with us and I would laughingly tell them, "I didn't train her to do that. She comes on her own!" Luna would run ahead and hide behind a bush then jump out. It was like she was playing hide and seek with us. Looking back, I think Luna knew that Angel needed her. We couldn't have another dog again so I knew Angel was lonely when we weren't home. I was so happy that I didn't have to worry about that anymore.
Angel passed in 2016, leaving a forever hole in my heart. Luna is still with me, my faithful companion; I call her "my heart". Luna is a link to Angel now and to my son who is now grown and living in another state. She is a constant reminder of only loving and positive memories for me. Luna is now almost sixteen and has slowed down. I watch her closely every day to make sure she is okay. I know the clock is ticking and that she will leave me someday. Luna lies sleeping next to me while I write and I reach over and touch her every now and then, knowing that the day will come when I cannot touch her anymore.
I am grateful for my dear pet companions and the love they have brought into my life. Losing Luna will hurt just as much, but what she gave me will be with me forever along with my love and memories of Angel.