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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is a former associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers.

Opinion

Feeling the four-legged love

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The debate rages on day after day, week after week, year after year. Gideon and I watched a variation of it on an early episode of How I Met Your Mother last night.

Ted calls his girlfriend Victoria and asks if she likes cats. She says she does. Ted loses his mind — this must mean she hates dogs, right? What kind of person hates dogs? Can a dog person even exist in the same vicinity as a cat person? Wouldn’t they implode within five feet of each other?

Admittedly, I’m being a little facetious. Of course cat people and dog people can get along, just like cats and dogs can co-exist peacefully in the same household. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Though we have five cats and no dogs, Gideon and I are big fans of our canine pals — particularly Philos, our friends’ sweet, white, fluffy dog who always jumps on the couch eager to be petted when we visit.

We’ve entertained the thought of adopting a dog, but our schedules have never quite come together to make it work. Gideon isn’t home from work until 4 p.m. or later, and I’m lucky if I pull into the carport before 6:30 p.m. most nights. Dogs deserve to live in houses where they can go outside multiple times a day and get loads of affection. If we can’t provide that experience, it wouldn’t feel right.

Cats, on the other hand, don’t need you unless their food bowl is empty (or they’ve dug a hole in the middle of the bowl and perceive it to be empty) and their litter needs changed out. That’s not to say they aren’t loving creatures — our sweet boy Ghoulie welcomes us home with all the chin nuzzles he can muster. Still, they certainly choose when it’s time to receive affection.

And when it’s time to stop? Oh, they’ll tell you. For Penny, that means running under the coffee table and curling into a ball. For Aramis, it’s jumping wildly in the air no matter where he is. Ghoulie’s more of a biter, and Jaws gives you the evil eye until you put her down. Truly, I have never seen such an effective evil eye in my life. She is barely 2 years old and already a professional stink-face developer.

So it’s fitting that last Thursday, Jaws was the only kitty who didn’t want to be kissed and petted when I left the house. Maybe she did deep down, but her face said otherwise. Perhaps she knew I was off to give affection to a bunch of strange animals she had never met — a cardinal sin for certain clingy cats.

Disregarding her expression, I packed up my camera and headed to the Dog Days of Halloween event at the Eureka Springs Farmers Market.

I was promised dogs in costumes, and boy did those dogs deliver! The first dog to pose for me, Madeline, wore a charming pink cowgirl hat and a matching pink bandana around her neck.

Madeline was there with Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill facility located in Washburn, Mo.

Five minutes after our photo shoot, I heard someone call out, “Madeline got adopted!” Sure enough, I looked up just in time to see Madeline trotting away with her new family. It wasn’t even 10 a.m., and the day already had a happy ending.

When I returned home that afternoon, Jaws gave me an all-knowing look. Ghoulie sniffed my hands and arms before walking away disapprovingly. I reminded them that dogs are friends, too, and they didn’t need to have such an attitude. Sometimes I am glad they can’t speak or understand English!

One of these days, when we have more flexible schedules or a doggie door, we might add a dog or two to our family. But in the meantime, we’ll pet all the dogs we meet and continue to support animal welfare organizations like Haven of the Ozarks and Good Shepherd Humane Society.

Want more information on these fantastic organizations? Visit www.HavenoftheOzarks.org and www.GoodShepherd-HS.org to see all the good work they do locally and regionally.