Furry Babies

Philosopher and author Joseph Campbell was known for saying, “Follow your bliss.”

P-Nut, my little Shih Tzu, follows her bliss without being told. She sniffs a flower like she’s reading a masterpiece.

Eckhart Tolle, who wrote The Power of Now, would be proud. Even as a puppy, she seemed to know how to live in the moment and show unconditional love. When I’m traveling, she’s protective of me and gets fiesty at times.

But she’d never hurt a child, and it’s painful to hear about dogs who do. Personally, I think it’s because people train them to fight and kill for amusement. The pit bull terrier is the breed they usually pick.

 It saddens me. My daughter once had a Pit Bull named Sonja who wanted to lick you to death, but she’d never attack anyone.

 I once heard about a feisty pit bull named Major who roamed the farms around Hartford, Alabama, the town near where I grew up. “Major could tear your butt for a new one,” Cody Ryles used to say.

 Major became unpopular with farmers after he killed their hogs. One day he made the grave error of killing Cody Ryles’ prize pig.

 Cody grabbed his shotgun and sent Major to the great pit bull heaven in the sky, Cody said.


Was Major bred for fighting for the amusement of humans? No one seemed to know. But I can’t believe he inherited his meanness.

 I’ve read that pit bulls are a relative of the English bulldog. I’ve never owned an English bulldog, but I’ve heard about one named Bozo.

 Bozo was trained to hunt wild hogs. He would bay the hogs and grab them by their ears until the capture was complete. Or so the story went.

 He also liked to catch snakes and one day Bozo caught a poisonous rattler. It bit Bozo. He swelled up and almost died.

 When Bozo recovered, he continued his pursuit of snakes with a vengeance. He’d grab every rattlesnake he saw and shake the dickens out of it. If the snake bit him, it didn’t bother him at all, because he’s developed immunity to the venom.

 In my life, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing wonderful dogs, and I hate that pit bulls have gotten such a bad rap.

 I’ve read they’re a cross between an English terrier and an English bulldog. I suppose many dogs are in the mixture category, not pure bred.

 When I lived in Atlanta, we had a dog named Sam, an English terrier and German shepherd mix. One might think this combination would bring violence, but Sam was a sweet dog, though mischievous.

 He loved to roam and collect things. Once he brought me my neighbor’s old house slippers. I took them back to her, of course, but when Sam presented them to me, he acted like he’d delivered a diamond.

 I scolded him with “No, no.”

 He cocked his head from side to side, not understanding my ungratefulness.

 Another time, he snatched a flannel nightgown from my neighbor’s clothesline. No mistaking it was hers. The gown had red cherries embroidered all over it.

 Sam must have jumped the fence to get the gown. When he brought it to me, I discovered it had a huge rip in it. I was too ashamed to return the gown. My neighbor didn’t like Sam, and I knew she wouldn’t understand.

 The torn gown somehow ended up in the washing machine and then in the dryer. One morning, I was looking for something to frump around in. Lacking anything else, I slipped on the infamous gown. As my luck would have it, my neighbor—the rightful owner–came over to borrow a cup of sugar.

 When she saw me in her gown, she looked shocked, as if I threatened her life. 

Time and again, I scolded Sam for his thievery, but he still pillaged.

 He continued until the day he died. The pond behind our Stone Mountain home froze over. Sam fell through the ice while chasing the ducks. He froze to death before we could rescue him.

 In an attempt to recover from Sam’s death, we adopted a Brittany spaniel named Prince, who’d rather play than eat. I can still see him chasing squirrels, barking at falling leaves, running and playing with the ducks.

 After we lost Prince, I didn’t have the heart for another dog until I saw P-Nut’s furry face. She came into my life after I’d finished writing my second mystery Hurricane House.  In that book, one of the characters is Onyx, a black lab, who possesses superior powers.

 Don’t most dogs? And perhaps you could say the same for cats.

 Recently we adopted a stray cat. We call her Miss Kitty. P-Nut bonded with her from the beginning, though Miss Kitty hid from P-Nut at first.

 Eventually Miss Kitty began to feel safe. Now she frequently cuddles with P-Nut and follows her on our walks to the beach.

 And guess what, Miss Kitty seems to know how to live in the moment, too.

 Maybe one day, they’ll teach me.

     After working as a newspaper reporter, broadcaster and columnist for many years, Sandy Semerad decided to try her hand at writing novels. Her first novel, Mardi Gravestone has been republished as SEX, LOVE AND MURDER. She wrote her second mystery HURRICANE HOUSE after a hurricane ripped through her little beach community. Her third book, A MESSAGE IN THE ROSES, is loosely based on a murder trial she covered as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta. All books have garnered five star reviews. Semerad is originally from
Geneva, Alabama, but now lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with husband Larry, their spoiled Shih Tzu P-Nut and wayward cat Miss Kitty. She has two daughters and a granddaughter.