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Cat whiskers good luck, I say
(Sorry for the lateness, folks)
The year began with an unusual and unwelcome event. I had to move, which means I had to uproot my dog, Tango, from a good home he’d been living in for the past three years.
Moving Tango was a very bittersweet experience. I enjoyed having him as a companion for all these years, but he has always been a loner and he’s not really the dog for a big move. We had to go to a high-kill shelter and Tango was one of the first to be picked up, and I was sad to see him go. But I didn’t have a choice, and once I made the decision I needed to do what was best for my dog.
And so we made the move to Santa Cruz, CA. Tango has adjusted pretty well to his new home and new surroundings. He had always spent much of his time outdoors in the park, so the transition to living in a little apartment has been easy. He’s a little house dog, so his exercise consists of going on walks around town and hanging out on the deck in the backyard.
There were a few days when we first moved where I was thinking about bringing Tango with me on my trips out to the local beach, which is about 10 minutes away. I worried that if I were to bring him I would be tempted to go down there at night, and I’d end up spending too much time on the sand and Tango would get too used to that. But it didn’t really turn out that way, and now we both enjoy being near the water. Tango is very much a dog of the beach, and we like to take our walks along the shore and walk by the ocean sometimes when the wind is blowing. He’s really a happy boy.
Tango has always been a little bit of a chowhound and, like me, enjoys Chinese food, so I was pretty excited when he found a new best friend, a guy named Joe who works at the Chinese Food Museum in San Francisco. Joe is an old friend from my days in San Francisco, and now he and Tango spend a lot of time together.
A few days ago, I received an unexpected email. The sender was Joe, and he had attached a picture that showed a new tattoo on Tango’s neck. A black Chinese character, with red Chinese ideographs below it. Joe told me he got the tattoo, and he thought it would be a good idea to send me a picture. He didn’t say why he had done it, but he wanted to make sure I was aware that it was on Tango’s neck and he wasn’t happy about it.
Here’s the picture of Tango and Joe in front of the tattoo. Joe is on the right.
I think the Chinese characters on his neck say something like, “Happiness comes from a happy home,” and the Chinese ideographs below are for luck and long life. Tango seems to have a special affinity for the character.
Joe explained that Tango had the tattoo done at a traditional Chinese tattoo studio, and he told me that the artist had used a machine to do it, and it had left behind a kind of rough look, rather than a neat, precise look. Joe thinks that’s why he was worried about the tattoo, because he didn’t think it would look good and he thought it might even be painful to look at. I think the Chinese characters on his neck are great and I think Tango should be very proud of them.
Tango has been a part of our family for about seven years. He was found wandering the streets of San Francisco by my husband, Dan, and we brought him home. Tango was a puppy at the time, so we had to get him accustomed to a new home and new surroundings, and it wasn’t always easy. I remember when Tango first moved to Santa Cruz. He was shy and skittish and he spent most of the time hiding in the closet. He didn’t like the people he saw and he didn’t like going to the park and he just wanted to be left alone, which was fine with me. But when he started feeling better he began to get more and more curious about people and he became more curious about the world.
For years Tango has been a little bit of a grump. His personality was a little bit like that of my cat, Miss Kitty, who has always been a happy, affectionate cat. Tango has been happy most of the time but he has always had an edge to him and I think he felt like a kind of misfit and I think part of that was because of the way he looked. He was a little bit of a chowhound, and like most of his kind, he had a lot of energy.
But things have changed. Tango has become much more outgoing and his whole attitude has changed. He’s a lot happier, and his personality is more like that of the other dogs in our family. He’s playful, and he’s a lot of fun. He’s still a little bit of a grump, but he’s learned to channel that energy into something that’s positive.
The tattoo on his neck is a really good thing for him because it helps to remind him that he’s got good friends and he’s a lucky dog, because a lot of dogs get the tattoo and it doesn’t mean as much to them. He’s learned that it’s very important for a dog to have friends.
This has been a rough week for Tango and the rest of us. On Monday, there was a big fire and a few days later there was a big earthquake. There was a lot of damage and many people died in San Francisco. On Tuesday, our cat, Miss Kitty, died.
I’m sure that most