A few weeks ago daughter Beth called asking what I was doing. When I told her I had just written my last article for the newspaper (not the last one to appear), she asked if I had written a column about our cat. That did it. With all that loyal readers have endured in this column, maybe you can stand a biography of the Shaver pets.
Our first pet when we moved to Neosho was a little dachshund, a gift from Ralph Scott, superintendent of schools in Monett. When she licked son Mike's hand, she was the one picked from the litter. As you have noticed, a dachshund is half a dog high and a dog and a half long. Heidi traveled with us extensively. We even had established puppy bathroom trips enroute to the grandparents. Perhaps the most memorable incident was when daughter Lisa hid the brownies behind the sofa to prevent a big brother from devouring them. Lisa didn't take into account Heidi's appetite for brownies. Heidi was a companion for the kids until they were in high school.
When we bought a house on TT highway east of Neosho, the previous owner had a big dog named Ace. As they were moving out, Ace hid in the woods. Days later when they came back for him, he again retreated to the woods. At this juncture, we were told that the dog went with the property. He proved to be excellent with the kids. I enjoyed Ace's companionship in the front yard as I listened to ball games and smoked cigars. Ace seemed to appreciate me picking ticks from his body. Later, we learned why Ace lived in the country. In town, he was trained to bring in the newspaper. Ace not only brought in his owner's paper, but the neighbors' papers as well. Ace died in 1981, the day Beth graduated from high school.
Mickey, a little brown puppy, part beagle, was our next pet. Lisa picked him from the pound. Neighbors enjoyed seeing him sleep on top of the car. Mickey devoured Dan Chapman's pizza left in his Jeep while we were visiting. One morning, Ann stooped over to pick up the newspaper. Mickey hit her in the back at full speed, almost knocking her to the ground. This was Mickey's way of reminding her that it was his job to bring in the paper.
After Mickey, Beth and Susan recommended a cat. "Cats are low maintenance," we were told. I had never warmed up to cats, but Callie changed that. Garrison Keillor described a cat as "an animal to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." Gary Quinn, the former school superintendent, gave us this little white cat his children called "Snowy" when they moved to Oklahoma. Preferring a biblical name, Ann called the cat Caleb. In the first trip to the vet, Dr. Findley advised Ann that the cat was no Caleb. Ann then chose Callie. As a little kitten, it was fun to see her, wearing a little bell, try to slip up on birds. In the country, she would play with baby rabbits before her lunch. If she wants your attention while you are sleeping, she will crawl over your face. Pandemonium reigned in the house when Lisa brought home a dog for a visit. The late Mary Ellen Pitts asked for a picture of Callie since she had never painted a cat. This drawing is still one of our prized possessions. Callie has many neat resting places on Spring Hill. She can be seen frequently sitting on the benches out front surveying the town.
Page 2 of 2 - Following is an excellent description of the feline family: "Dogs have masters, cats have staff." Rest assured, if you get a cat, you will be their servant and little appreciated at that.
Roy Shaver writes a weekly column for the Daily News.