A Word on Pets


Dudley is my three-year-old West Highland White Terrier, named after the angel played by Cary Grant in the 1947 film, THE BISHOP’S WIFE.  Duds is affectionate, curious, funny and, at times, somewhat demanding in his need for attention. When he was smaller, I put doggie steps next to a sofa in the den so that he could easily climb up to nap or relax with or without me helping him up.  He has recently discovered that he is quite capable of getting up onto almost any chair or sofa in the house without those puppy steps. The look on his face the first time he made it up on his own was priceless and spoke of revelation on a grand scale. Even Riggs, our cat, was surprised when Duds leaped up to sit with him on a sofa the cat thought was entirely his own.  Riggs just stared at the dog for a long time as if to say, “And what the heck are you doing up here?”


Riggs likes to startle Dudley by hiding around corners or behind drapes so that he can jump out suddenly, which makes the Dudley spin around in a state of confusion before chasing Riggs through several rooms before Riggs goes upstairs to sit quietly with his front paws crossed calmly while he watches  Duds continue running in circles until he figures out that Riggs is just above him snickering at what the cat considers a rather slow wit.


Riggs was already eight years only when Dudley arrived as a puppy of ten weeks.  Riggs from the very first day was gentle with Duds, who Riggs knew was only a young, dumb critter that would be no threat.  There was no hissing or scratching at all, just the gradual bonding of the two over time, each becoming a part of the other’s comfort zone.


Riggs and Dudley seem to take turns chasing each other, then tumbling around on the floor together, like wrestlers.  Riggs has never used his claws against Dudley, and they are actually buddies, providing themselves with exercise and ever-new ways to outwit each other.  Pets like Duds and Riggs add so much to the house with their daily shenanigans and their settling down at the end of the day to sit in the human laps they crave as their favorite resting places.  Every once in a while, they can both be seen sleeping in curled up positions next to each other, Dudley snoring, and Riggs purring away in a kind of contentment that brings an unparalleled tranquility to the house.  Their heartbeats add so much to the domestic joy of the household.  They make the house a real home.

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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2 Responses to A Word on Pets

  1. Charlotte says:

    I enjoyed the stories about Riggs and Dudley. They are so compatible. You and Jim are fortunate.

  2. Alice Furlaud says:

    Mr. Bolinger’s absolutely wonderful stories about Riggs and Dudley make it clear that dogs and cats are NOT enemies, but almost always are great friends. The way this cat and dog play games together proves this.

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