Cats, Dogs and a Gator

Someone brought us a stray black and white kitten, and we kept him inside until we figured he was large enough to dissuade One Eye or a hawk from trying to take him for lunch. “Sneaker” the cat soon became a wise outdoor cat, climbing large trees, hanging out on the roof of the house or the barn, and generally staying out of the way of the geese, and especially Hansel, who had a reputation among the animals for aggressively attacking anything that came near him or Gretel.

So there was Echo the Black Lab, Cami the Siamese (who stayed indoors except when she would escape and climb a tree), and Sneaker the tuxedo long-haired cat. And the geese and the Bantam chickens and the Rhode Island Red chickens. Then came Penny, the Golden Retriever-something mix.

PennyA rambunctious youngster, Penny needed a new home for whatever reason and somehow she ended up at Ziba Khaya, where her welcome was hardly warm: Echo found Penny annoying, Cami ignored her and Sneaker kept his distance, radiating disdain.

The first time Penny approached the geese, Hansel went into fierce attack mode and after that, Penny gave both geese a very wide berth. The chickens were just too tempting, and she initially chased them but enough humans were around to dissuade her firmly and consistently, and she soon tired of trying to play with critters that would fly or scurry away.

One afternoon Anni and neighbor Captain Jack were in the yard down near the lake when Penny came loping up to them, dripping mud and water, a wide grin on her face. Hanging from Penny’s tail was a baby ‘gator, its jaws clamped firmly on a tuft of the “feathers” of Penny’s lush Golden Retriever banner.

Penny seemed uncertain if she was frightened or delighted with her new friend, and as Anni bent down to make sure her eyes weren’t deceiving her– yep, that was a baby ‘gator, alright– Penny took off across the lawn, looking back over her shoulder at the dangling ‘gator. She’d stop, look back at her tail, and take off again, but no matter how she ran, the thing just stayed with her.

BabyGatorAnni and Jack were busting a gut laughing as they chased the dog around the lawn. Eventually Penny sat down and looked at the ‘gator, then back up as Anni and Jack approached. Finally, Jack held Penny, Anni got a grip on gator and with a yank, the ‘gator came free, along with a sizeable chunk of Penny’s lovely tail feathers.

After yelping with surprise, Penny quickly recovered and followed Anni as she walked down to the boat ramp and released the little reptile in the shallow water.


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