January 28, 2009

The Raneys and Pets

This blog is dedicated to my black labrador, BJ's best friend, Tanzi, a rhodesian ridgeback owned by my friend and colleague Charles Monteiro.

I received the heartbreaking news the other day that Tanzi contracted lymphoma. There was never a sweeter, gentler dog and I and my dog both love him (which is rare for him given he is pretty particular).

Everyone wish Tanzi well on his 26 week therapy to lick this. You can visit Charles' medical log about it and see some other great pics of the handsome fella. If any of you might have any knowledge or info to share on Tanzi's condition please visit the page and send an email to the link provided.

The Raneys have always adored animals. When Dad was a boy he had a dog named Snuffy Smith. He also had a rabbit and several other animals according to my grandmother. Later on he took a shine to cats, having seven of them near the end of his life. He would let them run around in the back yard. He kept his garden uncut (He often commented that he wanted his backyard to look like Monet's garden, much to the chagrin of his neighbors who would murmur about his unkempt habits). As creative as he was as an artist, he was not so much so with his pet names. They were quite perfunctory: Blacky, Yellow Kitty, Felix etc…

Felix was his favorite. He had a daily "making-bread-on-belly" ritual with Dad as the master would recline on the couch. The activity would end with a couple of head brushes against my father's nose. The other two cats had funny schticks as well. For example Yellow Kitty would completely circumnavigate the livingroom across all possible above-ground perches without touching the floor (jump the table, cross to the couch, up to the top of book cabinet, the entertaiment center, the window sill...you get the picture).

Whenever any one of them passed on, it would send Dad into the worst tailspin psychologically. Unfortunately they outlived him and our friend guitarist Mel Deal and his wife Becky were nice enough to adopt them and bring them to their big house in Nashville for their remaining years.

Doug and I were always cat people, too. Doug brought home a cat from the schoolyard in the sixties with his first "can we keep'm??" plea bargain. He was either named after comic/actor Orson Bean (whom Dad knew from his Blue Angel days) or Orson Welles, not sure. I liked to call him "Orson Being because he had human like habits; he was the only cat I have ever seen that sat up on his haunches like an old lady in her easy chair. Orson's other endearing habits were slipping his head between my pen and my homework assignment. He used to allow me to wear him like a yoke across my neck, gripping his two pairs of paws. The other hilarious thing was the "crazy kat boomerang routine" where all the sudden he would get bats in his belfry and tear ass across the wood floors. But since it was a small apt with twists and turns, Orson had a rebound wall that would make the 90 degree turn into the living room a breeze. It also made for ever higher and higher paw prints on the wall.

My second cat Kodak was very similar in behavior and temperament to Orson. Almost dog like in his friendliness. He loved to sit in the center of the table to be where the conversation energy was happening. Licking my bicep until it was raw was another of his favorite pastimes. The night I had to put him down was awful for me. I just got home from a gig. I cried for days after.

Given the somewhat canine behavior of my previous cats, I was somewhat prepped for dog ownership. Although I wasn't prepared for my Dog BJ to be so interwoven in our lives and daily routine as he is now. Will devote a bit more space to him on a future blog.




Michael Hickins said...

Sweet-looking dogs. Heartbreaking when you lose one.

Anonymous said...

You really have a nice labrador
dog stairs