Chicken Soup for the Cat & Dog Lover's Soul: Celebrating Pets as Family with Stories About Cats, Dogs and Other Critters

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About the Author

JACK CANFIELD and MARK VICTOR HANSEN, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling coauthors, are professional speakers who have dedicated their lives to enhancing the personal and professional development of others. Canfield and Hansen are based out of Santa Barbara, California and Newport Beach, California, respectively.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Brownie and Spotty were neighbor dogs who met every day to play together. Like pairs of dogs you can find in most any neighborhood, these two loved each other and played together so often that they had worn a path through the grass of the field between their respective houses.

One evening, BrownieÆs family noticed that Brownie hadnÆt returned home. They went looking for him with no success. Brownie didnÆt show up the next day, and, despite their efforts to find him, by the next week he was still missing.

Curiously, Spotty showed up at BrownieÆs house alone, barking, whining, and generally pestering BrownieÆs human family. Busy with their own lives, they just ignored the nervous little neighbor dog.

Finally, one morning Spotty refused to take ônoö for an answer. Ted, BrownieÆs owner, was steadily harassed by the furious, adamant little dog. Spotty followed Ted about, barking insistently, then darting toward a nearby empty lot and back, as if to say, ôFollow me! ItÆs urgent!ö

Eventually, Ted followed the frantic Spotty across the empty lot as Spotty paused to race back and bark encouragingly. The little dog led the man under a fence, past clumps of trees, to a desolate spot a half mile from the house. There Ted found his beloved Brownie alive, one of his hind legs crushed in a steel leghold trap. Horrified, Ted now wished heÆd taken SpottyÆs earlier appeals seriously. Then Ted noticed something quite remarkable.

Spotty had done more than simply lead BrownieÆs human to his trapped friend. In a circle around the injured dog, Ted found an array of dog food and table scraps - which were later identified as the remains of every meal Spotty had been fed that week!

Spotty had been visiting Brownie regularly, in a single minded quest to keep his friend alive by sacrificing his own comfort. Spotty had evidently stayed with Brownie to protect him from predators, snuggling with him at night to keep him, warm and nuzzling him to keep his spirits up.

BrownieÆs leg was treated by a veterinarian and he recovered. For many years thereafter, the two families watched the faithful friends frolicking and chasing each other down that well-worn path between their houses.

I have lived in my neighborhood for twenty years. It seems to me that IÆve spent at least ten of those years looking for a lost pet, either mine or one IÆd seen listed in the newspaperÆs lost-pet column.

Recently, I was at it again, going door-to-door looking for one of my own lost kitties, a little black cat named Nicholas whoÆd slipped out the door before I could stop him. I made my rounds, visiting with all the neighbors, describing Nicholas. Familiar with this routine, everyone promised to keep an eye out and call me if they spotted him.

Two blocks from my house, I noticed a gentleman raking leaves in the yard of a home that had recently been sold. I introduced myself and presented my new neighbor with the plight of the missing Nicholas, asking if he had seen him.

ôNo,ö he replied, ôIÆve not seen a little black kitty around here.ö He thought for a moment, looked at me and said, ôBut I know who you should ask. Several of my neighbors have told me that thereÆs a woman in the neighborhood whoÆs crazy about cats. They say she knows every cat around here, probably has dozens herself. They call her æThe Cat Lady.Æ Be sure to check with her.ö

ôOh, thank you,ö I said eagerly. ôDo you know where she lives?ö

He pointed a finger down the street, ôItÆs that one.ö

I followed his finger and started to laugh.

He was pointing at my house!