In contrast to most years, my wife knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas, and when I told her just weeks before the holiday, she immediately informed me in no uncertain terms that I would not be getting it.

At least not for Christmas, she quickly added, but maybe later like in February or March.

The gift I requested was a dog, but not just any dog. I did not want a lap dog no bigger than a cat. Nor did I want a large dog exceeding 50 pounds.

I also did not want a puppy just a few weeks old who is always misbehaving and running away from me.

Instead, I wanted an older dog who was already house-trained and who, like me, could no longer move as ably as he or she once could.

Most important of all, the pooch had to be either spayed or neutered, and if I had a choice, I would prefer a spayed female. While I loved Dante, the neutered male who was given to me by my son and who I have pined for since his death two months ago, he was the only male dog I had ever been around which makes me partial to all the female dogs I have loved.

My wife said she did not want to bring a new dog into the house while all the Christmas decorations were still up. I understood that and told her I was willing to wait. However, I said that since I spend so many hours alone at home, I missed Dante because he kept me company. I know that every dog is different and I did not expect a clone of Dante, but I needed another four-legged companion who, like Dante, loved me unconditiionally in much the same way God loves us.

Well, we’ve passed the halfway point in January without a dog, and I’ve been wanting my wife to take me out to AARF’s shelter in the Paul Coffey Industrial Park in Boyd County to see if we can find just the right pooch. A spayed Heinz 57 dog that is just the right size and temperament is what I want.

However, while I am still waiting for my next dog, another four-legged creature has moved into our house and shown no interest in ever leaving. It is a fully-grown tortoise-shell female cat who showed up outside the main door of the house on New Year's Eve.

No one in our family had ever seen the cat before that day, and after my wife let her in house, we asked the neighbors if they were missing a cat. No one claimed her and no one came around looking for a lost cat. For the first 11 days she was here, the cat did not leave the house, but in recent days, she has been going out for period of time every day, My wife has named the cat, but I keep forgettng the name, which is just as well since she does not respond to it.

My granddaughter and I call her “Baby” because she looks just like a cat we had with that name who died years ago.

The new cat has yet to show much affection to me. Maybe she can tell I am not a cat person, but she pretty much ignores me, which is fine. After all, I am still yearning for a dog.

Maybe I’ll get one for Valentine's Day, or better yet, for Groundhog’s Day.


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