I love funny, touching, wacky and even sad stories about animals: Anything animal, I adore. A meme or a short video can sometimes make me laugh and smile on what would otherwise be a gloomy day.
Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian after reading James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small.” James Wight, aka James Herriot, was a practicing veterinarian his entire life and wrote his endearing stories at night sitting by the fire with his wife. A great deal of what he wrote was based on his own experiences, making his books even more incredible.
Now we have the internet—YouTube, Facebook, TikTok—and a seemingly endless stream of animal stories. I asked Publisher Chuck Woodbury if I could write a weekly column in which I would post animal stuff I love—useful tips, stories about traveling with pets, stories about people and wildlife, stories about people and the pets they love. I happen to love several internet cats—Lil’ Bub, Atchoum, Mister Marbles, Cole & Marmalade and the never-forgotten Grumpy Cat. Simon’s Cat is the best! My sister loves dog stories, especially about rescues. I support many rescues and have many great tales of heroism from people working in them. All of this I would like to share with you.
I also would like for you to send me your stories about your pets and other animals you have encountered either on while traveling or at home. I also want to honor the best friends we have lost but will never forget.
With your help, this will be a whole lot of fun!
My first installment: Gorilla the disappearing cat
I was living in California when I was accepted into Kansas State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. At the time, I had four dogs, a parrot, Harriet the house rabbit and about five cats—the number of which grew every year I was in vet school. I was the designated kitten bottle feeder when they were turned in to the clinic and I ended up keeping a few of them.
I bought a 26-foot Winnebago Brave to get my troops back and forth from my home in California and school in Kansas. One Christmas break, I loaded up the Winnie, putting in the rabbit and one cat at a time and shutting the door. I had help and took every precaution to make sure everyone was safely in the RV. The dogs and the parrot were a cinch. We hit the road, making sure we gassed up in Barstow so we made it across the Arizona border, where gas was cheaper. We were booked into a great park in Flagstaff.
After filling up in Arizona and eating lunch, I did a cursory check of all the animals. My heart stopped—Gorilla the cat was missing!
We checked everywhere and called back to my house to have a friend check there. Nothing. I was freaking out, understandably. However, I took a deep breath and calmed myself down because I was SURE Gorilla was in the RV. I sat down on the bed and told everyone to be silent… a faint meow was heard. It was coming from the dashboard. I soon discovered you could lift the entire dashboard up to see inside. There, peering at me amongst the wires and fuses, was the black furry face of Gorilla. He was able to crawl up into the space from the driver’s footwell.
I learned to stuff some towels up there to block adventurous felines.
Pets, mainly cats, are very frightened when loaded into the RV. Even my cats, who have many miles on the road, are terrified when first loaded into the RV. It gets even more terrifying when their “house” starts to move! Harriet, the rabbit, was oblivious, and the dogs and Woody the parrot loved getting in the RV. I use cat-calming pheromones (Feliway). What I found was that once we stopped for the first night, fed everyone dinner, and climbed into bed, the cats did just fine. The second day on the road had them looking out the windows, riding on my shoulders and generally at peace with travel.
Then along came Spalding, another escapee story for another chapter.
Do you have a pet or animal story to share? Please send it to me using the form below. Include a photo, too, if you have one. Thank you!
No stories, sorry. But I am keen to read those of other people. Thank you!
I am also looking forward to your future stories.
Good start! Looking forward to more stories. Will contribute when I can about my dogs.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing your tales. 🙂
I anxiously await the wonderful stories! Glad to see you join the RV Travel newsletter!