The companion

Acadia T. Katz
Acadia during a 2012 visit to the Buddhist temple at Furman University

It’s a one-panel Glen Baxter cartoon.

In the center of the panel, a man sits in his easy chair reading a newspaper. A dog is seated on the floor beside him, its chin resting near the man’s right elbow. Little hearts float above the dog’s head as it gazes up at the man worshipfully. The caption beneath the dog reads, “Dogs: Man’s best friend.”

A cat is seated some distance from the man to his left,  staring at the man also, but saying to him, “My litter box is full.” The caption beneath the cat reads, “Cats: Man’s casual acquaintance.”

At various times over the years, I’ve lived with dogs (too loud, too messy), rabbits (cute but dumb), and briefly, one large desert tortoise (basically a living lawn ornament), but it wasn’t until I met Acadia T. Katz that I realized what a blessing and an honor non-human companionship can be. Note that I don’t say “pet ownership.” I avoid that term, not to be precious, but because neither word of it feels appropriate.

My impression of Acadia is that she deals with me as an equal. She’ll roll with me as a friend, or an enemy, or a frenemy or a matter of complete indifference. Sometimes for cause and sometimes for reasons known to her alone.

Why do I find that so appealing?