The Grim Reaper in the guise of a mild-mannered tabby named Oscar is making news lately.
A visit by him to the bedside of hospice patients is a sure sign the patient has only four hours to live. So far Oscar’s feline prognosis has proved correct 25 times. (But who’s counting?)
On a lighter note I knew a guy who had a parrot named Bette. Bette said three things with camp inflection: What a dump! Come up, see me, sometime! Get you, Mary! Curiously, Bette said these classic movie lines only to gay men. (She outted several closet cases.)
I also remember years ago at Detroit’s notorious Palais Bar there was a dyke who brought her poodle Patsy Belle (a male). She’d wrack the pool balls, plop perfumed PB down on the table, pat his manicured derriere, and one by one the minature would wet nose each ball into a pocket. (For what it’s worth: I learned to shoot pool at the Palais. Wet nosing, elsewhere.)
My favorite dog story concerns Hector, a fox terrier owned by a Willem Mante, captain of the S.S. Simaloer, a Dutch freighter docked at Vancouver, B.C. (My own fox terrier Suzuki was an intelligent companion for ten feisty, often disobedient years — on her part, not mine. I saved money by clipping her. It took three nippy but determined hours to do so.)
Hector liked to “explore” port cities, but one day failed to return from his amorous shore leave. Captain Mante, understandably, was heartbroken but had a tight cargo delivery schedule and couldn’t wait out the truant canine lothario.
When Hector did return dockside he was seen by three separate crews to board their respective ships, sniff about, disembark. Only when the Yokohama-bound S. S. Hanley was hours at sea was Hector discovered as a stowaway.
Nineteen days later, as the ship unloaded cargo at Tokyo, Hector became sparky, jumped overboard, swam to a landing craft then leaving the dock. Familiar faces were on board, including Hector’s owner, Captain Mante. Dog and master were united 5000 choppy miles later!
“What puzzled the overjoyed Mante,” writes author Dennis Bardens [Psychic Animals; Barnes & Noble, 1987], “was how the dog knew which vessel to choose at Vancouver. How did he know the Hanley was Japan-bound? There’s no logical explanation, was all Mante could say. We can only marvel at the fact that it really happened.”
Once when my Suzuki got lost (followed by two days of panic on my part and that of my then partner Larry) we got a call. Suzuki’s safe but miles away. “Your terrier hid under our dining table,” said the Good Samaritan who rescued her. “She wouldn’t budge. She’d come out only when my husband or another man enters. Never for me or my women friends.”
Scent of course is key. (And it goes without saying that guys smell. They physically scent differently than gals. Especially ICON leather types). According to Jim Lessenberry, director of the locally based Animal Behavior Institute, “We know that dogs can identify and track to discreet scents emanating from five or more miles away. Animals can also zero in on clues that we provide without knowing it.”
(Clever Hans, the world-famous Russian ‘counting horse,’ to everyone’s amazement tapped out math answers with his hooves. Turns out the arab stallion scored 6 x 2 = 12 simply by watching his owner’s subtle facial giveaways.)
To be on the safe side, I keep goldfish. On a DVD aquarium, at that. They don’t kiss , watch, or smell.