Family Pictures

This is Calvin. He has a brother called Hobbes. The Contrarian found them one late November night at the “farm with the barn,” the name we have always called his brother’s family property. Both the boys had obviously been dumped and were holed up in the hay and not doing too well catching any food. They were skinny and crying, being probably four months old or so. The Contrarian brought them home and they have been our happy pets since then, a good five years now. Calvin is the philosopher, quiet, thoughtful and doesn’t like cuddling. He does like pets and comes around more often than he used to. We think he was abused, since he had a bad hernia when he came to us. It went away after a short time and he’s very healthy. He loves milk and demands it most every day. He looks up to Spencer which is not a good thing. He is perhaps the most perfectly shaped and handsomest of our cats.

This is Hobbes. When the Contrarian found him and his brother Calvin, Hobbes was determined to not be left. He climbed up Parker’s pant leg and jumped in the trunk of the car. He didn’t like life on the lam. He is sensitive and a bit of a scaredy cat. Bear chased him up a tree when he was just here a few days and he stayed there for hours. He is still leery of Bear. Hobbes is the total sweetheart. He loves cuddling and being handled and never objects to anything. He’s the largest cat we have, a big old Tom. All our cats are neutered so he doesn’t roam. He only did once, the first summer when he disappeared for three weeks. I thought he was lost, but he wandered in one night and stays close to home now. I worry about the two of them the most now, and don’t like it when they are gone more than a few hours.

Bear is a border collie mix. He is about 11 years old now, and barely seems to have lost a step. He is the fasted cutting dog I’ve ever seen. He regularly brings home coons and rabbits and pheasants. He hunts with Brandy, who circles in the opposite direction and sometimes comes up with the prize herself. Bear has one blue eye, one brown. You don’t want to see that blue eye staring at you, it means trouble. He is an A dog. He loves Brandy but was a stern task master when she was a pup. He loves it outdoors and spends most nights when the weather is decent sitting out on the porch, dozing but always keeping an ear alert. He has tackled a coyote or two and come out the better. He’s wonderfully nice to people, he keeps the cats all in line, and he is stubborn enough to frustrate the most ardent trainer. He’s as trained as he wishes to be! Kids adore him. He’s the looker in the family.

Brandy is our girlie. She’s anybody’s guess in terms of heritage. I think she is part lab. She loves water and swims like nobody’s business. She adores Bear, and worshiped him when a pup. She outweighs him by 25 pounds at least, and when she finally gets tired of being bullied, she puts him in his place. She’s so loving it’s funny, her tail never stops wagging, even when she eats. She lets the cats run roughshod over her, but nobody nobody bothers Brandy when she’s asleep. She doesn’t like to be touched then, and will snap at anyone who does. Brandy is smart but plays dumb, thus she gets her way most of the time. She loves riding in her truck more than food, and she LOVES food. She concocts the most audacious plans to put one over on Bear, since she is the B dog. It’s amazing how wily she can be. She has never known a sad day since we got her from the shelter as a litter pup.

Kate is the queen of the cats, the only female. She was rejected by her litter mates and is a tiny little thing. She doesn’t like Calvin or Hobbes and barely tolerates Spencer. She was named for Kathryn Hepburn, and perhaps she is the only one who actually takes after her namesake. She is regal and imperious. She hates for either Parker or I to leave the house and often follows us, crying her head off. She sleeps with us every night, and usually sits between us on the couch at night. She dislikes the dogs too, but basically ignores them. She likes to be petted, when she gives permission, otherwise, keep your hands off!  She pokes you with a paw when she desires your attention. She hisses a good deal at the boy cats, she will nap with them, but they may not touch her. She occasionally plays with Spencer, but that is rare. She fights with the orange boys and often swipes at them as they go by. They get revenge, but so far, no blood has been drawn on either side.

We saved the best for last. This is Spencer, named after Spencer Tracy. You see the eyes? Green they are, and wicked. He is a demon spawn. Evil as the day is long. He is the king of the universe, and we are mere peons sent to obey him. He is skinny, and can tough it out in below zero temps all night. He is a killing machine, killing mice, frogs, birds, baby rabbits, and anything else that get within his claws. He plunks himself down where he chooses when he chooses. He gets you up in the middle of the night because he wants out. He near rips the door off the hinges to wake you up to be let back in. He eats like a pig, gobbling huge mouthfuls and then spitting them out on the floor to eat each piece at a time. He is idolized by Calvin. Kate thinks he’s the nicest of the the three boys, for no known reason. He has a black spot on his nose put there no doubt to attract the typical “oh, isn’t he cute,” remark that got us to take him in the first place. He walks on us all night and throws himself down in the middle of the bed and proceeds to take a bath for 30 minutes at 3 a.m. DId I mention that we love him? Don’t know why, but we do.