Minnie the cat was stretched out on the arm of the couch with her paws draped around my neck and her head on my left shoulder. My hand curled up to caress her head and ears matching the rhythm of her soft purr. I have often thought that if we women could just learn to purr, there would be no ceilings.
Meanwhile Callie the dog lay pressed against my right hip with her head resting on my leg. My right hand drew circles on her side and massaged her neck. I stopped petting Callie for just a bit to cheer a fine defensive play by Ichero. Quickly her wet nose was shoved under my hand. A clear signal to me that stopping was not a desired option, so I resumed.
This goes on whenever I spend time on the couch watching my Marlins play baseball. I am penned in by fur but I really don't mind for I have an innate need to pet. Petting animals is mostly a mindless, low energy action but is enjoyed by both the petter and the pettee.
I smiled thinking about that need and was reminded of a friend of mine who brought his daughter out to my animal shelter years ago. Becky was 10 years old and a pure animal lover who had just experienced having the long time family dog put down.
My friend thought visiting with all my animals would cheer Becky and they might find a replacement. He was thinking more on the lines of a hunting dog but unfortunately for him, a female cat I had just rescued along with her 4 kittens caught Becky's eye and heart. She clutched a little calico kitten to her chest and gave her dad a pleading look.
"No honey," he quickly stated before she could ask. "We do not need a kitten."
"But Daddy," she put all the angst she could muster into her tone, " I've got to have something to pet." She drew out each word.
Petting brings us comfort and satisfies the need to give. It naturally brings pleasure to the deserving creatures we pet who have rewarded us with unconditional love. Well, unconditional love from the dog. For a cat there is often a long list of conditions that must be met before we deserve their acceptance---but we love them anyway.
Of course they left with the kitten that day. What respectable father could refuse that simple desire.