Friday, June 07, 2013


We have a new addition to our menagerie. Her name is Katt. With a name like that, you’d think that Katt would be a cat. But she’s not. Katt is actually a dog. I gave some fleeting thought to changing her name, but after a day or two the name grew on me. So, the matter is settled. My dog, Katt, will forever be Katt.
Almost every time I call her name I chuckle. I find the idea of calling “Katt” and watching a dog appear quite amusing. It reminds me of Eugene Ionesco and the theatre of the absurd. In one of his plays, “Rhinoceros,” there is a conversation between a logician and an old man. The logician begins the conversation by observing that “cats have four paws.” The old man responds, “My dog has four paws.” The logician, believing that his logic is impeccable, proudly declares, “Then your dog is a cat and the contrary is also true.” I now find myself occasionally muttering “My dog is Katt…and the contrary is also true.”
It’s only been a few weeks, but she’s already wormed her way into my heart. I assumed that she would bond to Nancy since she’d been owned by a woman, but to my surprise she’s bonded herself to me and my buddy Ranger the sheltie, the only two men in the house. She’s especially fond of me and follows me everywhere, upstairs, downstairs, out to the back yard. When I sit in my recliner she tries to climb up with me, pawing incessantly as she does.
She looks like Jack, but she’s not like him. She’s not overweight like he was. She’s never learned any tricks. She doesn’t seem inclined to chase rabbits or squirrels. She just dotes on me. I think she knows I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
We’ve already had the adventure of a lifetime. Last week we took her and Ranger to our crash pad in Kansas City. On Sunday afternoon I took them for a walk around the River Market. We were having a great time until we got to the “Max” bus stop. A couple of young girls got Katt excited and she started jumping up and down. Somehow she managed to slip out of her collar. The girls lunged at her and she bolted. She ran out into the street and nearly got hit by a car. I started running to get her, with Ranger in tow. She panicked and started running down Grand Avenue. It all looked hopeless until a homeless man saw my plight and started running along with me. “I’ll get her for you, Mister,” he reassured me. The chase was on. For the next fifteen minutes we ran, following cues from people pointing us in the right direction as we did. Then we lost her trail. It looked like all was lost. But, the homeless man refused to give up. “I’m gonna’ get her for you. Don’t you worry.” Then, as suddenly as she’d disappeared, Katt reappeared. She ran past us and several other people and stopped in front of a man and his wife. From outward appearance, they appeared to be well heeled. “Grab her,” I pleaded. For some reason the man decided some more fun was in order. “Let’s see how far we can make her run,” he said as he very deliberately chased her off. Thankfully, the homeless man refused to give up. Somehow he managed to catch up with Katt before she got to Interstate 70. As he handed her over to me I thanked him profusely. I gave him twenty bucks for his kindness. As he walked away I noticed that his eyes were tearing up.
It was quite an adventure. As soon as we got back to Emporia I went to Wal-Mart and got Katt a harness to replace the collar she’d slipped out of. There will be no more unplanned escapes for Katt.
The adventure also taught me a very important lesson. Life is sometimes like the theatre of the absurd.  Appearances can be deceiving and logic often fails. You’d think it would’ve been the well-heeled man who rescued me instead of some homeless man. You’d think that a well-heeled man would’ve been full of the milk of human kindness rather than the homeless man.
How do all these things get sorted out? What’s the reward in the end for being kind? What’s the penalty for being downright mean? Is it like the story of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man? Was that homeless man a Lazarus of sorts? Will he, like Lazarus, find himself in Paradise some day? And how will the story end for the well-heeled man? If his actions that Sunday afternoon are any indication, he may be very thirsty.

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