I am YA author B. A. Binns out here on the snowy tundra of the land that was once called Chicago but has now been renamed Chi-beria. In the words of one of my favorite songs, There must be dome kind of way out of here!!!
I have always wondered if my antipathy towards cats springs from an incident in my childhood. I was in second or maybe third grade and I found a kitten left alone out in the cold (at least it wasn't as cold as these last few days or I would have had frozen kitty) I took it home, but I already knew what my parents would say, so I tried to keep it hidden. I think I had two days before I was caught.
The cat had to go, and no questions would change anything. No tears either.
I remember bundling the kitty inside my coat and taking it to school with me. That wasn't a real solution, but I was young and the only thing I really knew was that I would not just toss it out int he cold again. Instead I left her in a stairwell inside the school.
I never heard any commotion. There were no announcements on the intercom, no gossip about the stray cat. I went home and made myself believe someone with more understanding parents than I had found her and she was happy.
That's probably true.
But I never had or even wanted another cat. Never even wanted to be around them. I hate the purring, the staring, the obnoxious way they walk. I don't want to see another cat, not ever.
I'm now a dog person, through and through.
That's why the main character of my work-in-progress, tentatively titled Duet owns a cat. Her pet has to die and I won't kill a dog. Not even an imaginary one. I had to put my dog down over twenty years ago. She was an American Eskimo and she knew me better than I knew me.
I named her Melinda B. When I bought her she was just a few months old and could fit in my hands. She grew up to be about twenty pounds, the perfect pet (except for the shedding issue). I called her my mini-Samoyed. Smarter than me, she could be left alone and handled herself well. After one aborted bout with a great dane she decided friendship was the way to go with people and dogs. And especially with kids. I was warned the breed could be a little snippy with small children, but she loved them, even when they pulled her tail or her ears. She was my companion through college and my "New Adult" years, and then my real adult years.
But all good things come to an end, even really great dogs. She lived for 17 years, unusual even for a small dog. But her legs got wobbly and she developed cancer. The vet said I needed to let go.
I couldn't. I took her home. And I watched struggle to keep being a good dog. I could tell walking was painful. She had lost control of her kidneys, but she kept trying to walk with me, to play ball. She was relieved when I sat down and just let her lay in my lap.
We went back to the vet. I chose to sit with her while we waited for the drugs to end her suffering. I stoked her and talked to her and I hope she didn't get that I was unhappy because she always wanted to cheer me up when I was sad. I didn't want her to feel she had to do anything except relax and fall sleep. And then stop breathing.
I managed to get all the way home before I burst into tears. And even though it has been almost thirty years, I have to push back tears to write this.
So I guess I'll stop.
But I hope you won't. Instead enter my Goodreads Give Away for an autographed copy of my new release, Minority of One. I promise you, no pets die in this story.
Five additional winners will be chosen from Facebook.