The population of The House of Mars has decreased by one. Marcos departed this world on February 7, leaving Marcel and Marceau,
and yours truly V. Margaret to return to life as it was before he came to live with us.
He had a brain tumor, or so his veterinarian said. I thought it was canine dementia but whatever it was, it left him disoriented and wandering around to get lost in corners.
If he was truly sixteen when I adopted him, he would be 21. (In case you missed that post, here it is.)
If he was 8 or 9, as the vet suggested at his first check-up, that would make him 13 or 14, which is more likely.
This afternoon he was buried at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.
It wasn’t a new experience for me but it never gets easier. It does give me comfort, though, to know he joins all the pets who came before him.
The first to be buried there was Duke, also known as Dukie-Dog and The Duke. Dukie was actually my brother’s dog, and lived to the ripe old age of 14. My outstanding memory regarding living with The Duke is coming home from school and being greeted by “Shush, the dog is eating.” This meant having to stand statue-still until he finished. You see Dukie was an extremely finicky eater and if he was distracted, the meal was over. My mother wasn’t taking any chances.
O.B. Brat, the O.B. standing for Old Baby was also known as The Obadoodle and Badude. She was my first cat and shared my first apartment in Yonkers. I adopted her from Bide-a-wee Pet Shelter in Manhattan; a six week old bundle of white who fit my hand. Even at that size, she had a hiss and growl befitting a Bengal tiger.
When I got her home she ran under the bed. That evening I coaxed her out and picked her up, intending to introduce her to her dish in the kitchen. I got all of two steps when she hissed and twisted out of my grip. “Ooh, you’re such a brat,” I hissed back. Thus, the name.
I became so obsessed with my little Obadoodle that I actually almost stayed home on Friday nights lest she be alone. You notice I said almost. I didn’t but it ruined my fun, knowing she was home alone. What she needed was a friend to hang out with.
I went to the Yonkers Animal Shelter in search of a dainty female kitten and came home with a strapping six month old muscular male. I was passing a cage when a paw reached out and grabbed my sleeve. Imploring me from the cage were the most beautiful green eyes rivaled only by the beautiful black fur surrounding them, shinier than the black patent leather shoes I wore to church when I was so little.
Job E Cat, also known as Joby Cat, Jobinski, Binsk, and Joby Cat the Wonder Dog was a man‘s cat, as in a man’s man. He was rough and ready and loved to wrestle and play soccer, both taught to him by an old boyfriend from England. Soccer consisted of the Englishman soccer kicking a ball of aluminum foil with that odd ankle twist soccer player’s use, and Joby returning it with his own version of a soccer kick, which, now that I think of it, was probably more of a hockey stick move. Back and forth the foil ball would go with the two of them scrambling the entire length of the long living room – until I’d have to put an end to the game. Dogs pant. Cats shouldn’t.
His full name was Job E Cat and that stems from the patience he showed upon meeting her, for she didn’t tone down her obnoxiousness in the least, even though he was twice her size. She hissed and growled and left the room, then came back and hissed and growled some more.
I commented “He has the patience of Job.”
The patience was short-lived however. When it wore off he tried to beat the you-know-what out of her whenever he could. My plan worked – Brat may have hated Joby but she was never lonely.
Joby loved everybody but Brat never let anyone near her …until one evening when I was getting ready to go out. My date had arrived and I went into my bedroom to get something or other and returned to find him leaning over a chair, talking to someone. This was a chair on which Brat had been sitting.
“What are you doing?” I asked, incredulously.
“Petting your cat.” He said. And there she was purring and craning her neck for more.
That was the best character recommendation anyone could give. I married that young man and we all moved to California.
In California Brat abd Joby devised a sharing scheme – divvying up the rooms in the house and agreeing to share the yard.
Brat lived to be 14 years, 3 months and Joby died the one year later. He was one month shy of 15.
Do you think it was mean of me to sentence them to eternity togetherness?
Fremont, my California Cat, also known as Huge Biggie. What can I say about Fremont – my 23 pound guardian, the cat for whom I bought The House of Mars before it was The House of Mars? That would have to wait for Marcel and Marceau, the original Martians. But then you’ve read all about Fremont in earlier posts, and if you haven’t I invite you to. Fremont lived to be eleven
And I’ve also written about Niles, sweet gentle Niles. The black and white kitten who grew to be a slightly smaller version of Fremont, a gentler version of Fremont. Fremont recognized his gentleness and took it upon himself to watch over his little Niles. Niles survived life without Fremont for only a year. succumbing to the same cancer as Fremont.
Only the good die young.
And so Marcos joins the beloved crew. When his headstone is ready, it will say “Marcos, Handsome Hunk of Dog. He was, don’t you think?