June 17, 2011

Angelina and James

       This photo  is not mine. Its purpose is simply to draw your attention.
A friend called me from Moscow, and let me know in a dejected voice that Angelina Did That Again.

Angelina is my friend’s beloved bichon frise dog.

This friend turned sixty three years ago. She decided to mark that occasion by selling her business and getting Angelina. Since that day, there was one more creature in the world who is worshiped unconditionally. Angelina lives in a magical world that many bipedal creatures would love to live in. This little dog gets taken on all kinds of trips – wherever her owner goes - and is fed the most delicious things. Admittedly, Angelina almost always behaves herself, save for one weakness – she likes drinking from the toilet. Her creative approach to reaching her goal is unrivaled. Since, at my friend’s house, the toilet seats have special locks, which are usually installed for child safety, Angelina finds her way to her guilty pleasure in other places – like hotel rooms, other people’s houses, and once even in a beach bathroom.

Since the dog is relatively small, sometimes she perches on the toilet seat, loses her balance, and falls into the bowl. My friend can tell elaborate stories of how – depending on the design of the toilet – Angelina can either climb out of it herself (and proceed towards her owner dripping with toilet water), or she needs to be taken out. Luckily, Angelina is at least clever enough to start whimpering if the latter thing happens.

Having finished her story about the latest embarrassing toilet adventure, my friend said “How can she do this to me?”

This story triggered another animal memory – my husband’s colleague had a cat named James. When we first met him, that colleague wasn’t married, and James was the main companion of his life. Everybody in the office knew about James’s adventures, as well as his daily schedule and food preferences. One time, we were invited to visit those two bachelors in their home. In the kitchen, I found a lineup of several bowls on the floor. One had water; another had goat (!) milk; the third one had dry cat food; the fourth one had a different type of cat food; and the final one had some manner of seafood. I tried to make a joke about how one bowl was missing – one containing a martini, “Shaken, not stirred.” The man responded with “James prefers a sober lifestyle.”

Despite being so privileged in regards to food that he could easily forget about the natural food chain, James was quite an action-loving outdoor cat. He was allowed to roam the neighborhood, and, a couple of times, he returned home with some injuries, having gotten in fights with other animals.

When my husband’s colleague found a girlfriend, James received her company with suspicion, but, having understood that she was there to stay, he brought her a thoughtful gift one night – half a mouse. He left the offering on her pillow in the dark. Then he decided that a half was still rather too big, and started to gnaw on it loudly.

The colleague asked my husband the same question that my friend asked about her dog – “How could he do this? He’s got an entire kitchen full of fresh food.”

This is where I wonder – why do we expect our pets to act like human beings all the time? And why do we attribute human emotions to them?

Yes, they love us, and they are often devoted to us. But they do that in their own way. If we respect our pets, we should remember that they come from somewhat of a different realm – the kingdom of animals.

These pictures are from Saint Martin, Moscow, Tarusa, Thessaloniki, Paris, Toronto.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. I absolutely agree about understanding that they are animals above all. I like to make up these crazy conversations (like those I write on my blog) between my animals and I - but I don´t think they are my children, it´s just for fun. I WANT them to be animals - I have two rascals on two legs and that´s quite enough..! :-)

  2. Great post today -- love this series. And the toilet bowl watering station made me LAUGH OUT LOUD.

    Great story, Olga. These animals have much to teach us about unconditional love.

  3. Fantastic pictures and great post. I can relate about the gift from the cat but on the pillow?!lol

  4. Hello Olga:
    How strange that you should mention your friend's pet and her prediliction for all things lavatorial. Kotsky, the cat of our Russian friends who featured on our own blog also has this same habit, coupled with a love of the shower too. As a result, trying to enter the bathroom before the cat is almost a feat beyond human capability.

    As you say, animals do belong to a different kingdom but, just as humans, they do seem to us to be capable of all manner of quirky and individual actions. Every cat we have ever owned has hated water!

  5. I love it when you tell stories as well as show us your wonderful photos. The message at the end really appealed to me too. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. x

  6. Great stories and fantastic photos. Animals I agree must do it there way not ours!! I so miss not having an animal now after having had them all my life. Sadly it would not be fair with Nigel and I back and forth between two countries, maybe one day...... Diane

  7. This is so nice. My daughter and I will enjoy these photos a lot.

  8. Just like Froggy I love it when you tell your stories to go with the wonderful photos. I love these photographs so much Olga. Great post today and enjoy your weekend.

  9. Nice story about animals. Accompanying photographs are like me. I have a soft spot for pets. I know what they could do. Our cat fancy Kamejk now jumps into an empty tub in the bathroom. I'm waiting for when he would go swimming with me. It begins to grips with water. Nice weekend to all. Peter.

  10. Simpático post, un placer pasar a leerte.
    deseo tengas un bonito fin de semana.
    un abrazo.

  11. you've made me laugh out loud with this post :)

    yes, we often treat our pets like spoiled children, instead of animals. my own dog is rather spoiled herself, i'm afraid (although there are still a few boundaries she is not allowed to cross, lest she believe she really IS the queen of the castle! ;)

    p.s. thanks so much for visiting my blog, and for taking the time to leave your lovely comment.

  12. Animal stories always seem to warm out hearts, and make us laugh, and cry. Agree with you -- we seem to project our own 'human' personality on our furry friends, and entirely forget or do not know their true unique nature. One thing you didn't mention though I find interesting how animals understand our language or some of it, and yet we do not understand any of theirs.

    lovely photo's


  13. I love my cat but he is a cat, not a surrogate child.

    Give him an inch and he'll take a mile making life hell, so I keep him in his place on my bed during the day but NOT at night... :)

  14. I’m yet to be a pet owner (but, it’s only a matter of time). But, I agree; it’s actually fairer to the animal to acknowledge it is an entirely different species.

    I hope I remember that when I get my dog :)

  15. I loved this post. I'm an owner of a Bichon also, one that is 14 years old and full of much character!!! I can't imagine life without a pet. Have a good week-end.

  16. Hi tinajo,
    I adore having silly talks with my cat. I think he understands the intonations. He reacts to them accordingly.

    Hi Rick,
    Definitely, living beings around us can teach us a lot if we treat them attentively and respectfully.

    Hi Sandy,
    I pay that my cat will never do something like that :)

    Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    I really like the name "Kotsky". You'll find it funny, but our last name sounds almost exactly the same. I have a friend whose cat would jump into a bubble bath if you didn't watch our for her.

    Hi Happy Frog and I,
    Since I didn't have my own pet during childhood, I always collected stories about other people's pets. Can you imagine how many I've got? :)

    Hi Diane,
    I totally understand that, with your lifestyle between two countries, it's almost impossible to have a pet. They take up so much time and energy.

  17. Hi Jorge Muñoz,
    I'd be interested to know if your daughter would like my animal photos. Thank you for your compliment.

    Hi Dolly,
    I have completed your request; I scratched Deniska behind the ear, saying "This is from Dolly" :)

    Hi Peter,
    It's funny how some cats love water so much. It must be more of an exception than a rule. But it's really cute.

    Hi Ricardo,
    I'm glad you enjoyed my stories. Have a great weekend!

    Hi Leslie,
    In general, I am a very funny lady :) I have a soft spot for animal stories. Maybe it's because I didn't have my own pet as a child.

  18. Hi Joanny,
    You're absolutely right. We can only imagine what our pets might be telling us. It often happens with my cat when he's overexcited, and tries to tell me something. I usually have no idea what it is, although I pretend that I understand and sympathize.

    Hi Sarah,
    Our cat also spends half the day in our bedroom. At night, we usually close the door - or else he'll be purring right in my ear.

    Hi The Blogger Formerly Known As,
    I know about your big event. It's amazing that you've decided on such a courageous step. I wish you good luck.

    Hi lilylovekin,
    I know about your charming dog. I think he has a wonderful personality, or so it seems from the pictures.

  19. a lot of giggling reading your post Olga...we have had multiple cats over the years who prefer drinking from the toilet bowl to their own water dish...I think it's because it is so cold (?)...but one kitty (and she is a toilet bowl drinker) will pee in the water bowl (shared by the dog and other cat) if it is empty...so we wash it out and refill it...and then she'll drink from it later??? It is odd how we attempt to humanize our beloved animal companions...and yet I think this is just how we connect with them.

  20. Hi LauraX,
    Now it is my turn to giggle:)
    Cats who prefer drinking from the toilet bowl?
    Yes, of course connection with our pets is so rewarding.

  21. I love animals and pets but there is a lot of responsibility involved so I leave it to my family members to have dogs and cats!

  22. vous avez le bonjour de mon chat Origène ! Il est noir et est âgé de 13 ans. Il est en forme et apprécie les grandes terrasses.
    Have a good week-end !

  23. I love mt cat to bits, as much as I love some people, so I can't really be objective about this. But I will say that I never expect him to act like a human being, or respond the way we would. He has his own nature, which is as it should be.

  24. Because of the emotions that I have sent

  25. A wonderful post in its entirety; story and photos combined.
    I love my cats because they are cats and not humans - how they weigh us up and work around us to get their own way and indulge their own habits and fancies. I never caese to be amazed.
    I do know a story about a cat and a toilet in which the cat would race ahead of the man of the house to get there before him to 'perfom' ... and he had to wait his turn!

  26. aw, i like giving bama human thoughts, haha :) we talk for him all the time! but, this does remind me of a book about animals that is supposed to be a good one and talks about how they see things - I will send it to you when i think of it! (i'm curious about it!)

  27. Hi Sérgio,
    Me too - animals are amazing!

    Hi Lydia,
    That's true - they take so much time to take care of. My cat woke me up at 6:30. (For me, that's a bit early.)

    Hi Pierre,
    Thank you; I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    Hi Staive,
    Dites bonjour à votre chat de mon chat, qui s'appelle Deniska! Je ne dirais pas non à un moment de farniente sur une grande terrasse.

    Hi hila,
    This is exactly what I consider to be a healthy attitude in regards to pets. You can't change their nature. And you shouldn't expect them to feel ashamed of being themselves.

    Hi Paolo,
    I appreciate your response. Thank you for visiting :)

    Hi aguja,
    This is the joyful thing about cats - observing their special behaviours. Very often, they can be surprising and funny.

    Hi Krystal,
    I also talk to my cat constantly. Maybe it seems strange. But I really enjoy chatting with him :)