We were home in Montana last week, visiting family for Christmas, and that meant we visited the family pets too. Lorie’s folks have cats, so we got to chase them around, and there’s dogs at my parents’ place. And my brother has a fish… some kind of cichlid, I think? She’s a survivor, that fish. She had an abusive fish husband (or “partner”? I won’t presume that fish actually get married per se) who harried her at every opportunity, but when he took ill one day, she saw her chance and struck! Needless to say, Male Fish could dish it out but couldn’t take it, and the Widow Lady Fish lives on. Sordid! It’s like an episode of Law & Order: Aquarium Crimes Unit Team, featuring the Fish Police. Anyway what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, family pets. Anyhoo, Cheena the family dog is getting old these days (previously mentioned), and now she’s apparently deaf, so communication can be a little more challenging. Fortunately she’s still got her vision, and her keen intellect. She’s always been good at interpreting hand signals, so she can usually figure out what you’re trying to say if she can see you (although, ever the optimist, her first guess is usually “I have food for you”). And, of course, her sense of smell seems to be unimpeded by age, at least for household matters. Her deafness is no doubt inconvenient in many ways, but she sleeps a lot better now while my Dad watches sports, and is undisturbed by his whooping. So, pros and cons, I suppose.