After a full day of working the gardens and around the house, we were beginning to prepare for a late-afternoon bbq with Al, Ellen and the Brady’s out on the patio when I came across Pandora and Pepper laying on the rug in front of our bedroom French doors… both enjoying the fresh air and warmth of the sunshine streaming through the doors.
I said to Joanne, “Check out cat-girl and Pep by the doors…”. Joanne peeked around the corner and said, “She misses her cat.”, meaning Pepper misses “her cat”, Delilah. I’m not an animal behaviorist, but I do think Joanne’s right.
Over the years, Pepper and Delilah developed a very close relationship. In her puppy years, Pepper bounded through the house with what seemed to be endless reserves of energy, ending up nose-to-nose with Dee as if to say, “Hey, let’s tear this place up!”
Dee would sit up on her hind legs (she always looked like a furry booze-bottle carrying bag to me when she was in that position), stand up just a bit, feint a left jab to Pep’s head and when Pep leaned to the left to escape the jab, Dee would reach out ever-so-gently and touch the left side of Pep’s face with a quick “pop”. Pep would always act surprised and when she pulled her head back away from Dee, Dee would lean forward and gently “box” her ears with both paws… no claws, just paws… but enough to remind Pep who really owned the house. I think I’ve mentioned here before that early-on when I saw these reactions, I’d tell Pepper to leave Dee alone and Joanne would tell me to stay out of it, that Pepper liked Dee and they had a good relationship.
And so I did… stay out of their relationship, that is. But I watched it develop over time and was always grateful that the two of them had someone to hang out with. Penny is kind of a loner and Pan has always been a human-oriented cat, so spent more time with us than with Delilah. So, over time, Dee and Pepper became quite close… often tucked away on a shared blankie, sleeping together during the day or evening before we closed the place down and went to bed.
When Dee had surgery for cancer and spent even more time sleeping, whenever possible, Pepper spent much of her time by Delilah’s side, often leaning in to sniff and make sure that Dee was doing ok. As Dee began her recovery and moved around the house under her own power, Pep would often “shadow” her.
Watching Pepper’s devotion to Dee was very touching.
In the time since Dee’s passing, Pepper has adapted to her absence but, like a lot of us, has discovered that she really likes those cat-things… they’re kinda warm and snuggly and when they slip in to the purr-mode, very relaxing to be around.
So it looks like Pan’s been chosen as Pepper’s new best friend… which has been a funny process to watch unfold. In Pep’s initial efforts, she’d walk up and stick her nose in Pan’s face as if to say, “Ok, now you fake a jab with your left, then when I lean left, you pop me on the side of the head and then we’ll go take a nap on the couch-blankie.”
And until yesterday afternoon, it looked to me as though Pan had the “Jab-the-dog” moves down pat but wasn’t much in to having “man’s best friend” become her best friend.
But – if this picture is an indicator – there appears to be a crack in her “don’t need no stinkin’ dog” thinking.
I’m sure Joanne’s right, that Pepper “she misses her cat”, but hopefully she and Pan can develop their relationship to where they’ll both miss their cat a little less.
Thx for stopping by, write when you get work.