The cat moved closer to Buddy.
The cat stopped in his tracks.
“I said, Grrrrr!”
“Buddy, be nice.”
“Get the cat away from me.”
“Monty just wants to be your friend.”
“He can be my friend over there.”
“Are you being grumpy?”
“I want to be left alone.”

The critters are still working through some things here. Monty loves everyone but Buddy is his favorite and he sometimes likes to lay down next to Buddy. As long as Buddy is asleep and doesn’t realize Monty is close, it doesn’t matter but when Buddy sees Monty, or any other cat for that matter, invading his personal space, he gives a low growl and they back away. When he growls at Monty however, Monty will only back away one or two feet and then lay down. He respects Buddy’s personal space…when Buddy is awake. It’s not that Buddy is grumpy, he’s just getting old and wants to be left alone sometimes. I understand that completely. There are times I want to be left alone. The Missus says it’s more than that. She says I am grumpy.  “Grrrrr! Am not!”

There was a knock at the door and the Missus went to see who it was. I rarely get the door. I don’t want to get the door. It’s the “neighbor” (sort of, kind of) and a friend. They want to know if they can cut wood from a pile of trees that we had felled a couple of summers ago. The wood is cured now and ready to be used as firewood. From across the room, I tell them that those are my trees and they can’t have them.

We heat with wood and have nothing to spare. No one helps me cut or split firewood. No one helps me carry firewood into the house and no one helps me stay warm. Go away.

He: “It’s just that we haven’t seen you out there cutting so we…”
Me: “That’s because someone stole my new chainsaw and my other one is in the shop being repaired.”
He: “Okay, we’ll look around out back and see if we can find something else to cut.”
“Those. Are. My. Trees. Out. Back. Look someplace else.”

On one of the coldest days of the year, “someone” didn’t prepare well enough for winter and wants to take my stuff because he hadn’t seen me using it lately. I haven’t driven my car lately, does he want that too? I have a ladder that I haven’t used in months, maybe he wants that. How about that sweater in my closet? My boots?

Perhaps I am grumpy by some people’s standards but some people are stupid and annoying according to mine. Seriously, I don’t think older folks are particularly grumpy, they’re just full now. They’ve had enough of the nonsense and it takes too much energy to educate the ignorant masses. Go away and learn someplace else. Leave me alone. I’m not unfriendly. I can be friendly as long as someone is not stupid. I have a low tolerance for stupid. Alright, I have no tolerance for stupid, satisfied? Good, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get back to Buddy and leave me out of this.

Buddy is this big, black lovable ball of fur. I call him the black bush. He thinks anyone who comes by the house is there to see him. The mail lady, the UPS man, the guy from the electric company, anyone. People are sometimes frightened by big dogs so we have to explain that all he wants is to be their friend. Just pet him.

Buddy’s not grumpy but he is getting a bit more set in his ways or should I say settled in to old age. Don’t invade his space and you’re fine. He’ll come to you. Oh, and don’t pee in his yard either. The dog down the street sometimes comes up and pees in the yard. Buddy has to go pee in every corner to reestablish his territory, come back in the house to drink more water and then go back outside and pee some more. Stay out of his yard. Bunnies are okay and an occasional possum or raccoon as long as they’re passing through. They sometimes bang under the house and it freaks him out so don’t do that. As long as you know a few simple rules you’ll be alright.

Whenever I read a story about someone being mauled by a dog, the first thought that pops into my head is, “What did you do to the dog?” I hear someone say, “That’s a mean old man,” and I wonder what that person did to piss the old man off or what that old man’s story might be. I was warned about a mean old man who worked at a tire shop that I went to once. After chatting with the old guy for a little while, I learned that he’d spent time in prison for a crime which I won’t discuss here. He did his time and now he just wanted to be left alone to do his job. After he’d told me a bit of his story, all I said was, “Sometimes things happen.” He looked me straight in the eyes and then nodded. I think he tried to smile a bit but you had to look real close to see it. That old man and I got along just fine because I took time to understand him. Later, I talked with the man who had warned me about the old guy at the tire shop. I told him the old man was just fine and that he ought not to piss him off. Murder. Okay, he went to prison for murder. I don’t know the details of that story because he didn’t say and I didn’t ask. Things happen.

Unlike the other cats, Monty took the time to understand Buddy and they worked out the rules of their relationship. Buddy growls when Monty gets too close but Buddy doesn’t dismiss him as grumpy and walk away. He readjusts and finds a mutually acceptable distance. He doesn’t need to know the details of Buddy’s story because he knows firsthand the painful truth that sometimes things happen.

I love old dogs. They aren’t so difficult to understand if you take the time. In fact, no dog is difficult to understand when you get right down to it. Most people just don’t take the time to understand them and then we growl.

Did you just try to make this about me again?

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About the Author

Joyce Ellis is the CEO and Caretaker of WarmFuzzy's Animal Shelter & Sanctuary. She was born with the vision, the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going. She is Fuzzy1 of all WarmFuzzy's.

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