The nine lives of Maggie the Dog
What do we mean when we say my cat has "Nine Lives?"
Are we talking reincarnation?
I'm not sure where the saying originated, but we can probably agree on its meaning, and it goes for other animals as well.
Multiple lives refer to a near-death experience that the animal lives through.
Pets have urges to chase moving things, because if they were living in the wild, this is how they would find their food.
As a result, they can get themselves into a world of trouble, since they lack an overall understanding of the forces of nature, most notably gravity and velocity. Any kind of pet can have a near-death experience, cats dogs, and all things four-legged.
Maggie, my neighbor's dog, is one of these incredible pets with many lives. She is super-friendly and goes to visit with all her friends in the neighborhood.
Let's see, as a young pup, for years she swam across the White River even in swift currents, just to frolic and visit with the campers at Parker Bottoms campground. She laughed at the dangers of swimming perilous, freezing cold waters.
She once had her debut performance at the Inspiration Point Opera House, walking up on stage during a performance, much to the chagrin of the owners and performers, I'm sure. I think she likes music, as she visited the opera house frequently.
Then she was accidentally kidnapped by some of the folks who were staying there at the opera house, because they took a liking to her. Eventually she was returned to her loving home and neighborhood by the sheriff, when the mystery of her disappearance was solved.
One day, she showed up at my house with a forlorn expression on her face, instead of her usual smiling countenance. Upon examining her, I found a bullet wound in her rear leg. She had apparently gone somewhere where she was not wanted, and lived to see another day with the help of local vet, Dr. Pike.
Then another day, she was asleep in her own yard, but unfortunately she was under a car that was visiting at her house. She was rolled over, but at such a slow speed, that her tough body did not sustain serious injury. She is alive and well these days.
Some animals can live free-roaming, depending on their intelligence -- if they are smart enough to perceive moving cars as dangerous, and find their way home with their strong sense of smell.
The majority of pets will fend better if they are contained, but I don't advocate keeping them on a chain.
Some can be free, but with the freedom comes heartache. So just know what to expect. Each animal is an individual and should be treated differently, with respect to their intelligence.
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Barb Kerbox of Eureka Springs is a longtime pet-lover, pet owner and animal caretaker, as well as a contributing writer and photographer.