New Year’s with Furry (and Other) Friends

Happy New Year everyone! I left Dad’s house yesterday and headed south, driving 12 hours from Illinois to Atlanta, where I stopped to visit my dear friends Patti and Tom.

Wyatt the Pomeranian is more human than dog

Following a delicious New Year’s dinner at Soho Restaurant in Smyna, we returned home to watch the clock tick down to midnight on TV in various places around the world. My blog posts of late have all dealt with a furry little critter (Dad has a mouse in the house and I’m happy to report that he had not caught it by the time I left). Patti and Tom have a couple of furry little critters of their own, although theirs are the domestic kind. Their dog, Wyatt, is the smartest Pomeranian I have ever met. I swear he understands every word that is uttered. But their cat, Waken, impressed me even more.

Tonkinese cat
Waken is a Tonkinese cat

Waken is a Tonkinese, which is a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese. Her fur is as soft as a mink coat and her eyes glitter like green gold. Patti and Tom put me up in their guest room, which also happens to be Waken’s room. I crawled into bed, snuggled down under a mountain of quilts, and tried to coax Waken to join on “her” bed, but she was wary, so I drifted off to sleep. In the middle of the night I awoke to find her sprawled between my legs. I smiled and went right back to sleep, happy that Waken had accepted me. This morning, the instant I began to stir, she crawled up onto my chest and rested her head on my chin. Mouth to mouth, we lay there for more than an hour, Waken purring contentedly while I nuzzled and petted her. Since then she’s been following me around the house and even crawled up in my lap and let me brush her for a half hour.

I love cats. In fact, I’ve had one most of my life, until my last one, Aspen had to be put to sleep at 17 years old. That was such a traumatic event that I just couldn’t bring myself to get another cat right away. Soon afterward, I began traveling extensively, and having a pet would have been impractical, not to mention unfair to the animal. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to have a cat around the house. Recently I read about programs that encourage seniors in retirement homes to have pets because research has proven that the residents live longer, more contented lives when they have an animal companion. I’ve even heard that some prisoners are now allowed to have pets because of the positive effects they bring. Interestingly, I haven’t been feeling well of late. My neck has been stiff and painful and I’ve had a constant headache. But after spending a night with Waken, I am pain free and feeling renewed. Waken’s name is a Lakota Sioux word that refers to the powerful and sacred nature of animals. She’s SO appropriately named. When my traveling days are done, I’ll no doubt find another feline companion. For now though, I’ll just have to get my cat fixes when I visit my friends.

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