After our sweet 17-year-old Bandit the red heeler passed two years ago, we thought a break from dog care, especially that of the elder type, would do us good. I was hoping our cats would fill the void and miraculously become lap cats, but they had other plans and demanded to be outdoor kitties no matter how much I tried to convince them otherwise.
Then come 2022 with all our personal losses, there was a wide void that needed to be filled. I decided two years without a dog is enough. I began a search in earnest online, Petfinder, Craigslist, and dog rescues. Requirements- no puppies, already trained, no “fixer-uppers.” (been there, done that.) I needed a ready-made companion that would help get me out of the house. Finally, after several months enter Mars, a Craigslist pooch a gorgeous male half-cattle dog and half-husky or German shepherd. His 2nd owner was moving to Maui and his first owner moved to France. I on the other hand was settled and not budging from my home in Oregon of 30 years
Mars was a gift. He fit into our lives like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle with a soft satisfying snap. Mars adores going on walks, playing ball, cuddling, and being our guy. It’s amazing how much a dog can offer to one’s life. He has brought the two of us so much happiness. Meet Mars…
Artwork, video, & home photos by the author. Beach photos by Twee Ngyuen.
She was the fourth in a line of feral or stray cats that had found their way to our property. First, they find shelter in the barn. Then, over a period of days or weeks, they grow bolder. Eventually, they wind up on the porch staring in the kitchen window, hoping for a meal. They stay for a while, just enough time for me to grow fond of them, and then disappear- their fate not to be known.
Zinnia was different. I could tell she was in the early stages of pregnancy looking for a safe anchor. Poor dear- a teen pregnancy, barely not a kitten herself. She was petite, with a sleek body that sported a shiny black coat. Her topaz eyes that glowed like the high beams on a car, visible from across the yard. This cat could model on a perfume commercial
I’m still working away trying to hone monotype techniques on my gelatin plate. A monoptype is a one -of-a-kind print. I cheifly use stencils and then sometimes stamps to make my images. Then I go back in with colored pencil to highlight. The following two prints were inspired by my visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in May. I closed down the place gawking at all the beautiful seal life.
My nightly delight is Lizzy, our little feral cat who pokes her head up at the door begging for food with her pathetic meow. I can finally pet her and pick up her bony little body. Most likely she has feline leukemia. We feed her all she wants but she never gains any weight. I had to paint a picture of her.
The once elusive stray cat we had named “Phantom” that lives under our house has warmed to us. Her nightly visits for food has turned to a several-times-a-day occurrence. Yesterday she was following us around the yard. As she has outlived her name we now call her “Lizzie.” I find her a delight and a great subject for art pieces. Someday I hope to pet her on my lap. For more on our stray cats, see my Stray Cat post.
After my dear cat Emmy Lou passed away about 12 years ago, I’ve had a huge kitty void in my life. Unfortunately, my dog combination including an Australian Cattle Dog has not been ideal for another cat. Cattle Dogs are known cat chasers/ killers. Other than that, he’s a peach. So imagine my surprise when the Siamese mix cat that appeared in the barn about a year ago showed up on the porch begging for food. We plied her with food; dry food with wet food and a little cream in a bowl. We knew she was the one who killed the destruct-o mole in the vegetable garden & was keeping the mice in check around the chicken pen. We named her “Luna” as she only showed up at night.
About 2 months later, a little brown tabby moved in under the house and could be seen along the perimeter of the yard. She was so elusive, I named her “Phantom.” Then one day after eating the leavings from Luna she too showed up on the porch begging. Now we make sure both cats get a meal. These animals were probably dumped by their owners an all too common occurrence in this rural area. We enjoy their nightly visits from our kitchen window and are considered part of the family. They have inspired both a poem and some artwork.