Saturday, May 14, 2005

BUDDY’S GOOD BEHAVIOR AWARD


Buddy behaving in the midst of thieves

BUDDY’S GOOD BEHAVIOR AWARD
Copyright 2005 Janice Price


“What’s going on?” Cotton asks, with a puzzled frown. “Why did Jan call us together and then leave the room?”

Cyndi shrugs. “I don’t know. I hope we aren’t in any trouble.”

“I guess we’ll find out when Jan stops gabbing on the telephone,” Crystal says. “What a time for the phone to ring. Let’s get this over with.”

“Yes,” Percy agrees. “It’s too hot to sit in the kitchen much longer. I want to get back to my nap by the back door. At least there’s a bit of a breeze there.“

“Anyone have any news?” Cameron asks, bored with the wait.

Merci speaks up. “Do you remember when those three dogs attacked me when I was walking Jan? I’m still nervous when I see a new dog, but I guess I was lucky and it could have been worse. This morning Buddy and I saw Apollo, the retired racing Greyhound next door. On Mother’s Day he was attacked by two dogs that crawled under the fence while he was visiting Miss Tammy’s family in the next county. They tore into his sides. He has a large flap of skin missing on one side.”

“Yeah,” Buddy chimes in, “it’s a big, ugly wound. It looks painful. I would have doctored it for him, just like I did Percy’s paw (see “Mr. Mummy” posted April 6, 2005) when Jan closed a door on it, but I was too upset to think to offer my services. Miss Tammy wasn’t sure Apollo would even let us near him after that experience, but he wasn’t afraid of us. We’re old friends”

“Buddy, it’s a wonder Miss Tammy even allows us to be in the same city with Apollo, after the way you carry on whenever you see him. Honestly,” Merci shakes her head slowly, “you act like an otter trying to swim upstream in a harness and wail like a fox gnawing off a foot caught in a steel trap. Have you ever considered just wagging your tail, whining and pulling on the leash, like I do, or like most dogs would do?”

“No, Apollo is my friend. I have to make sure he and Miss Tammy know I’m on my way to see him.”

“Buddy does everything in excess,” Cameron says. “Buddy’s a pork chop.”

Cotton, sitting next to Cameron on the washing machine, elbows the kitten in the side and corrects him. “You mean, Buddy is a ham.”

“Ham, pork chop, pig - what’s the difference?”

The conversation is interrupted as Jan returns to the kitchen and takes a quick head count to be sure none of them wandered off while she was on the telephone. She stops beside the dryer where Jenny, the elderly cat, is resting.

“I am very proud of all of you,” she begins, “but something unusual happened yesterday and I want you all to learn something from it. As you know, Jenny is nearly 17 years of age and she has been going through a rough time. She’s back in her bed on the dryer after a day of sleeping on the bedroom floor because she couldn’t climb her makeshift ladder. We’re all glad to see her feeling better today, aren’t we?”

“Mrrrow, arf, whine,” the group sings as a chorus.

Jan strokes Jenny’s head. “Buddy, I want you to come here.” Buddy rolls his eyes, wondering what he has done wrong this time. But he slowly obeys. “Turn around to face the group. Sit.”

Buddy looks frightened, as if he’s about to be corrected and wants to escape before the punishment is handed down. He runs through a mental list of things he can remember doing wrong and wonders which one she might have discovered. He shifts nervously from one front paw to the other.

“Buddy is the youngest and whenever something is happening, he’s usually in the middle of it, if not the instigator. He is so food aggressive he steals anything he can find. He has stolen my food, Merci’s meals, and even eats things not intended for consumption.”

Heads turn and nod in agreement. Yep, this describes Buddy the Pork Chop, as Cameron called him.

Jan drops a bombshell. “That’s why I am so proud of him that I have called you all together to watch him receive his award.”

“No!” Cotton declares. “This has to be a mistake.”

Buddy sits up straight and tall, grinning proudly.

Jan continues, “I had to fight you cats off yesterday morning while feeding Jenny. You all tried to steal her food. You did stop after I swatted each of you a few times, but Buddy was on his best behavior. Buddy, the food thief, never tried to steal her food, not one time. I thought, at first, someone switched dogs on me, but at age five months Buddy is finally starting to grow up and to look past his own appetite. Buddy, I guess you realized Jenny was sick and need the special attention she was receiving. Thank you.”

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a large dog biscuit. “Peanut butter, Buddy, your favorite. This is the Good Behavior Award. It’s for you.”

Buddy is thrilled that this award is his favorite kind - edible. It disappears in two bites.

“But what about me?” Merci whines. “I didn’t try to steal Jenny’s food either.”

“Merci, come here,” Jan calls.

Her tail wagging, Merci trots forward and sits at Jan’s feet. “The reason Buddy gets a special award, Merci, is because what he did is so out of character for him. You, on the other hand, have a sweet and gentle nature. I don’t have to worry about you stealing food from a sick cat. You would be more likely to share your own meal, if Buddy didn’t eat it first. So, I have a smaller dog biscuit for you, one more your size.”

Merci trots off to eat her biscuit in her den. Buddy follows, hoping to steal it from her.

The cats wait expectantly. Surely Jan has something for them too.

“I hope you cats will start treating Jenny with more respect.. That’s all, you’re excused.”

“What, no treats?” Percy demands, as Jan walks out of the room, then returns.

“Oh, I forgot to fill your bowl, didn’t I?” Dry food rattles into the empty bowl.

Jenny perks up. Jan drops a handful of cat food onto Jenny’s bed and disappears.

‘Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to start being more respectful,” Percy says, as he climbs onto the dryer and begins to help Jenny eat her food. Cameron, Crystal and Cyndi join him. Jenny sits calmly outside the group, listening to the crunch of her meal being devoured.

Cotton eats alone at the big bowl on the dryer and enjoys the peace of not having to share.

Percy,
Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club

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