Dogs and Cats, Living Together… Mass Hysteria

A few years ago, my wife and I were out driving when we saw a dead cat on the side of the road.

Darcy has a compassionate heart by nature, particularly for animals, and has a hard time ignoring any animals in a distressed state (ASPCA commercials wreck her). “Oh no! Look!” she said. And since I have a hard time with Darcy in a distressed state, my mind went into overdrive. “Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “That’s Agent 47. He’s undercover while he’s spying for the Kingdom of the Cats.”

Later, I realized that, if this wasn’t true, then it should be.

My wife and I have subscribed to the belief that life without pets is no life at all. We have a cat, Hero, and two dogs – Ripley, our half-pit, half-lab mix, and Eva, our half-lab, half-golden mix. Eva has this thing she does that cracks us up. If we give her a rawhide chip, she’ll take it oh-so-gingerly, and run with it to the family room, where she’ll proceed to drop it and then start stalking it. She’ll rush at it, nip at it, then back away, rear in the air, and do it again. Sometimes she’ll rub her face against it, perhaps as some kind of apology, but then it’s back to the stalking. Perhaps the chip has it coming. For all we know, it’s secretly plotting our overthrow.

I sometimes wonder what’s going through Eva’s mind. Then I realize the answer is nothing … she’s a dog. She doesn’t have thoughts, she has instincts. But why am I so sure?

There have been times I’ve wondered what she, or any of them, would say if they could talk. And then I wonder, if they could talk … would they?

There have been plenty of stories about animals thinking and talking. In some stories they talk to humans too. But I don’t know of any in which animals can talk to humans but choose not to in order to preserve their way of life. And, of course, “way of life” includes a lot, from how to peacefully coexist to how to conduct oneself in public.

Thusly inspired, I wrote Laisseze Fur, a short comic book story about an ordinary pet-loving schlub who finds out there’s a bigger world than he ever imagined. One in which he has an integral role. Since it’s a completely original creation, I’d love to get it into the hands of an artist who could do it justice. We’ll see.

Side note: The whole story was born when I saw a mental picture of our main character telling his dog, “Sit!” and the dog responding, “I will not, sir!” After that it was the mental equivalent of jumping on a trampoline … surprisingly complicated, and tons of fun.

Featured Image attribution: Toru Sanogawa