….is a cat.  Meet Spectre, the frisky black cat.  He lives a few blocks away from us. As described in the previous post, Siddhartha has healthy respect for cats. We met Spectre our first October in the neighborhood. It was right around Halloween one night, out on a walk. Siddhartha kept whimpering, stopping in his tracks, looking over his shoulder. It was a windy autumn night (cue scary movie music).

If my dog wasn’t such a wuss, I would have been concerned. However, it’s Sid. He’s not exactly, errr, fearless. Out of a nearby bush sprang a cat, hunched down low and tail swishing back and forth.  I thought Siddhartha was going to pass out but instead, he let out a yelp and locked his legs. The cat didn’t even touch him. 

In the years since, we frequently see our little friend. If we don’t see him as we pass, Siddhartha stops, smells the gardinas at the corner of her yard, as if to wait for Spectre to appear. If he doesn’t, I quietly call his name and most times, he comes running. On the few occasions I have been past without Siddhartha, I may see Spectre, but he doesn’t come running. He just sits looking at me as if to ask where his friend is. When I have the dog with me, it’s always the same game. Spector approaches, Siddhartha whimpers and goes into a cat stretch pose…as if to bow, and then, they rub noses. Today, Sid got distracted by a branch (yum! branch!) and forgot to rub noses first. I look at the picture and if I could put in a thought bubble, Spectre would be saying “dumb dog.

A few months ago, we were at the local cafe which is just around the corner from Spectre’s place. I go inside, come back out, and to my surprise, there was Spectre sitting under the table, rubbing noses with Siddhartha. A waitress came by and asked “you brought your cat with you too?” I burst out laughing and replied “that’s not my cat. That’s Spectre….he lives around the corner.” Either he followed us or he spied Sid from across the alley. I don’t know really. Their friendship makes me smile. For me, it represents all that is good and possible in this world. Peace may begin at home, but love begins with you….

Postscript: It just occured to me, next week, I will have had Siddhartha four years. I can’t believe that. Nearly every day, someone comments out on a walks how cute/awesome/calm/beautiful he is. And he is all of these things. He has two gears: uber playful and statue-like calm. It took 2.5 years, but he finally became a shameless mama’s boy, to which I smile. Today, I came out of the market (soon after taking these pictures of him and Spectre) and a guy was standing there petting him. He moved away as I approached, then stopped, and turned back to me and said, “that is one incredible dog. He’s so sweet. That’s a great dog.” I smiled and said thank you. And for that moment, and all the other moments when I remember the life I was living before I brought him home, I am nearly brought to tears. Siddhartha fills a hole in my heart that I didn’t quite know how to fill myself….even if he does hog the bed.

Only a dog like Siddhartha could have a cat for a best friend. And not just any cat, no, no, that’d not do. Siddy picked the coolest cat in our neighborhood to befriend and the two of them are quite a sight.