Smokey and Flair

As you probably have guessed by now, I've gotten a tremendous kick out of all the animals I've ever had, and here's a story about two more of them.

Flair was a Pekingese dog that I got my wife, Genna, early on in our marriage.  Even when I first saw her in the kennel, she had a lively way about her that stood out from the other doggies in the window.  She had fawn markings which were light tan to medium brown, with a black face mask.  She didn't have a pushed in  face (Pekes whose noses can't been seen in profile get more show points), but she probably breathed easier and lived longer because of it.  Pekes were breed to protect the Chinese emperors, and Flair was a ;little lion in appearance and demeanor.

Smokey, a mixed breed American short hair cat, had no regal background, and definitely came from the poor side of town.  Genna picked him up in the parking lot on a very cold Friday evening after she finished teaching for the weekend.  Genna has a soft spot like I do, and saw Smokey wasn't going to survive the weekend without assistance.  He was nearly dehydrated, and his last ounce of fat was burned several days before.

We immediately contacted an emergency veterinarian who IV'ed Smokey and kept him for the weekend.  The vet gave us hope when he said,

"I have a good feeling about him, and believe me, I know cats; I am Egyptian!"

He was right, and we brought Smokey home on Monday, but kept him separate from Flair until he appeared to get his strength back.  We sort of knew what to expect when we did put them together.

Unlike Fat Cat, Smokey was very docile, while Flair was the aggressor.  Smokey most often relied on his fancy paw work to evade a charging Flair, whose very long hair negated any traction her paw pads afforded her, as she would slide past a side stepping Smokey.  These episodes calmed down to once or twice a day, while the rest of the time they just avoided each other.

Smokey did believe in payback, however, but he picked his spots to retaliate.  His favorite moment was to approach Flair as she was sleeping beneath our hutch in the living room.  She would crawl under the hutch from the back and rest her head on the floor with just her nose peering out from under.  I just happened to be in the living room to witness what happened next.

Smokey quietly approached Flair, and sat down on his hind quarter, making sure Flair was asleep.  He slowly raised his front paw above his head, and smacked Flair on the nose, quickly retreating half way up the adjacent steps that led to the second floor.  He sat back down on the steps as if nothing happened, and observed Flair skid in reverse, run in circles around the living room and into the kitchen looking for Smokey, who barely turned his head watching her antics.

I watched this scene unfold three other times, laughing louder after each.

After telling you this story, I don't know how I'll get you to believe that Flair was a very smart dog, but she was in every other way.

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