This is the story of how I went from a cat person who didn’t like dogs to a dog person who loves cats.
CW for non-graphic animal injury and death.
I have always, always, always been a cat person.
From my earliest memories, we had cats around. When I was about five, my mother took me to the local shelter and we looked at cats and kittens and I chose a little “orange marmalade” kitten, whom I insisted on naming David. My mother insisted even more fervently that it would be impossible to call for David whenever the cat was roaming outside, so we went with Davy instead. I carried him over my arm like a purse strap and we were inseparable until the day he died. Coincidentally the same day I first began to dislike dogs.
Now, we also had a dog when I was little. Ratchet, his name was… because his tail moved like a ratchet wrench. He was a gorgeous sweet but not very smart collie, and he and Davy got along quite well. I loved Ratchet a great deal also, but he was the family dog—a part of the family even before I was—and not my own dog.
My dislike for dogs began to take seed when I started school. I had to walk up a hill from the bus stop to our house and one of the neighbors had dogs who were often running loose. They would chase me, snarling and spitting and generally terrifying my young self. My mother’s boss (we lived on the campus of her job) also had a nasty, child-chasing dog, as did another co-worker of hers—in that case, two giant Saint Bernards I avoided at all costs—and in my uncle’s neighborhood lived a child-chasing doberman. Everywhere I went, it seemed, dogs were after me.
At this point, however, I was merely wary of dogs. We had Ratchet and he was loyal and good, if a bit dim, so I knew dogs weren’t evil. Davy had taken on his share of them individually and come out the victor, but sadly, one day he was set upon by a pack and he didn’t win that one. After seven short years with my sweet Davy, I had to say goodbye. And my wariness of dogs became active dislike.
Eventually, I was convinced to take in a new kitten. Sweet little Gypsy, a black and white tuxedo kitty with the sweetest disposition. I still missed Davy, but she was a comfort and I loved her. I had her less than a year before I caught the neighbor’s dog dispatching her with extreme prejudice. My dislike turned to hate.
Other dogs came into my life between the ages of thirteen and twenty-nine—including a doberman, thanks to my ex—but I mostly merely tolerated them. It wasn’t until we took in a stray Shih Tzu that I felt genuine affection for a dog again. LeMan was a sweetheart and a joy and I miss him still.
Because of him, my heart began to thaw, and as we opened our home to two new dogs, I started to enjoy my time with them almost as much as my time with my cat, though I still preferred our interactions to be occasional and brief.
My ex bred two of our dogs and the first two times went well. On the third litter, however, the other dogs became hostile toward the puppies. One in particular was constantly being picked on until one day, I heard him screaming. I looked outside and saw him lying in the mud. He was upside down, his neck and chest covered in red and his eyes barely open. I thought he was dead for sure.
When I opened the door to chase away the dogs that were clearly to blame, however, his eyes widened and, making the most of my distraction, he leapt up and hid a few feet away. I scooped his tiny, damp, shivering body into my arms and took him inside, where he continued to tremble against my chest. I wrapped him in a T-shirt that smelled like my ex, and spent the next few hours nursing him as best I could, fully expecting he wouldn’t make it through the night, though I couldn’t find a scratch on him, despite the blood.
I was in the middle of a huge move I couldn’t change the date of, which I was having to accomplish by myself, so I couldn’t spare the time to take him to the vet until I drove him across country. In between sorting and packing and trips to storage, I made sure he was safe and fed and entertained as best I could, doing my darnedest not to get attached, on the chance they’d attacked because there was something wrong with him.
He understandably had terrible separation anxiety. He was happiest when I could tuck him against me and carry him around like a clutch bag. Finally, I drove him a thousand miles and I took him to the vet in an arm sling because it was the easiest way to carry him. He didn’t even have a name because I couldn’t get attached until I knew he wasn’t sick.
That was a year and a half ago. His name is Whisky and he is not just my best friend. He’s the love of my life.
And just like that, I became a dog person. I still love cats, of course. My dog loves them too, and watching the outdoor cat present his belly to try and entice Whisky to pet him is one of the joys of my life. Now if I could just convince my indoor cat to love him too…
About Jamie Dean:
Jamie Dean is passionate about food, beer, and hot men wading together through a sea of angst, sarcasm, and sexy times. When he is not reading or writing gay erotic fiction from his front porch swing, he might be painting, playing with his dogs and cats, or cooking experimental meals for (or drinking beer with) Jay, his husband and muse. He loves old cars, science fiction, road trips, and spending time with family and friends. He came to terms with his sexuality only later in life, so that struggle is a frequent theme in his work. He has since embraced it with pride and considers himself an LGBT* activist, a feminist, and a champion for equal rights.
Find Jamie’s books at https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/jamie-dean-780