I Used to Be a Dog Person
By Connie Jean Conklin
What I’m Learning From My Cats
I used to consider myself a dog person. And then I realized using dog as an adjective also applies. Like a dog, I did everything to please my “owner” (whatever man was in my life, and before then, my parents). I lived and enjoyed life when told to do so (i.e. “fetch”). And I relied on my “owners” to take care of me (in my case tell me what to think, feel and do).
I had dogs in my life, too. And thank goodness! They listened to me and loved me unconditionally. Dogs are the only reason I have any degree of sanity today.
Now I have cats, and boy is my life different!
I’ve been learning to take care of myself. I now know what I want, need, think and feel. And I express my thoughts and concerns in co-dependents anonymous meetings, with friends that I now have, with therapists, and in Facebook posts. And while I’ve had cats before, I did not understand them then. But I think I’m beginning to get the idea, not only to understand them, but to be a cat person.
To a cat, playing is their number one priority. They enjoy their life. They do what they darn well want to with little concern for what I have in mind for them to do. They seem to care about me. They cuddle with me, show affection for me, purr and respond to my requests, as long as it’s not too inconvenient or interrupts their pleasure. But they give up their enjoyment of life for nobody.
I ask forgiveness from the cats in my life. I was incapable of understanding them in the past. And while I still want a dog in my life, I vow to be a better cat parent and cat person in the future.
At age sixty-two, I own four hula hoops, a drum and two inner tubes. I play in the creek pretty much every day throughout the summer. I dance with my hula hoop at concerts on the creek most Friday nights. I drum and hula hoop at community drumming every month. At this mature time in my life, I have finally learned how to master the art of play. And you know what? I accomplish much more now. I don’t just “survive” in life, I know how to “live” my life more fully.
I have also founded an organization for adult survivors of child abuse, called SEASCAT.org. Send me a friend request on Facebook saying you read this article in NYC Voices and I will accept your request.