I’m in what I call a compression phase. Big, plenty stress. I’m waiting to hear from two different publishing houses about book contracts, the situation in the law office is very much up in the air, and oh yeah, my mom died earlier this month. Under circumstances like these, when I hear that Amazon is trying to patent a used ebook marketplace, I about lose my buttons.
I left my purse in the bank.
I’m taking all day to get out 2500 words that should be done easily before noon.
I’m forgetting half my groceries, even when I make a list AND remember to bring it into the store with me.
Fun times, these are not.
And yet… I live with animals. As I type this, Besom Black Cat is in my lap, purring like a jet engine. Lately, she even follows me into the bathroom and waits among the clean laundery until I leave. Chloe and Teapot are two feet left of the computer on the heated throw my mom sent me for Christmas. (Sent us, rather). At my feet, Sarge is dozing contently on the throw rug.
Long time ago, I was grooming for somebody at a horse show. It was the kind of show where the exact time of each competitor’s test was posted well in advance, so depending on the horse’s temperament, the rider could do a long warm-up, a short warm-up, something in between.
I got the test time wrong.
Not awfully wrong–by about ten or fifteen minutes–and that meant the horse wasn’t at his best when he went into the arena. The rider was furious, and just missed being in the ribbons. As I was untacking the horse, an enormous beast with tons of talent, he wrapped his neck and head around me.
An eighteen hand horse’s neck easily weighs 200 pounds, and it’s all muscle. I couldn’t move, and it was the oddest moment I’ve ever had with the horse, until I figured out, “He’s hugging me.”
From down the shed row we could hear the celebration of the rider who had grabbed that last ribbon; meanwhile, my rider was moping around, tsk-tsking, blaming me for the low score. That big old horse gave me the best, “There, There. I understand. It’s one score, it’s one ride. Everybody makes mistakes.”
He’d never done that before–not ever–but I am convinced the horse knew exactly what I was feeling. I think the cats and dogs know too, and their reaction has been to stay by me even more than they usually do.
You are all on notice. When I’m geezing in the nursing home, you will please smuggle in cats and bunnies and guinea pigs to visit me. Doesn’t matter if I can speak, move, or communicate, you bring my friends to see me, and I’ll know.
Has an animal comforted you, or shown an uncanny reaction to you? I could add story after story to this post, but I want to hear your stories.
To one commenter, I’ll send a copy of one of my favorite, favorite books, “All Creatures Great and Small,” by James Herriot.