I tend to be an animal lover. I admire God’s handiwork and marvel at the beauty and interaction in nature.
I believe we’re supposed to have dominion over the creatures, but be respectful of them at the same time.
Pets are just one part of that world.
Dogs will typically meet you at the door. No feigned composure. They are just glad you’re there, it doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been gone. Just bring them something to eat and give them a good scratch.
Sounds like some guys I know.
Some say you haven’t lived until you’ve been ignored by a cat.
They turn their heads, act like you don’t exist and wonder off on some more important business. Then they only come to see you when it’s their idea.
Sounds like some women I know.
Fortunately, I have been ignored by some others whose indifference really didn’t bother me.
I was leaving the house early one morning and saw what looked like a mop, shuffling back and forth as it crossed the street.
I thought that maybe someone let a Lhasa Apso out for a walk and it decided to explore the neighborhood.
I got in my car and was leaving the driveway to head to work and in the early morning twilight this critter started heading down the sidewalk. Then it made a couple of bounds like a squirrel — “boing, boing” — and I realized this wasn’t a Lhasa Apso.
So I turned down the block, following this little critter in my car slowly and, of course, I eventually saw the white patch on it’s back, contrast against its otherwise all black fur.
It wasn’t Peppe Le Pew, but it was a skunk.
My first few days at work back in April I smelled a skunk and heard rosters crow in downtown Altus, welcoming me to the area. But I hadn’t seen either in person — until now.
I tried to take a cellphone picture of the little fur ball as it boldly waddled down the block, through one yard, sniffing around another and even past a cat.
This poor cat couldn’t ignore the skunk. It was aghast, kind of hunched back into a corner of a front porch with a startled look on its face. It saw me and seemed to say, “don’t just stand there, do something.”
I did. I was watching with interest as the skunk kept going down the block and finally waddled down a path between a couple of houses and disappeared.
Well, I didn’t get the photo I wanted, but I did attract some unwanted attention from some neighbors who were wondering what on earth I was up to.
I turned around to head to work and as I was leaving I stopped and rolled down my window and told them I was watching a skunk.
They still didn’t know what to make of me, but realized that I obviously wasn’t from around here.
One of the gentleman just said kind of matter-of-factly, “yes, there’s a lot of wildlife around here.”
I guess that was an understatement.
Another time I was out exploring on the way to Medicine Park near Fort Sill in the Lawton area and I passed through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
I saw a sign warning me of the free roaming longhorns and bison. I’d call the latter buffalo, but I guess I’m still learning.
But I drove a little way before I realized that those American bison are really disinterested in tourists — that’s how I’d classify myself right now because I still marvel at the Oklahoma sights.
Well, I tried to get a photo again, this time with my camera and long-range lens, but the stubborn critter held his head down in the tall grass eating. I kept shooting, but he was a little camera shy or just plain bored with my presence.
So I guess I’ve really lived. It wasn’t on my bucket list, but I’ll add it now.
I’ve been ignored by a cat, a skunk and a bison — all in the same week.
At least the dog is glad to see me.
Reach Eric Steinkopff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 580-482-1221, ext 2072.