Somewhere in my attempt to understand human relationships, I made a connection one day several years ago that choosing a mate can be quite similar to choosing a pet. That realization came back to me last week, while tending to my mother’s cats’ litter box.
I have driven far and wide and paid a fair penny in my choice of animal companions. Once I drove to Fredericksburg, Virginia from the Jersey Shore to purchase a puppy. Not just any puppy mind you, a top bred Bloodhound from a long line of man-trailing hounds whose lineage harkened back to the Civil War. The breeder was an FBI agent at Quantico. The puppy I chose, tripped over his ears and weighed in at 17 pounds at a mere 7 weeks. He was gi-normous. His Auntie Jemima, had given testimony in a murder trial. She uttered a “Woof” when presented with the scent of the perpetrator and helped to convict the assailant. (I was informed at the time that when it comes to canines, it is only the Bloodhound whose testimony is accepted as a forensic science in a court of law. I swear I couldn’t make this up).
He was an incredible hound, with ten miles of ear canal and feet the size of a saute’ skillet, upon which he typically carried the entire backyard’s mud into the house with. He also deposited what I affectionately coined, “shoestrings” on the ceiling. Mucous drippings that averaged over 2-feet in length. It was reminiscent of the Gak that kids poured over each others heads, a ‘la, Nickolodeon kiddie programming. Or at the very least, Alien slime. My days were spent dodging slime covered ceilings, counter tops and door jambs. I wanted everyone in the house to call me Ripley, as I felt we had a common bond.
To this day, I refuse to be a serf to a beast who needs his ears cleaned or toileted day in and day out. If you are unskilled in these minor tasks, our relationship probably will not last.
But how I loved this dog. Who tracked my missing three-year old one day with the help of local law enforcement; only to be found in a neighbors basement eating an entire pizza by her tiny self. We were never able to ascertain if the hound had tracked the child or the food to the hidden location. Either way, we were happy she was all right and he gorged himself on cheese.
Jean-Luc lived to the ripe old age of 11. He died after delicately, surgically even, removing 2 ears from 2 different human beings. Oddly enough, this Civil War lineage, FBI trained hound, was the pick of the litter.
My second choice in animal companionship was a German born and bred, solid black German Shepherd who understood and spoke, German. Achtung, der Hund wirklich verstehen Deutsch! Weighing in at 135+ pounds, he is the exact replica of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. But, it was not the breeder at Jaegermeister Kennels that convinced me of Jack’s linguistic abilities, even though all of my dog’s forebearers were international Shutzhund champions that only responded to German commands. It was the day he sat in front of the television, mesmerized by old black and white grainy WWII footage, cocking his head sideways like the Victrola phonograph dog Nipper. Listening to Adolph Hitler’s agonizing German rhetoric and propaganda, I was simultaneously entranced and terrified. Again, my choice was the pick of the litter and it cost me nearly 2k.
Nowadays, I keep my menagerie much easier to handle. I have 2 white cats. What is wonderful about them is that I am not reduced to being a litter box maid. They are trained to do their business outside. I refuse to manage a plastic container in my home filled with foul smelling dukie. Anyone with cats needs to understand that this is simply not a viable solution to a habitual problem. Cats prefer to poo in the bushes out of doors, where they can dig a hole to bury the stuff and wipe their paws on the surrounding fauna. A box, to which you must regularly purchase litter for and then scoop the poop to maintain the thing in the laundry room or some other place within the home, is weird to say the least. Honestly, why would anyone keep a box of poo hanging around anywhere? So I will have none of it and we are all the better for it.
Last week I found an old boyfriend’s sweatshirt buried in the back of a closet. At first I believed he was perfect in nearly every way. Handsome, polite, charming and intelligent. If you have read any of my posts about sociopathic relationships or narcissism, you probably know him by now. It turned out, he was none of these things. A liar; a married cheating womanizing thief and someone who can only be pitied for his inability to be a human being with a conscience. He was not the pick of the litter. He was the pick of the litter box. Coining that phrase years ago, it had not occurred to me I had met one until the sweatshirt discovery. Ranking far below a man trailing Bloodhound, the slime he produced, a Hitler fascinated canine linguist or 2 pussy cats. He ranked right next to a cat turd.
I found myself laundering this sweatshirt and while I folded it without thinking, I came to my senses. Aghast, I took the sweatshirt, with his diving company logo emblazoned on the front, and promptly tossed it into the garbage. Since I was visiting my mother at the time, who has the nasty habit of being a litter box maid, I lovingly took out a pooper-scooper, and added a nice mound of cat poo to the sweatshirt, bagged it up and took it to the garbage can outside. It seemed a fitting end to that ugly sweatshirt, the nasty cat poo and decidedly to the only pick of the litter box I’ve ever known.
“Pick of the litter box” is a Summersaid Registered Trademark 😉