Sunday, October 4th, was Saint Francis of Assisi Day, a day to bless all animals. Here in San Francisco, named for the famous patron saint, blessings abound inside and outside of churches. Humans have been making animals their pets and companions for thousands of years. For many, there is simply no difference between a purely human connection and that with a pet. All of us at Charles Communications share this special love for animals and this blog post is an homage to some of our dearest friends.
What animal is it? Breed? Cat, Calico
How did it come into your life? Misha was born the day before I moved to San Francisco from New York City in 1998. I had left a very secure job and life in Manhattan to come to California. I moved to the heart of the Central Valley which was a HUGE switch for an urbanite. I lived in San Francisco on the weekends which soothed my city fix, and I had left behind great friends, an old beau I almost married (dodged a bullet :), and a great city. I was starting a new life with a very big responsibility ahead of me in my new job. I chose to focus on my work for that first year, and fortunately, my assistant, Nancy Lopez (an angel on earth), realized I needed some company and some nurturing. Not only did she make me Mexican wedding cookies (my favorite) regularly, she found a person at the office whose cat had just had kittens. Within six weeks of moving, I had these two sisters whom I named with Russian nicknames Misha and Tasha as I'd been a fan of Nicholas & Alexandra as a young girl. I liked how they were feminine yet strong names at the same time.
How is/was it like? Misha passed away last March. This is a little memorial to her. She was truly my guardian angel. She had a deep empathic nature, was very chatty, affectionate, funny. I used to call her an "Advo-cat" because she made it clear when she wanted something, be it treats, food, attention and I liked that affable nature of hers. She followed me everywhere and I always felt her loving presence. She was very smart. She didn't fall for the silly cat toys (unless it was catnip filled), rather she'd look at the mechanics of it and see it was all an act. I miss her constantly and keep her picture on our mantle with other loved ones who've passed on. Her sister Tasha is 17 1/2 this month and still going pretty strong. She misses her too.
Why does/did this pet make you happy/fulfilled? Animals we always hear fill a need for unconditional love and that is true. Cats in particular to me are sentient, intelligent, intuitive and funny. Not everyone loves cats, but I always find that there is a special understanding among cat lovers, who realize you earn their love and they are choosy. I love dogs but they are equal opportunity lovers and happy to have anyone rub their bellies or throw their ball, cats take a while to know you, but once you do, you're in for life. I love the phrase, "Dogs have owners, cats have staff." Here's a treat for you, one of my all time favorite cat videos, worth watching many times, Henri Paw de Deux.
By Kimberly Charles.
What animal is it? Breed? Dog, Schnauzer
How did it come into your life? Jack was adopted by our family in November 2013. His former owner was moving to a smaller apartment and because she was both working and studying at the time she would not have the means to properly take care of Jack. It came as a total surprise to me because I had no idea my parents were even considering getting a pet. I can’t forget the first moment I put my eyes on him. I had been horseback riding for the entire afternoon with my younger brother and when we got home there were dog toys all over the floor like a trail leading to my brother’s room. I was already excited from that moment on because I immediately connected the dots and I knew what we were going to find. When I saw Jack I just went to the ground. It was love at first sight.
How is/was it like? Jack is awesome! He is a standard size Schnauzer, which means he is a small dog but not super tiny. His fur is black although it has been getting gray with time. His bark is one of the things I love the most about him. You just don’t expect such a strong and robust bark coming from such a small fellow. Like every dog from his breed, Jack has big eyebrows and mustache, which give him an even a stronger countenance. He is loyal, jealous and protective about those he loves. I remember that because he was trained to be a house pet, when he first got to our home he simply hated the grass and the garden. It still isn’t his favorite place but he is definitely more used to it. Jack is currently 3 years old and his birthday is only 3 days after mine. I guess we were meant to be.
Why does/did this pet make you happy/fulfilled? Jack came when I was getting out of a really turbulent personal moment and he helped me a lot. I honestly believe that he knew whenever I was really stressed and he would just give me attention and calm me down. Getting back home after Jack came into my life became the happiest experience for me. Knowing that I would be greeted with all that excitement and true friendship and love has not substitutes. Jack won’t ever be mad at me. He is happy to see me simply because I am in his life. That is more honest than many human relationships. I have done many exchange programs or long trips since I was really young but I never missed home (Rio de Janeiro – Brazil) as much as I do now and it is because of Jack. The only thing that calms me down is to think that all my family that is there with him loves Jack just as much as I do.
By Ana Roselli.
What animal is it? Breed? Cat, male (mutt)
How did it come into your life? Bagheera was my step-cat. Much like a step-child, Bagheera and I had one thing in common when we met: an irrepressible love of Bagheera's owner.
How is/was it like? Being staunchly anti-cat for upwards of three decades, Bagheera took some getting used to. To be blunt, he actively terrified and terrorized me for two years. It didn't help that he acted like a dog, bounding towards the door when he heard my keys, assaulting me with licks and nips that immediately led to bites and scratches if I didn't drop everything to fling a shoelace in his direction for 15 minutes. Cooking was even more fun, having him moan frantically like some starving goat every time I opened anything that sounded even remotely like food (dry pasta, Bagheera, really?), and flopping over to rest only in exactly the place I needed to step (I think he gave himself bonus points for tripping me while I was holding full scalding pots of sauce). The best was sleeping though. Our bed was his shower, yoga mat, launch pad, scratch post, boxing ring, grooming salon, and of course, his bed - though 11pm to 7am was truly the only time he didn't sleep (why sleep when you could be tormenting your captors?). If we tried to lock him out, he would plant himself outside the door and howl for eight straight hours. It was actually something I manically marveled at countless nights while staring with bloodshot eyes into the 3am darkness: "How is it…HOW…IS…IT…that cats don't lose their voices?!"
Why does/did this pet make you happy/fulfilled? Bagheera, in spite of all his infuriating quirks, could never be faulted for lack of personality. I don't think I will ever meet a cat with more spirit. He also truly loved his owner, and when they cuddled you could hear (and feel) the purring baseline from across the room. Most importantly though, his owner loved him. I've never seen anyone love a cat as much as Bagheera was loved. Bagheera took on so much of his owner's personality (for better or worse) that I think they understood each other on a level that no one else could understand. Bagheera was both his owner's tranquility and his chaos; a little furry life lesson to literally tackle and embrace every day. So when Bagheera suddenly fell ill last month and stopped disrupting our peace and quiet - I suddenly found that I wanted nothing more than for Bagheera to recover and disrupt my peace and quiet once more. No one was more surprised than I to find such frantic, pleading tears streaming down my face when the vets gave us the prognosis. I heard myself angrily correcting the vet technicians when they referred to Bagheera as "she." And when he passed away, a part of his owner passed away, which meant a part of me did too. I still anticipate his oddly clumsy, lumbering footsteps when I enter the apartment, and I step over his ghost when I drain the pasta water. We can finally sleep, but it somehow feels less of an accomplishment. When it comes down to it, I can't believe how much I miss that damn cat.
By Alex Fondren.
All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.