It had snowed and iced the evening Trucker and I stood in a little park area across the street from my home.
He trotted up the dead-end street and I called him to return. In a happy frolic he gained momentum running towards me, aiming towards a dead-end street sign and a steel road barrier at the end of my driveway.
The street was icy and Trucker’s feet started to slip, making him look like Bambi on ice. He appeared happy, tongue hanging out, while I was worried and laughing as he headed straight towards the steel barrier and a mound of snow in front of it.
In a flash he reached the mound and leaped up, flying right over it and the barrier into a wooded area behind. Only a puff of soft snow lingered. I laughed out loud under a streetlight waiting for him to return from the brush and snow.
My pets never cease to make me laugh. I refer to them as my “little jokers” – and as the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Studies show that it can lower blood pressure, help oxygenate the blood, reduce stress hormones, increase memory and improve creativity and alertness, among other positives.
How ironic when pets have been shown to help humans lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, decrease depression, stress and anxiety, prevent strokes, ease pain and motivate us to exercise.
My four jokers, Trucker and my three cats, Jack, Joan and Forest, are the finest at inducing daily chuckles. Frequently I share brief escapades about my pets on Facebook and by email with pet-owning friends, spreading the laughter. These are just a few of their latest adventures.
Joan of Arc, 13, and her beautiful long black-and-white fur watched me one evening while she sat on my kitchen countertop. I heated leftover spaghetti on a plate in the microwave and when it was warm, placed it on the sink. When I turned away and then back again, Joan was eagerly licking sauce from the top of the pasta.
I looked at her face and she had a marinara sauce mustache on her white furry lips. She kept licking her lips to remove it, but a faint red mustache lingered for hours. I laughed out loud and wished I had my camera nearby.
One afternoon I heard crows calling outside of my home. The calls grew in intensity and I went to an upstairs window where my cats go out to lie on a flat porch roof. There lying in the middle of the roof was 18 pound, black-and-white Captain Jack Sparrow while four crows hollered from tree branches above him. Jack was meowing back at them with displeasure.
I laughed at the site of this big cat being monitored by four birds of his size and, in essence, responding to them with, “Get lost!” I offered to climb out and rescue him, but he chose to continue his conversation with the avian visitors.
One evening Trucker dashed out of our back door into the darkness and landed with one paw on one of my sandals that I left by the doormat. When he landed on it, the sandal moved and scared him causing him to launch upward (all 60 pounds of him) and twist in the air like a professional diver. I laughed out loud.
Which brings me back to Joan. I often wonder what my cats do to me while I’m sleeping. I wake with Forest on one side of my pillow, sleeping with one shoulder and his head on the pillow like I do and Joan on the other side of my pillow doing the same. The two of them argue under other circumstances, but when it comes time for bed, they surround my head like a bun around a hotdog.
When Joan was a kitten, I found her at one pound and one month of age. She used to sleep in my hair at night and try to use my earlobes as nipples. Now that she’s a senior, she still likes to “clean” me and apparently does so while I’m sleeping. One morning I woke to her probing my inner ear with her tongue.
And then there’s Forest. One morning I woke to pressure in the middle of my forehead. When I opened my eyes, one of Forest’s back paws was pressed against my forehead while he slept stretched out beside my pillow. His pink toes left a perfect impression on my skin.
The interaction between Trucker and my cats is always worth a laugh. Forest teases Trucker by dashing through a room, grunting like a guinea pig and Trucker runs after him. Trucker tries to pounce towards Jack to make him run. All three of my cats try to antagonize Trucker while he’s eating his dinner.
While Trucker stands at his elevated food bowl nibbling, Forest and Joan like to walk under him purposely running their tails along his underbelly. At first, Trucker jumped when they did this, but now he stays still. Forest has devised other methods to make his big brother move. Most recently he slithered under Trucker, then went behind him and licked his back leg, then persistently tried to nibble at the fur on the end of Trucker’s tail.
I’m thankful for my furry comedians who make me laugh out loud nearly every day. It also brings me joy sharing their antics with others.
Tracy Ahrens is a veteran journalist, author, artist and mom to three rescued cats and one dog. See her web site at www.tracyahrens.weebly.com and add her book, “Raising My Furry Children,” to your collection. Visit www.raisingmyfurrychildren.weebly.com