Lightning Among the Roses:
Lightning belonged to my daughter, and when she moved from an apartment to the dorm on campus, he had to come and live with me. She named him Lightning because he could run 100 feet in one second - or at least it seemed that way. He was so fast that sometimes you'd wonder if you really had 2 cats in the house. I grew to love Lightning in short order. Just when I was sitting down at my desk to do paper work, he would jump up on it and sprawl on whatever papers were there, purring loudly and switching his tail in pleasure. No amount of talking and removing him could convince him that I did not want him there. Up he jumped, over and over. I usually gave up - and waited until a time when he was outside before trying the paper work again. In spite of Lightning's quickness, he met an ignominious death. There was a band of 3 stray dogs roving the county at that time, and they caught Lightning before he could reach the safety of our fenced deck, breaking his back before I scared them away by screaming and hollering. He died at the emergency vet's ofc. I have always loved this photo of him walking the deck railings between the roses and it brings me solace when I think of him.
Muffin was both a blessing and a curse during the 15 years we had her. When we adopted her from the SPCA, she was less than 6 weeks old, and so tiny that I could hold her in one hand. We laughed at her attempting to walk through our grass; she was so small that she had a hard time navigating through a 3" tall lawn. The first few weeks were pure hell for me; she refused to sleep without a human nearby, and she howled everytime we left her alone. I tried hot water bottles, ticking clocks, warm blankets, etc., but nothing did the trick unless I was by her side. In order to keep peace in the house so everyone else could sleep, I started sleeping on the pull-out couch in the den with Muffin by my side. I assumed that she would settle down as she matured, but no such luck. That set a pattern I had to follow for years to come. Another pattern she set was that of eating everything in sight, especially couch upholstery, rug fringe, shoes, chair legs, fingers, etc. I kept a lot of her damage as secret as possible or I would have had to take her back to the SPCA, and I just couldn't bring myself to do that. The really bad thing about Muffin was she decided that my dining room floor was to be her only bathroom, and for the whole 15 years we had her, that remained so. I suppose most people would not have stood for that, but in spite of every problem she caused, she was so sweet and affectionate and cute that we all forgave her every sin. I loved her long and well and she brought all of us much joy, but I must admit I was not completely unhappy when she left us and I was finally able to clean up the dining room and make it habitable again. That doesn't mean I didn't cry, however, as I wailed like a banshee. Muffin was one in a million and I could never replace her. Won't even try.