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Monday, February 8, 2016

Three Kinds of People

I really enjoyed Super Bowl weekend but I actually had as much fun on Saturday as I did on Sunday… and here’s why.  Two of my young grandkids came over on Saturday and we spent the whole day together on the beach playing catch with a football, playing whiffle ball baseball, skipping rocks in the water and doing cartwheels in the sand. Jack is 9 and Andie Rose is 7 and I have to say they are two very different people.  Jack is all boy, mechanically inclined, really smart and always on the go. Andie Rose on the other hand is more laid back, super sweet and super cute, and basically attaches herself to me when she comes over, which I don’t mind at all. She is very loving and caring and although she is much smaller and younger than Jack, she is the one who ends up taking care of him.

Watching my two grandchildren play and interact reminded me of something. You know how some people are dog people, and other people are cat lovers. Well, in my opinion there are actually three kinds of people in this world - dog lovers, cat lovers and people who have a heart big enough to love all types of animals. Andie Rose falls into that last category and I am not just talking about loving animals, I’m talking about having a heart big enough to love all types of people in the world as well.

While we were sitting on the patio Andie Rose showed me a photograph of her new cat, Gracie, and it reminded me that I had a cat once when I was young. I lived on a ranch when I was 14 and often rode my motorcycle to school or hitch hiked if I was out of gas. One day I hitched a ride home from a truck driver with a huge 18 wheeler freight truck. As we neared my parent’s ranch, my pet cat jumped out across the road and the truck’s tires instantly made several crunching thumping noises. I knew it was bad. I asked the driver to let me out because that was my cat that just got ran over and I wanted to see if he was okay. The truck driver started to laugh at first (obviously that cat was now flat) but then he realized that he had just killed my pet and began to feel bad. He said he was sorry and as I exited the truck I tried to act tough. I told him it was okay because my cat, Old Weird Harold, was always out hunting rabbits and I figured he was "gonna get ate" by coyotes some day anyway. But as I walked down the road and spotted what was left of my cat, I started to cry. I found a piece of cardboard and carried Old Weird Flat Harold all the way up our long winding driveway, crying the whole way home. Fortunately, my Dad was there so we talked about what happened and then we buried my cat down by the stream.

I didn’t tell Andie Rose the story about my flattened cat because it would have made her sad. People like Andie Rose are unique because they have the ability to internalize the pain going on inside others and will typically go out of their way to offer their sympathy, help and love. I’m not saying dog people are bad or cat people are bad. All I’m saying is… I don’t know what path Andie Rose will choose to take as she experiences life in this world, but I do know the world will be a better place with people like her in it. 
Andie Rose and "Gracie"

Lots of people talk to animals… Not very many listen, though… That’s the problem.
~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

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